Chicano Poet

Monday, November 12, 2007

Poem In November

Now when I was young and greasy,
I arrived home on the school bus
(Mr. Springs always made me sit in the back),

mom was lying in bed,
I don’t know if she was sick
or pregnant with Esteban,

but there was nothing to eat.
I went to the kitchen table,
found a pot

with a few cold beans at the bottom.
I ate them and then went outside
to play in a field of dead cornstalks,

I re-arranged stones in the creek,
and hid in the bamboo thicket,
but, to this very day I can not forget that vivid hunger.

…this memory haunts me. I can only remember
getting off the bus, running home and discovering
mom in bed, I told her, “mami, tengo hambre.”
but she did not respond. I remember dragging the
pot to the edge of the table and eating the beans
and then going outside to play, still hungry. I wish
I could remember more, but I can’t. It frustrates me.
My mother died in childbirth not long after that.
Was this just yesterday? Do I add some kind of
proteins to that memory every time I think of it
and make it even more painful? It gnaws at me,
right here in the pit of my stomach like a wolf,
fangs exposed, stepping back before the


[Sure, you might say, why does he not

concentrate more on the racism implied by the
Mr. Springs character? Because he leaves the
exterior world to Rosa Parks and others like her.
Because this hunger, not really for food, but for
his mother, remains unrequited, and surfaces like
a babbling brook throughout his life---Editors note.]


At 4:22 AM, Blogger Ivan Donn Carswell said...

The whole poem, apologia et al, works like a contemporary exhibit. You make a muted case for sympathy while displaying complete control; were you waiting for another cognoscenti to equivocate? I love the poem - and the apologia... For the subject matter, yes, hunger always eats first


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