Chicano Poet

Thursday, June 30, 2005

How I Remember Death Growing Up

What I hated most
when I was growing up
was when some relative died---

it was not the death itself,
but the fact that I knew
we wouldn’t be able

to listen to the radio
or watch TV
until the mourning period was over.

“Can’t I just listen to the news?”
and grandma would give me
an ugly look and say “No!”

But, if they left the house
to run an errand
or visit the grieving relatives

I’d turn on the TV,
the volume real low,
a constant watch out the window.

I’ll probably
burn in hell
for that one.

Burn in hell
until I’m brown all over.
Oops, too late!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Henry’s Dylan Thomas Elegy For Elvis Presley

You’ve come a long way,
from Tupelo, to Vegas, to Hawaii,
to Memphis, the pills, the booze, the women,

their hips were songs,
rockabilly, blues and rock and roll,
you drove a delivery truck away to this,

the women swarmed to you like bees,
nobody’s beeswax but yours,
your sequined suits of glitter

blinked as your scarf passed over them.
Finally, secluded in Graceland
you turned into the King of Humpty Dumpty,

soon you had left us on that sad night,
you broke your crown, your heart spilled out,
Elvis has left the building,

you’re in route to the funeral home
where they pull out your guts
and fill you with embalming fluid

to prepare you for the afterlife,
the Aztec afterlife, the Egyptian afterlife,
the pyramids are there, over your left shoulder,

the stars align with other stars,
the crops are growing in your mind,
not quite heaven for a rock and roll star, huh,

but that’s our fate that you endure,
not poetry, not naked women, not naked men,
but nature doing what nature does best.

Sorry, but I’m drunk in New York City,
my ass is full of pity,
and someone has reached up to remove my poetry!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Henry’s Elegy For Muhammad Ali While He’s Still Alive

He’s the cut-man, best in the business,
a cut above the eyes, a broken nose,
a cut inside the mouth, don’t say a word,

he’ll take care of it, right hand, left hand,
body blow, uppercut, back-pedaling,
a cut above the rest.

Next day the head pounding, the eyes black,
the stomach muscles aching,
the low blow didn’t do much good,

and you’re not even a boxer,
you’re just a poet, in this corner
the opponent---the mighty words.

You’re a featherweight fighting a heavyweight,
you’d better float like a butterfly
and sting like a bee

if you wanna get out alive.
Nobody will give you the championship belt,
you’re gonna have to beat somebody

until the words lie flat on their back,
eyes blinking, muscles twitching,corner-men scurry,
Henry’s eyes finally focus on Muhammad

and Muhammad seems to be saying
float like a butterfly
shake like a leaf.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Henry’s Reverse Country Song

I left my blinker on
people think I’m turning left
they keep pulling out in front of me,

can’t they see I ain’t slowing down,
can’t they see that I’m driving
like a bat out of hell,

wings on fire and radar flashing,
my buddies flying out of bridges,
nothing worse than a rabid bat.

I left my blinker on
amber outside green inside red out back.
I’m still in fifth gear

hauling ass down the boulevard
people keep pulling out in front of me
I honk at them shoot the bird

and keep on going down the road.
I’m always turning left
but the country’s going right.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Henry’s Elegy For The Frankenstein Monster’s Chicano Kid

So many things have happened
since you left us Max,
they’ve discovered rocks on Mars, imagine that,

and the stars on Old Glory
have been replaced with dollar signs,
welfare, social security, school lunch programs,

veteran's benefits,human caring, all have been abolished
by the god-fearing Republican government---
God himself has become a rich old Rumsfeld.

And, Max, I hate to tell your this,
but Chicano literature has passed on, too,
perhaps you saw its cold ghost

slide by you and keep on going,
brown words no longer recognizable,
brown voices silenced

and only this stupid poem tries to carry on,
fighting a losing battle, enemies all around,
chasing the Frankenstein monster of words

into the castle, burning it to the ground,
white villagers dance around the only thing left standing---
the red-hot bolt in my neck.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Guess The Title Of This Poem


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Liberty Bell


Liberty Bell


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

George Washington Crossing The Delaware

pissing off the side
of the boat missing

Monday, June 20, 2005

George Washington And His Girlfriend


Friday, June 17, 2005

Henry’s Elegy For Ron Padgett’s Mother

The two planes mistake
Ron Padgett’s mother
for two large buildings,

she smokes and burns
for an hour before
she starts collapsing,

hair first, the thoughts jumping suicidal,
her beautiful eyes next,
her smile that made the world

smile with her,
her breasts that nourished babies,
her womb that carried those babies,

the thighs that made
her husband delirious---
ashes to ashes spread throughout the city,

dust to dust spread throughout the city,
ashes and dust spread throughout the city,
even Papalote gets a light dusting.

Henry’s car is covered in that dust.
With his finger on the hood of his car
he writes, “Wash me!”

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Henry’s Incredible Hulk Episode IV

(A Lonely David Banner Hitchhikes
Inside A Pick Up Truck With You)

In the write situation Henry gets ticked off,
being Jewish and white as white can be,
he turns brown and violent

like an angry chicano mob
ready to cut off Dubya’s balls
and use them for maracas.

He destroys everything in sight,
his computer desk, his monitor,
his computer, the Internet,

yes, that’s why you’ve lost
your always-on connection,
that’s why you can’t dial-up AOL,

that’s why you’re not getting any email,
that’s why you can’t access any pornography,
that’s why you can’t download

pirated mp3 copies of Papalote.
Finally, when the effect wears off,
Henry picks up his tattered clothes.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Henry’s Elegy For A Little Girl Killed On The Concorde

The thirteen-year-old girl in McDonalds,
a mustard-covered, ketchup-stained petal
in an Ezra Pound haiku

broke off from the rosebush,
the thorns were Eiffel Towers,
her smile a carousel.

She’s eating her French fries in France,
Napoleon was not taller,
but he’s not ordering from exile,

she tells her mother something
just as her friend looks Henry’s way,
she sees this poem no doubt,

already littering the dream song,
cold Minnesota winters
miniscule in the burning Concorde.

We can’t all be staying in that hotel,
the sky a guillotine
hidden in the perfumed clouds.

Henry walked out on the wing,
the rivets were buttons on her blouse,
Henry’s smoldering shoes fit only him

or William Shatner’s monster
in that episode of Twilight Zone--- very few people
know that it was Rod Serling in that monster suit.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Henry’s Johnny Cash Elegy For Michael Jackson

Growing up in showbiz, tinseltown,
never had a childhood,
moonwalked before he could crawl,

the very existence of his existence
was questioned, he sure owns the Beatles now,
but the Wicked Witch of the West

(real name: Tom Sneddon)
is looking to buy Neverland
and move old Jocko

to Folsom Prison, Alcatraz,
put him behind bars,
put him in solitary in Soledad.

Neanderthal him against walls,
the long and winding road
leads to a precipice,

from there you can see below---
the ring of fire, a boy named Sue,
san quentin, folsom prison blues,

man in black, ring of fire,
daddy sang bass, I walk the line,
I’ve been everywhere…beat it!

Thriller, jailhouse rock, the king of pop---
the trick to moonwalking is the tiny wheels
on the soles of his shoes.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Henry’s Elegy For Daniel Rocha

Julie Shroeder shot Daniel Rocha in the back,
she’s a cop, what do you expect?
In the war against drugs

sometimes you gotta snuff them out.
If they’re black or brown,
they’re always guilty until proven guilty.

After she pulled her gun, he tried to run,
he fell down, and she put a bullet in his back,
she felt her life was in danger from his flanks.

The kid was brown, after all, he was just brown.
The Police Review Board cleared her,
called it a very thorough investigation.

Anytime a cop shoots a Mexican, a black,
a handicapped person in Austin, Texas,
it’s always a justifiable murder.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Henry’s Elegy For A Soldier With Uncaring Microsoft Sound

This soldier dies in wartime,
that soldier dies in wartime,
that soldier dies in wartime,

this soldier dies in the trenches,
this soldier dies from mustard gas,
that soldier dies impaled by bayonet,

this sailor is fried on the deck of his ship,
this Marine died on the beach,
this pilot died in mid-air,

Pete died in Vietnam
blown up at an ammo dump,
that Marine had his head blown off in Afghanistan,

war is hell the dead will tell,
war is hell the living dwell,

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Which Major Romantic Fry Cook Would You Be
If You Were A Philosopher

Forehead sweat dripping
onto the burgers,
a tiny shape of the Virgin Mary

taking hold.
Gullible worshippers
making gullible travels to the shrine,

pull the French fry basket
out of the dirty, hot oil,
think existentially about the toil.

Keats, Lord Byron, Shelley,
ain’t got time, gotta fill the belly
of the professors, pimps, construction workers,

after work hurry to the pay phone
to call Betty, a thing of beauty,
she walks in moonlight,

hope to get in her pants tonight,
that would be wrong the Bible says,
the smell of a woman like warm bread,

kan’t have much deeper thoughts than that,
probably cause I have to wear a hair net
to keep my hair from falling

in the food for thought.
I think, therefore I am
like every other fry cook.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Jabbercoatl

Quetzalcoatl often stayed up late
talking to Henry
about how tough

the philosophical
and the carnal
are to appease.

Feathers flying
in his conversation,
stone against stone.

Henry could only do
his Jewish thing---
bound by centuries,

there was, of course, no escape.
The feathered serpent
just nodded,

more feathers floated
like astronaut faces
on the moon.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Henry’s Elegy For Neil Armstrong’s Hair

So after getting back from the moon,
if indeed he did walk on the moon,
old Neil , the moon pie man

goes to his local jerk of a barber
to get his hair trimmed
and the barber collects his hair,

sells it to some hair collector,
yes, the very same perverted collector
who owns seven of Marilyn Monroe’s pubic hairs,

sells it, as I was saying before
I rudely interrupted myself,
sells it for three thousand dollars.

Henry wonders aloud how much
the collector would pay
for a couple of Neil’s moon rocks,

or, at least, the hairs on his moon rocks.
Meanwhile, the bald-headed man on the moon
is thankful for being twohundredthousand miles from earth.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Surf’s Up, Henry!

Henry’s suffering from carpal tunnel,
the traffic on the way to work
and the keyboard calisthenics---

he calls it his surfboard.
Annette was not the hottest babe
on the beach full of hot babes.

The surfing pipeline did not carry oil
back when gasoline was cheap,
America knee-deep in the jungle.

Today, Paris Hilton washes the car
in a black bathing suit,
her legs wide open on national television,

she’s advertising burgers,
takes a big bite, licks her finger
while Henry licks his chops.

Henry’s lobster-claw pinches down.
The bow-legged girl straddles the beach
holding hands with Moondoggie,

and we’re back in the Sixties again.
Henry’s fingers and hands were young back then,
new poetry just under the fingernails.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Henry’s Muhammad Ali Love Poem For The Cicada Girl

And Muhammad Ali thought that he was the greatest,
let him slip a punch like this,
let him grope a dope,

let him Ali Shuffle away from this,
hey, cicada girl, get a little closer
to the thrilla of my pilla,

the ring around your finger, your body,
get closer to this upper-cut of a kiss,
to these sexy body blows,

sure, the girl with the card
announcing what round it is
has a great behind and luscious tits,

but when the bell rings,
you can’t be dull-witted like Sonny Liston,
bob and weave, cicada girl, bob and weave,

stay away from his right,
stay away from his left, don’t let him bite your ear off
when he’s making love in the Roman Coliseum.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

The Cicada Girl As Eve

The cicada girl comes to Sherman in a dream,
her sighs are made of flesh and blood
and linger all night long.

When you hang your heart on the crescent moon,
it’s beating will make it rock
until it spills you from the chair.

Sherman is like every other man,
he puts on his pants
two legs at a time,

he takes the trash out,
he lets the dog out,
and lets the same dog back in.

He thinks of the cicada girl all day long,
between the present, past and future---
this machine will spit it out,

virgin Eve, Julius Cesar, Cesar salad,
Langston Hughes, the torture in Iraq,
this machine just doesn’t care,

you ask it to do something
and it will, no questions asked,
no answers questioned,

split, re-split, joined, unjoined,
navel to navel, poem sweating against poem
before colors were invented.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The End Of The Oit

Quite unexpectedly by Vasserot
the world had blowed up.
A black hole in the antlers

was sucking everything down into it,
photons refused to go,
they held on tight

with their fingernails dug
into the enamel of the toilet bowl.
Archibald’s blown-glass face

cried as the Library of Congress
became ticker tape and then nothing.
Rocky circled overhead,

Sherman looked at Professor Peabody---
they yanked the lever down on the machine
just in time to save

all the chicano poetry ever written.
Every other piece of great literature
was gone.

Every one glared at the moose
and all they could say was,
“Gee, thanks, Bullwinkle!”

Bullwinkle fumbled with his coattails
like Oliver Hardy
fumbled with his tie.

The Waybac machine
had a wedgie
from fighting the black hole.