Chicano Poet

Monday, October 31, 2005

Gala by Salvador Dali

Henry’s Bony Elegy For Gala Dali

Mr. Bones is holding the razor blade
milliseconds above Gala’s eyeball,
the padres are dragging

dead donkeys down the mainstreet
from Papalote to Pooterville,
ants following along for tidbits, dusty streets.

Don’t like Indians, don’t like
those stupid Spaniards, don’t like
those ugly Americans,

Henry cries over spilled jackasses.
Henry’s moneyed nightmare is
being blown to pieces, Reeses,

Henry’s joy is women’s assets,
Henry’s own is white as hell, shaped
like a bell, razor blade splits hair into hairs.

Henry’s hippies play in the mud
and Jimi Hendrix rips the appendix
from a Stratocaster the murdered Lorca lost Nueva York.

Gala’s fine behind in Dali paintings
caressable these decades later, the crack in back,
Henry’s bedsheet turned poetry, Cubist, Donkey Kong.

Friday, October 28, 2005


Henry’s Elegy For Gorgythion Mendoza

As a desert flower bursts into bloom
bending its petals towards
the cuneiform tablet sun,

weighed down by the dusting of sand
and the sudden hot winds
that roll over desert dunes,

Gorgythion Mendoza, Chicano soldier,
from the valley of Texas,
leans his head to one side

as he sits in the Hummer
and then his bloody helmet
falls on the floorboard.

Gorgythion’s eyes
still stare straight ahead
unaware that he’s dead.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Rosa Parks Elegy In A Rolling Stones Song

Hey, you, get off of my cloud,
you can’t buy your cigarettes
in the same place as me!

Hey, you, get off of my cloud!
In walked a rebel dressed
in the Confederate flag,

I’m sick and tired
of this talk of equality,
it ain’t gonna happen to me

said the white man
to nobody in particular except you and me!
Hey, you, get off on my cloud!

But, Rosa, rode that cloud all the way to jail,
proving that you can never fail even though
the white man wails---Hey, you, get off of my cloud!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Body Count

We reach the magic number,
two thousand American dead,
but, at least, the Iraqis

have a brand new constitution.
They might not have democracy,
but they have the paper

that lies about freedom
just like back here
in the good old U.S. A.

Two thousand dead and counting,
the number keeps mounting
and that ain’t counting the wounded

and the hearts which break back home
and the tears that fall back home
and that’s not counting the Iraqi dead.

As we learned from the Viet Nam War,
nothing was gained by fifty thousand dead
except a new minority.

Henry’s friend Jenny Tran
whose father and mother
were killed by the Viet Cong

remembers blood pouring down
the street of her village---our village now.
Two thousand dead and counting.

Two thousand dead and counting.
Two thousand dead and counting.
Two thousand dead and counting.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Henry’s Birds

What are these birds doing
in Henry’s poems
just south of San Francisco,

filling the sky with their flying,
attacking a blonde on the bay,
blades of fighting roosters?

The school children running in horror
away from W. B. Yeats,
poetry eats.

The birds bust into houses
like Fiona Apple in panties,
they kill an old man.

They claw their way into a convertible
and make off with the driver
like pterodactyls.

Alfred Hitchcock in cameo roles
plays a tree or a fence.
Mr. Bones’ birdbrain bounces its ball.

Henry tries to get the feathers
out of his poems,
but, too, many words get in the way.

After the birds are gone, Henry realizes
that every single human being
has had his eyes plucked out

Monday, October 24, 2005

A Saturday Morning Henry Cartoon

They’re killing Wile E. Coyote, Bugs Bunny,
Garfield, Moose and Squirrel
and Marvin the Martian in Iraq.

They’re being blown apart by roadside bombs,
pieces of Marvin and Garfield
on this side of the road,

half of Bugs Bunny, the lower half,
lies still burning,
grown men play with his blackened ears

further up the dusty battlefield.
At this rate, our children
are going to run out of cartoon characters.

In other words, they’ll have to face reality
like these Iraqi children
who stare at Rocky the Dying Squirrel.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Henry’s Coplas On The Death Of Merton

There you are finally
on your peon vacation,
inertia of future Disney Bangkok wok,

naked as a jaybird,
using Dalai Lama soap,
Ghandi shampoo,

Jesus Christ shaving cream,
Martin Luther King’s dream,
everybody screaming for hot ice cream.

When you step out of the bathtub
you touch a badly grounded fan
and get electrocuted,

but why am I telling you this,
you already know the story
like the back of your hand.

Henry sees you fall like a ton of bricks,
a soldier for General Electric,
the Army plane brought your body back like crack.

But, all that enlightenment
wasn’t meant to be transferable, referable, inferable.
Let’s face it, sometimes God wasn’t meant to be.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Henry’s How To Beat A Black Man

If he’s black, walking
down the street, we repeat,
if he’s black, if he dare look you in the eyes,

beat him, kick him, punch him in the face,
keep ‘em in their place, their race.
If some goody-two-shoes reporter

is filming the whole beating, black man bleeding,
don’t worry about it---
cops can never be convicted.

And the AP photographer,
just shove him out of the way,
arrest his ass if you have to.

This is how you always beat a black man,
in public, on videotape, viciously, Klan-like,
that’s the American way,

and no one’s gonna do
a damn thing about it.
Again, this is how you beat a black man. Thank you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Love Song Of J. Henry Defrocked

And what was Ralph Kramden
doing inside of Lucille Ball,
how could he get

his big bus-driving ass
into such a petit redhead,
pregnant, stagnant like New Orleans,

the crazy, pig-wild cops
serve and protect
their violent Nazi instincts?

Ricci Ricardo must have been a nervous,
bearded lion going in circles that resembled squares
stuck in the Fifties.

POW! all the way to the moon, Alice!
But the moon took one step to the left
and Alice floated out of the solar system.

Burnt Norton pulled off his vest,
shook his hat at Ralphie Boy,
yellow T-Shirt Eliot.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Henry and Mr. Bones are bored
so they go out at night
stealing gnomes from front yards,

gnomes from old ladies,
gnomes from young suburban housewives,
gnomes from forty year-old women

who still look hot in shorts.
Gnomes from fifty-five year-old widows
with cellulite conquering

the back of their thighs.
Gnomes from old men
who collect gnomes, too.

Henry and Mr. Bones pile
all the stolen gnomes
into Henry’s buckboard,

gnomes that represent what we resent,
gnomes to pay the rent, money not well-spent.
Henry and Mr. Bones just won’t relent.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Henry’s Elegy For Joe Sandoval, Jr.

Back in the late fifties
Henry’s Uncle Joe, Sr.
had one of the first lowriders

on Hidalgo Street,
someone took Henry’s picture
wearing shorts only,

leaning against the back bumper,
a plastic toy guitar standing next to him.
Henry was five, the years pass.

Joe, Jr. is born forty-three years ago.
Henry hadn’t seen him
in maybe eight years.

Sadly, this week
Henry’s sister calls him with the news
that Joe, Jr. had died in a car wreck.

His wishes were to be cremated
and his ashes scattered at his
favorite fishing spot on the Gulf of Mexico.

Henry wonders whatever happened
to Uncle Joe’s lowrider,
gone overboard now like Berryman.

Whatever happened
to five year-old Henry,
plastic guitar melted by Tonatiuh

like Dali clocks.
Joe, Jr., gone home to the sea again,
welcomed no doubt by the Chicano Poseidon.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Henry Mauberley’s Belated Elegy For Selena

His true pendeja was Flaca Jimenez
and the dead Selena,
a mile away from the dishonored Juan Seguin,

colorless fat-assed Diego Rivera (Henry’s cousin)
painting a Mexican picture
of Frida Kahlo’s palo,

her heart beating like a smile,
pan de dulce leading the skill
to sweeten the pot.

For three years Selena sang
out of key with her time
which is, of course, expected

since she’s been dead about the head.
The Burne-Jones cell phone calls
have preserved her eyes.

The chico Alurista was still-born,
rhapsodized to hip-hop, rap
and the breakdances of the Ballet Aztlan.

But, it is only now
that the Leaning Tower of Corpus Christi
has fallen down on Pierian roses, broken noses,

that Henry Vendido Mauberley
sees Selena for what she truly was---
Helen with a song upon her hips.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Henry’s Approach

Gary Soto had his hair
styled like this,
in the shelter of his book.

He wears plaid well,
never have seen him
in a poncho, of course.

And, Tino Villanueva,
dressed like Rock Hudson
on the banks of the Charles River

is beckoned towards Beacon Hill.
He’s not Joaquin,
but, supposedly, once campesino.

Henry doesn’t really run
from these sophistications
because he dwells in real nations.

He doesn’t pursue masterpieces.
The truth appears to be enough,
even if it must be changed somehow.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Y No Se Los Trago La Poesia

(la vacota Henry)
Rivera and Hinojosa
were still respected,
their Kafka insects Mexican to the bone.

Their Mallarme faun heads
cowering under porches,
under the noses of the white man.

The Rio Bravo water
dirty like the thoughts of man,
the ruins owed in Spanish.

In those days,
Henry drugged
and quite addicted to a day-dreamed Rosa

didn’t give a damn,
not even after impregnating
the tabla rosa.

So, the great Chicano prose writers
showed no surprise
and the masses never were that lyrical.

But, Henry, tough as an old vaquero
never even once
thought of giving up.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Flor Y Canto

The allure of Alurista
seemed to be enough
when he dreamed-up the Aztec sun.

It was, indeed,
a Herculean literary effort,
from the ground up.

At that time,
Henry separated poetry from poetry,
the words dressed in Godiva.

But, Alurista kept the words
and their meanings
in the ancient pyramids.

The sacrifices were inevitable,
the feast on the table,
beating heart in mid-air.

The years have passed.
Now we’re either stuck
with Hispanic or Latino writers.

They, of course, can never be Chicano,
that’s why they fester
out in the open.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The 9/11 Tourist

Henry was a tourist on the observation level
when the airplane hit
and a snow of paper flew outwards,

the black smoke rising,
the orange flame of sunset
so early in the morning.

The smell of burning plastic, people,
paper, office equipment, office supplies,
paint and metal billow in the sky.

Down on the ground the firefighters
look like ants in red pants.
Henry said don’t look down.

Suddenly the building started pancaking.
Henry’s feet go out from under him.
Henry breathes in the cement dust,

he sees iron beams somersault by him,
nearly missing his head
time after time.

When the building stops crumbling,
Henry finds himself standing in the rubble.
Henry walks away looking white as a ghost.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Rosetta Stone

Henry and his cousin Joe Karate
were in high school
when one day

they explored an ancient creek-bed
behind The Acme Brick Company,
the creek runs for miles

through black soil
until it gets near the hills,
just before it empties

into the Guadalupe River
where boulders and rocks
litter the creek.

That’s where Henry and Joe Karate
found many wondrous fossils,
that’s how it’s come about

that forty something years later
Henry holds this amazing stone
in his hands.

It’s the fossil of a claw
in the act of grasping
and a feather on the other side.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Joe Karate Y La Llorona

Back in Junior High
Henry would hang around
with his cousin Joe Tovar.

He was into karate
and one day on the football field
after school

he kicked Henry
in the solar plexus
and knocked the wind

out of Henry Aeolus.
That’s how he got the name
of Joe Karate.

Only one thing scared him---
when he was chased by Chevo,
the mentally handicapped

chicano kid in special ed.
or whatever they called it
back then.

Anyway, Chevo would chase
his favorite people
around the halls of Joe F. Saegert Jr. Hi.

and Joe Karate
was one of them.
Joe hated Chevo like everybody else.

The wilderness in Chevo’s mind
sprouted Rousseau jaguars suddenly
and the jungle blackened in spoiled fruit.

The flies seemed to be named Quetzalcoatl
but their wings were blonde
like Marilyn Monroe.

Of course, there was no accounting
for what went on in Chevo’s confused mind
and a thunderstorm surrounded the lightning

while Henry’s cousin karate chopped
the rain that threatened
La Llorona’s children.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Choche Botellas

When Henry was growing up
there was a character
in Papaloteville

whose name was Chevo,
he was mentally handicapped,
or as we called him back then, retarded.

Anyway, Chevo would walk
around the barrio
and come up to your door

to demand choche botellas,
which to him meant:
Hey, I’m collecting empty soda bottles

so I can sell them
and donate the money to the church.
He attended church every Sunday.

How many bottles he sold for God
only God himself
and the devil know.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

How To Screw Ann Coulter, If You Must

Use hundred dollar bills
stolen from the school lunch program,
use dead Marines killed in senseless wars,

screw her in the backseat
of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s wheelchair
while playing with her fascist hair.

But never turn your back on her,
she’s a blonde praying mantis
and she eats liberals so they can’t vote.

She’s a blonde praying mantis,
better keep your pants on.
Screw her at your own risk

or you’ll end up
slicing your wrists
until the blood of democracy is just a mist.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Henry And The Sea Creature

Henry was on the front end of the boat,
the giant squid
was on the other end,

one tentacle on Henry’s right knee,
one around his left ankle.
The squid’s startled eyes

look skyward towards some giant God
which squirted backward in heaven
longing for the sea below.

Henry having had enough
pulled out his pistol
and shot the sea creature almost dead.

The creature opens its parrot beak,
pauses, its dish-plate eyes getting bigger
and then says, “Polly wanna Kraken?”

suggested by a post on Gabriel Gudding's blog