California’s Summers

Here is another poem that was inspired many years ago by the work my family and I did. It’s called “California Summers”

California’s summers

Summer is here and fruit has ripened

Covered trees with sugar toppings

In Califas richest valley

 

Ranchers seek for desperate migrant

Workers seeking easy money

Moving ladders, dragging sacks of

Peaches or buckets full of cherries

 

These illegal migrant workers

Stay all day below the scorching

Sun and can’t complain about their

Wage that’s short of equal pay

 

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Peaches

When I was growing up, my family worked in the fields picking fruits in California and sometimes would travel to other states as well to perform this laborious job. It is a tough and physical job and being a kid and even as a teenager, I often questioned why my family had to be performing in this type of work. At times there was resentment towards my parents for dragging me to work. I sort of wanted my parents to be white and successful. However, working in the fields made me appreciate many things and the importance of having an education. It made me realize there was more out there besides picking peaches or cherries. As much as I disliked picking fruits, it inspired me to write and more specifically, it inspired me to write some poems.

Here is just one that I wrote a few years ago. It’s titled “Peaches.”

The moon peaks through my window in this

Warm summer morning calling me to work.

“Wake up, wake up we have to go to work,” it says.

Hoping it’s just a dream, I close my eyes again

Dreaming of wealth

Until a cold drip of water splashes on my face.

Quickly I get up and put on the working clothes

Old pants,

Ripped shows,

An itchy flannel shirt

Begging my mother to let me stay and sleep

Like lazy kids do all summer days

She rubs caladryl on my face that’s still asleep

“To protect you from the sun and itch,” she says

We arrive to the heavy smell of peaches

That will later be thrown inside my working sack

With the scorching sun extending its rays

Sweat runs down my face attracting the peach

Fuzz to stick on my skin.

Fuzz itching on my forehead and neck

I rub the cool dirt from

Under the tree’s shade

Imagining myself in a mansion

A pool

Or beach

And no working for me

Not questioning my family’s state of wealth

Feeling my brother’s wrath rubbing a peach on my neck

He fixes my attention back to where I am

“Get your ass back to work. Money don’t come from the dirt,” he says.