(Photo courtesy of Juan Barajas)
East Los Angeles Renaissance Academy

Poem: East Los Angeles – Motivation and happiness

I remember seeing a cop and gang shootout by my house and I can remember how scared and frightened I was.

I remember thinking that these gangsters were bad people and deserved what happened to them. I remember hearing them argue about how they are going to pay their rent.

Now I look back and think and these were people trying to survive and didn’t deserve what happened to them. I can still hear and remember their faces.

I remember listening to Motley Crue for the first time thinking they were the heaviest band ever. I felt like I was taken to another world.

I remember going to church on Sunday mornings and hearing the word of the lord. I could hear the people praying and standing up so that they can give money to the church.

I remember my first day in High School, I was trying to fit in and be cool and I remember how disgusting the school food tasted.

I remember playing with my grandpa outside my house and then he would make a torta, I loved the smooth taste of the turkey.

I remember playing hide and seek hiding like a mouse. I remember being so scared it felt like a monster was chasing me.

I remember watching the yearly parade that passed by my house and seeing people dance, the horse walking and pooping, and giving sodas to people that passed by.

I remember when I stayed up on Saturdays and heard parties around me, I heard the music and the people dancing.

I can remember when I would play video games and eat junk food all night long, it was raining, and it felt like the rain was yelling because it was so loud.

I remember the day I broke my arm and I can remember hearing kids laughing around me while they still played soccer, it felt like I was dying.

I can hear birds chirping in the morning when I wake up, sometimes I think, and I wonder if they are going through life like we are.

I remember watching La Bamba for the first time and thinking it was the best movie I’ve ever seen. I remember the scene where Ritchie Valen’s mom finds out he died through the radio. I can feel the shock she felt.

I still watch that movie hoping that every time Ritchie doesn’t go on the plane and he is still alive because of it.

I can remember when I all I heard in the radio was Nickelback and I heard my family singing the lyrics to “Photograph.”

I remember going to the Hollywood Walk of Fame and seeing the stars of all famous celebrities and musicians, I thought to myself that I want my name to be there.

We all have dreams, I hear people tell me that dreams are just dreams and that’s all they should be.

I can hear family doubting me that I can live as a musician. I think to myself I must try because If not how else could I know?

What is East LA? I think East LA is place where people dream of a better life, it’s a place where the food tastes authentic and is something you’ll never get anywhere else.