Chicano Poet

Friday, February 29, 2008

Who Welcomed Raul?

in memory of raulrsalinas

Who welcomed Raul
when he finally reached
those sandy shores

after having endured
that desert of a sea,
no water to drink,

not even the occasional
rain shower or vicious storm,
after having left

the Southside of Austin
on the pilgrimage
which all of us must undertake,

but which none of us can go there
having accumulated
as much unselfish work as Raul,

because most of us
only worry about ourselves,
it’s always me, me, me?

It’s only about others
when the benefits
are laid out beforehand.

Who welcomed Raul
when he finally reached
those sandy shores?

Well, I have no doubt
that Cecilio was there,
and Lalo, and Ricardo, and Trini,

and that they talked forever
on that beautiful beach,
not in language but in poetry.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Mickey Mouse Prophecies

Some say the world will end in fire,
some say in ice,
Frost favored those
who favored mice.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Apparition On My Last Winter Visit To Paris

In a station of the Metro,
Pound's reflection on a wet black bough.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

For My Brother Val

My brother Val turns another year older today,
from fighting as kids
with bamboo swords,

to trekking the mountains of California,
the years do not shave,
the wars are all wrong,

yet we have traveled here,
me with words to battle,
you with paint to stab,

we don’t take prisoners,
and we won’t be taken alive,
you take the high road

and I take the low road,
dragons to fight, hot coals to walk on,
Apache arrows to pull from the shoulder,

happy birthday brother
if you wanna paint the sun dumb and blue
I’ll write from the middle of words outward

till the meaning lies at both ends,
never put your horse hair brushes down,
too many Roman roads to build and curse.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Katrina And The Waves

Henry took his finger
out of the hole in the levee
and watched the brown town drown.

The ones that could swim swum,
the ones that could sink sunk,
the ones that could bloat bloated.

The government stood by,
twiddled its opposing thumbs,
tapped its feet, chewed bubble gum.

The men in suits
made sure their ties weren’t twisted,
combed their hair, glanced at each other,

and to this very day
the brown town is still around,
a shadow of its former self.

Happy Birthday to my brother Val.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Creating an HD disc in plain DVDs for free

Oh, the irony: now that the HD-DVD format is dead, now there IS a devised freeware way to burn HD video on plain DVD media discs. This method is attributed to um3k, I just put it together in a (hopefully) more comprehensive tutorial so everyone can follow the method easier, while I included a workflow that is more consistent with the way people work and edit their footage. The difficulty of carrying out the tutorial is “intermediate”, but after you are successful once, it should be a piece of cake from that point on. The interesting thing about this method is that it does not use EVO files, but plain VOB files that happen to be HD. This means that you can mix 480p and 720p and 1080p VOB files in it, and thus making it compatible with every DVD player out there (plain DVD and Blu-Ray players will be able to recognize the 480p VOB files and play them back, while HD-DVDs will play back their HD versions of the clips on the same disc).

Read the rest here.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Other Mexican Revolution

Henry muttered his Mexican Revolution
from inside a piñata.
His woman was all for him,

her fish eyes wagging that sweet smile.
But, you must know, she secretly told herself,
a Mexican can’t govern caca.

She was, of course, very clairvoyant,
even though she couldn’t see the future---
looking at the past

only prepares you for the same mistakes.
Henry had all this big plans for the country
but they amounted to nothing.

“My fellow Mexicans, look upon what greatness
I have created, and be amazed!”
yelled Henry Ozymandias.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Kingdom Of America

God’s a jackass, if you ask me,
said Henry as he patted her thigh
and then her fur.

I’m not asking you, she said,
tapping him on the head
with her knuckles

and calling him silly.
Yet allowing him to do whatever whenever.
That was her way.

Henry, for his part,
always went away feeling like a king.
Having beheaded Robin Hood,

he said, let the poor
fend for themselves.
Henry was a good Republican.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Frost Rides Again

When Frost got back to his hotel
after having been shot at
by a Texas farmer in a cowboy hat,

he fed his little horse,
took a taxi to the local gun store
and bought hisself a rifle to kill boar---

at least, that’s what he told the clerk.
Next morning, bright and early in the morning,
him and his horsey went barnstorming.

He found the farmer mending fences.
He took aim, shot him dead
& rode home wearing the bloody cowboy hat on his head.

Now that Fidel has resigned,
rumors are that his idiot son
Fidel W. Castro with take over
the reins and demand that Russia
give him some ICBMs.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sylvia Plath Tours Texas

Sylvia went to Texas
because she was looking for a Texas-sized man,
it was certainly an ambitious plan.

She went to the Alamo
and made love to Davy Crockett,
but he only had a jalapeno in his pocket.

She jumped over the wall
and made love to Santa Ana
but he only had a small banana.

She heard rumors about Sam Houston
but when she lassoed the man of her dream
not even Rhode Island would be proud of him.

She felt like putting her head in a barbecue pit,
disappointed as she was with her Texas screws.
Instead, she went back to Teddy’s tiny, unlit fuse.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Frost In Texas

Frost and his little horse
stopped on a hill overlooking a farmhouse
when suddenly a shot rang out.

Texas farmers don’t take kindly
to Yankee poets trespassing
on the land they stole from Indians.

So Frost just ducked his head.
“Good fences don’t make good neighbors round here.”
he told his horse’s rear.

Recently there's been a lot of buzz
about HD-DVD losing out to Blu-Ray.
So since I'm so far behind the times,
I finally decided to get rid of my
Beta Max machine and splurge on a
VHS puppy which cost me about ten
dollars at the local Goodwill Store.
Guess I've got to buy VHS tapes now.
Lucky for me,money does grow on trees.
I've invested in an American company
that's chopping down all the trees in
the Amazon.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Quetzalcoatl Sandoval,Jr, raulrsalinas and clyde torres
Spring 2007 at Blue Star Arts Complex in San Antonio,Tejas
Photo by Nancy Finneran

Remembering raulrsalinas

There are no more Chicano poets being created-----
of course, I hope I’m wrong. When I first ventured
into the Chicano Movement, Alurista, Ricardo Sanchez,
raulrsalinas, and organizers like Corky Gonzales were
already forging a model. One which had great promise.
I had come into the Movimiento through the Peace
Movement, protesting the Viet Nam War. Thereafter,
at every poetic gathering, whether it was a Floricanto,
or later the Cantos Al Pueblo or gathering at the
Guadalupe Cultural Center in San Antonio, Texas.
I would always run into raul. From our first meeting,
I knew that this was not just a Chicano poet, but a man
who felt deeply that changes were needed. He did
not wait for somebody else to do the job. He was
the foot soldier, he was on the frontlines while many
of us cowered behind stone walls and waited for him
to clear the minefields. He pointed the way. Let’s
not let him down.

Henry’s Elegy For El Tapon

Oh, Christ, Mr. Bones, life sure goin’ away
cried Henry into his sleeve
not only for El Tapon but for hisself

because when some great poet dies
and you’re a poet too ( though not great, of course)
you can’t help thinking of your own death.

El Tapon walking the city slicker streets
of Los Angeles or Austin or San Quentin,
the same culture we’s pushed into by the white America

of those time and these.
El Tapon was able to work his way
to the surface, to swim against the current,

to place that stone on top of the hill---
the very stone Sisyphus couldn’t muster.
I’s a tellin’ you, Mr. Bones,

El Tapon as a great man,
greater than you or me ever hatched to be.
He strove for the big picture, he tweren’t provincial like America.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Message From Red Salmon Arts & Resistencia Bookstore

Austin,Texas--- from the Austin Chronicle

Local poet, activist, and Resistencia Bookstore founder Raúl Salinas passed away Wednesday morning, Feb. 13, after a long illness. See next week's issue for remembrances from his friends and colleagues; see for up-to-date information on tributes, readings, and funeral arrangements.

Photo by Alan Pogue, courtesy of
Rene Valdez sent this message on behalf of Raúl's home base, Resistencia Bookstore, home of Casa de Red Salmon Arts. Valdez has been a longtime supporter and manager of the bookstore. A few more details here, including mention that there will also be an altar for Raúl at the bookstore, located at 1808 South First Street.
Saludos desde Resistencia Bookstore, Casa de Red Salmon Arts,
It is with great sadness we inform all of our community supporters, comrades, familia and colegas about the passing of our elder, teacher, father, chicanindio, and poeta revolutionario raúlrsalinas.
As you may know, for the past couple of years, raúl has been struggling with his health. We understand that it's difficult for us to let him go, but since the beginning of the year his health continued to be a major challenge. Unfortunately, his body just could not take the strain and was deteriorating at a rapid pace. Even though he has left this realm and it's a great loss para nuestro pueblo, his spirit is strong and lives on in all of us.
As his family provides more information, we will share it with everyone. For now this is just a notification of the passing of our brother. We will notify you about where you can send condolences, flowers, and cards as we get more information. An altar has been created in front of the bookstore on South First St. in Austin, Texas for now. We thank everyone for their good energy and support and prayers in this time of loss and mourning.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Henry Hora

Henry was rummaging
through the trash cans
as car headlights, turning the corner,

blinded him for a second.
He proceeded to look for scraps
to feed his young.

He grabbed the morsels in his paws,
rushed back to the kids
hidden in the safety of the bushes.

If Henry had not been born a skunk,
he would have loved
becoming poet, pauper or king.

But we can not pick
what we want to be, thought Henry
as he curled his stinky tail and went to sleep.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Petrarchan Sonnet

Did he ever fantasize in the shower
about Reina Feliciano
while his wife vaccumed?

Henry could not make that
a public record, but his mind wondered…
dirty laundry, especially panties

should only be aired
if they belong to famous women, his mind insisted.
Marilyn on her deathbed would not mind the intrusion.

Sylvia Plath in her cozy little oven
would not put up a fight
as you pulled them around her ankles.

Anne Sexton would sit there, stiff in her car.
If you don’t mind
panties reeking carbon monoxide,

go ahead and ply your trade.
“Are you done yet?”
yelled Henry’s wife, the cleaning maven.

Monday, February 11, 2008

For Juan Effe Hache

Juan Effe Hache dressed like an Aztec
at one of those old Floricantos---
well, you had to be there.

Henry points out that
in this particular instance
time is not cyclical,

he’s sorry to disappoint
his Mayan brothers.
Anyway, white men say

that those very same Mayans
disappeared so long ago,
but what do they call these jungle dwellers?

Today Juan probably dresses
like an undocumented worker
though Henry ain’t seen him in katuns.

… indeed, time may yet be cyclical
but cyclical like a bicycle, two
rolling wheels of time, which you
yourself can see as a bicycle goes by,
they move in unison. The question
being what happens if you pick up
one end of the bicycle while both
wheels are spinning. The answer
is 2012…

Quetzalcoatl Sandoval
in his monumental classic
The Great Wheels,
published in 1959 by Corinth.

poorly translated by me
from the original English.

Does McCain belong in a nursing home? Yes.
Is Hillary Clinton married to the first
black President? Yes.
Is Obama a Moslem? No.Worse than that,
he's a damn Christian!

We are doomed.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Politicians possess a special language that requires special translators. Yet, they don't simply engage in double-speak and obfuscation. Their primary objective, particularly during elections, seems to be contributing to national narratives that can be better understood as myth-making: the idea of American exceptionalism.

This year's number one word/phrase & myth is "change." Sen. Barack Obama claims to embody it, yet, Sen. John McCain – who would keep troops in Iraq for a 100 years – also claims to be "the face of change." Gov. Mike Huckabee, who supports overturning the 14th Amendment (birthright citizenship), also claims to have become "the face of change."

Political double-speak and myth-making, however, is not a partisan affair. For instance, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has refused to entertain the issue of impeachment, claiming that it is "off the table." She appears to have confused her role as a leading Democrat, with her Constitutional role as the head of the House of Representatives, whose primary duties are to uphold the Constitution and to carry out the peoples' business.

Read the rest here.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Guitar Hero

Henry Hernandez, con guitar,
strummed the strings in his native country
but the revolution had not gone well.

The dry mountains and dead valleys
had spit their Indians up north
where according to Octavio Paz

Henry could divest himself
of that dusty smell he had accumulated
piling stone upon stone,

and all for what?
The Spaniards made off with all the gold
and maidenheads,

young warriors and wimps like hisself
killed off by Cortez and his criminals.
Grandson Henry pronounces his name Hernandass.

It's a poem because I say it is...
great post at Jim Murdoch's blog
scroll down when you get there.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Henry The Educator

Henry’s brown skin takes its toll
on friend and foe alike,
tequila toes and dagger smile,

ladies surmise he’s got no behind,
he’s that skinny, ja,
but dem dat visit am quite satisfied

with hiss bumper steered in traffic.
Cadillac indeed, no kraut Volkswagen
or French embarrassment.

The Mexicans themselves have no wheels
though they are well-known
for their exquisite poverty.

Henry from zoot suit, greasy hair,
Fifties crew cut, Sixties long hair
and now still teaching things or two.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Mexican Stone Age

Brown Henry loved Rosa’s body
dented from Aztec princess
to what we hold dear.

Two lips of wonder, two of wantonness,
but now all that has passed
on burro carts and border fences,

cheap labor, trash-loving Indian breed---
she defended the brown ones (still does)
politely kissed off Henry

and Henry for his part
replaced his own heart with poetry,
feet which stunk of it,

hands that hampered. His heritage uprooted
and planted in the present
where he claims no great past like the others.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Da Henry Without A Country

Deprived of his country, homeless Henry
fretted no more over war,
laughed at the casualties,

poked fun at the grieving relatives.
His fans fumed, and the retarded President
kept governing his retarded country.

Homeless Henry threw himself a party.
Defrauded of stars and strips,
he wiped his arse with the pledge of allegiance.

Deprived of his country, he wouldn’t budge,
told the truth even when
the shirt off his back was back.

His wife continued to carafully dry herself
after each and every pee,
but Henry’s country remained afoul.

Obama And The Latino Vote

Monday, February 04, 2008

Homage To Vangie Vigil

Huffy Henry was a macho who always
thought with his crotch
as Vangie Vigil so elegantly phrased it.

Even if it was botched
like the Beat Generation to hims,
bozo co-existed with his existence.

Giving it into his wife
Henry was thinking of his college student Darla
who flashed her panties at him

forever crossing her legs in that short skirt.
Henry imagined Darla batting her eyes,
hitting homeruns with his manhood

into the right field seats at Yankee Stadium.
The Babe pointing to Henry,
“Vangie’s got you pegged, hombre.”

Friday, February 01, 2008

What Does It Matter

What does it matter
that five more American soldiers
died in a roadside bomb attack

when Britney was rushed to the hospital?
What does it matter
if a 19-year-old soldier died in Mosul,

never got to see his new-born daughter
back in Indiana
when Lindsay’s wrecked her SUV?

What does it matter
if a helicopter crashed
north of Baghdad

and all aboard
were killed,
what does it matter

when Paris had to go to jail?
What does it matter if we lose the war
when Britney was rushed to the hospital?