Chicano Poet

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Hollow Prey

The grasslands stretch forever
and Robinson lifts his head to get a better view
of friend or foe alike.

An occasional superlative
will pop into his wary eyes,
a rodent scurries, a beetle unawares.

Why am I eating grass, he wonders?
I don’t like grass, I never have,
I never will! he tells himself,

but to himself he seldom listens.
The giraffes muscle in on him,
the hyenas look at him

and tell him they are waiting.
But, Robinson puts his head down to eat,
he counts his meaninglessness on his fingers,

and proceeds to his toes,
which are digging into the dirt.
The dust is too dry to fly.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Circus Clowns’ Desertion

The clowns have followed Robinson home,
they juggle their big red noses
down on the sidewalk

and the crowd has gathered to applaud.
The clowns ride unicycles one and all
on the clotheslines of the poor.

The neighborhood juvenile delinquents blink
and miss redeeming social qualities.
Big gray shoes tap toes, tap toes.

Robinson looks down from
his fourth floor apartment,
his zebra stripes are red and white,

he kicks and bites, barely missing
the window, but snagging the curtains.
He lights a cigarette, solitary on the savanna.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Circus Robinson

You probably can’t see Robinson,
obscured as he is by bowling pin jugglers.
The peanut-munching crowd goes nuts,

children cheer & clap to monkey business.
The captive elephants stand on their hind legs
to the delight of the slave owner,

who’s making all the money he needs,
but wires Africa, send more, send more!
Robinson tries to shake off the sadness

of his own gray bulk in the harrowing tent
as the crowd bares it teeth at him.
It would be easier to battle lions,

he motions to the other elephants, & they agree.
After the show, tied to their stakes,
the huge tears float away, defy gravity.

Robinson wipes his cheeks,
he would knock down a tree in anger,
instead, he holds his wife’s hand with his trunk.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Ein Heldenleben

How can dust be a hero to itself,
how can paint remain without color,
how can the frame not frame anything,

confine the subject, the object,
the obstruction, the passage?
Sidewalk became elevator

which ran north and south,
east and west, friend and pest.
Robinson lit a cigarette

while the de Koonings expounded
and expanded on their theories
which were trapped in Manhattan,

tantamount to treason, tall, tasteless.
Robinson finally exhaled a puff of smoke,
the smoke acknowledged his circumvented existence.

With one hand absconded in his trouser pockets,
the other hand wielding a sword against the Visigoths,
Robinson and his wife took the subway home.

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Fly

After the art show the artists
headed to a nearby coffee shop.
The theories so important to the art world

meant nothing at all to Robinson.
A fly buzzed between Elaine and him,
between Willem and Robinson’s wife,

between a cup of coffee,
and the young waitress
who attracted his attention

with her attraction, hovered over Robinson
to refill his coffee, offered him cream
and sugar, his mind dragging

the street-sounds like a tail,
sidewalks and curbs sitting on the chair with him.
The weight of the world, wasted on Robinson.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Not Everything’s About You, Frida!

Her benefactor bought her a dress.
“Go out and find yourself a rich husband.” he told her.
Instead, she went up to the top floor

of Hempshire House and jumped.
Only Frida was there to break her fall,
Dorothy being thankful, Frida crushed,

Dorothy being rankled, Frida blushed
like Father Mychal Judge, OFM
killed by a jumper at the Twin Towers.

The constant smashing of people on the sidewalk…
and almost all them landing on Frida.
Frida already weak from weakness,

and that ingrate Dorothy Hale just walks away,
ungrateful witch, dress none the worst for wear. MeAnWhILE,
Frida is moaning tiny, almost inaudible Mariachis.

Their guts visible, their hearts like hamburger patties,
their limp penises, admired by respectable ladies
until the Mexican ambulance spears Frida with its siren.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Portrait Of Elaine de Kooning

Elaine de Kooning had always taken Robinson aback,
“Now, don’t get me wrong,” he said to himself,
“aback in a good way.”

He relished the thought over & over in the outskirts of his mind.
She was bending over a canvas,
the apple she presented of Eve

made him ashamed, yet, excited, too.
Abstraction had never really interested Robinson,
but he would not deny it.

Outside, the city had turned
into a beached whale,
the do-gooders were putting their shoulders to it,

trying to ease it back inside the Grecian Hudson.
Drizzle on the cheeks of the buildings,
cops clubbing a poor man off the sidewalk.

Elaine talked theory and Robinson nodded yes,
but in no way meant yes,
instead he dropped down into her,

down, down, deep in the caverns.
If it was any other day
he’d be in Central Park like flights of pigeons.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Art For Art’s Sake

Manhattan, infected with insects,
seems to trouble no one but Robinson.
The creatures crawl on his skin,

dutifully, politely, no doubt, yet still…
He tries his best to forget
by thinking of Mrs. Morse,

the skirt pulled over her breasts,
no time for detailed lovemaking,
no time for scruples, no time for guilt.

Hell, these damn insects have no use
for the alphabet, they number time
in weeks, even days, he mused.

His wife, ah, his wife…
he headed to the art gallery,
his own new paintings excited him,

words only mean what words
want them to mean,
but paintings, paintings need no language,

he pondered as he slipped
into the gallery,
that damn, silly de Kooning already there,

he said a polite hello to de Kooning’s wife,
his sex drive had returned.
Had he even said goodbye to Mrs. Morse?

And, after these two years of cheating on his wife
with his neighbor’s wife, Mrs. Morse
why did he still call her Mrs. Morse?

But, soon, he was talking about art,
he forgot his cares, his carnal problems.
Was that him projected on the ceiling?

The peeling paint depicting his shoulders,
the spheres of his eyes
looking at him, proud of him, it seemed.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Kafka’s Robinson

It’s gotten to the point where
you, yourself, are dreaming
that you’re Robinson.

Your ragged soul and principles
piloted by someone
in a P-51 Mustang over the Pacific.

In the streets of Brooklyn
weeds grow in the rubbish
that litters the street corners.

The young, pregnant wife
waits for her husband
to get back from the European Theater of War.

How she will tell him
she is pregnant by somebody else, she doesn’t know?
In Manhattan the cops are brutal,

harsh with the hobos
who arrive from Kansas,
mistaking East Coast for West Coast.

Thank God, when you wake up
you’re no longer Robinson,
which is more than Robinson can say.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Meeting Mr. Rexroth

He asked the Negro if he knew
a Mr. Rexroth, but the elevator operator
said nah sir, don’t know

a man lah dat… he asked
the same of a cleaning lady,
she spoke no English.

Robinson wondered what the hell
New York City was allowed to exist for,
what purpose, what goal, what foulness,

but soon his thoughts had turned terrestrial.
He finally found Rexroth,
talked business, not that poetry

had much to do with business.
They had lunch, burgers, beers.
The sun assumed the shape of buildings.

Rexroth read Tu Fu, Li Po,
No More pleaded Robinson’s inner voice,
thinking the Orient so ungifted.

They parted ways, Rexroth pleased,
and Robinson always between
a rock and a hard place,

which, oddly, seemed to endear him
to the inanimate objects he came from,
or so he thought mistakenly.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Siamese Triptych

In the twilight cave
the Gill Man sulks into the water and sinks
deep towards the bottom of the lagoon,

searching for the scent
of that intriguing creature
which blessed these waters once.

He stretches one arm out,
pulls back on the clear liquid;
stretches the other arm out,

pulls back on the clear liquid,
propels himself in life.
Forward, forward,

though to him only the present matters.
Robinson throws peanuts
at the Central Park elephant,

more leaves than people inhabit the streets.
A brown GI returning from the war
has brought back a German bride.

Robinson stares at the curves,
her dress indicts him,
animal instinct makes us animals, he growls.

Fish, fowl, man or Amazon creature
governed by the laws
which don’t obey the laws.

Pigeons own the Chrysler Building,
pigeons own the Empire State,
leaping from great heights to great heights.

Robinson, his head down,
walks out of the park,
unmoved by ancient, burning Hindenburgs,

unmoved by the dead bodies
someone piled high on Omaha Beach,
frying Japanese still surrender their smell.

The hair on his arms
equals or surpasses Audie Murphy’s acts
of heroism and hate.

The creature’s battle-wounds have healed,
but Robinson’s wounds have turned into open sores,
his melancholy fights off infection,

and now, humans retreat from him,
huddle in doorways, run into buildings
where darkness lights their way.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Journey Home

The long journey home took its toll,
the bullet wounds soothed by the sea.
Sometimes a dream breaks off

from a clump of other dreams,
tentacles tattered but still attached.
The creature fights the currents,

fish scatter and return to question,
to contemplate submerged wonders,
thoughts which are strung together differently

from yours and mine Robinson confirmed
as he tried to collect pieces
of the vanished nightmares

which have a hard time surviving daylight hours.
But, he put the puzzle together
from what he was able to salvage.

Suddenly, he recognized himself, slapped at the puzzle,
and all the pieces flew across the floor,
a chill went up his neck,

there was a sudden fragrance
of damp caves, spelunker bones trapped
so close to the entrance of the city.

All the cars were black
except for a yellow taxi
Robinson had hailed.

Robinson’s right hand held down his hat,
his overcoat blew open in the freezing wind,
unusual for the Amazon, he cursed.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Goal

The Institute for Oceanic Studies
was quiet in the warm breeze,
palm trees told their name

to other palm trees, the sand stared up
at the stars where it came from long ago.
A faint light arrived from a lab window.

She was standing, bending over a microscope.
The Gill Man was excited,
he charged forward, no hesitation

because hesitation in his world means failure.
This has always been Robinson’s weakness,
the indecision, the wavering,

the runningback tackled behind
the line of scrimmage, the batter
hitting behind the ball, the basketball player

missing the easy lay-up. They’re shooting as he flees.
Ages from now, the creature tastes fresh water,
ebbing and flowing from the darkness.

He swims at a fever pitch
until he knows for sure he’s home.
Robinson pays the taxi driver

for the trip of a thousand miles there
and a thousand miles back
before he reneges on the tip.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


There’s a bounding creature in each of us,
go ahead, put your finger on your face,
rotate that face in the mirror.

Pick up a stone, throw it at the mirror
with all your strength.
Even if the mirror breaks

the creature is still there on the wall.
Robinson walks to the grocery store,
those darn Italian brothers

better have bread today he thinks,
but soon his thoughts have reverted to his thoughts.
The words stretch out

until they break like rubber bands,
stinging his unshaven chin,
stubble tripping up the young Shakespearean sonnet

he once hoped to write in blood.
The amphibian writes on water,
the reptilian on sand,

he speculated as he reached the subway.
The prehistoric buildings rose into the jungle sky,
monkeys battled on the thirty-seventh floor

with this or that money-making scheme.
Robinson ducked into the train
which carried him toward Times Square.

No one seemed startled by his appearance---
this creature in suit and tie.
No one seemed startled but Robinson himself.

Monday, March 12, 2007


The next morning he wakes up in Florida,
apparently having followed his dream girl
up the Gulf Stream, past Jamaica,

past Cuba, past the teenage Fidel Castro.
The Gill Man’s fossilized webbed-feet
leave his calling card on the beach.

It has taken him years to get here,
but time does not exist.
Time is a physical impossibility.

There she is, there she is.
His heart beats lizard-loud,
his eyes float like cork.

Robinson wakes up again
in his beastly apartment.
His wife is making coffee,

its aroma could not prompt
an amphibian to such desires, he decides.
“Why is there sand in my slippers…”

he wonders as he walks into the kitchen?
Fried eggs and toast give him
the temporary amnesia he relishes.

In the black coffee
a lagoon forms,
hiding Robinson’s inner most self.

He evades the spinning spoon,
the solar system of solid metal
sweeps by his shoulder,

the sugar grains swirl,
and settle his reptilian brain.
The sun presses its face against the kitchen window.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Gill Man

It was a fitful sleep, Robinson was dreaming
that he was the Gill Man, swimming
in a hidden stream, tributary to the Amazon,

the tastelessness of a swallowed fish
battling hopelessly as it slid down his throat,
the days and nights could not be distinguished

by his race or any other race he knew.
Then one day it all changed,
a strange craft drifted into his lagoon,

his lagoon, the thought kept working on him.
There was one creature which really
intrigued him, beckoned to him.

He grabbed her off the boat, took her to his cave.
Fought the other creatures for her, she punched & scratched.
Somewhere, Robinson’s wife was yelling at him

and the bewildered Robinson woke up,
wiped the primordial sweat from his forehead.
His pajamas rose to the surface of the black lagoon.

He tried to go back to sleep.
He reassured his wife he was all right.
The neon signs outside their apartment

blinked red and yellow, he could hear
the elevated train run over a penny,
the tin of the recent war falling to the ground.

Robinson tossed and turned,
nagged by his own existence.
His webbed-hand trying to hold a cigarette.

“I told you, honey, I don’t like you
smoking in bed.”
She sighed
as he exhaled through his new-found gills.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

De Kooning’s Gruesome Elegy For Robert Frost

Who was it that butchered Robert Frost,
cut him up into ice cubes,
butchered his horse there in the snowy woods?

Blood-red snow could not be budged
by snarling wind,
wolves came by to sniff,

but the pack hurried off into the darkness.
Canine thoughts of self-preservation
eminent in the falling flakes.

The farmer whose house was not so near
told the police he hadn’t seen a thing,
had only heard the hissing of the snow.

But Frost had miles to go before he slept,
Frost had miles to go before he slept
dismembered in the Bates Motel.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Starting Over

Artemio Sanchez returns to his hometown
thirty years after having moved to Minnesota.
Hell, his frozen neighbor is the Hispanic
poet Ray Gonzalez.

Lupita left La Rata and moved to Houston,
Meme married a divorcee from Nuquis,
El Caballo still works at the chicken plant.

They say El Beatle moved somewhere up north
and became a writer
but, no one knows for shure.

Speedy never made it back from Viet Nam,
La Reina del Deiz y Seis at Hidalgo Hall
died of cancer last year---

so many putos had the hots for her.
But when you visit the old hometown now
only strange Mexicans stare at you from Seguin.

It’s no longer nomas Yogi Berra’s déjà vu.
You’ve become a stranger
in your own land once again!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Miraculous Punt

“to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack of what is found there.”


Here’s the news today:
He strangled his wife, cut her up into little pieces
that resembled Michigan. (Blood-brother to Ted Nugent)

In Atlanta,a bus carrying college baseball players
plunges off a bridge and six die,
including God himself. (Serves him right!)

In Redwood, California an unknown poet
hung himself and ten other poets,
the proverbial hanging participle. (Grab crotch here)

On the Gulf coast,a rogue wave
washed away a group of Barbarian-American kids,
tossed the kids ashore at Cuba crying libertad. (Yikes!)

Finally, sports fans, the Dallas Cowboys punted
just when they were about to win
the Superbowl for Tintern Abbey. (Kacke)

Monday, March 05, 2007

Gift Horse

“I have a small-town mind. Like the Greeks and Trojans.
Shame. Pride. Importance of looking bad or good.”

“I support the War, says the comic, it’s just the Troops
I’m against: can’t stand those Young People.”

Robert Pinsky

Some one has dropped off a wooden horse
in the eastern part of America
and parents are teaching their children

how to ride the beast
around the courthouse, the plaza,
the city park, the new mall.

The children of the town
take turns riding the wooden horse
day and night, week after week,

month after month, year after year
until they grow up into teenagers,
into young adults and become bored,

they rebel, they conspire, and one night
a gang of them burns down the wooden horse.
Embers rise into the night sky,

and in the morning there is only
a pile of ashes where the proud beast stood
in Troy, New York, in Troy, New York.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Foreign Car Sutra

Took a ride in a Saab.
That wasn't bad
cried the gringo lad.

Took a ride in a Volkswagen.
That was quite OK
said Jose before he swam away.

Took a ride in a Mercedes.
Oh,my God,the leather.
Let animals deal with descriminating weather.

Took a ride in an Audi
with a brown girl and her smile.
Back in Mexico,she rides a burro in denial.


He was keeper of the bees
while his daughter
crawled about on skinny knees.

He was captain of the Luftwaffe fleet
while she swung on the swing
and earned her wings from defeat.

He was feared far and wide
but his daughter fought back sphinxes
to cross the Great Divide.

Re-united in death and in doom,
they go about their family business now
and giggle us their gloom.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

At a White House dinner honoring
the U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales
for his rape of American liberties,
the President praises Gonzales by saying,
"Great job,Brownie."