Chicano Poet

Monday, January 31, 2005

Fern Hill Bar

Mr. Bones is plastered
while Henry and Dylan
talk business,

but their eyes are glowing, too.
In a bar in New York City
they deal

with flesh and blood.
A slender, pretty woman
sits on a stool,

crossing and re-crossing her legs,
no doubt showing off her calves
which the trio would caress

with little or no encouragement.
Dylan talks in metaphors
that the ear and eyes

accept with no struggle.
Henry stabs an olive
and the toothpick sparks

a wooden spark.
They drink until
the wee hours of the morning.

The moon hangs around
rounding out the bar rotund.

Dylan pulls off his shoes,
new socks Caitlin bought him
appear on the wooden floor,

the great poet scribbles
a new poem,
the words reach up and grab his hand,

but the poet shakes them off,
intent upon
his own direction.

Mr. Bones plays
with the woman,

her brunette hair shines
even in the poor light of the bar,
her smile spins as she throws back her head.

The night goes black,
on black, on black,
until you can’t tell the difference.

Mr. Bones puts the cube of chalk
in his hand and then
puts the same hand in his pocket,

he notices the small mole
just above her lip,
his mind shrinks to that size

as if to explore
a heretofore unknown
heavenly body.

Friday, January 28, 2005

The Midnight Ride Of Paul Revere

The young poet would go on
to create a language
that would become

the choice of those
who could stomach
the long, painful journey

of creating living things.
Arms here, legs here,
a pounding heart right here.

No mistake about
what you are trying to say,
and whom are you saying it to.

(The soldiers get back
from the European war
my uncle bringing back

a German bride.)
The young poet
grown weary of his castle

moved to the sanctity of Boston.
Paul Revere warning
of his approaching poetry.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

The Mona Lisa By Van Gogh

How Mr. Bones had come
into the possession
of the Mona Lisa,

he wouldn’t say.
This is the next day
and they are

in Mr. Bones apartment
in the Village.
His neighbor is

a young poet
who wears sweaters
even in summer time.

His poetry has created
a language all its own,
no poetry, just a language!

Henry doesn’t like him,
but puts up with him
because Mr. Bones

is always making the poet squirm.
this humanizes us all Henry surmised,

and then Henry thought
why am I thinking this?
By this time

Mr. Bones had taken down
the Mona Lisa
and was pointing out

the varied landscape behind her.
"See this barn?" he asked the poet,
but the poet couldn’t see,

"see this half-wall, part Etruscan?"
but the poet couldn’t see.
Poetry is lost on this poet Henry cursed.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Henry And Bones Stroll With Borges

You have to be born
to walk about the earth
feet planted, heart prepared

to take the good
with the bad,
mostly bad thought Henry

as the subway clattered
and swayed underneath
the streets of New York.

The rivers East and Hudson
gurgled on each side
like snakes

having swallowed something,
please, Henry pleaded, please
let it be mankind,

but, of course, once
he came out of the

there he was---man.
Man in all
his gory,

black man, yellow man, brown man,
white man, why buy
the ant farm, here it is.

But, Henry, was happy
to be back home,
his gangster fedora tucked

slightly sideways
on his head.
His hair starting to thin,

he was going to call
on Mistress Bradstreet,
he imagined her thighs in his mind.

Mr. Bones dropped the
jig-saw puzzle of his step
and Henry sighed,

not even mad at Mr. Bones
for having brought him back
from his imagined bliss.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Dressed To Kill, 1938

Mr. Bones was sitting
in the Lockheed Electra 12H
dressed in a Nazi uniform,

waiting for Henry
whose luggage
was being checked

by the French.
When Henry finally
boarded and

sat down
next to Mr. Bones
he whispered,

"If your paperwork
wasn’t such a good forgery
you’d be in jail right now!"

"Well, Henry, apparently,
here in Casablanca,
if you can afford it

you can buy anything.
That fat man
works miracles." quipped Bones.

As the plane was descending
it looked like
a nude descending a staircase,

you could see the Statue of Liberty,
you could see the place

one day in the future
two towering buildings would stand
and then crumble.

Then the plane banked left
and landed
in New Jersey.

They took the train
into their mothers’ wombs,
time was not yet born.

Monday, January 24, 2005

An Overview Of Henry Waiting For
A Flight To New York, 1938

Henry’s sitting in
Rick’s Café Americain,
drinking the hard stuff,

waiting for that
letter of transit
that will get him

from this god-forsaken Sahara
to the Sahara of New York City,
giraffe-necked punks in the subway,

the apartment falling apart
and taking Delmore with it.
The poetry in calf-length skirts,

the dames look out
from second-story windows
down where Henry

should be walking,
instead of sitting at this table
half a world away.

The smoke from his cigar
drifting up to the ceiling fan
as close as he gets to an airplane propeller.

The sands swirl outside
on main street,
pantomimes of the Sphinx roar

and rise on the horizon.
Henry’s elbow slides
along the table,

the piano player launches
into New York, New York.
Henry leans against

the back of his chair
which has become a sanddune---
the sandgrains are a mile apart.

Henry walks between them,
they’re as tall
as the buildings in Manhattan.

The elevator boy asks what floor
and Henry tells him
with alcohol on his breath.

He puts his head
down on the table
and wakes up in the grasp of Casablanca.

He looks over at the bar
and Rick is talking
to some dame.

She smiles and her dress
ripples with magic,
Henry sees the floor undulate.

It reaches him
and he can see
that joy and pain endure.

A bubble rises
to the surface of his drink,
it breaks

and the air inside of it
goes as far up
as it can go.

Henry pays his tab
and walks out in the street
that feels as if it was made of fur.

"The heat curls up
in the sun at night…"
Henry thought,

"and then it
paces like a cat
all day long."

He absentmindedly gripped his shirt
about mid-chest nervously as he
contemplated unknown thoughts.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Henry’s Elegy For Gregory Corso

March 26,1930-January 17, 2001

Hanging out with Gregory
in the forties
in New York City,

Henry’s suit was brown
like the colors of Central Park.
Gregory was a biker poet

before there were bikers.
Tough even on his friends,
a poet nonetheless.

And now we read
that he has died in Minnesota,
in the middle of winter,

his words laid out on the snow,
their edges sharp,
no two alike.

North Beach days gone,
Larry holding down the fort at City Lights,
Paris, city of the feminine shoulders seduced.

The literary ghosts are made
of solid metal
and you bounce off of them,

solid metal
that you
are, too!

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Portrait Of Henry With Rod Serling

Henry said the magic word
surrounded by the usual
Tio Tacos,

Vendidos from the very start,
sell-outs to their own people.
They wanted us

to assimilate
which is not evil, of course,
but assimilate

at a lower level
not quite equal
to those at the top.

Like in that
Twilight Zone episode
where "to serve man"

meant that those aliens
were going
to eat you.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Hombres Necios

Henry de la Plancha
tries to talk to
Sor Juana

about his needs
but she will
hear none of it.

Subscribing to
a higher calling
she will not

stoop low enough.
But, the valiant knight
is very persistent

and elicits the help
of Mr. Bones Panza,
his obedient servant

great grand-something
of Jaime de Angulo,
but not as talented.

"Lady, great Lady,
please accept my master’s pleas
and compliments

as he is heartsick
at your spurning,
his heart is burning…",

thus spoke Panza
from the gut of
intestinal fortitude.

Yet, all of it failed,
and Sor Juana remained a virgin
and unblemished by la Mancha.

Henry finally decided
to put his pants
back on---

a legendary case
of putting the cart
before the Rocinante.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Driving To Aztlan

When AMC came out
with their Pacer
(that little

Jettson-looking car)
Carmen rushed
out to get one.

It was purple
like the
purple people- eaters.

On one trip to Austin
the radio put out radio waves
of Juanita Mitchell,

the hissing
of the summer barrios
became louder and louder

like La Llorona llorando
crying over spilt
breast milk.

We saw her children
rushing the interstate,
their heads

shaped like
they pyramid of the sun,
their obsidian hair

became dull and less
menacing only after
the song ended.

We pulled into Austin
just before
chicano poetry arrived.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Movida Chueca

Mr. Bones aNdAbA
en la movida chueca
cheating on his girlfriend

with one of the babes
down at the
topless club.

He parked Rocinante
on the post in front
right next to the limos

that bring the
cats in suits
with the moolah.

"A horse is a horse,
a horse, a horse…"
sang Rocinante.

"Sure miss
Don Hippote
of La Plancha,

his women
weren’t as well-formed
as these chiquitas,

but, then,
they didn’t charge you
twenty bucks

just to sit on your lap."
Rocinante flicked his tail
as he waited for Mr. Bones Panza.

The fly moved out of the way
of the aforementioned flicking tail---
the little Vincent Price face grinning.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Stone Age Teenagers

Like I was saying
before Mr. Bones
woke up from

his nightmare
about growing
a dinosaur tail

and interrupted
my reminiscence
of high school days.

We were parked
in front of my house
on Fourth St.,

Janay always wore skirts---
back in those days
girls couldn’t wear

pants or shorts to school.
We were kissing
and exploring,

well, I was exploring.
As cars went by
we ducked

and as I lived
on a gravel street,
each time a car passed,

the dust would rise
and you could smell
the Pre-Cambrian roots

of each and every pebble,
no fossils back then
to surprise you

if you broke open a stone.
It seems so long ago
since we kissed,

a million years maybe,
but in geologic time
that’s just a second.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Man’s Reptilian Brain

"I’m growing a
dinosaur tail!"
said Mr. Bones

and as he swung around
almost knocked Henry
off his feet.

"Woke up like this!"
he cried
from some Kafka

caca short story of his---
living in Europe
will do this to you.

Mr. Bones rambled on
like a Nash Rambler
with that dull

green paint job.
Yes, that’s Janay Gideon driving
my gravel streets

of which you can
know nothing
about her thighs.

Just then Mr. Bones wakes up
from his nightmare
and grabs his ass,

"Good, good!" he cries
deliriously happy
that his tail is not prehistoric.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Henry Thought That He Was Don Quixote

And Henry thought that
he was Don Quixote,

marshmallow windmills
two-eyed cyclops
in a cave

that looked
like genitalia
for all practical purposes.

He thought
he was a valiant knight,
but there was a Chinese

in his armor---
his sidekick,
Mr. Bones Panza.

Panza meaning
beer belly,
and Mr. Bones

meaning skinny ass.
They traveled through Texas
in their Spanish exploits,

battling rednecks
of their beer
and rifles.

Stealing a pickup truck
from the Texas Highway Patrol,
no easy feat

against those bastards---
like Pooh Bear
at a hornet’s nest.

Henry seduces Laura Bush
and plays with
her namesake

until the Marines arrive.
Off go Henry Quixote
and Bony Panza

to adventurize
outside the state of Texas,
leaving damsels in a mess.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Looking At The World Through Rose-Colored Glasses

I climb inside
the dinosaur
in Cabezon,

the desert cacti
horde water
like the rich horde money.

The windmill-farms
harness the wind
like men harness violence.

In the distance
the moutains fear
the San Andreas fault.

The Navy jets
strafe Salton Sea
killing Moslem fish.

I clean my
rose-colored glasses.
Nope, that didn’t work!

Monday, January 10, 2005

Visiting Dad For New Year’s…

I’m flying into
Los Angie lees
in my pick-up truck,

all the way
from Tex-Mex.
A stack

of pancakes welcomes me---
the Capital Records

I aim
my pistol
at the Dodgers,

but they dodge.
I try to sink
the Queen Mary,

but she’s
already run

I try to deliver
to the Spruce Goose,

but she’s
high-tailed it
to Seattle.

She’ll rot
in that darn rain.
I go into

the barrio
and shoot up all the Eses.
They’re all doped up on dope.

My bullets
put Indian dots
on their foreheads.

When I’m done
I go back
to Palm Springs

to visit my daddy
who’s retired in the
desert’s derrière.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Birthday Cake

We’re playing pool
in the garage,
celebrating my birthday.

I put English
on the ball
because Spanish

is just, too, unpredictable.
We’re playing
nine ball,

if you know that game.
You have to make the balls
in numerical order

or with
a combination
pocket the nine.

We’re listening to
Revolution # 9
by the Beatles.

John is dancing
in his white suit,
the only Beatle

I ever cared for.
Never did like Yoko,
or very poco.

I chalk up the cue,
call the pocket,
and sink the nine ball.

I cut the birthday cake
on a break,
the candles spinning everywhere.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Here I Am In My Birthday Suit At Fifty-Seven,
It Ain’t A Pretty Sight (Read: Site)

Today is my birthday,
I turn fifty-seven,
still hanging

in there.
Lost some good friends.
When I write

this or that
I think
"Hey, Cecilio, would

appreciate these chicano colors."
Or I say to myself,
"Hey, Jim,

would like the
shaman feelings
in this poem."

Or I say
"The Chicano Kid, Max,
must be writing up a storm."

So, I keep on
writing my chicano poems

maybe no one
is listening,
maybe chicano poetry

does not reach
young chicanos

and if it reaches them
maybe they
don’t care.

But, after
fifty-seven years
what else can I do?

So, here it is,
another chicano poem,
brown like me,

willing to
stand alone
if need be,

because standing
alone is part
of being chicano,

or at least
it used
to be.

Today is my birthday,
I turn fifty-seven---
horseshit, pass by!

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Giving Birth To Cesar Chavez

A helicopter
flew up her vagina.
She put on

the boot of Italy.
Mussolini’s neck
was a diamond shining

above her breasts.
Her thoughts
fell like mushrooms

from the Alps.
The sky was an Indian,
far from America.

The helicopter pilot
sat like a baby.
When her water broke---

it was Venice.
Pigeons scattered
like blades

and cut into
the canals
to expose

in a portrait
of T. S. Idiot by Michaelangelo.

His nose
was missing
in the London streets.

Only a chicano
to pick it up.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Henry Time

Henry traced
her lips with his finger.
Henry was

madly in love
with his Jewish girl.
They spent

making love.
She wrote poetry

in various notebooks
she kept
in her hippie bag.

She had
marvelous wonders,
and a cute little smile

that Henry
misses so much
right now.

Her poems
must have
piled up

to the sky
by now,
or beyond.

Henry knows
he’s got some
of her poems

in his vast collection
of junk.

Ah, look,
here’s Henry’s
report card

from sixth grade.
All A’s.
Henry Einstein.

But, time is bent
when it gets caught
in the doorway

as Henry
hurries off
to work.

Time suffers a compound
fracture, a broken bone,
if you know what I mean.

Monday, January 03, 2005

My Aztec Princess

Soon it will
be your birthday
once again,

my brown
Aztec princess.
I was so foolish

way back then
to think
that you would be mine.

Of course
I was just
one of the work-men

who carried stone
to the base
of the pyramid.

This pyramid
that will
honor you

for centuries
to come
with it’s glory,

the sun
melting on
each stone.

Each stone
turning to
the gold

that the stupid
could not find.