Chicano Poet

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Word

There are things about me you don’t know
said the Word

The Word was long and short
wide and narrow if you will

in a dim lit room
it was bright

in a bright room
it darkened

soft and hard
long and short again

skinny and fat
dead and alive

darn clever
of it

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Leap Frog
by my brother Val


La Vida Perra

the maquiladora worker’s
tired hands

hadn’t seen the bristling sky since dawn
her oldest son turned into sweat so long ago

two narcotraficantes vibrate
barely recognizable sidewalks

hot wind doesn’t know
the meaning of stupid

a wasp curled upon itself
small pain all dressed up in its eyes

she grinds on car doors all day long
making sure to jiggle her ankles as she works

the ancient mountains she came from
would like that

wet nose of the family dog greets her
with a sword

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Nature's Melody
by Aesop Cardenas

Monday, October 26, 2009

Observations Of A Confused State
by my nephew Aesop Cardenas

Friday, October 23, 2009

Near Apocalypse

I woke up in New York City
and it was deserted

a lone woman surfaces after months
her sweetness verified by salt

my Hebrew arrogance
washed down a gutter by dirt

we embrace in fear and anger
warm like broken bricks

the sea splashing against a street
subway submerged in wonder

the grasses like us
grow with no names

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Clearing Stalin’s Name

Stalin’s relatives try to clear his name
car radio plays silvery songs

trout lunges at butterfly
what was Gertie Stein thinking

when she wrote the line
which had remained hers till now

iceberg shifting its hip
to get up

my girlfriend wearing rhyming panties
her hand breached by a motorcycle

flames licking at oxygen
Plath has become a dragon

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

El Presumido

my dad made a grotto
out of cement

pa que abuela could
put La Virgen de San Juan

in the frontyard
by the double windows

con las flores moradas
their name eludes me now

la Virgen must have
done its job

because abuela lived to be
a hundred

hope La Virgen bears in mind
I was abuela’s favorite

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Sky Is Falling The Sky Is Falling
by Quetzalcoatl “Chicken Little” Sandoval

The day that the sky did fall and flattened the rich part of town
all the poor went to see the unbelievable. They stood there in
amazement and asked, why and how did this happen? Certainly
it was none of their business. No one had the answer. I was visiting
the United States, Columbia University, to be exact, when this
marvelous, I mean, when this mystery of mysteries occurred. When
I got back to Mexico, I too ventured into the disaster area, looked up
at where that part of the sky used to be, the void sent chills up my
spine, the mind becomes fuzzy and confused, and soon I had to hurry
away from there, least I lose all bodily control. The best minds of our
generation are working twenty four hours a day to figure out
if this an anomaly or if it will happen again. Yet, even as I write this
very word there is news on the television that the sky has fallen
upon the Hamptons and on Malibu Beach in the United States. So
we have our answer. It is not over. But, it appears the poor have
nothing to fear.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

With Apologies To Ahmajinedad
by Quetzalcoatl Sandoval

When Adorno said that poetry was impossible after the Holocaust,
he said nothing about the comedy which has reared its ugly:) head in
America where almost every comedian worth his salt is Jewish.
How could Adorno get it so wrong? Though he was, admittedly,
a great thinker, he had no clue about the spirit of human nature.
After the gas chamber, can there be over-sized shoes, and big red
rubber noses? Obviously, yes. So, indeed, time reduces even the
most concrete statement to dust. The Phoenix rises from its own
ashes. There is candy in a beaten piñata. The dry creek floods. Now,
we wait impatiently for the Mexican to triumph.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Elegy (Casting Aspersions) For Freddy Lorca

In Spain, bulls and poets

are put to death in the same manner.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Algo O Nada

the poem
is a small
imperfect interruption
of space

it can be filled
or emptied
of its innards
on a whim

it exists
at the will of others
it waits
at the will of others

it will carry on
all by itself
parched, dusty
until someone

comes along
breathes the words out loud
makes it a poem again
and closes the page

Monday, October 12, 2009

Conversation As We Drive Away From Wally World

Above Wal-Mart the clouds are dark, threatening with drizzle.
Soft asphalt of a girl’s shoulder the river jumps into a shopping cart
as I launch Doppler radar on my iPhone atom by atom a cloud is born
a car door gathers four damn kids

the parking lot exits are full of scratches god I hate it when you
question my answers and the artifact of lingering warmth

in the rear view mirror

bereckons smiles with horizons
before I realize what I am saying

Friday, October 09, 2009

Stopping By The Hoods On A Summer Evening

Whose hoods these are I think I know.
His crib next to a burnt out store;
he will not mind if I hang out
to watch the streets fill up with punks.

His fellow gang bangers don’t think it gay
when he won’t whistle at the ho
who leans into the window of a car
on this darkest night of the year.

He gives his gun a twirl
to put all women in their place.
The only other sound’s
the hip hop raping of the wind.

The hoods are lovely, dark and deep,
but he has brothers yet to shoot.
He smiles before he goes to sleep,
he smiles before he goes to sleep.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

México, ven por tu gente
Or The Poetry Of John Ashbery
by Quetzalcoatl Sandoval

I arrived at the Columbia auditorium about forty minutes early
to make sure I got a good seat to hear the imminent and foremost
American poet John Ashbery. He has published over a thousand
books of poetry, each totally different from the previous one. Quite
an accomplishment in such a paltry century. The crowd of sixteen
finally started gathering and was seated anxiously awaiting the
arrival of the great man. He was finally introduced by a mousy
fellow who poured on the honey as we say in Mexico. It was not
an impressive reading, but still well worth the trip north. Yet, I
was not ready to see such a niggardly audience turnout, especially
in a city of millions. Of course, America is mostly devoid of true
Americans as most of New York is composed of immigrants and
mostly of a lowly lot. I got my books autographed and then I
proceeded to walk to my hotel, getting mugged (and not by 10
year old homeless kids like back home) once, well, twice, but the
second time I had nothing of value and the ungrateful mulatto
refused to take my autographed copies of John Ashbery books.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

A Visit To America
by Quetzalcoatl Sandoval

Perhaps in no other country in the world is the poet
separated from the average person as much and as
distant. Even in a community such as a university the
poet is held at arm’s length by the Others because
he is a specialist in a field which is not tangible or at
least made of rare parts of the molecule which can
never be seen or touched. If the poet is bold enough
to announce his existence he must either be a very
brave soul or the village idiot. Other poets may crawl
to his defense but not wholeheartedly--- no battles
or wars ever won. Defensive wounds are nothing to
brag about. How did America come to despise and
disown its poets? It is no secret that Americans have
gradually lost the use of language, relying instead on
grunts, slang, and blows to the chest or face. They
only use verbs. They can not use fingers, their life is
all knuckles now. Their thighs have reverted to scrapping
along. Maybe I have overstayed my welcome in Nuyor.
Tomorrow I will return to Mexico City. Perhaps I will
have more to say on the subject when I have a chance
to re-charge my batteries.

translated from the Greek by Ari Johnston

(this essay appears in its entirety in Zal's new book
2013, Or Not)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Monday, October 05, 2009


the year was 8419
when i awoke

moon sugars divided
at center

your ankles in a poem
of steel

kiss stretched
between a seven

i had to share you
with a cloud and bread

scent of sierras
rotted like an old pier

neglected eyes soft shoulders
twilight raging

but i was ten years old
silent and needle-nosed

Sunday, October 04, 2009

by Bryce Milligan - Special to the Express-News

The late poet Raul Salinas once famously called Angela De Hoyos the "den mother of the Chicano movement."

He was not referring to Cub Scouts but to wolves. It was, in many ways, a perfect description. De Hoyos was fierce in her advocacy, loyal to her raza and the gentlest of guiding spirits to many, many young writers.

De Hoyos passed peacefully on Sept. 24, sitting at her breakfast table as her faithful companion of 50-some years, Moises Sandoval, was fixing her cereal. She had been ill and increasingly reclusive for the last few years. This was not surprising for a poet who once asserted, "I'm a cannibal lady, / I want 8-legged poems / or none at all. . . . "

Born in 1924 in Coahuila, she came to San Antonio when she was 2. Early romantic poems appeared in her high school newspaper. Moved by the struggle of migrant workers and the urban poor, her poetry turned increasingly political — predating the Chicano literary movement by many years.

Few people know that during the 1950s, Angela was a lyricist (as Angelina Sandoval) who worked with musicians such as Emilio Caceres and the popular group Los Tres Reyes.

By the mid-1970s, Angela was publishing her poetry in magazines and giving readings whenever the just-awakening Texas movimiento Chicano had need of a poet. Her poems won the 1972 Diploma de Benemerenza of the Academia Leonardo da Vinci in Rome, and in 1974 she took second place at the International Poetry Competition, also in Rome.

Her first slim book, "Arise, Chicano!" appeared in 1975. Her next book, "Chicano Poems: For the Barrio" (also 1975) exhibited one of her most distinctive talents — "code switching" between English and Spanish phrases within the same sentences, reflecting the common spoken idiom of South Texas. By the 1980s, De Hoyos was a very well-known poet, the subject of numerous dissertations in Europe and Latin America.

A self-taught graphic designer, she put these skills to good use when she later founded M&A Editions, a pioneering press that would publish the first works of poets such as Carmen Tafolla, Evangelina Vigil-PiÒon, Mia GarcÌa-Camarillo and Juan Tejeda.

Tejeda says that "Angela was like a mother to me, and to all of us. She was a tiny woman with a gigantic corazÛn." Vigil-PiÒÛn recalls Angela as "an extraordinary thinker with a heart full of passion and caring."

Carmen Tafolla writes: "We have truly lost one of the literary pioneers of San Antonio. She carried the art of poetry to its highest standard, opened doors for young writers, and shouldered the weight of so many social issues which she confronted in an activist and artful craft. . . . But Angela was impressive beyond just her poetry. It was her gentleness that impressed us. Her taking responsibility for the world, or the part of it she could change."

But her work was not done, even as the Chicano movement lost momentum. Throughout the 1990s, working with myself and my wife, Mary, we edited the two groundbreaking all-Latina anthologies, "Daughters of the Fifth Sun" (1995) and "°Floricanto SÌ!" (1998). Such was her energy and vision, we had no idea that she was already in her 70s. She was wise, caring, talented and ever energetic. Vaya con Dios, Angela.

Bryce Milligan is an author and the publisher/editor of Wings Press. He worked closely with De Hoyos for many years.

Friday, October 02, 2009


"Aren't we all guilty?"
— RaúlRSalinas, "La Loma," Un Trip Through
the Mind Jail Y Otras Excursions©

blood-red message
on the teen-age
delinquent's T-shirt
proclaims, flaunting
his ill-defined contempt his
arrogance his defiance
his gran machín status his
undisputed ability to
out-snort the gang
— but beyond that
hardened mask
of his face:
his tender fuzzy-lipped
insecurity immaturity his
wounded-animal response
vis-a-vis society in general
...and the next person he holds up
in a pitch-black-hole of a
parking lot
turns out to be his
o w n
single parent
m o t h e r

In homage to Edward James Olmos,
after his immortal role in the movie,
American Me. / 24 Sept. 1992

— Angela de Hoyos©

DEZKALZO PRESS Juan Cárdenas, Editor-Publisher
Corpus Christi, Texas © 1994

Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Feeling Is Mutual

Sinner now home
-redeemed at church-
I am back to normal:

I growl at the world
and the world
returns the compliment.

-by Angela de Hoyos

Poets think alike all over the world.


I screamed at the
never thinking
it might scream

by Jim Murdoch

5 July 2003