has been almost three decades since I was born to
a sixteen-year-old single mother. I remember clearly
the day that I told mom that I wanted to be an artist.
"You'll starve," she said. It's too bad, I suppose,
that children sometimes listen to their dreams more
than they listen to their mothers.
hope you enjoy the collection of poems and writings
presented in this book, all of which were written
during my three years of study at UC Berkeley's Boalt
Hall School of Law. What is it about law school that
makes one want to scurry into a computer lab and hack
away one's musings about love and life? Maybe it's
all the passionate people or that the law can sometimes
be so unforgiving. Whatever the cause may be, writing
has been the safety valve of my sanity and provided
a much-needed escape to the emotions suppressed by
footnotes and a sometimes suffocating set of social
this book, you'll find my mother's paintings next
to the writings they interpret. The book was supposed
to be a surprise graduation gift, but since I'm "Mr.
Copyright," according to mom, she asked for my permission
instead -- so much for fair use. Collaboration with
her has been a soothing backdrop to my last semester
many years my mother and I struggled in Brownsville,
Texas, a town declared poorest city in the nation
year after year. My grandfather, Don Luis, taught
me that learning is an honor and not a chore. Seeing
my mother fight to raise me on her own taught me tenacity.
Her art, meanwhile, taught me an appreciation for
beauty. The passion you'll find in the pages that
follow grew from these roots. Thank you for a moment
of your attention. (Written April 2001)