Jesús Cortez


Jesús Cortez is an undocumented writer and poet from West Anaheim, California. His work is inspired by his upbringing by a single Guerrerence mother during the 1990’s. Through his works, he hopes to shed light on the people and stories about the city that tend to be ignored by the mainstream. His work has appeared in The Acentos Review, Harvard Palabritas, and Dryland Literary Journal, among other publications.

Lincoln Avenue

I sometimes gaze at the palm trees,
such a California thing to do,
cliches and romanticism—
but nobody thinks of 
Lincoln Avenue for postcards
or for poems or tales of
magical realism—
sometimes, I like to forget
about the murmurs of the dead
and about the pain in 
the legs of the women
I would see walking up and down
or stepping out of the old bikini bar
or the desperate souls
searching for rooms in cheap motels
searching for warmth in
the city of the forgotten—
yet, I love Lincoln Avenue,
as the sun hits the palm trees
and shines for everyone,
as the blessing for those
of us who live in this purgatory,
where we live and die,
and live through the pain,
with a West Anaheim grin.



Pool Hall Tales 

When Street Fighter 2
arrived in 1991,
we’d make lines at the
pool hall on Westchester Drive—
ten years old, searching
through every inch of
apartment 12 for any
quarter to get my fix— 

Summer of 1992, after
leaving the purse in an alley,
we walked into the pool hall,
after splitting a $20 in four,
we approached arcade machines
and pool tables—I played
Street Fighter 2, until the
quarters ran out and guilt arrived— 

My Mama would scold Gabriel,
she’d tell him to at least buy me a soda,
since I’d follow him to the liquor store,
more like a pet than a son,
I just wanted a quarter to be Ryu
and get lost inside the pool hall,
past the stench of cigarettes
and Tom Sawyer in the jukebox— 

There is no pool hall
on Westchester anymore,
just dirty glass doors
that hold old joys.

© The Acentos Review 2022