Inspired by the book Voces Sin Fronteras (Shout Mouse Press)
1985 I was born in El Salvador, right in the middle of a civil war. There was a lot of crime and poverty, because there were more pressing things for the government to worry about.
1991 A few months after my father left for the United States, my brother was born. Amazing brother. We kept fighting all the time, but he has always been there for me. My friend for life, though he sucks.
2000 We (my brother, my mom and I) came to the U.S. It was hard to get the hang of it (I might argue that I never truly did get the hang of it), but I managed. Life changed dramatically, mostly for the better.
2004 I graduated from high school. It felt like a stepping stone, but continuing education was a bit tricky with my immigration status. Also, that year my other brother (half) was born. I love him tons, as I do the other.
2010 After almost ten years of being in this country, I was allowed to get a residency. My doors opened wide and I started to make money at 8-hours-a-day jobs. Everything looked bright.
2012 A dark cloud came over my bright world. A series of bad decisions in my life led to my arrest this year, effectively destroying absolutely everything that had happened in my life up to this particular point in time.
2017-18 After thinking I had lost my VOICE, along with everything else due to my arrest, I discovered I still have a voice, even if my life as I knew it is effectively over. I discovered this in a Write Night letter, in some person’s comment that read something along the lines of : “A.C., I enjoyed your poem. I relate to [such and such a thing]. I liked [this and that]. Thank you for sharing, please keep writing.” I thought to myself: “People actually read these poems that A CRIMINAL has written? Someone read MY poem?” Not only were they reading it, they were relating. They were getting some sort of consolation from me, knowing that they were not the only people in this world to have these thoughts. That thought. They felt that in a way, my writing was helping them remember/realize that they were, in fact, not alone with their thoughts. “Wait, what? …