“A New Day in Otay”: An Adjunct Poem

New Day in Otay

It’s 6:45 and I’m driving up the 905
A can of Rockstar in my hand, trying to revive
Up till one marking through a set
Of essays comparing Frederick Douglass to Malcolm X
Struggling to read, and my students too
have challenges in prose, most tortured attempts
of grammar and syntax, their sentences often
show a dream deferred of how their parents
crossed a border now just minutes away in space
and yet how after 40 years of “progess”
there’s still another border to be crossed.
I teach to help my students climb the fence
That lies between Walmart, the prison,
public assistance and the dream
which takes commitment, and yet,
Spurred by a border of my own, asserting I
Can never call any one college my own, must
Leave these dreams deferred as the sun now is high
And its pounding heat leaves the land dry.

Note:  Otay here refers to the Southwestern College Higher Ed. Center in Otay Mesa, located on a relatively barren patch of land just two miles from the U.S./Mexican border and three miles from a medium-security prison.


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