“Because THIS is a Revolution!” A Slam Poem

“Because THIS is a Revolution!” A slam poem by Jorge

I didn’t have to run across the border to know that as much as I love her.
America does not love me back.
And as much as I want to succeed, she won’t let me.

My mother brought me here when she was 27
My sister was 3, and I was 8.

She figured an American education for her children would fit well with her job
cleaning offices afterhours and my father’s machismo.

She is now 43.
It’s been 16 years.

Learning English through Goosebumps books in 3rd grade in Tejas,
I sat with other classmates whose skin was darker but accents were just as thick.

You could smell the residue of the rancho still on their worn shoes.
And the excitement of being somewhere where wearing Nikes wasn’t a big deal.

Pokemon trading cards.
And McDonald’s taught me lessons on capitalism and globalization.

Yet, a broken, no – shattered, immigration system holds me back.
As I try to piece my identity together I struggle to find the pieces.
Jagged and rough,
I can’t glue something together when parts are in Mexico and I can’t find the piece
reading, “American” being held by those who don’t care to acknowledge their

I learned.

I learned that my accent would soon be gone. Replaced by Chicago.
And that being undocumented means you cannot attend college no matter how hard
you work.

It means if you graduate, a bachelor’s degree is a piece of a paper. Skills blown to the

Mom. This is for you.
I blamed you because I didn’t know who else to blame.
I’m sorry.

It’s not your fault I feel ashamed that I cannot attain a license in to drive you to the
grocery store.

My mother moved to the U.S. because she figured an American diploma would fit
well with her dry-cleaning job and a sense of loneliness.

Yet, “illegals” or alien are names pressed upon us.

Last time I checked, “illegal” is not a noun describing a person.
And last time I checked,
My tax dollars are just as valuable as yours.

I can’t exempt myself from not paying taxes whenever I buy something.

I had to learn where acentos van just like you did.
Spanglish is my culture.
Chilaquiles and apple pie is my meal.

Go back? What do you mean go back?
My ancestors have worked hard at building this country.
And NAFTA is not just a document, it is a reality.

High school kids should not be weeping because college dreams are crushed.
When 65,000 DREAMs are denied a year, there is something wrong.

One of my journal entries begins with, “I cried last night. And I try to be strong for
my family but I couldn’t.”

Breakdowns break me down.

My friend who’s been here since he was one deserves his DREAM.
Mi amiga que quiere estudiar se lo merece.
I know you feel like giving up, but I won’t let you.
Our feeling of wanting to travel becomes a push.
Pumping our fist.
Because we live in America.

Because THIS is a revolution!

When 65,000 DREAMs are denied a year, there is something wrong.

Because being undocumented feels like your young forever.
And there is no list for me to sign my name at the bottom. So that I can grow up.

I speak English just as well as you do and I understand that you’re afraid of change.

But I am not leaving.


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