Chicano Poet

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Pedro Cardenas

for my grandfather

The past speaks for itself,
I stand outside the situation
like if I don't belong here.

The words fly of their own accord,
making themselves visible.
They appear right here.

The gulf is blue and white and brown,
eschewing the primary colors,
sort of.

The sand suspends molecular
in the salt-spray and sea-breeze.
Palm trees bend the downtown district.

Tall buildings jut out
from the high-ground,
not much defense there.

Especially when another Carla hits.
Hopefully the statue of Selena
will be left standing.

In the aftermath of the hurricane,
my grandfather collected clothes
and canned food,

we loaded everything into a trailer
and drove it to the Auditorium.
The damage in town was tremendous.

My brothers and I walked
across the street to the beach,
Valentin,Julian and Reyes.

The destruction amazed us,
and us thinking of it as a one-time thing,
still unaware of the natural world.

Coming down we were stopped
at National Guard road blocks,
my grandfather would get out and talk,

and soon we would be on our way.
Heading towards Corpus Christi,
into the eye of the storm.

The words speak for themselves,
the windowless skyscrapers looked
like a scene from Planet of the Apes.

A little anachronism doesn't make
too much of a difference in time---
I wish I could remember every feeling,

every thought,every emotion
that went through our young minds.
We tossed sticks and shells into the bay.

The bay was still churning
and all the breakwaters lay
like Greek ruins in the waves.

Soon we headed back inland---
losing the taste of the salt air
by the time we drove through Taft.

Back in Seguin we had stories to tell,
and oddly enough,
I didn't tell mine until today.


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