CSULA Department of English | Statement 2004

Twenty-Dollar Parking at the
Naturalization Ceremony

by Bernie H. Carrasco

My parents memorized the names
of all
The Presidents, recited every
Within the Bill of Rights in
broken English,
And learned the meaning of the
Stars and Stripes
Without complaining when they
had to pay
A tax each time they brought
home bags of rice,
Beans, y tortillas from the
liquor store.

Employment permits earned, the
Of paying income tax had not
Them from accomplishing their
only selfish
Dream, to be citizens. They held no gripes,
But finally, when the
long-awaited day
Arrived, they swore allegiance,
took their slice,
And balked at parking rates,
declaring war.