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A Mountain of a Dream

Los Angeles is visible
Beyond the rising towers
And the holy Hollywood Sign:

Her ornate beauty shines
In the glittering taco trucks
Adorned with packed choice of tastes;

Her innate warmth resides
In the gleaming smiles of children
Salivating for a moist ice cream
From the wobbly cart of
An immigrant—
Fresh from the countryside of
El Salvador
Pushed by sweaty palms
And sheer American will.

Los Angeles can be seen,
Clearly,
My dear,
Tonight,
As we cling to caffeine
And contemplate la luna y las estrellas
Of future years:

An island of a thought;
A mountain of a dream.

-José Hernandez Díaz

Norwalk, CA
UC Berkeley

Brown Paper Bag

By David Velazquez, 20, Oceanside

Infinitesimally thin, brown, paper bag.
Wrinkled, grease-stained, paper bag.
Everyday you bear the realities of my impoverished family.
Revealing to no one the paroxysmal nature of hunger;
A sandwich with no mayo, no lettuce, no tomato.
Ink-tainted with the calculations of a family’s debt—
Every first of the month, the bag gets lighter but never empty.
Blood-stained from their fight last night—
Their brutish yells, my enduring torment.
If only hugs could be kept in my brown paper bag.
If dreams! If love! If—
Mom do not lament. We will be ok, the child says.
Brown paper bag, infinitesimally thin, wrinkled,
Ink-tainted, blood and grease-stained.
Brown paper bag, speak!
Let ‘em know.
Brown paper bag, it’s just you and me.
Brown paper bag, you are my plea.