I AM Fresno

Born in the City of Angels in 1977, to a family given
asylum from Central America’s Civil War…
I AM the son of a bloodline of natural born rebels…
the streets of L.A. made me a warrior, against all
Life was windy ‘under the bridges’ of Legg Lake…
bike rides there made me comprehend life in a complex
the streets of the barrio were guiding me to an ignorant
state of mind!!
I did not fear death; I lost 5 best friends before my
Sad to say, I was accustomed to the dismay!!
I was falling in the City of Angels…
a new beginning was set to the north!!

In 1992, the journey north landed my family in the
City of Ash Trees…my new home, Fresno!!
An outsider with build-up emotions,
I rambled the streets of ashes, leaving my footprints in
every corner I walked, becoming one with the night,
under the influence I gained a clearer view of my feelings,
the ashes of this town became my war paint,
the stars always guided me home…
the streets of Fresno made me a poet!!
I became part of my home, I AM FRESNO!!

I AM POETRY to express without oppression,
too understand life and time as one.
My eyes became lenses capturing moments like the
photography of Claude Laval Jr., many moments in my life
have been found, and too many lost in time.
I AM the inventor of words, challenging
“conventional wisdom” The love for reading grew more.
In college I read about William Saroyan and the way his
family migrated to Fresno, I related with his poems…
he poured his heart and soul upon his work;
his father was a small vineyard owner.
In Fresno he was forced to farm-laboring.
My father in the south was a respected Tile Artist,
in Fresno he was forced to sell watermelons, fruits,
and clothe at local swap meets. I felt like one reader wrote—
"The writer is a spiritual anarchist,
as in the depth of his soul every man is.”
(from The William Soroyan Reader, 1958)
I AM “The writer who is a writer is a rebel who never stops.”
(from The William Soroyan Reader, 1958)

Many nights I found myself in the west side of town,
enjoying my ‘momentary lapses in reason’—
I AM the ghost stories told at Kearney Park in the witching
hour, walking home, crossing Fresno’s own ‘Ground Zero’;
Tent City.
I could not help but shed tears…
My first series of poems came from bad moods and
Gary Soto’s poetry has united me closer to my roots,
my culture…
poems like ‘Avocado Lake’ remind me of my first trip to
Avocado Lake and swimming in the dirty water,
where down the stream I saw people dumping the ashes
of a recent ‘carne asada’ upon the lake,
flowing downstream where everybody was swimming!!
Or my cousin trying to swim across the lake and years
later telling us, he almost drowned then!!
As we're leaving an ambulance is arriving,
apparently someone has drowned, just like the poem!!

I AM the walks in the mountains backyard of Fresno,
where time and time again, I inhaled Mother Nature
and she gave me intellectuality to a sixth sense…
I AM part of my generation's hope for the ‘spoken word’…
that it never dies in us, in me!
I AM a fallen angel reconstructing my wings,
with the ashes of the trees that grow around my city,
that grow in me…I AM FRESNO!!!

Author's Notes/Comments: 

I AM Fresno!!!

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