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POETRY East Side Story I’ll have to invent a life, something about Puerto Rico, the trials and tribulations of growing up there. The struggle for independence, colonized minds for a colonized people. The pain and anguish of it all. Still another invented life would be about Juarez, the difficulty of growing up in that border city. Sneaking into El Paso late at night to sell the Sunday paper off Gateway Boulevard or crossing the Grand River going from Old Mexico to New Mexico, following the cattle trails north. All those dry nights in the Chihuahuan desert. Hiding from the Border patrol, working my way northeast to New York City. The hardship of it all. Or, I could also invent a lie, the truth about my life in the U.S. Marines. Learning A Language para Marian Haddad learning a language is like learning how to swim the mysterious magical ocean in front of you fear grips you in anticipation of going under the icy water, sharks, man-of-war fish with long stinging tentacles, starfish, the rolling waves underneath the ground disappears the fear of being carried away escalates the constant motion every stroke propel you forward against the current you in your own sacred pool your body sending out ripples which become boundaries the sun above you the only sign that you are alive all this in trepidation that the undertow may take you far away from shore what will you do? in this water world free from your land heaven knows that this is good this is the way to learn a language Arabic this way that way like this not this not that like this Dario R. Beniquez DARIO R. BENIQUEZ was born in Aquadilla, Puerto Rico and raised in Far Rockaway, Queens, New York. He graduated from Pratt Institute and received Master’s degrees in Public Administration and Engineering from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. He works as an Environmental Project Manager for the U.S. Air Force in San Antonio. Naomi Shihab Nye. 3/12/04 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 21