Border Blessings

Border Blessings

Cuando se puede,1
I have the opportunity to stir a reaction.
Being in the middle has no ideal benefits, instead
too many distractions.

A veces sí y en las otras no.2
There is a constant struggle of where my ground cements.
My very own light brothers and sisters are attempting to make me fall off the border,
a place where the sun extensively fries my skin.
Un salto más en mi juventud,3
scorpion rocks puncture my face
leaving unforgettable scars that will certainly affect my fate.
Upon glancing at closed barriers where the past conoce al presente,4
your ineloquent schemes with dull borders

obligates The Brown Wave to breed murals with harmonic and fantastical designs

creating a vague perception from all the prickly nails with nametags,
hanging from each end of the sky.
Standing I see, a Hole-in-the-Wall–5
a creative tunnel that exported arms faster than furious.
Secrets like these cannot be kept.
What is being exported into my home… Is this the
American Dream for which I had wept?
Scandalous bigotry I juxtapose with having the life I once thought I needed.
Beaten and stargazing, me tienen contemplando mis consecuencias,6
but when you are aliens with an unwanted casa,7
settling is the least we can do, but I promise—
we will not be leaving soon.
This leaves us with no choice,
hopping borders constructed by hexagon scales,8
with the sound of a jolly timbre to notify the owner if someone broke in,
pero this time, our implicitness fell through the glass.
Alone I felt
Mis sentimientos se hicieron en una bola de acero,9
waiting to be trampled on.
At times, left alone to burn…
Desertness can be grueling, there is no one to cry to,
not even a fire.
There is a man, however,
wearing his green suit and aviators on,
pretending to be my savior while kicking me out of his country
with his oily brown boots.
Meanwhile my ideology expanded greater than the wings of a phoenix.
I grew louder and louder,
haciendo El Grito en el medio de nada;10
there arose a new voice from the


perhaps this time, me la rajo.12
I carried my mother and father’s burden to succeed in an area, a barrio
where one did not have the chance.
Afar from all the cochinero,13 there was
Un elote con raíces indígenas,14 proclaiming:
The Pride will Flourish into Sweet Corn Fields of Luscious Desires!”
Brothers and sisters,
levanten sus cabezas y no sean mensos y mensas!15
Este mundo nuestro16 has to be carried on,
sometimes even tattooed to leave our tracks once we make love to the ripe sand.
There seems to be a ruckus amongst my own.
A divider has been well spent:
no one of my descendance17
cannot cross this bridge nor wall.
Before we know it, this can be the end of it all.
Trapped with the burdens of politics,
declaring a war on us, not gangs.
Spitefulness smothers the man-constructed borders.
Constant miscommunication led to turf wars;
an explicit amount of red tape surrounding my fallen kindred spirits created abandonment.
Rallies that hosted the neighborhood watchcrew,
their high-waist Dickies centered above their belly button,
painted a familiar territory I once explored.
A firm “¡Orale!” oozed throughout the speakers of mis carnales18 once we had the respect all of us craved.
They always thought I was one of their own,

but they never were in-between, unlike myself.

Triste pensamientos me dejaron sin orgullo,19 but I cannot escape who I am.
Es todo o nada,20 it was time;
one was wearing a baseball tee,
an unfamiliar color for a Latino-based team.
“Square up hermano,21 it is time for you to be jumped in.”
Pues, eso pienso? Me quedo en duda,23 Hopefully so,
because my time is no longer than the Virgin Maria’s.
¡Me Vale!24
I finally succeeded;
my shades covered all the bruises around the worn sockets,
covering my eyes, for a dream we all kids have from a barrio.
This dream of ours will vanish before we blink.
There he was, the civil bystander, obstructing my attempts from pouncing over the border
to visit my native roots!
I will not fall victim to your genocide.
There is no way I am supposed to turn into a rotten, pitiful fruit.
Nos saludamos25 for a paper that determined my fate.
Con Safos26 echoed throughout the park.
No me lo puedo creer,27 my very own sold me out.

Todavía estás con nosotros,28 he smirked,

in the middle.


1whenever there is a chance/ whenever I am able to
2sometimes yes and sometimes no/ sometimes yes and at other times no
3A youthful leap ahead
4knows the present
5an operation in which US government sent guns to Mexico through Juarez
6they have me contemplating my consequences
7home/ residence
8the “hexagon scales” of the chain-link fence of the border
9my feelings turned into a ball of steel
10doing “The Scream” in the middle of nowhere
11race/ people
12I’ll go through with it
13pigsty/ mess
14a corn with indigenous roots
15raise your head and do not be fools
16this world of ours
17“descendants” – typographical error retained to show difficulty many non-native speakers experience in learning English, and to more closely replicate the accent of the author
18my homeboys/ my homies
19depressing thoughts have left me without pride
20it’s all or nothing
22well that is what I think? I leave myself in doubt
23is this right for me? Would I finally be the first to come out of these horrible dreams?
25we greeted
27I cannot believe it
28you are still with us

Writer: “I am only trying to evoke happiness and wonder into your life. I just want to love and be happy in Fullerton.” –Victor Mendoza

Artist: Patrick Quirk has been interested in photography since he was a freshman in high school and began taking photo classes there. It was his teacher Maggie Crail who mentored him and really got him to want to do photo as a career. He is now finishing up the professional photography certificate at Fullerton College with Professor Melody La Montia. He enjoys studio and sport photography the most because it can be challenging but rewarding.



More Articles



the colors in my mind are so unstable
my woes pierce themselves to die, unable
to find truths in the lies that come from you
too wrapped up in affections for eyes blue

but their depths turned the daydream that i wanted
into ghoulish nights that leave me haunted
you’re like the moon, hovering in darkness
over a mad spill of chaos in a dress

your footprints lead to me only at night
whirling visions leave me a love too bright
as the sun trickles up, you trickle out
of my bed, my skin, my heart, only doubt

remains in the shadows of last night’s kiss
fled from the flood of light, leaving me to miss
your sweet indiff’rence for our love’s daylight
the height of our love never set in sight

but as the stars return again, so do you
and i am torn between what’s false and true
why must our love have such separate spheres,
and only at night your voice enter my ears?

as you are carried off with night’s death
i am left alone to mourn dawn’s breath
and i wonder how my heart shall ever see,
if you never again come back to me

in the shadows of night, i crave your eyes
to cast over me in golden-lit skies
your love’s disease has made me its host
but i cannot keep holding on to your ghost

i will show you that i am diurnal
and my affections shall be eternal

Writer: Jessie Bullard is an English major who is looking to emphasize in Creative Writing. She is transferring to a 4-year university in the fall and hopes to someday publish her work and teach literature at a community college, where her passion for writing found itself again.

Artist: Lin Greene has been excited about photography since childhood, leading to many blurry pictures on his parent’s film cameras. After learning how to use digital cameras from blogs, he is now enhancing his techniques at Cypress College under Professor Gregory Rager.



More Articles

Waiting for My Friends to Die

Waiting for My Friends to Die

“False is the vaunt of the victors, empty our living pride.
For those who fell there is no hell, not for the brave who died.”
– PFC Robert Leckie



I was standing there one day in the Afghan sun
in a truck, out of luck, just standing behind my gun.

I saw my friends get out on to the moondust soil,
toward the copper wire that was laid out, stretched, uncoiled.

A rocket was fired and missed my truck’s front end.
It twirled and swirled and landed behind my friend.

An ambush! Machine guns fire like a metronome, hitting tink tink tink.
As bullets struck the side of my truck, they inspired me to think.

I said, “What the fuck are we doing here? Are we here just on a lie?”
And in that fear, it became clear: I’m just waiting for my friends to die.

But the guys who managed to make it back, those lucky enough to survive,
They made it home, but still felt alone, trying to find new lives.

Then one day in my cubicle, I saw that my phone had rung
My hands started to shake, my heart to quake. The tears had already begun.

As my knees were buckling and I was slumping to the ground
My tongue felt fake, my voice couldn’t make anything but a moaning sound.

I guess my friend had missed the memo–the war was won, not lost!
But blood was spilled, friends were killed, and that was not the only cost.

I thought that we’d be safer here, no Taliban wanting us dead.
Invasive memories he tried not to see as he put the gun to his head.

I can’t tell you what had pushed him there, I simply cannot lie.
To my dismay, even in the USA, I’m still waiting for my friends to die.


Writer: Zachary Kam is a second year student at Fullerton College and a two-time Marine veteran of the conflict in Afghanistan. He is pursuing a degree in Journalism and hopes to transfer to UCI in the fall of 2016.

Artist: Lin Greene has been excited about photography since childhood, leading to many blurry pictures on his parent’s film cameras. After learning how to use digital cameras from blogs, he is now enhancing his techniques at Cypress College under Professor Gregory Rager.



More Articles



I loathe pregnancy tests. I swear, the people in line judge you for buying one of those things if you’re like under the age of 27 or don’t have a ring on your finger. Proudly, I can say that I am both of those two options, so naturally, I was judged. There was an elderly lady in back of me who was giving me the snobbiest look like I was such a loosey goosey. Anyways, I bought a cheapo test at the 99 cent store, which I managed to do wrong. I cannot fathom how someone can pee on a stick wrong, but I did. Everything was so faint that I just assumed it was negative, and that was that. However, I wasn’t fully reassured because I still felt like crap. My woman instincts were screaming at me that I was pregnant, but the test “clearly” showed that I was not. As the sun arose the next day, I decided I urgently had to buy like three more tests. I drove to a more prestigious store to buy them: 7/11.

At this point, I was shaking. I could barely walk up the stairs without falling over because of how nervous and scared I was. Waiting for the results was a fiery hell. Those two minutes seemed like two years, and I was sweating like I had just come back from a three-mile jog on a scorching summer’s day. 120 seconds later, I turned over all of the tests and holy shit. I wanted to die. I “passed” all three of the tests with flying colors. I officially had this teeny-tiny human growing inside my body, and I lost it. I forgot how to breathe for a minute there, and I was crying hysterically because I never thought that this would happen to me. A few hours later, after my crying session and disbelief were over for that day, I began thinking about this like the semi-adult that I was. My initial instinct was to keep the baby because it was mine, and even though I just found out that day, I felt this weird love for it. I don’t know if that’s extremely bizarre or what, but I did. I always knew my life had meaning and joy, and maybe this was it—an unexpected gift, per se—and I was torn between being happy, scared, and sad. Sad because I knew I had to make a decision that would drastically alter my life forever, and I knew that it would be the most difficult decision of my 21 years on this earth.

A few days later, I started app-shopping because I kind of began getting excited. I downloaded this cute app that tracks your pregnancy, and it had told me that the fetus was the size of a lima bean. Let’s be real here. When I read that, I started smiling from ear to ear; I thought that was the cutest thing ever. Personally, I find it so incredible and fascinating that something that tiny could have the power to immensely affect my life. That moment was when the realization hit that I had to tell my mother, or some kind of adult figure, about this and talk this through, since I was not thinking clearly. My heart and brain were just not connected, and I guessed that wasn’t so good.

My mom flat out told me that I wasn’t ready. I find that funny, because who else besides me would know if I’m ready? But she also talked to me about the financial aspects of raising a child and gently told me that I would be kicked out if I did keep this baby because there was no way in hell that my mom would raise my child. Basically, if I kept this cute little lima bean, I would be kicked out, I would have little to no money, and the child would be fatherless. This was really starting to turn out like a bad Lifetime movie. I started to feel like I had no choice in the matter, and that made me feel forlorn and powerless.

After contemplating all my options, I “chose” to terminate the little life inside of me. Never in a million years did I think that I would abort a child, but it’s tremendously different when it’s happening to you.

June 30. June 30 was when all the happiness and euphoria was taken from me—the most terrible day of my life thus far. The waiting room was filled with about five other girls my age, which made me feel less alone. The room was so quiet, though. A sort of somber feeling filled the air. I was going to lose something that would have been my whole world. The snap of a finger. A ten-minute, painless surgery. And it was done. My little lima bean was gone. I was fine for a few weeks, and then I wasn’t.

My body feels so heavy now that I simply cannot will myself to get out of bed in the mornings. The lima bean is all I think about. That dreadful day is on repeat in my brain, and it won’t shut off. I am suffocating in my sadness, and I cannot seem to save myself. I don’t know if I even want to. I hate being sad (I don’t do sad well at all) but now I’m getting a lot of practice in. Some days are better than others, but most days I am filled with remorse, sadness, and a sense of hopelessness. The throbbing pain in my heart will always be present, and I don’t know what to say except “I’m sorry.” Sorry doesn’t cut it though. Sorry doesn’t mean jack shit in this case. Yes, something was taken from me, but at the same time, I was the driving force in that decision. If I could redo all of this, I would. But I can’t. I simply can’t bring back the life that I killed.

I recently realized that it’s okay to be sad and even depressed. It doesn’t mean that I won’t ever smile or find a silver lining again. It’s just going to be difficult, and most days I may feel like giving up, but all I can do is try. I really don’t know where I’m at in this whole “life” thing right now, but I do know that I will forever love lima beans.

Writer: Haley Russo is an English student at Fullerton college, as well as an editor on the LiveWire staff. In her free time, she enjoys writing, reading satire, and taking naps.

Artist: Marlon Rizo is a student and photographer influenced by art and visual storytelling.



More Articles

Dreams From The Office Floor

Dreams From The Office Floor

The stage is set. I lie on the floor of my father’s office, curled into the fetal position with my pillow-nested head in the corner of what is essentially a well-decorated closet with a desk. Hour by hour of comings and goings—open doors and closed doors—my spine slowly devolves into a shriveled fractal, and I am—without fail—dragged through miles of hazy disorientation during the high tide of my deepest sleep. I wash ashore veritably beat-up and out of touch with my senses, sometimes not even knowing where or when I am. However, even in those early, fish out-of-water moments of rising, the dream is always eerily clear in my memory.


Dream I

I found myself the captain of a cruise ship. Mind, I say cruise ship, but it was more like an idealized suburban neighborhood that had drifted to sea atop a rejected slice of tectonic plate, complete with barbeque parties and pastel vintage cars. As is to be expected, the exact events of what happened escape me. This particular dream was of the breed that leaves you with only images and a slow-burning feeling of nostalgia, and I cannot say I remember the vague chain of events. All I have to go on is the feeling—but what a feeling! There was something about being far away from land in a happy community that felt secure. It was secure, in a way reminiscent of my childhood, back when all my stories took place in a small town or on a space ship. I saw made up faces, a party under the stars, bizarre scenes below deck—but I just can’t remember now. That feeling was visceral nonetheless, and it stuck with me long into the daylight.


Dream II

Just before dark on the campus quad, I was greeted by a familiar face. The setting only exists in my peripherals, so all I know was that it was sunset when I ran into my old friend, and dark when the dream was cut short. This is a person who I associate almost exclusively with an especially joyful season of my life. They were the key thread in a tiny tapestry of close classmates that I had the privilege of sharing an adventure with—sharing myself with, really. More than that, I can feel even the memory of this individual defying the definitions I have tried to create. Perhaps you will be lucky enough during your journeys to meet one of those few people that radiate Life: those precious few with the unprecedented power to truly make you better. And if you have… Never let them go. You see, in waking life, I haven’t seen or spoken to this person since winter a year ago. But in the vision, she was there. And we were both so happy. I’m sure we talked, and I’m sure that somewhere in the writer’s room of my corpus callosum, we’re still talking. Selfish or not, I’ve always wanted them back—no psychoanalysis required. But daydreaming will never be as potent as actual dreaming, and as far as my heart was concerned, there on the office floor, I got my wish.

Of all the things in the Pandora’s Box of my psyche, such clear, honest wish fulfillment terrified me the most. But to channel the spirit of Freud one last time, never forget that there are unconscious wishes just as much as there are conscious ones. For better or worse I have been given a glimpse of my unconscious mind. I can no longer ignore the palate of emotions that was previously so alien to me; I have learned, and I cannot unlearn. There is a deep, twisting ache in my chest just to recall that final dream.


Dream III

Somewhere in Europe, I walked down a cobblestone street. I was an older incarnation of myself, because beside me, dressed in brightly colored dresses and radiant smiles that echoed-forth bubbly laughter were two beautiful blonde-haired daughters. They tugged my coat, held my hands, skipped around me and ignited the atmosphere with their joy. I’m guessing they were young—between four and eight. You must understand that I struggle with children quite a bit, and my friends can attest that my preferred label for them is ‘little monsters’, but in the dream my cynicism was miraculously absent. I was filled only with incapacitating protectiveness and the purest love. They were my little princesses, and I had no reason to care about anything else in the world. I would answer their questions and act characters for them, I would truly listen to them; I’d nod and do a voice, lifting one up off the ground while holding the other close. Their mother was nowhere to be seen, but nothing was wrong or tragic. It seemed she was nearby, and there was a reason for us being there, since we seemed to be headed toward a distant structure.

The three of us approached, finding a very Romanticized sunset orange café, which crowned an enchanting square of young lovers and babbling fountains. The girls upheld a constant barrage of questions, while I (to the best of my powers) retaliated with bite-sized philosophical rebuttals till we reached the threshold. Then—

An alarm. That stupid, shrill, irritating alarm—why did I make it? Why did I set it? The answers come flooding back, and every time, I have to face my demons of deadlines, undone work, and crushing commitments. In these and many more cases, the thought following my jarring extraction is the always same: “I want to go back”. I want to be a cruise ship captain again, I want to see my best friend again… I want my little girls back.

Why, then, as helpless and panicked as I feel on each of the aforementioned occasions, do I keep returning to the office floor? Surely there can be no running, no hiding, no fighting of this. But is it right to blame the dreams for being the slow death me? No. Death is in the waking; it’s in the agony of having the band-aid ripped off, forcing me to squint through painful sunshine and smile through polite interactions with my peers. Why go back to the dark when I know what lurks in the light at the end of tunnel? Maybe it’s because my physiology and I just enjoy sleep too much. But maybe it’s because, wherever it is my soul goes when I turn out the lights, I want to stay.

Writer: Julian Babad is a Film and Psychology student and lifelong So-Cal resident. He is currently working on projects in songwriting and independent film.

Artist: Marlon Rizo is a student and photographer influenced by art and visual storytelling.



More Articles