by Emmanuel Mendoza
Oh, America! You are the land of dreams,
but why are you not including me?
Your fertile ground is where seeds are sown,
but my crops of dreams have never really grown.
America, do you know your history?
Can I share mine with you? Well, you see, it has some misery.
I came on a hot day in 1998.
I marched across the line with twenty-five others, though it was not a parade.
I snuck into your house—by no fault of my own.
At ten years of age, all I could do was follow my mom.
On my first day of school, fear was my guest.
You see, America, your language caused me distress.
A prestigious math program denied me acceptance in the seventh grade.
Their excuse, they said, “Lack of a nine-digit number that represents your name.”
At twelve years of age I discovered what my future would be like:
A fight, just to get a slice of the American pie.
Even with all my wit and fighting will,
this fight has left me scarred and emotionally ill.
So, America, I shall continue my story of my struggle in your land.
Five years later, in 2005, my situation hits me hard, and I’m left with no plans.
Sadness, fear, and depression make my body their home.
After many years of hard work, I finally dropped the ball.
UCLA, Stanford, and Berkeley—are just some of the names I hear my classmates speak.
Even when I graduate 19 out of 918, these places are not within my reach.
But, your history instilled something in me, and now I will take the chance to highlight this:
Those that fight and endure the pain can achieve!
So, America, even though I did not go to UCLA, Stanford, or Berkeley,
I picked up the ball and enrolled at Evergreen.
With a lot of dedication and sleepless nights,
I attended three community colleges—all of them at once.
You see, America, there is something that you teach us right:
If you work for what you want, like a bald eagle, your goals will take flight.
So, two years after that horrible time in 2005,
my heart was strong and ready to endure this fight.
That’s when Santa Clara University opened up its doors to me.
They said, “Emmanuel, you will pursue the American Dream!”
America, it’s true that I’ve done a lot and you are right to ask me why I complain.
So, just for you, I’ll fast forward to the day I felt the most pain!
It’s October of 2011 and I get a call;
it's the voice of a woman who asks me if I’m free to talk.
She represents a company named T.Y. Lin.
In my eyes, it’s the Google of Structural Engineering.
She sets an interview in San Francisco for me on the following morning.
I’m still in shock; my biggest dream is finally forming.
America, what can I say?
They liked me so much they offered me the position the same day.
This job was my calling and I knew they would not understand,
so I did the unthinkable and wrote nine numbers with my right hand.
For a week I lived the life that was meant for me.
I worked in San Francisco, in an office building, on Embarcadero that faced the Bay Bridge!
The lie finally caught up, though, and I had to come clean.
So, I told my manager very early on the next morning.
Together we walked to H.R. and not a word was said.
It was obvious that we both felt the awkwardness.
With my future depending on what was to happen next, I sat in front of her big desk.
I explained to her what I had done, but there is no way to beat ignorance.
“You need to leave immediately!” she said.
And just like, America, my dream was dead.
America, for a week I reached the pinnacle of success.
So I hope you understand now why I am a little bit upset.
If it's true that you are the land of dreams.
Please, answer, why do you refuse to include me?