When life throws everything at you Don’t drop the ball “Don’t drop the ball” “Blue 42 Set Hike!” A brown quarterback’s fingers Tighten around the white laces Of a football Roosevelt vs. Garfield They meet today Upon an annual battleground Where local legends Spell rivalry In defensive and offensive formations Upon this old field In this dirty stadium Football sounds a lot like Boyle Heights Like East L.A. Like years of pride and history “Sounds like Roosevelt is in motion Number 42 Miguel Is with them Crossing the line of scrimmage Clad in red and yellow His muscles tell a story” 20 Miguel has always been running Running from la migra Las placas Everyone who wants to Stop him Ask him, “.Donde estan sus papeles?” Where are your papers? Miguel’s too fast though How fast? Too fast Too fast for borders Laws Checkpoints Dogs Too fast for fences Ditches Detention centers And walls Definitely too fast for the fool Unfortunate enough to be D’ing up on him now Through it all Under the glare of stadium lights Past the cheering Booing Chanting And screaming Through a maze of players Like a beam of holy light Miguel’s vision is clear He loves this game 21 It gives him focus Gave him purpose Miguel will be defined by this moment He knows this No college will recruit him His record doesn’t really scream “draft pick” But that’s not the issue Miguel never cared for politics He just loved his coach His team This American game of football His dream To make a catch In the only important game that he could Miguel will not score the winning touchdown This game will be added to a losing record That will make for a losing season There are so many reasons For Miguel to drop the ball Walk out of this stadium just another statistic Undocumented student Faceless Immigrant There are so many reasons for Miguel to drop the ball So, as it spirals towards him Carrying the weight of a future unfathomable He repeats to himself like a prayer, “Don’t drop the ball” “Don’t drop the ball” So, “He catches it!” Like how he catches his diploma! 22 Like how he catches his degree! Like how he catches the hand of his high school sweetheart And they cross the threshold of that goal line together! He cradles the ball in his arms! Like his son John! First born legal First born free To pursue his dreams And not always be running So damned Hard This is just one story from the East L.A. Classic Roosevelt vs. Garfield Just one game for Miguel Of undocumented Football.
About the Author
David A. Romero is a Mexican-American spoken word artist from
Diamond Bar, CA. Romero has appeared at over 75 colleges and univer-
sities in over 30 different states in the USA. Romero was the second poet
to be featured on All Def Digital. Romero has opened for Latin Grammy
winning bands Ozomatli and La Santa Cecilia. Romero’s work has been
published alongside poets laureate Luis J. Rodriguez, Jack Hirschman,
Alejandro Murguia, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Romero has won the
Uptown Slam at the historic Green Mill in Chicago; the birthplace of
slam poetry. Romero has appeared in-studio numerous times on mul-
tiple programs on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles. Romero’s poetry deals with family, identity, social justice issues, and Latinx culture.
Romero donates a percentage of funds earned from his collegiate
engagements to various nonprofits and social justice organizations. Fall
2017 saw the launch of a scholarship for high school seniors who are in-
terested in spoken word and social justice: “The Romero Scholarship for
Excellence in Spoken Word.” The first scholarship was awarded in 2018.
David A. Romero has received honoraria from: Arizona State
University, The University of Utah, University of Missouri, Washington
State University, The University of Memphis, Loyola University Chica-
go, University of Central Florida, USC, UCLA, and more!
Romero is a graduate of the University of Southern California, a dou-
ble major in Film and Philosophy. Romero is the former host of Between
the Bars Open Mic at the dba256 Gallery Wine Bar in Pomona, CA.
Visit his website, www.davidaromero.com for more.
About the Artist
Sonia Romero is a Los Angeles artist known for her paper-cut and
printmaking aesthetics which she incorporates into both her fine art and
public art commissions. Born in 1980, she grew up in an artistic house-
hold in Echo Park before formally studying at the Rhode Island School
of Design. After returning to California, she began working as a public
artist, and was the artist in residence at Avenue 50 Studio in Northeast
Los Angeles from 2007-2014.
Calling upon her own experiences and perspectives as a multiracial
person, Romero creates work that reflects the cultural diversity found
in the communities of Los Angeles. She explores themes relating to the
universal connectedness within humanity as well as its relationship to the
environment. Her signature style, a dynamic combination of printmak-
ing, paper-cutting, painting, and sculpture, includes fine art pieces that
have been showcased in many galleries and acquired into the collections
of prominent institutions such as the Los Angeles County Museum of
Art and the Smithsonian. Her distinctive paper-cut shapes and patterns
can be found in steel, tile, or paint in one of her many large-scale perma-
nent installations in notable locations such as Little Tokyo, the Mariachi
Plaza and MacArthur Park Metro Stations and the Artesia County Public