Chicano Poet

Friday, August 31, 2007


The bus drops me off in the middle of nowhere.
I wait at the crossroads.
The smell of the cornstalks turns yellow.

Suddenly a cropduster appears,
and dives at me in anger,
the pilot’s white scarf waving August.

I throw myself on the road
as the plane almost lands on my back.
I run into the fields for cover.

Then I see a gasoline tanker
coming up the road.
I flag it down, and inexplicably

the cropduster slams into it.
All this is happening
as if it were a movie.

The cops arrive, the ambulance approaches.
My tie flaps in the wind.
God, grant me the strength to carry on.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bad Mood Murph

The Mexican pushed his way in front of me
in an aisle reserved for Americans at Wal-Mart.
I told him in my best Spanish,

“Pendayho, you vant me to call La Migra?”
Ticked off, the illegal stormed his way
to women’s wear.

I’m a grouchy, old scrooge.
I don’t put up with no nonsense,
or good sense!

I’m set in my ways.
As you can tell, I don’t like Mexicans,
Vietnamese or blacks---

and find the prejudice endearing in myself, hehe.
I buy my laxative, limp to my car (old war injury)
and drive home at ten miles an hour.

I don’t hear angry people honking at me,
and if I did,
I’d shoot the bird at them in such appreciation.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Death Of Shelley

Shelley claimed he was going sailing
when in fact he was going rowing.
The storm hit, and he was bailing.

Byron seduced his half-sister,
and rushed off to Europe.
He’d pulled up his pants to cover the blister.

Keats loved Fanny but the tuberculosis
cut his love-life short.
He would have settled for mononucleosis.

Leigh Hunt declined the ride
and lived to fish Shelley ashore
while the mighty Lord imbibed.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Rift Valley

There’s a monkey on my back,
yes, yes, a real monkey.
Is there no beauty left in Africa?

I’m not embellishing the truth.
Fresh off the summit of Kilimanjaro
your armpits split from heaven.

Your blonde hair in spirals
wrestles with the monkey,
he won’t fall for the banana trick.

The British put a halt
to that kind of cart,
left us with only this defense.

Your eyelids and lips
have finally succeeded
in getting rid of the beast.

His tail lies twitching
far from the rift valley
which is going to become an ocean like us.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Sgt. Salt’s Broken Heart Pub Band

The first pizza place in town
was run by an oriental girl
and her husband.

My cousin Joe would buy a mug of beer,
we’d sit there eating pizza
and listening to the jukebox.

Today, there’s a big, tall fence
in front of the place
to hide the junked cars,

because it’s become part of
Ranafou’s junkyard,
owned by Freddie, the asshole son---

Ranafou senior must be dead by now.
Let’s assume so.
This is an ad for Rosie’s Mexican Pizza.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Piporro...Chulas Fronteras

The L-E-N-G-U-A-J-E poets were
a revolutionary dead-end. What they
thought was a voice was only
ventriloquism. They could have learned
so much from Piporro.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Meinkampf Tension

These proteins which form memories of you
darken even in daylight, can you assign
stupidity to astral?

I freeze and re-freeze spikes,
and then I thaw their distance.
How should that trap us?

Like grass ignored by grass,
we dress in silence,
or, at least, in the tumult of silence.

You turn the other way
to slip on your blouse of syrup
while I’m Napoleon squirming on the island.

The industrious dog
elicits no response,
the cat once used to be a bestseller.

These memories surround me like hula-hoops.
I go downstairs and order a panzer division
for my chin.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Shapesmoke Swoon of Avalon

Angie Dickinson, police woman,
slaps Frankie Avalon to get the truth
out of the snot-nosed teen idol.

None of this surf shit,
she yells
in his face and knees him
in the nuts.

He played Annette Funicello like a cello
on the beach until a snitch
revealed that she was underage.

These stinking cops don’t care about love,

he muttered, look at ‘em, they’re all divorced,
they take out their anger on speeders.

They don’t want the facts.

Finally, Frankie’s gone to the Hollywood sign
and painted it black.

Angie has confiscated his pants for a ride,
Annette breaks down and cries.
At this rate, no one will discover fate.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Even Mia Farrow was cool back then.

In India With The Beatles

Of that year I travelled to India with the Beatles,
I have written much,
but there is one story

I have not told publicly, so here goes.
When the Beatles, John’s wife
and the girlfriends of the other Beatles

had a private audience
with the Maharishi,
I was there to make notes and to take pictures.

Well, imagine my surprise
when the damn Maharishi
pulls out his flaccid penis

and waves it about, all the while
chanting something or other.
The girls look away,

John is laughing, and Paul, George
and Ringo assume this is sacred.
So be it.

Awright,who the hell stole
my Nehru shirt!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Tree Grows In Aztlan

They wanted to clean up society with a rake
that would pick up all the brown leaves,
turning the city nice and white.

Tumbling and tumbling the brown leaves
were gathered in a pile
and sent off to prison---

there to be de-veined, crushed for fodder
to enhance the reputations of the warden,
and the judges and the cops back home.

But some leaves would not let themselves
be destroyed, some leaves would not be defeated,
some leaves would not lay down and die.

And so El Tapon rose up, became a giant tree,
marched back into the barrio,
called the barrio good, and nurtured it,

made us realize that the barrio
is nationwide and worldwide.
Brown leaves fall from the trees in his honor.

Monday, August 20, 2007


What does it mean to Dante?
She asked the Cerberus question
as the licked Mexican struggled home(that’s me).

Little girls gathered tendons
showing off their prizes in teacups.
God in a clown suit

pinched Isadora’s butt.
I can not tell you about purgatory I said,
and sweated as I took the wheels

off the chariot, surpassing the elements,
radiation inventing itself--- a voice says,
no need for science, Sarge!

A sin walked up to us,
half of it expensive,
the other half huge like Everest.

So to this day, Dante climbs the stairs,
his forehead doubles as paradise,
and he’s holding Beatrice’s cherry in his hand.

Friday, August 17, 2007


At the end of my fingers, all the homicides gather.
Det. Kalcium has a bum leg,
limps on the Egyptian ice.

He sniffs your panties, configures the newts
his wife makes him carry in his pocket,
gulps a question.

I echo his rag face, not much else
in the fruitbowl, clouds pass in and out
of the apples he appears to harness.

He’s a clever son of a bitch,
inspired by the holy Joes in his church no doubt.
The bastard puts Columbo to shame.

His techs tore the atoms from my computer,
but they’ve got no clue I’ve switched out hard drives.
Knives huddle in the kitchen to kiss,

I motion them to behave
their clever little wit. Later, I tell them: Beware,
Det. Kalcium’s never satisfied with satisfaction.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Beauty Lies In The Eyes Of The Bemoaner

I borrowed religion since I’d run out of bats.
You crossed your legs like M&M’s
and hoarded the blue sky.

So what the hell did it get me?
Your baby astronaut head
must have startled your mother,

causing the same pain you bring me with your smile.
Like Gulliver,I landed
on the wrong lint.

Twins do not faze Spiderman
or so he tells his aunt,
but I’m not buying it.

Your sister tries to convince me otherwise.
Your Modigliani neck
arrogant in its beauty,

your Crivelli fists own all of my black eyes
imaginary in the valley of the heart.
I wish you were the face on Mars.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Amazons,that mythical nation of warring women,
supposedly removed the right breast of every female
at puberty so that it would not interfere with use
of the bowstring in battle.

It didn't help the lefties at all!

Meeting Mr. Berryman

The first time I met Mr. Berryman,
he said, “Call me John”
though I knew that weren’t his real name.

I could see Mr. Bones in his eyes,
and Herr Henry lurked in there, too.
Both enemies of the skullcap and the fez.

Hell, enemies of everything American!
A lone whisker on his chin
which he had missed while shaving

remains in my mind to this day.
He was enamored of English incorrect
and worshipped women’s bottoms---

what man in his right mind doesn’t?
I left my hero to his fate.
Each word came out of him screaming like a baby.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Hip Hop Hoodios, a Latino-Jewish urban collective is releasing a new EP entitled "Viva la Guantanamera" on August 7th. 18% of all profits will be donated to Amnesty International and will go towards our efforts to close the prisons at Guantanamo Bay and to encourage the full restoration of Habeas Corpus! The main song on the EP is called "Viva la Guantanamera" and features the Hip Hop Hoodios, Wildog, Frank London and Lorin Sklamberg of The Klezmatics, Kemo the Blaxican of Latin hip hop pioneers Delinquent Habits, and instrumentalists Walter Miranda from the Beastie Boys and Plastilina Mosh and Chris Washburne from The Syotos Band and Tito Puente! Other songs include tracks from the Hip Hop Hoodios earlier albums.

If you choose to buy the EP on iTunes you will get an exclusive bonus track which is an awesome live performance of "Ocho Kandelikas" that the Hip Hop Hoodios recorded on LATV. If you get it on eMusic you'll get another exclusive track called "Tu Margarita" that is an anthem regarded as the greatest reggaeton song of ALL TIME (and it was recorded in only one hour!)

You can listen to "Viva la Guantanamera" here now. Click here to listen.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

"flipping cars the other night in France
chocolate rain"

Tay Zonday

I'm afraid Sweeny was wrong when he said:

That's all the facts when you come to brass tacks:
Birth, copulation, and death.

He should have said: the constant and perpetually
thwarted pursuit of copulation.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Friday, August 10, 2007

Bad Day In Gotham, Aztlan

I’m Superman, don’t tug on my cape, fool!
I’m a four-eyed Clark Kent,
I’m the nerd in school

who never had a girlfriend,
hung around with all the losers,
everybody thought it was the end.


I’m Superman, don’t tug on my cape, pendejo!
I used to be nobody just like you.
I got x-ray vision, I ain’t ciego.

I didn’t walk till I was ten.
Hey, I’m a late-bloomer.
I’m the quiet type, you’re the hen ---

it don’t become a man!
I’m Superman, don’t tug on my cape, fool,
and don’t try to kiss my hand!


Thursday, August 09, 2007

If you are going to Osten
for the raulrsalinas benefit
click on MACC for details.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Martin Street And Other Sorrows

“my rims never spin
to the contrary
you’ll find that they’re quite stationary”

Weird Al

Was cruisin through what’s left of the barrio
in my 2007 Honda Odyssey
wearing suit and tie from the Tall Man Shoppe

and here I am only five-foot tu
going to teach my Greek class
at Our Lady Of The Lake University

but first I stop on Zarzamora
to pick up pan de dulce
empanadas de calabasa y cuernitos.

I remember Bernardino Verastique,
Victor Guerra and countless others,
Sandy and Angela, Max, Xilo, Cesar Augusto,

the list of the past goes on and on
my rims never spin to the contrary
my head spins stationary.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Borges being blind doesn’t know
that they buried his ass in Geneva,
but the rest of his body in Buenos Aires.

Vallejo died of hunger on a rainy day in Paris,
but now he eats everything he wants
and he’s fat like a Botero.

The cut off Victor Jara’s hands
so he couldn’t strum his protest lyrics,
but now he plays twenty guitars at once.

They shot Roque to keep him quiet,
but now his poetry’s louder than ever.
His killers put their hands over their ears in vain.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Borges, Bolaño and the Return of the Epic

By Aura Estrada (1977-2007)

During their lifetimes, Jorge Luis Borges and Roberto Bolaño struggled against vanity and all things pretentious, aspirational, ordinary, and obliging. They are peculiar cases in literature, ones that the literary machine itself seems to reject. They were not bestsellers. During a substantial part of their lives, they existed either under the shadow of public rejection, or in the clandestinity of aesthetic infringement. The relationship they sustained with “their time” and the writers of their time was complex and peppered with barbs. Certainly, what they understood as literature had little to do with the desire to appease any aesthetics (social, moral, political, philosophical) other than their own. Their relationship with literature was almost sacred. They believed in little else and were consecrated to her alone, as if literature were (perhaps because it is) a matter of life and death.

read more here.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

At 5:17 PM, Anonymous said...

Nothing like ol' bitter vatos who are no longer strutting their trajes. And I am sure you have read the novel of today, ese. At least, the current generation of writers know the veteranos as well as the present voices. Check out the new mocos@s, it might help you get rid of your carajo!
Un Vato c/s/r

I am tempted to agree with what Ricardo has said so eloquently and no so eloquently. So enjoy the little of Chicano poetry that’s left. Also, the new novels that are being written lately are just plain crap. Whether they are written by R. G. or A.C., whether they are written by men or women they make me puke.

El Menso de Robstown

(El Menso grew up in the Fifties and Sixties in, of course, Robstown, Texas. Unsure why he calls himself El Menso : )

(Editor’s Note: When the editor was a young kid his family would take him to see Mexican movies in a big dusty tent in Robstown on Saturday nights. That was our weekend treat after picking cotton all week.)

Friday, August 03, 2007

Thursday, August 02, 2007

An Old Brown Poet Speaks

Though Aztlan may be dead or dying, Chicano poetry shall keep on existing, if only as an artifact. As the original Chicano poets die off, perhaps only a handful of a generation they spawned will remain. After that, it is all over. Ya estufas.

The circumstances which created the Chicano will not come again. Even the word Chicano has become a bad word in the mouth of some. Well, screw them! They are destined to turn white. Nothing can prevent it.

Even this onslaught of fresh Mexicans pouring over the border will become gringos. Screw them, too!

Ricardo Borrado is author of The Black Sun
and Truth Belies.

(Editor’s Note: I have decided to omit
some of Ricardo’s more inflammatory

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Here's a comment by E. Bernal to Death Of Aztlan 2012

Those of us, who paid the price for the Chicano movement, can tell you Aztlan died in the early seventies before Humvies become the mode of resistance. Who paid the price: Freddy Sanchez who burned his draft card in 1969, Margarito Guajardo who served time in the desert for refusing to serve in the armed force, Los Tres del barrio, Manuel Valdez, who served 35 days in the can for the Fresno State Student riots, Leonardo Baca who was accused of a heinous crime he probably never commited and the list can go on and on. The only ones who are known are the surras (and I am using a word from clyde Torres- surras)who would have howled como ninos if the feds had actually gone after them. They are well known because they self promote.

By the way, since I am on a tangent of clarifying Chicano history, according to Maestro Andres Seguras -Aztlan is Atlantis. After the great cataclysm of that island its inhabitants migrated to the Southwest and that is where they all migrated to different areas of the continent

Anyway hasi es la vida. Buen dia.

E. Bernal

At 2:48 PM, Anonymous said...

If the so-called "original Chicano poets" had the faith to continue what they started, where would we be? Maybe beyond this too familiar 70's speak of puro Aztlan. Orale, this is from a post-Chicano, us vatos y rucas who are still hitting the pavement con nuestras palabras a la Sanchez, Delgado, Cervantes, Herrera, y tambien el Ray, el Gary, la Norma...there's room for all of us, so how about if we quit the roll call or at least broaden it to include more mujeres. 'Cuz that's one part of our legacy we are still trying to rectify.
Un Vato c/s/r