Chicano Poet

Thursday, April 30, 2009

War As Foreseen By John Lennon

The enemy will not be denied,
recruiting cavemen to what extent,

and Conestoga wagons full of fire
aimed at barns,

knights in tarnished armor,
bare-chested nuns,

the enemy is not pulling
any punches,

the enemy is bent on destruction,
the enemy is positioning its artillery,

everything is set in gold,
is everybody ready,

unfortunately, yes, very unfortunately,
there is no one to fight.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Anniversary Of Unrequited Love

Heart on his sleeve for almost
forty years,

that ain’t right,
what a silly Chicano,

for that is what he is,
and has always been,

no Mexican, no Mexican-American,
no stinking Latino,

god forbid he ever
accept the word Hispanic,

screw that,
oh, yes, he’s loved you that long,

wearing his heart on his sleeve
has not been easy on him,

scratched up from running
into rosebushes,

spilling hot bean caldo on it
has resulted in scar tissue,

cut by sharp, hard tortillas
when times are lean,

allergic to cilantro,
that’s gringo crap

says his primo Pelon,
his cousin Pelon is always right,

it all has to do with you wearing
your heart on your sleeve he yells,

the sleeve itself torn to shreds like a piñata
which has kept it's word to the bitter end.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

John And Kate Make Hate

She lay there and hated me,
but you know what’s that like,

the whole forest could fall,
and she would not hear it,

a spaceman could arrive,
and the earth stand still,

yet she would not know it,
I might as well go out

into the front yard and break snow in half,
teach the snowman how to be bad,

God knows I’ve been bad,
why do you think she lay there hating me,

hated me with all her heart
because she loved me.

Monday, April 27, 2009


I have no obvious right to your body,
no signatures stating otherwise,

no one yelling from a tower
or hillocks,

no trampled grass
to disclose such a path,

birds do not fly at my head
and sing,

yet, I would like to have that right,
sink my fingers into you

as if you were sugar
instead of this god-awful sand.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Twice I sought to make love to your backbone,
the length of it confusing me,

my eyes leaned on an old radio,
vintage 1970,

immobility had come in the mail,
bereft of round postage stamps,

the limp arms of the room
on a glass sofa,

indeed, I wished to spill my love on you,
and find you shouting with respect,

let dawn regret tomorrow
while we carried on.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

La Conocida

How often he came home drunk,
and beat the shit out of her,

only she knew, how often
he raped her, how often

she tried to fight him off unsuccessfully,
only she knew.

They urged her to leave
the son of a bitch,

“the fucking drunk is worthless”,
her brothers would tell her,

but who can know
what goes on inside a distant star,

who can know where the birds are flying to,
maybe they themselves do not know,

who knows why the ice is melting at the poles,
maybe only the ice.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Philadelphia Experiment

“Hi, I’m Phil, and this is my story.”

I want to got to Wal-Mart,
but I am afraid of the roadside bombs along the way,

I do not trust Iraqi children,
I am afraid of the old, toothless Iraqi woman,

I want to go buy a new mp3 player at Best Buy,
but I am afraid Al-Sadr’s militia will attack me,

I want to ogle scantily clad girls at the mall,
but when I get there, they are covered from head to toe

in black dresses, their eyes barely visible
behind their headgear,

I want to go to Wal-Mart,
but I am afraid of the roadside bombs,

I am afraid we have re-created
Frankenstein’s monster right here in Pennsylvania.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Gran Torino

This memory must be from the Sixties,
abuelo’s dipping a piece of tortilla in his coffee cup,

getting ready for work
at Schroeder Distributing Company,

a beer distributor,
what, maybe seven blocks

from our house on Fourth Street,
which when abuelo bought this property,

the house was surrounded by pig farms,
abuelo and abuela both gone now,

me in my early sixties, and the neighborhood
full of permanent mojados,

and their gang-banging offspring.
Ay, diosito, please bring back los maranitos!

This poem, of course, mimics the Clint Eastwood movie:
A literal translation of the last line of this poem
would be something like,

God,please bring back the little pigs.

but diosito (God) is used in the diminutive, and so is
maranitos (little pigs) which perhaps, yet probably not, softens
the political incorrectnes (in some circles)towards the people
who have destroyed the speaker's old neighborhood.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tales From The Dark Side

Last night I was programming on MasterCam 10 when
one of my co-workers said, hey, Flavia from assembly
wants to talk to you when you get a minute. Flavia has
a friend, she says (almost in tears) that her friend Rosa
who works twelve hours at a sandwich shop got pregnant
by a guy in Califas five years ago. He beat her so she ran
off to Texas, without the baby. Just this week she got a
phone call from the guy, he’s demanding child support
from her. I ask her if she’s gotten anything official from
the State of California. And then she tells me the rest of
the story.

He’s an illegal alien. She’s an illegal alien. Both of them
have been deported more than three times. I tell her
that my guess is that nothing will come of his threats.
This is way more serious than being a stranger in a
strange land. Beam me up, Scotty! ...........Ay, buey!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Most of Juan Felipe Herrera’s many books
evoke at once the hardships that
Mexican-Americans have undergone
and the exhilarating space for self-reinvention
that a New World art offers. The child of
migrant workers and now a professor
at the University of California, Riverside,
Herrera began to publish and perform verse
in the late 1960s and early ’70s, amid
the Chicano cultural ferment of Los Angeles
and San Diego; he has been, and should be,
admired for his portrayals of Chicano life.
Yet he is no mere recorder of social conditions.
Herrera is, instead, a sometimes hermetic,
wildly inventive, always unpredictable poet,
whose work commands attention for its style alone.

more here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

from One Poet's Notes

When I heard the sad news yesterday
about the suicide of Nicholas Hughes,
the 47-year-old son of Sylvia Plath
and Ted Hughes, I found it difficult to
connect the man that had become
a successful ecologist—who specialized
for more than two decades in studies
of salmon behavior and their patterns
of feeding or who held a position
as professor of fisheries
and ocean sciences at the University
of Alaska, Fairbanks—with the images
of him depicted as the infant son
in the Plath volumes on one of my bookshelves.
Like many others, until now my familiarity
with Nicholas Hughes existed solely
from information in Plath’s poetry
and her journals.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Brown Lagoon

In this lagoon, Brooke Shields
is a brown girl,

and I am the brown boy
who rubs up against her

until one day she finally

the barrio lagoon being
such a hard place to raise a child,

we flee to the white lagoon
where we stand out like sore thumbs,

and they, the forever they,
grab our thumbs and twist them.

Friday, April 10, 2009

No Neil Sedaka, Me

Picture me without arms,
if you will,

picture me without legs…
a thumb tack

can’t be driven
all the way to China,

said the sick girl
I was courting with my torso,

my prick so big
in this configuration.

Claret Tories filled
the bonfire of my last poems, I quoted,

in hope of winning
her back,

you’re a fucking newt,
she yelled at me, Get Out!

The sweaty, Middle Eastern taxi driver
throws me into the backseat

like a suitcase---
snail skin, nonetheless.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Dental Assistant

She was disfiguring my mouth
to take the x-rays,

pressing her thighs
harder and harder against me,

I was making love to her
when she realized

what was happening
she spread her legs apart

to retreat from me,
but in a professional manner,

and proceeded to the take the x-rays
of my excited teeth.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


In the old part of town,
he raped an eight year old girl,

afterwards he pulled up his zipper.
With his animal instincts satisfied,

he knew he must strangle her,
he could hear the nearby noise

of the freewayfreewayfreeway,
he could smell the smog,

he could hear distant voices,
he dragged her into the bushes,

he walked up the hill to civilization,
and he became human again.

Friday, April 03, 2009

At The Leonard Cohen Concert In Austin, Texas
April 2, 2009

At the end of a schtick,
the famous poet:

a napkin full of guilt
is ignored tonight.

Trees afraid to lose their leaves
(he says) benefit no one,

but we borrow a cracked cup
to sleep in anyway,

and faraway in Brooklyn Heights,
darkening even more inside a knife,

and old whore recites the very poem
we thought was ours.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The End Of The Seguin Public Library

It was the coldest winter ever,
and when we ran out of furniture to burn,

we started with the books,
first Alurista and Lalo,

then Sanchez and Salinas---
both Raul and the Crazy Gypsy.

We burned the women, too,
as if they were La Llorona,

Tafolla, Alma Villanueva, Lorna,
La Sandra tambien,

the lost and luscious
Becky Flores,

and finally we had to jump
into the fire ourselves.