Chicano Poet

Friday, July 30, 2004

To See The World In A Single Girl Of Sand

for gnome-girl

Every poem is to die for
said the skinny, young poetess
as she leaned against the wall

before the poetry reading
got started.
The first poet to read

was an old poet.
All his lines
were sculptured in the desert.

The blowing sand
swarmed like local locust
in the dunes.

The audience put on goggles
to keep the sand out of their eyes
to no avail.

It crept into their bones
like scorpions
when they sting.

Then, after the reading
the poetess introduced herself.
Her eyes sparkled like nearby stars.

He held her hand in his,
explained the desert poems
as struggles with paradise.

Later he took her back
to his hotel room.
Her poetry was one single grain of sand.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

The Garden Of Gregorio Gonzales

Did you ever stop to think
that maybe God himself
gave Eve of the forbidden fruit,

maybe God himself was the serpent.
They say he works in mysterious ways
don’t they?

He wrote the Ten Commandments
as a comedy routine
and sat incognito in the audience.

He sends the worldwide epidemics
to make a little breathing room.
His lungs are huge you know.

He did not make man
in his own image after all-----
he made man in the image of his gardener!

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Of Window Bugs

I go to the Windows Update Site
to update my copy of Sylvia Plath,
the colossal patches download slowly.

But she gradually rises
from the dead,
My Lady Lazarus.

She Frankensteins over
to her daddy
and works her magic.

He gradually rises
from the dead,
her Daddy Lazarus.

Soon there is an army of them.
And I fear for my life
and for the life of my OS!



Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Line Stolen From Baboso Bill O’Reilly

The house where I was born
(right next to the creek)
is capable of tearing tornadoes apart.

It doesn’t sound possible
you say, but I’ve seen it
since I was a toddler.

They come out of the sky
thinking they are so mighty
only to be bitch-slapped.

Ugly black windy angry cloud
dust and debris flying
all over the place

but the house where I was born
just shoves the twister
back where it came from.

I’m covered in mud and hail
and fenders from tossed about cars
but my house stands untouched

by the silly tornado
that ventured into this valley-----
this is the real no spin zone!

Monday, July 26, 2004

The Structure Of Poetry

People who live in glass houses
shouldn’t throw stones.
I’m a cave-man.

People who live in space ships
shouldn’t break windows. (Hear that, Gates!)
I’m a space-man.

People who live in yellow submarines
shouldn’t be claustrophobic.
I’m a closed-minded man.

People who live in America
shouldn’t despise freedom
like the Bush-man.

People who live in Aztlan
shouldn’t forget the past.
I’m Chicano, man.

People who live in poetry houses
shouldn’t mince words.
I’m a wordsmith, man.

People who live in the present
shouldn’t destroy it.
I’m Neanderthal-man.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Cornflakes For The Tourist

I eat my cornflakes
and watch the morning news
to see what lies are being told.

The cornflakes reach to
the center of the earth
like a scientific expedition.

Remember, coming into Skidmore
always slow down
because the local yokels have radar.

If you go straight
you end up at Lake Corpus Christi.
If you turn left you’re on the way

home to Papalote.
The Papalote Mall opens only
on Saturday and Sunday,

it’s a flea market.
The old store where they
used to sell Hippo soda water

has long been spiderweb closed.
Papalote is on a downward spiral
like my scientific breakfast.

What will they find
at the center of the earth?
The mighty roots of Papalote!

Thursday, July 22, 2004

For My Grandson In This Time Of War

I push my grandson in his Hot Wheels Jeep,
he is one and has just started walking.
He’s a happy little boy.

Somewhere in the blowing sands of the Iraqi desert,
a young man loved by his grandfather
is lying dead in a sand box a million miles from home.

Somewhere in the city of Baghdad
little children are blown apart by 500lbs. bombs.
The grandparents can not put the pieces together.

My grandson plays in his Hot Wheels Jeep
and I pray to my wayward God.
"Never, God, never send this little boy to war!"

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Anold’s Wife
He’s the big strong guy, movie hero.
The Governator, the Dumbanator,
Another brainless politician.
Bad-mouthing all Democrats,
Talking trash because he can’t
Do anything constructive,
The political way
Is just like the movies-----
You make-believe
And bad-mouth those who disagree.
The Gobernator yells, “Girly men!”
And his manly wife says, “Did you call me?” 

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Alma Villanueva

The winter storms bash Redondo Beach,
leaving its corners rounded,
restaurants and Malibu beach houses
fall into the Pacific.
I worry about Alma Villanueva,
I don’t know how close
to the surf she lives.
We can’t afford to lose
too many chicana poets.
Especially not the ones
that put their behinds
on the cover of their books.
I’m sure the storm
may have grounded
the Royal Chicano Airforce,
but I hear Jose Montoya
has recently acquired
all-weather jet fighters
with sensors so sensitive that they
can pick out a poetess among poets,
even if she’s wearing the pants!

Monday, July 19, 2004


You stand petrified before the audience,
one of the oldest professions on earth;
you can’t remember your lines
and when you do,
they don’t elicit the response
you expected.
You write about the world
as you see it,
but only other poets
seem to see it the same way.
We are indeed a rare breed---
one that can not reproduce.
We live by spontaneous combustion,
our offspring do not spring from us!

Sunday, July 18, 2004

War Of The Words

In the classic 1953 science fiction movie
"War of the Worlds", one of the first townspeople
at the sight of the UFO landing was a chicano.

One of the three men speculate that perhaps
there are Martians in the UFO
and the chicano says

that perhaps they ought the offer them
enchiladas and tacos. Eventually the three
end up as piles of ashes on the ground.

Anyway, the Martians run amok
until they succumb to mankind’s germ-warfare---
no one warned them about the Adam-bomb!

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Heard It Through The Grapevine

The sun turns like a pancake in the sky
the ingredients go back a long way
way back before chicanos were chicanos.

The dust rises from the desert
just outside of Palm Springs,California.
Mountains rise like the shell of a turtle.

Salton Sea becomes a wet,dirty cork,
attached or detached from an empty bottle
that bears no note cast into the sea.

My dad still drives into town to this day
always carrying his police scanner,
so he knows where all the accidents are.

Up in the mountains the snow throws daggers
at the girl in the blue jean shorts.
They are not real knives that one can actually hold for long.

Down in the valley the grapes are ripening in the vineyards
without the help of Cesar Chavez---
at least that's what they would have us believe!

Friday, July 16, 2004


The past is past for all intents and purposes
like my hot Jewish girlfriend back in the Eighties,
girl from a windswept lobotomized Lubbock.

Out in the flat lands of West Texas
the spikes of sand sprout peanuts
in the throat of the horizon.

The moon is dusty to the touch
and crunchy with your breakfast tacos
if you pause to smell the roses.

The coffee palominos in the coffee pot
leaving a cow path up in the direction
of the once abandoned arroyo.
Oh,Lillian,you had such a finese
and wrote poetry that scuffed a mark
into the sawdust of the dance floor.

There hasn't been a sea to kill the fish
in tens of thousands of years
now the inland sea roars only from seashells.

It feels that long since I have loved you
missing the taste of your mouth and womanhood.
I thumb-tacked your God to the present to get even! 

Wednesday, July 14, 2004


I want to be like Afred Hitchock
and make a cameo appearance
in each of my poems.

Sometimes I might appear in Caracol,
other times I might make
my poems walk alone in the barrio.

Sometimes I might board the Titanic
or I might become a Brown Beret,
or hang out with the Brown Buffalo.

Or I may just hang out with Carmen
and Cecilio somewhere in San Antonio
gathering tortillas together.

There is no telling where my poems
will end up next,maybe
in your neck of Aztlan.

But you can be sure of one thing,
I'll be making a cameo appearance
somewhere in the hood.

I might be publishing in Poets Against The War,
I might become a group of insurgents beheading
the Statue of Liberty.

Copper shavings all over the place,
the boys at Orange County Choppers
can build a whole new Liberty Bike.

In Central Park, Alfred Hitchcock walks away
and climbs into a bus, on the seat next to him
lies a book of my poetry opened to this poem!

Tuesday, July 13, 2004


Black smoke fills the city
from one end to the other.
The smart bombs have out-smarted the buildings.

They crumble in a pile of stone tablets
that tell the story of a people
annihilated by barbarians.

Gilgamesh lies in the ruins.
Sometimes history (and even pre-history)
is no match for the present.

The weapons of mass destruction
fly overhead and drop their democracy
unto the masses.

The children gaze at the city
and flee the freedom
bestowed upon them!

Monday, July 12, 2004

Rebecca Of The Rivers

for Rebecca and Juan

We were smoking and drinking beer
the river flowing quietly, and at that moment
we didn't realize time was flowing, too.

Time with its little brown hands
that pulls you along unawares,
dragging your hair white.

Slowly taking away your ability
to write chicano poetry and limbo
at the same time that you sucker-punch someone.

Your eyes were diamonds that
cut the summer clouds into recognizable figures.
Brown Buffaloes,caracoles...

It is only now that you are lost
that we struggle to turn back the hands of time
but its octopus arms escape us.

Oh, Rebecca,goddess of the rivers
We have come bearing gifts and libations
that you appear to us

once again in your splendor
and bless Seguin with your presence,
the riverbanks are bare without you!

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Dirty Laundry

We try to figure out why
poor,starving Afghans
become carpet-bombed.

Is there logic to our madness?
A stone-age people
brought up to date by laser-guided missiles.

Someone must pay for what the
mass-murderers did to the Twin Towers,
but should justice be written on blowing sand?

Our intelligence services
proved to be idiot savants
pointing fingers at each other

with their "right" thumbs.
The greatest nation in the world
fell asleep at the wheel.

Sometimes it takes being blind-sided
to realize you've lost your vision-----
muscles can't protect you from dementia.

A mighty country brought to its knees
by the reptilian brain of man,
flicking its tongue at New York.

This ain't no science fiction movie,
that's not King Kong atop the Empire State,
that's our evil twin---that's me!

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Loch Ness

The wind blows across the loch,
a murky sky blows bubbles like clouds
in the direction of the shore.

I see the creature in a photograph,
like a serpent sliding on the water
on its way to a Dylan Thomas church.

I didn't use old Bobby Burns
in that last line,
not even for old times' sake,ha,ha.

I hear La Llorona cry for her lost little creaturas
Sandra Cisneros is trying to console her---
but this ain't no Woman Hollering Creek

on the highway to Seguin,Texas.
I know the creek well,
I have followed it back to its source.

It starts on a hillside
near Randolph Air Force Base---
you could say it belongs to the military!

Maybe the Air Force took La Llorona's kids,
and it's using them for scientific experiments---
making white kids out of Mexicans!

Thursday, July 08, 2004

When I'm Fifty-Four

Will I write poetry,will I write prose
will I still dress like a salty old Sgt. Pepper
when I'm fifty-four?

Will the audience still recognize my face
in the Brown Submarine beneath the waves
of the chicano sea?

I'm dancing a slow dance with Lucy
when skinny old-maid Eleanor Rigby
says, "didn't you used to be a poet?".

Nel,I used to be a Chicano poet,
but that was back in the days of the past,
not now that I'm fifty-four.

I once hung out with Alurista, Ricardo Sanchez,
Tomas Rivera, Carmen Tafolla and Cecilio
back when poetry cried like La Llorona.

When poetry floated like clouds
thru the Aztec pyramids built by Floricanto
in the middle of the barrio...

People ask me when I'm going to
cut my hair and grow up
and I tell them when I'm fifty-four,

and I tell them, when I become
more famous than the Beatles.....
oh,I b-e-l-i-e-v-e i-n Y-e-s-t-e-r-day.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

There Goes The Sun

for George

There goes the sun
it is evening it is dusk
its been a hard day's night.

First it was John
and now its you
strawberry fields forever.

The music struck a chord
She loves you.

I'm not just a paperback writer
I'm no Lady Madonna
on Penny Lane.

I'm not a day tripper
I'm tripping all the time
I feel fine.

from me to you
give peace a chance.

Krishna's a yellow submarine
on the long and winding road
let it be.

All you need is love
and a ticket to ride
and get back.

We can't all be Eleanor Rigby
you have to do something
even if it was yesterday.

It's time to retire
to the crackerjack palace
shaped like a weeping guitar.

The palace will rock
and the palace will roll.
All things must pass!

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Blogging Dog

Woke up this morning and updated my poetry blog
but checked pirillo’s blog and gnome-girl’s blog
before I uploaded my musings for the day.

The war is still dragging on,
the car bombings proceed like clockwork
and my fourteen-year-old dog sleeps the day away.

I can almost picture one of his dreams,
he’s dreaming the horrible pictures of Guernica,
he’s dreaming the bamboo spikes of Nam.

He’s dreaming the songs of the Monkees,
Last Train To Barksville,
I’m a Bloodhound Believer.

He dreams he’s running up a hill
and raising his leg on WinXP wallpaper.
All the while thinking that butterflies are gates.

He dreams that if he was a poet
he’d have a poetry blog,too. Blogging
the barkings of a chicano dog.

One growl for mediocre verse,
two growls for verse in reverse,
and three great growls for his master’s verse!

Monday, July 05, 2004

The Best Mentes Of My Gente

The best mentes of my gente
have taught me that the best way to say
what’s on my mind

is to use the right words,
the right sounds at the end
of each stanza.

Las mejores palabras
siempre son the most simple words.
Words that balance on their own.

The best minds of my generation
have not gone down the wrong road.
On the contrary, they have guided me

on this road that I am on.
Bad gringoes bouncing off my fenders,
vendidos tambien.

Las mejores mentes de mi gente
always find a way
como el chino Lao.

Like my teacher Tomas Rivera
once said of the words that roam our heads.
“Don’t ever try to write them down!”

I see it plainly now
the words are within reach
and I see their innards.

I see the transparent eyes
of each bewitching word
as I grasp them and put them here.

Saturday, July 03, 2004


I would like freedom from Iraq
says the patriotic soldier.
Body bags flow like the Tigris.

I would like freedom from this torture
bestowed upon us Iraquis
by the peace-loving Americans.

But there will be no end to the body bags,
there will be no end to the torture,
no end to the car bombs.

Freedom and democracy have taken on
a new meaning --- the Statue of Liberty
has been moved to Guantanamo.

Love Me Do

from the album "Sleepytown"

You remember that old Beatles' song
"Love Me Do"? Flaco Jimenez
does an accordion version of it.

I taped it off the Internet
I didn’t download it---
that would be illegal.

Sure somebody can steal my poetry
off the web,but who would want to?
Nobody owns their poetry,anyway!

Sometimes you love me do
and sometimes you don't.
You don't owe Buck Owens anything.

Sometimes you're on Austin City Limits,
sometimes you're on HeeHaw. BR549,Chuniar.
(Borrowed that from La Carmen.)

If you're not an oldie but goodie
this must sound obtuse---
like Anti-Bicicleta Haiku.

Sometimes you have to get out
from behind the tololoche,
if you want to be seen.

Sometimes you have to prove
you're a man,by putting down
the bajo sexto.

This ain't all 'bout mp3s,ese,
sometimes you have to listen to the words
to actually hear the music .

Friday, July 02, 2004

Towers Of Babel

We speak so many different languages
and even when we speak English
we can not communicate.

The fire and steel and smoke
make sign-language useless.
To run away is the same as to run towards it.

When man gets his hands on God
he soon turns God into slime,
paradise becomes desert.

Perhaps only one of the Ten Commandants
has any meaning at all right now---

We must begin to speak a common language,
we must build huge,
human towers of understanding

let them come tumbling down on our
insolent heads,let them enlighten us---
the two stone tablets cast down as twin towers.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Poem For Friends

In Memory Of Jim Cody And Cecilio Garcia-Camarrillo

Perhaps you are roaming the Wild West right now,my friend.
Chasing the buffalo in snow-clad valleys of Montana,
the winds blowing like butcher knives.

You talk to a medicine man in medicine man terms,
I know you,Jim,you don't forget to ask
all the important answers.

Your Indian friends called you White Bear,
my Indian friends,the Ogallalla Sioux
called me less praiseworthy names.

But I guess it all evens out in the end.
I know you've found Cecilio
and you soldier on.

I know you two are writing up a storm.
In the mesas and the sierras
you urge your ponies on.

Valley after valley it is never the right valley.
The mountain ranges head north and south.
This will make a good story when you camp for the night.

Silhouhetted by the tongue of the campfire,
you gaze at the moon as it rolls along on the night sky.
Save a spot for me,amigos!