By Jesús Cortez

White Fantasies

White fantasies

White fantasies built

on the foundation of corpses—

sweetened by legality 

Your Leave it toBeaver, white

picket fence suburban heaven,

Your Brady Bunch aspirations 

Your mutilated bodies left

behind grandiose missions

Your disneyland dreams

covering up the blood left

by murderous police 

Your yellow haired devil

of your choice—

he will fulfill all your desires 

Your Great American dream

will never leave, as it has

never existed for those like me— 

Never forget, you helped make

America great 

for you.

american history


they discovered you

they named you

they baptized you

            in the fire of their guns

            and in the name of

            their loving god 


they became americans

you remained a slave

you remained a number

            branded with their freedom

            branded with their name

            bodies with no identity


they killed one too many

of your brothers and you

took to the streets

            To reclaim your humanity

            to reclaim your streets

           to reclaim your soul 

The savages carried guns

you carried stones

Prop 187 Daze

In 1994, one of the biggest issues affecting the immigrant community was proposition 187–an

anti-immigrant bill that would bar undocumented people from certain services, including

education. Pete Wilson was the governor, the streets were at war and I was in 9th grade. Nothing

made much sense, and survival was the priority of the day, not political matters. 

One day in the Fall of 1994, there were rumors going around the school that there might be a

walk-out. Someone handed out fliers and I happened to see one. I didn’t really care about school

so walking out to show discontent with proposition 187 seemed like a good reason, since I never

needed one before. 

So after lunch I headed to French class, and wondered if it would really happen. Was my school

really going to walk-out and make a political statement? I remember Madame Fix tell us she

understood the situation and she had heard the rumors of the walk-out, but discouraged us from

doing so. Minutes passed and the scheduled protest time was approaching. Finally, the time came

and as I looked around the room, I could sense the fear from the students—they did not seem

ready to take a stand. 

Suddenly I saw three people rise. One was David, an acquaintance who I knew had never gotten

in trouble, then there was James who later became my enemy in the streets, and then there was

Dianne who was one of the popular seniors at the school, who probably felt obligated to take a

stand. I rose up too. We all looked at each other. We were ready. We walked out. 

As we made our way through the halls, the sad reality hit us—only three others had walked out.

One of those was my acquaintance Cesar. My classmates were so discouraged that they

immediately returned to class. Taking a stand now seemed pointless.

After a while, it seemed only Cesar and I were left alone in the hallway. Seconds later, we saw

the security guard coming towards us on her golf cart. Cesar said, “let’s go foo.” I don’t know

why, but I ran, and kept running across the soccer field, across the baseball field, with security

chasing after us, until we left the school. 

While I walked home that afternoon, I had the brilliant idea of telling my mom that I wanted to

drop out of school. I was too embarrassed to go back after the walk-out fiasco. She said it was

fine, but I had to go to work with my brother the next day. I hardly went to school in the first

place and she knew it. Working as a gardener was better than school, I thought. 

The following day, most of the Brown kids walked out of school to protest proposition 187. 

That day was the first time I had wished to be in school instead of mowing lawns.

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