Chicano Poet

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Texas Two-Step

Hart Crane built that bridge in Minnesota,
the one that fell into the Mississippi.
We don’t let him build bridges in Texas.

T. S. Eliot was an air-raid warden
during World War Two,
but he sure did a lousy job on 911.Texas disowned him!

We frown upon the Beatniks,
that’s why Ginsberg only grazes in Oklahoma.
Texas has low standards, but none that low.

Carl Sandburg bragged about
his city of the big shoulders, hog butcher.
City slickers ain’t allowed in these here parts.

Emily Dickinson, skinny-assed poetess,
too darn lyrical for Texas taste, indoor-type.
We like our cowgirls with plenty of landscape.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bluebonnet State Of Mind

Wallace Stevens placed
his Mason-Dixon jar in Tennessee,
it quickly filled with migrant workers.

Robert Lowell tried to portray
his daughter as a blue blood,
but she was incestuous East Texas trash.

Ted Hughes claimed to be
the greatest living English poet,
but Texas executed him for killing Sylvia Plath.

Denise Levertov belonged to the
Black Mountain School of Poets,
but its home was really an anthill in South Texas.

Robert Frost took the road
less traveled by burro.
Two thousand Mexicans killed him.

Monday, October 29, 2007

… excuse my charitable charientism…

Don’t Mess With Texas

The trouble with Creeley
was that he used too few words.
That’ll doom anybody to die in Odessa, Texas.

Zukofsky couldn’t draw a crowd,
he was the antithesis of Mayakovsky
and died of TB in San Antonio, Texas.

Pound (Run, Silli Man!) tried to revive a dead art,
but the gods ignored him in the end
and crucified him in Corpus Christi, Texas.

You can’t put poetry on a pedestal,
it will climb down every time
and head back to Paris, Texas.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Part Four

On the way back, they get lost.
Dodger Stadium rises on the left,
Chavez Ravine bereft.

They take the exit ramp,
head back to Venice Beach,
get a momentary glance of Screech.

“There’s your Hollywood star!” smirks Rocky.
Lil sighs, “ That’s just one of many!”
She leaned back in her seat like a granny.

Rocky drove as if he’d been driving all his life,
but he never drove until today.
His raccoon tail on proud display.

When they got to Venice,
they parked the car in a tow away zone.
They ain’t Bonnie and Clyde or Al Capone,

they just live from day to day.
A little of this and a little of that
and a tip of the coonskin hat.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Part Three

Lil wants to see Hollywood stars
and Rocky just doesn’t give a darn.
To him, movie stars are just a yarn.

The record company building
looks like a stack of pancakes,
ripe to be brought down by earthquakes.

Rocky and Lil head down to Long Beach
to check out the Queen Mary.
“What are we, tourists?” asks Rocky of Tom, Dick and Harry.

But Lil is too busy with her hair
in the convertible they have borrowed
and just now almost narrowed

on the 105.
Soon the ocean glitters next to the ship,
“Now wasn’t that worth the trip!”

shouts Lil as the wind flies by.
The sun has parked himself above.
What else do you want besides love?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Part Two

Some idiot had built smog above L. A.,
but Rocky and Lil were happy
just to stop feeling crappy.

Lil rolled some guy at the bus station.
They headed to Venice
where they rented a room from Jack Palance.

Bodybuilders stared at Rocky’s black eyes
and not one of them ogled Lil’s legs
except for the women who didn’t need their eggs.

The waves kept coming ashore
asking for directions to Greece.
They didn’t even bother to say please.

Some blonde surfer dude gave them directions,
told them, take a left at Panama
and a right at Alabama.

The hot sun wore them out
so Rocky and Lil
headed back up a hill,

closed the door behind them
and made love all night longed
as if they belonged.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Part One

Rocky left the dusty town in his wake,
riding the Greyhound bus westward
because gold ain’t in no backyard!

Lil in tow, wearing a big red bow,
her petticoats up in the air
like her red hair.

She kept bugging him, “Are we there yet?”
Rocky rolled his eyes
in a disgust he did not disguise.

Eating runny eggs
at some rundown bus stop,
slouching in the booth to hide from a cop,

Rocky and Lil were almost broke.
But, Lil was an excellent pickpocket
and could steal from an electric socket.

They re-boarded the bus.
The busdriver aimed the stagecoach towards L. A.
and the horses galloped gray.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Rocky Raccoon


Rocky propped himself up on his elbow,
his furry tail under the sheets,
one foot sticking out at the end of the bed

like a sore thumb.
“Boy, was you dumb!”
Lil was telling him,

like women are wont to do.
Hell, he already knew it,
but he weren’t about to tell her she was right.

You never tell a woman that!
You go about your business,
pretend there was never a fight.

In a few weeks, you’ll limp out of town,
both your eyes still black.
The sun setting behind the saloon.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Bullets Which Killed You

The bullets which killed you
killed a whole generation, too.
It was not just the music that was silenced that day,

it was not just Sgt. Pepper
and Eleanor Rigby
we put in the grave.

It was not just revolution
and Rocky Raccoon
we lost in the fight.

We don’t know if we
imagined or dreamed
being filled by a void.

The police car rushed us through the streets of time
and the doctor pronounced us dead,
but with so many gone,it was hard to explain.

Our glasses were shattered
and we couldn’t see.
Who knows how we keep finding our way to Strawberry Fields.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

… somewhere in time…


for chris murray
gracing Bahrain

The last human was shot while entering the Dakota,
Howard Cosell tells us
during Monday Night Football.

Our hero had married a Japanese girl,
to Paul she was Georgia trailer trash
or the equivalent in England, of course.

That’s the trouble with fantasies,
they rarely come true.
Not with bullets as big as Times Square lying around.

The gargoyles of everything we knew
broke from cleavage and fell away.
Music had lost its cojones,

ran naked down the street,
took refuge in Central Park,
paused long enough to call Lord Presley.

Soon the Indians arrived by taxi and proclaimed:
“If this is what you’re gonna do with this land,
here are your stinking sea shells and trinkets!”

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Planet Of The Apes Revisited

The buildings shook on wobbly legs,
knees made of yellow Jell-O.
In a matter of minutes

from downtown to uptown,
black buildings in the Bronx,
filthy rich buildings on Fifth Avenue,

ethnic bungalows on Long Island
where once Lolita and Buttafuco
put Nabakov to the test.

Some Gods take their toll,
fiery or cold as cod,
demanding what they themselves can not provide,

much like the innards of a wiener
made of pork and rat.
Somewhere in the frightened buildings

always ancestors and offspring of this town
duke it out with gangsters, pimps and wimps,
but never with bad guys like these.

Oh, how will we ever forget
towers torn down by apes in camel suits? “Awright,
bring in Heston so he can cuss!” cried the director.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


The squirrels spread out at Central Park Zoo
and tell the prisoners
that their jailers have suffered a huge blow.

The captive animals applaud,
monkeys squeal, jumping up and down.
Weldon’s elephant sends up a jet of water

like the fireboats of disaster.
“One small, bitter victory for us,
one backward step for our tormentors!” they decry.

When the commotion settles down,
the squirrels head back to dig for nuts.
The slaves have gotten a momentary pardon---

no natives and no stupid tourists to entertain.
The polar bears frolicked, smoked cigarettes,
and would not trade tomfoolery for the world.

Monday, October 15, 2007

A Little Birdie Told Me

Birds fly confused over Manhattan,
their homely Emily Dickinson faces
haunt the survivors down below.

Two towering structures
have been turned to dust
and belly up to iron beams.

The Statue of Liberty kneels
on its desert island,
her torch has fallen in the water.

The birds circle in the rising smoke
that smells like human residue
before they head to Central Park.

There, they tell the tale
to those who have no clue
and try not to exaggerate,

but, you know, how birdbrains are.
Soon the story becomes so unbelievable
that we’re convinced the towers are still standing.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hit The Road Jack

“Hit the road, Jack,
and don’t you come back no more!”
Ray Charles

“O, like the lizard in the furious noon,
That drops his legs and colors in the sun,
---And laughs, pure serpent, Time itself, and noon
Of his own fate, I saw thy change begun!”
Hart Crane
from The River

He left the scene of the crime
covered in the dust he had inhaled.
"Hit the road, Jack", was all he heard.

Arms and legs recovered,
sometimes a torso or two.
Hey, guys, here is someone’s hand.

See the birthmarks on this leg?
This woman must have had beautiful thighs,
from the looks of it.

"Hit the road, Jack", was all he heard
in the canyons of the city
as he walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Later, the Mafia came in to clean up the mess.
Out of mayhem, the crooks rake in the dough
and citizen lizards pretend to lollygag.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Wherein the victims of the tragedy can only react as their animal instincts direct them. Somehow, the reptilian brain has overpowered the everyday thinking cap. This endeavor is not for the faint of heart or the gutless wonders who populate the nooks and crannies of the American state of mind. Be careful where you tread. No one has taken you into account. The truth can only be ignored for so long before it manifests itself of its own free will. The human animal can not be denied its animalness.

Jumping Jack Flash

“that piece of shit ain’t my father!”
uttered by the daughter of a 911 victim

Why are these lizards jumping from the towers?
Chasing after the bugs of life,
their tongues longer than their lives.

And the others? Scampering foolishly
up the doomed stairwells
to sacrifice Aztec virgins.

The lizard changes color to match his surroundings,
from concrete gray to fiery red,
changes his shape to match the speeding bullets.

Scurrying and worrying,
its four feet scrambling from iambic,
fanning the smoke as he spoke.

His brother lizards have left town
like ants floating across the river on leaves,
he flicks his tongue as the towers crumble,

his feet flail at the slipping buildings
and clouds of dust gather.
Will his tail grow back?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


my mother was a sparrow singing her summer songs
and long ago had pushed me
from the nest.

the clouds streaked by like trains,
the wind was in a hurry and left its shoes behind,
flying from tree to tree my mother blossomed.

branches burst forth and forth,
my little eyes spit out the sky,
my little songs fell in the shape of little stones.

my mother was a sparrow singing up a storm.
I was amazed and could not follow suit
until today.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


my mother was a pigeon in your carport
messing up your brand new car
and your radical ideas.

she was dressed in gray, of course,
but her heart remained brown
her eyes blinking once for yes twice for no.

the cold wind besieged the roof,
the ice walked back and forth
unsatisfied with every surface.

my mother huddled underneath your carport,
shivering with her head under her wing,
cruel fate shed no tears or doubts.

my mother held on tight as hell
until the winter turned to spring
and leaves shot out of a canon.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Bird Elegy For My Mother

my mother was a mourning dove
cooing cooing cooing
her feathers ruffled in the solitary breeze

she clung to telephone lines
all alone all alone all alone
not even given time to moan

it was a lonely life indeed
pecking at seeds at worms
at flying bugs which sacrificed themselves to her

the sun beat down on her
in summer
the ice pelted her with degrees in winter

my mother was a mourning dove
cooing cooing cooing
her heart broke in her chest like twigs

Friday, October 05, 2007

At The Papalote Mall

Right now, at the Papalote Mall,
the lone mamasota in town
wears little black shorts

and a Papalote Writers Colony T-shirt.
If there does exist a parallel universe,
then, legally, a vertical one must exist, too.

The Aztec pyramids rise to the top
to reach the bottom of the sky,
y La Malinche, with a penal implant,
mounts Cortez from behind
to rob the glory from her brothers.

written March 12, 1992

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Before I started writing in tercets...

At Talladega Superspeedway

Buzz Aldrin tells the good ol’ boys to
energize their ground crafts
and the good ol’ boys have no
goshdarn idear what to do.

When Armstrong uttered his giant words
back in 1969 we all believed and
choked back tears of pride,
but now we’ve ended up just like the South---

the good ol’ boys confuse the moon with moonshine
and we lose our way as a nation.
We don’t go forward
or we go around in circles.

Time is not warped, we are!
Armstrong’s footprints will not vanish from the moon---
unless we clean up our act.

But we’re gonna need a bigger Dust Buster.

written July 24, 1994

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Oops! I Did It Again

Four dead in Ohio...
six Marines dead in Tikrit,
and Britney has lost her kids.

Two soldiers blown apart,
Napoleon Bonaparte,
and Britney has lost her kids.

A nineteen-year-old snuffed out in Mosul,
her parents are told in Kansas,
and Britney has lost her kids.

The Hummer is hit by rpgees
while I walk into McDonalds to pee,
and Britney has lost her kids.

Heroes die day after day,
but, certainly, and more importantly,
Britney has lost her kids.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


The stench of the dump is sweet
as the Palestinian boys
pick through the treasures---

because this is where the Israelis
discard their garbage.
A little bit of steel or aluminum,

old shoes become the emperor’s new clothes.
There are no sanitary landfills over there,
they’re all in Palestine,

even with gloves
the boys are covered in slime.
Since Israel closed its borders

there is no work to be had,
except for this rummaging, this digging,
this plowing of the furrows of our modern world.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Tool Kit Elegy For Michael Hamburger

Now you gonna rot, oh, patty,
oh, toasted bun, the charcoal fire going,
the hell with God propane.

Your sister always wanted you
to change your name, to change your name,
but you always said, “What, are you insane!”

Do you want fries with that,
do you want to super-size your death?
Teenage girls at McDonalds never forget their bras.

They forever told you fried foods
would be the end of you.
Now, you’ll have time to decompose that poem

you were always working on,
the one that never got done, and all the time
in the world to build even the wrong Rome.