Manual High Student Poems: Free to Live in Fear

Free to Live in Fear

by Jennifer Barron-Ornelas 

Students from Manual High School in Denver visited KGNU recently to record some of their poetry. In their 10th grade American Literature class, the students have been writing, discussing, and reading about “The American Dream”. They’ve been inspired to write their own poetry on this theme. KGNU will be featuring these poems throughout January.



I am America.
I don’t judge.
I don’t have inequalities.
I am not ignorant.

My dream is your dream.
Prosperity and refuge.

These lies hurt.

Beaners. Border hoppers.
Illegal aliens.

We crossed the border
Because we believed
America’s dream

Seeking the
“American Dream.”

My mom works at the market
six in the morning to 10, sometimes 11 at night.
She worked in the fields.
She knew,
she knew,
she hoped
if she just worked hard enough
Five dollars an hour

My dad goes to court for immigration.
to TRY to get his papers.
He has worked too hard to be sent back to Mexico.
His American dream is
to keep us whole.

Take what we offer or be sent back!
My mother, my father, mis tios
”Quédate en la escuelas. No seas como nosotros mija.”

Pride and fear cannot reside together in one heart.
How can we
measure our worth, our work, our humanity when everything can be
undone in a blink?