Chicano Poet

Friday, January 23, 2015

Hamburger Hill For Kids

She thought
Hamburger Hill was funny

and that the Viet Nam War
was where her friend Faye's grandparents

came from
the past

was a ruby favor
we did for Chinese hordes

long ago
kids her age

galloped in
the hallways

you couldn't
rake them up

teacher said so

the Battle of the Bulge
was something her soldier mother fought

at bedtime she knelt
in her Lalaloopsy pajamas

and prayed for everything
including war

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Mexican Lucky

You could say
that el ocho patas

got Mexican lucky
to get so many feet

while other Mexican kids
went without

their feet starving
for more

of what
el ocho had 

the mothers

the Mexican fathers
always blaming

the Mexican mothers
so you could say

that el ocho patas
was lucky

to get so many

que la virgencita bendiga
his pinche patas


Monday, January 12, 2015

Private Lessons

I told my baby
live inside of my ocho patas

I will give you
private lessons

and then
if your beautiful eyes

become cloudy
and unfocused

and if the moon
slices your thighs

with its lemon swath
then el ocho patas said

it will be ok
it will be ok if I see you running

away from me
slipping off

dirty sock after dirty sock
as you run from my writhing love

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Hunter Gatherer

El ocho patas
fathered children incognito

with double feet
the more the better

you do the math
inflict the wrath

it doesn't take a scientist
to invent the breath

out of each lung
a heart must stray

whether white or brown
it's still the same old town

his offspring grew up
with top and bottom cups

none of them called him father
so why bother

the barrio's full
of mankind's other tool

el echo patas was nobody's fool
except his own

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

La Mula

El ocho patas
had a girlfriend

who kicked like a mule
she had eyes of sea foam

and thighs
that lit up like fireworks

el ocho patas
invented fire

and he himself offered woman
the apple empanada

in the Garden of Eden
which had always been located

in Seguin, Texas
of all places

and the Lord Almighty
endowed el ocho patas

with enough feet
to outrun fate

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

El Ocho's Birthday

El ocho patas
had a birthday

but nobody
bought him shoes

nobody bought
his books

nobody was

and yet
everybody was someone

of course for Juan

and Juana
and her sister Chana

who loved el ocho patas
once or twice

gave birth to a daughter
who cherished lice

el ocho patas put up his feet
to watch tv

as it unfolded
what el ocho scolded

can be more than somebody

you shouldn't handles
more than candles

Monday, January 05, 2015

Brown Like Me

Everybody was brown like me
but everybody ran away

my barrio
didn't recognize me

I hurried nowhere
with my ocho patas

I bought tacos de barbacoa on Sunday
just like you

I went to the same
Westside bakery just like you

bought my conchas
and my empanadas

but nobody accepted me
because of my ocho patas

everybody was brown like me
but they couldn't treat me like one of them

as I dragged my ocho patas
from one side of San Antonio to the other

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Poker Feet

El ocho patas
has a poker face

it won't show
what he's got in his hands

or his eight feet
where he's hiding aces

he wears dark socks
so you can't see

his many toes
he knows

how the world will end
for the Americans

he knows why
the Mayans disappeared

he knows how Mars
lost its atmosphere and its rear

but you can't tell it
by his poker face

Thursday, January 01, 2015


for s. l. g.

El ocho patas had a granddaughter
who turned ten

and lit up the daytime sky
like a supernova

flowers exploded
in the desert

beautiful beaches
sprang up in the Arctic

the most bitter moments
in the history of the world

were turned sweet
by her birthday

and el ocho patas
loved her so much

that the moon
shone fiercely to impress her

keenly aware that
el ocho patas was watching