Chicano Poet

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Quetzalcoatl Sandoval and Ilya Kaminsky

Come On Get Happy

I don’t know if I’m listening
to the Partridge Family or Los Lonely Boys:

Yevtushenko has 30,000 people
showing up to one of his readings,

seven scoundrels showed up to mock.
The State crucified Mayakovsky,

the same State is quite benevolent today,
but does not shy away from the nether regions.

Kaminsky rattles off his poetry machinegun style,
his high pitched reading voice startles my wife,

who shows no pity towards the deaf ---
God forbid that you be dumb.

Whatever it is we sing
has not come back to haunt us?

Sometimes you have to sugar-coat
the sugar.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Confrontation

I say it now without emotion,
it is you who are out of control,

shaking and shifting from foot to foot,
clenching your fists, cussing,

your face red, your heart rate up,
you could kill, utter a racist curriculum,

become vindictive afterwards,
take it out on others of my color,

but I give you credit,
you calm down, apologize,

tell me your were wrong,
and I tell you, “Yes, brother, I understand.”

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Nondescript Elegy for Paul Newman

You may put dirt in his sewn mouth now,
if that be your will.

In the movies, he was criminal,
gambler, lover, rancher, racer,

vindictive, kind, poetic,
jittery, calm, careful, reckless.

We are here to bury Cesar not praise him.
He would not appreciate the praise.

You may put dirt on his face now,
dirt being the glory we all wait for

while up in the sky the birds fly
and jealously guard their bird’s eye view.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Mandelstam Mambo

Let me tell you about this side of Mandelstam:
he makes love to his wife with a terrible knife,

he holds her hand with the only frying pan
in the whole house, nothing to cook but a bold mouse.

Despues, they memorize his poems, despues,
they make sure the wall is tall,

because the thought police never release.
The Mandelstams put their clothes back on.

He dreams of the Greek ships that are her meek hips
and she snores quietly on the moon next to the spoon.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


He followed two lesbians home from the club,
he tied them up in separate rooms,

and raped them both, conversed with them
in a far off desert

where the grains of sand
took turns being each other.

The mirages sparkled,
they were next of kin,

purple echoes, even blue echoes
begged for rain

or so it seemed in the dire aftermath.
A lizard’s thoughts

do not resemble our thoughts at all,
and assign the wrong history

to a pair of panties.
The cops said they were lucky

not to have been killed
by the desert’s angry heart.

What the hell do cops know?
Waves rattled on the dry lake of their badges.

Both lesbians ended up pregnant---
their boys burst from the sand.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Losing Candy Gamez

“If tomorrow never comes,
why do Mexicans depend so much upon it?”

Quetzalcoatl Sandoval

I'm making love to Candy Gamez,
can’t be more specific

other than it happened in Lincoln, Nebraska.
The snow had her name on it,

the wind had her name on it,
so did the abandoned railroad tracks,

the waitresses at the Russian Inn envied us,
and then the springtime came

with all its glory,
the snow turned into water,

and trickled down the city drains.
I called out Candy’s name

all over town, went as far as Omaha,
but she was gone, oh, she was gone,

and forty years later
my heart still pines for her-----

in a Mexican sort of pain
which, as you know, has no equal.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Cat Poet

Don’t let my talk scare you, he meowed.
You are not alone.

Look at all the defeated against the wall,
they have accepted their doom.

Nine lives are not enough
for a coward.

Hell, nine lives are not enough
for brave men or heroes.

Don’t let my talk scare you, he meowed.
I'm quite scared myself,

but, being a poet, I have to put on the face
all poets must wear.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Victor Villasenor and Quetzalcoatl Sandoval
(Sandoval looks like his wife put a bowl
over his head and cut his hair)

Victor Villasenor is dressed in a type of Hawaiian shirt (I don’t know anything about fashion so it could have been some kind of Mexican native shirt), like every writer, he’s full of himself, praising his books and explaining to us how great they are and how they explain the world. By the end of his talk he has most of us convinced that he is not hot ice cream. He enlightens us to the fact that the word “genius” was defined differently up until 1987. He has an aversion to the words “the”, “but”. and “or”. His theory goes like this: if you remove “the” from the Bible, the truth, the God, etc., you get the picture, the plurality opens up options which no longer keep us confined. And then he asks his audience what would happen if Creation was a verb. So the question of when Creation occurred becomes moot, because Creation is still happening now. When we line up to have our books signed, he tells us to write the name “To So and So” on a card because he’s dyslexic and has trouble spelling, I say to myself, “ Pues chingao” and write down the name of my nephew on the card including my nephew’s last name, Gonzales, not realizing that Villasenor can not write last names. No se me prendio el foco. Oh, yeah, before I forget,this whole borlote took place at the Barnes & Noble at Austin, Texas. Austin is a small suburb of Papalote. When I want a little culture I usually venture there in my horse and buggy.You can buy Villasenor’s books from Art Publico Press. I bought Burro Genius and Crazy Loco Love.Burro Genius is published by HarperCollins.

By Quetzalcoatl Sandoval

Besides books on philosophy Sandoval
is probably most famous for his book
ridiculing and debunking The Labyrinth
of Solitude.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Robert Frost Boxer

The disease ate him alive,
he fought bravely in the hospital room.

They did not let him go home to die---
the doctors said he was beyond home.

He fought death mano a mano,
the Rope-A-Dope, the Ali Shuffle.

But death threw punches which not even
Sonny Liston could have mustered.

And when death hit below the belt,
the referee (God, the cur) looked the other way.

And the body blows were just too much.
And the body blows were just too much.

In economic news: It looks like the capitalist pigs
have run out of money and must now dig deeper
and deeper into your pockets to help out those
speculators who take the money and run.Whose
pockets are we talking about? Not the rich certainly,
but you, janitor, waitress, school teacher, cooks,
construction worker, Walmart worker, etc.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Viva Seguin

The two Purple Hearts there on the wall
of my mother’s rundown house,

advertisement to the fact
that I had to be one of the dumbest vatos

ever shipped off to Nam.
When I got back, my wife Connie left me.

Because I couldn’t hold a job, she said.
So I got into drugs, went fishing

at La Punta everyday, smoked dope,
started hanging around with the wrong crowd,

the pinche cops from my dying town,
and the asshole district attorney

called it organized crime.
Now I sit in the pen for life.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Second Life

If my friends had a second life
to resume the one cut short,

Cecilio would concentrate
on his poetry, not ours.

No, you got it all wrong!

That would be a good thing.

Max would have a chance
to break out from his prose,

the Black Hat Poet scour
the barrios far and wide,

Lalo watch his great-grandchildren grow up.
No ugly visions of Aztlan

would have happened.
We would not let it.

Not back down like so many brothers
and sisters are willing to do today.

If you get a chance,check out this place.
Alltop poetry links.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Phenomenology Of Other

“There was a Mexican flag flowing over the American town.”
by Sheryl Luna

Being inside of someone who hates you
can be so enlightening,

looking out from my blue eyes
and blonde hair I machete

the Mexican men who shop at Walmart in groups
and I wonder why Immigration

can’t figure it out.
I shop at Fiesta Super Market,

whole families monkey-chatter in Spanish
and look at me as if I’m out of place

and you can see they despise me
for being in their world.

I go home to Westlake Hills, set my security alarm,
goggle “ Who the fuck

are these brown people who hate me?”
I make up my mind to hate them back.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Will my vieja turn into a painting
by that dirigible-loving Botero,

mimicking the circumference of the earth,
equator equate with impregnate,

marabunta invading the Southwest,
Charlton Heston trying to drown us all.

Oh, for the love of a good woman
I would be bad

and crack his skull
to knock some sense into this white man.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Growing Up Montalvo

for Jose

I was not who I said I was,
how could I be?

The gravel street in front
of my abuela’s house

would repeat stone after stone.
The chinaberry tree out of place

like a chino-learnt Spanish.
My friend Pete off to Viet Nam,

to be killed for who knows
what stupid reason.

Girls I chased with a stick
they broke off in my hands.

When they became teenagers
their red lips wrecked me,

I hungered for one,
God just one!

I screamed in poetry
what did not belong in the barrio.

Keep moving, keep moving
said the asshole at bootcamp.

Just call me the Brown Hat Poet,
since I’m neither here nor there.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Friend

Wherever my friend has gone
he went there by himself

or so he thought
as I was dragged along with him

down that narrow pipe
that dark tunnel

which I thought would never end
dizzy and dumb-founded

we arrived at the destination
I shook my head NO I want to stay

but soon I was sent packing
up the same darkness I was pushed

until I stood on earth again
having been deprived of my friend again.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Navarro Girl

First girl showed it to me,
puzzled me, of course,

that treasure like the lost empire
of the legendary Ozymandias,

what does that have to do
with the ancient world which forsakes me now,

meanings did not have meanings then,
music was not music,

words were kids’ play.
Her smile so marvelous

as we looked at each other with wild surmise,
silent under the tarpaulin of a cotton-filled trailer.

for the life of me I can not
remember her first name now,
fifty years later.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Cotton Pickers

(a memory of the Fifties)

The wondrous taste of ice cold water
from the wooden barrel

in the back of the canvas-covered truck
which took the campesinos

to the cotton fields,
two blocks of ice floating,

and only us kids relaxing there
while the adults dragged

sacks of cotton up and down the rows,
filled them to the opening of the sack,

came in to weigh them,
grabbed a tin of water,

picked another and another row
until the day was devoid.

Monday, September 08, 2008

El Calientillo

To hear the politicians tell it,
the people are so misplaced.

I used to be a philosopher myself,
but I quit just in the nick of time.

A lesson is only that,
and nothing more.

The night Connie Sepulveda slapped me
when I was fifteen

because I did not
return her affections---

my hormones racing
I didn’t know there was affection.

Are you kidding me?
would echo from her flesh so pink.

So studious a cabron
of that I was, I was.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Pretty Chingaderas

-Thass is funny title, Mr. Bones.

That little blouse you are wearing
which stretches and unstretches

as you breathe the air
we all make use of,

but which bewitches me
as we drink coffee

and the buildings of New York,
(made of marshmallows, come to think of it),

gawk at us with their abandoned white eyes.
Really, is this necessary?

Later that evening,
your skirt tangled in our love-making.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Do the meteors crash into earth
looking for Mexicans and their descendants?

If so, that must be us.
The world shakes our barrio,

we will never be weightless.
Our legends won’t pause in a single shadow.

Our beauty has passed.
The slashed heart finally perfect.

The moon has no friends
as so many will attest to.

Brownness intermingled with autumn,
leaves separated from leaves

as trees march to a different drummer.
My weapon is your portion.

The lateness of courage my distinction.
Oh, wounded noise of a race.

I offered you my hand back then,
you lie in the dark and ask for it now.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


El Louie in the fog of the cemetery
or on the dark streets of the barrio,

confronted by the brown zombies
who always come out at night.

There is no dance contest to win,
no fight with knives,

only a fight with words,
a fight about words,

a fight for words.
We must focus on what

the old words mean anew.
We have risen from the dead

to be alive again.
We shriek and take your place.

You have forfeited you time,
struck out and still demand to have

your say, but it's no dice---
we’re not your substitutes.