Chicano Poet

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Miami Vice

for o. q.

Dressed like Don Johnson
he strolls into the literary crowd
like a lion
confident that the savannah
will adhere
to the line of poetry he paints

full of himself
because he has to be
you can't have it
any other way
or it doesn't work

the ego and the id
are always in the driver's seat
vice is a virtue
to the poet and the priest
draw the line if you will
it will not draw itself

Friday, April 05, 2019

I Am Angry At The World

I am angry at the world
for being itself

its having to kill
to live

its having to decay
to renew

its resorting to blindness
to see

I am angry at the world
for being itself

its having to maim
to become whole

its having to ignore me
to push me to the front

and I am angry at myself
for making the world what it is

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Zarzamora

Poetry of Survival

by Vincent Cooper

The Westside of San Antonio, Texas is a human panorama hard to describe, especially if you grew up there, or have lived there for any length of time. The task of the poet is to make sense of those streets, those old people, those young people, wayward punks, drug addicts, viejitas, viejitos with the look in their eyes of " I know, I know". Those stray dogs which don't stray, those cats whose nine lives are never enough. As a poet, one must define oneself by those around, brothers, sisters, cousins, mom and dad, the good the bad and the ugly.

Perhaps Zarzamora Street is the backbone of the Westside, the aorta, the wickedness, or the angelic eyes of a Sunday morning, the smell of a bakery, the delinquent scent of tacos, the mingling of menudo. In Vincent Cooper's Zarzamora, the Westside comes alive with life and death.

Whereas with most books of poetry you can just quote a few stanzas of lyrics which stand out and be done with it, with Zarzamora you have to keep digging to the core, until the Westside reaches out to stab you with its ups and downs, with its shortcomings and small victories. It's a book about family deep in the throes of life and death, a family whose survivors can not and will not let go of the past.
Violence and love commingle.

Zarzamora Street is the spine of the barrio, the Westside revolves around it like a black hole sucking everything into it. Young punks, wayward girls, dogs, addicts, the young and the old alike, the jefe, tio Danny, tio Mike, tio Tony, Jody, the grandma who does not want to be resuscitated. The poet struggles with his bills, a hungry dog follows him but gives up...

Vincent Cooper has written a book that will break your heart, a book of poetry that beats like a heart held in the hand. A book as real as Zarzamora Street.

Friday, January 25, 2019

What Do I Miss?

What do I miss?
My wife, my three girls,

the baby daughter
I never got to hold.

My dogs jumping for joy
or misbehaving.

I miss the warm summer sun
and the cold winter winds.

I miss driving
like a bat out of hell.

It hurts not seeing
my girls grow up,

not holding my wife.
I miss not being alive.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Minstrel

He's a crowd pleasing man
but his lyrics fall short

most of his songs are bland
but boy can he snort

he'll mesmerize you with his voice
he'll have you clapping and stomping

you'll think you have no choice
naked and romping

but his lyrics fall flat
they have no sinew

no hair under that hat
so what else is new

he's a crowd pleasing man
go ahead give him a hand

but his music and song
won't be around when he's gone

Friday, November 30, 2018



Barrio Secrets

Only abuela knew my secrets
the open casket

it is still us
like fallen leaves in the barrio

my guilty face
on each of those brown leaves

my school-girl sister
in the gray jeep of the sky

my brothers
log-jammed on an LA freeway

my indio father
pasted against the mountains

I push hard on the boulder
to get it off my tongue

my toothless abuela sits in the house
like a lump of coal

my hair crowns the barrio
with its shaft of light

and any moment now
time could begin

Friday, November 02, 2018

Fourth Street Flashback

My aunt forces me to play Mexican bingo
in my underwear

my little nuts cold against the wooden floor
embarrassed by La Dama

El borrachito makes fun of me
the mermaid's top distracts me

as I put a pinto bean
on Las Jaras

when I complain that
I don't want to play anymore

my aunt beats me
with a wire coathanger

I run up and down the gravel street
oh the joys of growing up