Dreamer 9 (poetry)

By Abel Salas


Abel Salas, is a poet and journalist based in Los Angeles. He edits and publishes Brooklyn & Boyle, a community arts newspaper in LA’s East Side and has shared his poetry with audiences across the U.S., Mexico and Cuba. His work as a journalist has been featured in the Los Angeles Times Magazine, LA Weekly, Latina Magazine, The New York Times, among others. He is a co-founder of Corazon del Pueblo in Boyle Heights, Salas was also an early organizer with Poets Responding to SB1070.



Illustration by Julio Salgado


Again the sadness, the same
Ochre morass as nine young
Immigrant students don cap
And gown to change history
To change time, to show us
All what it means to dream,
To believe, to transform the
Planet with love and peace
Without losing liberty or the
Humanity that informs them
The nine dream like everyone
But speak an intergalactic
Tongue, touch celestial truth
Because earth can no longer
Bear the gaping wounds more
Known as borders and walls
Berlin witnessed an antidote
Now the greatest nation in
The world makes the same wall
In corrugated tin or electrified
Wire, blind to the millennial
History, to the imprint of two
Continents shared by so many
Peoples before the arrival of
The interlopers who now seek
To own and make and forge
A future that erases time like
The shackling of nine doves
who now sit in solitary
confinement for daring to
take the dream one step
beyond the safe and wistful
compromises with hate and
acid, bitter scapegoating by
the most natural allies, the
poor, pale working class that
is made to look for a Place to
lay blame, but the blame
is not with nine students
who know only here as home,
the nation we are rebuilding,
reshaping with a soft love that
forgives and soothes and
welcomes like the shores in
so many stories of our past,
a safe and promising harbor,
only this is a port that produced
the nine, children who
are more grown than most,
youth who live neither here
nor there in a limbo where
they are deplumed, their halos
made gray with sorrow
and pain, the anguish of the
nine or the song of the next
millennium or the courage they
carry in tender bodies, in the
hope igniting will and strength
that must make nine times
nine times nine an exponential
inevitability because the nine
are the new Boston Harbor, the
line in the sand and across the
ocean like the border between
a crown that we will no longer
worship, while we all know it
is only prurient vested interests
that profit from detention and
punitive measures imposed on
select communities deemed less
The nine are ours, they belong to
the globe and unafraid, they remind
everyone that the meek may well
so perhaps that alone may be
what troubles those who hold
sway, but the nine know this, they
face billy clubs, chancellors and
presidents and politicians with
heads held high in agreement
Nine are a perfect reflection of
triangular harmony, the math
of wisdom like the learning in
young hearts that beat with
the essence of these, our nine


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