Chicano Poet

Friday, December 28, 2007

Elegy For Mom

Mom, it’s been forty-seven years
since you went away,
but then, you know that.

You know all my failures
and my rare, yes, very rare successes.
I apologize.

You can’t expect much
from someone who chose
to be a poet,

words are not legal tender,
words seldom speak.
It’s been difficult

putting Spanish into plain English.
I have done
the best I could.

I have carried you here in my heart,
gotten choked up almost every day
thinking of you.

These forty-seven years
have seemed like
the blink of an eye.

My little eyes filled with tears
when my aunt gathered us--- Valentin,
Julian, (Mary was too young to understand)

to tell us that you
had gone to a better place
or some nonsense like that.

No one has convinced me
of it yet
because you are always beating in my heart.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

To Brooklyn Bridge

That stupid Puerto Rican who’s jumping
to his silly death
followed all the way down by seagulls.

Stunted generations of an Italian punk
who raped a girl under the bridge
and an old Goodyear tire won’t testify.

Fifty year old tugboat captain
screwing his stepdaughter on the East River
while his wife sleeps ashore in paradise.

The news-helicopter reporter
drinks after work to the thighs
of the weather girl he’d like to ravish.

The maps that the weather itself ignores
riveted all the over the spans
which connect nothing to nothing

as an Arab taxi driver
submerges his heritage, but effortlessly
keeps his wife under his thumb.

So what? At this point, New York is so unclean,
the metal so brittle that the mailman
delivers saliva on little cat feet.

And in an ethnic neighborhood
God squirms in the pizza
a nasty Russian puts in his mouth.

Finally, the Puerto Rican splashes
into the oily, putrid water
and the seagulls head back up grinning like the sun.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


So why did I blow up Mt. Rushmore?
Because I was tired
of looking at what might have been.

Why did I dig that bullet out of President Lincoln?
Because you have
get the lead out.

Why did I steal President Roosevelt’s wheelchair?
Because I was convinced
we can beat this numbness.

Why did I destroy every bit
of American history
I could get my hands on?

Because we must begin again
and try to
get it right.

And maybe this time, the founding fathers
won’t be rewritten
by the dumbfounding sons.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Vato Poco

I’m listening, Max,
but I don’t know if I am worthy.
I’m beginning to think words are wasted on poets.

I’m listening, Lalo,
but I don’t think my heart is in it.
I don’t understand how you could give so much of yourself.

I’m listening, Black Hat Poet,
but I don’t know if I can make fun of the enemy
and have him laugh with me.

I’m listening, Cecilio,
but you know I always listened to you.
I can only blame myself for all my failures.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


The word has lost
its Chicano name in Albuquerque
ever since Cecilio left.

The word has lost
its power and pride in San Antonio
where once the Black Hat Poet pounced.

The word has lost
its brown bravado in Colorado
where Lalo’s footprints waged war in the snow.

And on the dusty streets
of Gonzales, Texas, there’s evidence
that Max is trying to teach us a brand new language.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Speech To The Beseechers

I was with Armstrong
and claimed the moon for Mexico
to please my little Aluristas.

When I got back down
Lalo came up to me
and took my knife away.

I could not carve up Jesucristos
or carve my Carmen’s name
on barrio trees.

Ricardo towered over me
and I was stunned
by his tossing of the turquoise tongue.

Corky courted me with Denver,
told me it was
almost as high up as the moon.

So you see, you newcomers,
what chance do you have
of winning my heart?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

For My Nephew Jake

You wear your browness like a shield
to fend off the advances and retreats
of those who would steal your culture.

They take a lot
and call it little.
Caught red-handed, they call it nothing.

They claim they do not know
what they are doing
and wink to each other.

Do not let your guard down,
keep brandishing your browness,
be brave and bold and persevere.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Last Breakfast In Athens

in memory of Cecania Mueller

My heart on a hill
like what remains of the Parthenon,
gunpowder exploding in my eyes,

Persians in the pass,
their fleet boiling close to shore
held at bay by a pot of coffee.

I ordered eggs be sacrificed
to onions and tomatoes.
Byron’s sister hiding in the Trojan Horse of salt.

The past can only
be recovered by the past,
and then not changed.

A furious morning sun burns a hole
in downtown Athens,
my taxi teeters on a sword.

I see your face on whitewashed walls,
I swear our ancient love
could be revived, oh, Golden Fleece!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

One-Eyed Purple People Eater

A Cyclops has bespectacled
the people we met and befriended.
Waves scampered like puppies

you cuddled and chased after---
the Argonauts knew well submerged
only their bubbles would be visible.

We ventured into Captain Nemo’s lounge,
it was a music that forebode
our parting and our pleas.

He pointed in arrears
to the things we take for granted.
A pair of seahorses horsed around.

I looked for you for years in vain.
Climbing the cliffs of the Acropolis,
I can go back centuries in search of you.

On the beach, the face of this girl or that,
her blowing hair, her eyes, her lips.
Yet, there can be no one like us.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Aftermath of Pythagorean Math

Picking ourselves up
from the side of the lighthouse,
the old Greek stood by

aghast from head to toe,
his Achilles heel almost healed
after all the centuries of mending.

Sure, hemlock can kill a man,
but it can also kill a nation---
witness that crew that offered us towels for a nickel.

Cecania, your smile, though blessing me
with just rewards
after the horror of the war,

was not enough, yes, not quite enough.
We parted ways inland
and thirty-five years later

I returned to the same sea.
Only the lighthouse remains,
the lighthouse keeper replaced by automation.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

By The Aegean Sea With Cecania

I wonder if the sea can hear
all the racket that it makes?
Like scorpion stings on the sand dispersed

and each grain curled up in pain.
The beach foaming at the mouth,
sand dunes on horseback prepared to attack.

The lips of your thighs
saying something I can not hear
impaled as they are by the surf.

It would not surprise me
if a leviathan sprang out of the waves
and swallowed us,

spit us out covered in seaweed,
slamming us against a lighthouse wall,
stunned, sliding to the base.

The lighthouse keeper hurries in concern
and warns us (kind of late, don’t you think?)
about the dangers of the undertow.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Camelot Part Four

Picture John-John and Caroline at the grave,
brave little soldiers.
Jackie immaculate in her stoicism,

a credit unbeknownst to ancient Greece.
The unforeseen is what we fear,
sometimes it’s so near, sometimes it’s so far away.

Which is it? The limousine
flew to through the streets of Dallas
but even at that speed

it could not catch up
with John’s fast fleeting life
as it wended in and out of clouds.

Saint Peter couldn’t be dressed neater
as he announced to God
(who was picking his nose)

the presence of a new arrival.
God climbed down from his bed,
slipped into his furry, pink slippers,

and walked down the hall.
“Oh, it’s him. Yes, yes,
I have a place for him.”

And Saint Peter put John
where the Lord had pointed to---
next to what was left

of the soul of John’s father.
Ah, proof that the soul
indeed wears out.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Camelot Part Three

Are these flying fish?
Oh, my God, they’re Cuban ICBMs
heading to Florida by boat.

Khrushchev pounds his shoe
to rail against capitalism
with his imported foot appliance

which has just now arrived from Italy
via courier Louis Simpson
who’s been imagining Whitman along the way.

Robert Frost once coughed
a lonely poem of premonition
and croaked like a frog soon after.

However, John kept his arsenal poised,
his astronauts straddled tomorrow’s rockets,
his women patiently willing rabbits.

His wife shopping or pregnant
and out of his hair
hunkered down in chic New York City fur.

He had his enemies of course
though none of them his conquests.
Sure, he lacked a future, but who doesn’t?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Camelot Part Two

There was sadness in their eyes
that could not defeat
the smile upon their lips.

The Atlas rocket weak in the knees, yet gleaming.
Gravity trying its best
for naught.

It was not man
who first looked
down on earth in wonder,

it was a Russian dog instead---
so far removed from chromosomes,
she was no friend to man.

Marilyn slipped into her panties
still reeling from head to toe. Oh, Steed!
John fumbled with his tie,

swam in the Pacific long ago,
or called Bobby to complain
about that cross-dressing Hoover, he laughed.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


John F. Kennedy was making love
to Marilyn Monroe,
kissing her breasts as he thrust,

trying to get an American to the moon,
himself and his little troops marching.
Marilyn was moaning and sighing,

jamming her pelvis into John’s pelvis.
Cape Canaveral all lit up
in her eyes,

John’s head on the verge
of an explosion.
He dug his face in her neck.

The moon is barren,
devoid of water
and eighty per cent blonde.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Today is
National Taser A Cop Day

Saturday, December 01, 2007