Chicano Poet

Friday, October 31, 2008

Day Of The Dead

I miss the dead as if they were my lovers,
I comb my hair for them,

I brush my teeth for them, put on deodorant for them,
put on clean underwear for them,

I make sure I’m on my best behavior,
even though they are gone.

I miss the dearly departed
as if they were my lovers,

I want to please them,
whatever it is they want,

I smile and put to shame
the most thoughtful lover ever.

...Don Juan, Valentino, Cassanova...
you're outta here!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Vaudeville Vallejo's the best thing
that's ever been invented...

In Vallejo’s stomach only a few breadcrumbs
to keep him company

as he walks through Montmarte
in search of that elusive word---

sharp but jagged on each
of its four sides.

During his lifetime
so many mistook him for a swordswallower---

blood is poetry, too,
and the heart just a ball of words

which pounds away at the center,
the poem getting

rounder and rounder,
the violence of it so beautiful.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Stanyan Street Feat

The girl who lives on the second floor
rips happiness.

The old couple drags itself
to buy the few things it can think of.

On TV, starving children appear beautiful
to us,

and in the midst of this argument,
a diligent hand protrudes from a lake.

Up above La Guardia, the wings of an airplane
gasp for air,

and by now the girl on the second floor
attacks her clitoris viciously.

Intimidated by the taxi,
the defeated old couple calls its daughter: you.

What’s the point?
Why did I marry Seinfeld’s sister?

Yet, I must remember that you want
sex to be oh, so romantic.

Note to self: we can not all be
Rod McKuen---try Dom de Louise.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Last Thursday night,reading my poetry in the Student Union at the University of Nebraska,I had a bad case of butterflies in my stomach.I sat there wondering,what do butterflies get in their stomachs? Just then I was introduced and the butterflies flew out of my mouth.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Richard Cory

He tore the Bible in half
pretending it was the Spoon River phone book.

His thighs were as big around as tree trunks,
his bulging biceps admired

by muscle-men wannabes.
The religious girls giggled,

and the clergy would be scandalized,
but the rest of us just yawned,

and figured Richard Cory
would outlive us all.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

you and your abominable silence…

from The Dead
by Sheryl Luna

The Destruction Of Corpus Christi, Texas
By Nuclear Device, 2012

Your breasts in their cups
as we walked along the bay,

your red hair blowing
in the sea breeze.

A freighter approached the harbor channel,
its Venezuelan flag unfurling.

The whitecaps grabbed the breakwater
with salty hands.

Your blue eyes rushed against me
long ago.

Now all those images settle in the pit of my stomach,
and Corpus Christi’s gone.

After Homeland Security’s two year investigation
into the atomic blast which leveled the Texas town,
it was determined that the nuclear device was destined
for New York City. Why it was armed in the Gulf of
Mexico will, perhaps, forever remain a mystery. Also
disclosed during HS’s investigation: A similar device
had evidently been destined for Tel Aviv. HS has yet
to release any more information.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Day The Earth Kept Going

In a Fifties boarding house
desperate characters watch television,

the newsman wears a fedora
and cautions about the spaceman’s whereabouts.

Just then the kid notices
a shadowy figure in the entryway.

The landlady hurriedly turns on the lights.
He introduces himself as Mr. Carpenter.

Patricia Neal’s eyes flicker estrogen
and shyly look away.

We can not have the powers
we do not have.

We have to make do
with what we have created. be continued...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Enchanted Garden

My grandmother had a green thumb,
she could make rocks blossom,

and petunias sprout from pebbles.
The weeds would rush away from her,

giggling and flinging clods of dirt in haste.
Bugs would never eat her plants,

instead they headed to the neighbor’s yard,
hide if a bird flew overhead,

or rattle rakes in the toolshed,
an inexplicable glint in their eyes.

My grandmother had a green thumb,
the very dirt, if asked, turned into velvet.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Queen Mary

Just weeks after the big earthquake,
we boys drove into Los Angeles with dad.

We toured the Queen Mary.
Fog obscured the harbor,

and the ocean was confined to its cage.
I have described our visit

in more detail in another poem---
suffice it to say we were impressed.

Down in the engine room
the propellers volunteered in vain.

Dad said, “ Too much of our lives
is spent on land.”

Coming from a guy who gets seasick,
and will not fly,

we thought it was
funny as hell.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Our Father’s New Young Bride

Climbing Salton Sea as if it was a mountain
looking for my father who is fishing,

a loaf of unspoken bread on his lap.
Catching the wolf of Christ,

he throws it back, “Too small.” he says.
There among the reeds

the baby Moses of a turtle---
its shell as soft as a baby’s behind.

We drove back to my father’s desert house,
orange cactus on either side of the road.

“Boys, time can not escape time.” he says to us.
He always calls us boys.

Our stepmother’s belly tightens
as we stomp into her house.

Her stepsons in their fifties and sixties,
she only twenty-four.

She is too young to be able
to hide her ill-found jealousy,

And heads into the kitchen
to make us dinner.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Partying With Los Carnales

Did grandfather ever cheat on grandmother,
we being men now

must assume he did?
All those loose women available

every Friday and Saturday night
at Las Mariana’s, La Gloria,

El Brodita’s, and La Perla Lounge---
the latter just a block from our house on Fourth.

My brothers and I joke,
if he didn’t, he was a fool, we laugh,

after how many beers? we've lost count,
the polkas blaring from my truck radio,

the wives come outside
to scold and turn down the music.

The glaring look from my vieja
makes me think twice about turning it up again.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Le Mepris

Who would not love to hear Brigitte Bardot
say the things she says so well?

And yet, a woman’s love can dutifully lecture.
Once she has turned the page,

the words fall out of the book
she has so wantonly discarded.

Love is a dalliance and destruction,
whether on Capri, Long Island or Laredo.

She brandished her buttocks
as a weapon Hercules might wield.

She was a rebel from rebellion
and succumbed to man.

Dead in a convertible,
startling the sparrows.

Her vagina still cherishing semen
that would impregnate fate.

The tanker truck sits silent
on its rubber feet.

The closing credits do not do her justice.
Who tried to push the button marked FAIR?

We almost never fail at futility.
None but the living can go on living.

Friday, October 10, 2008

La Cantina

Grandfather rolling cigarettes
on his cigarette rolling contraption,

putting the pack of Buglers
back in his pocket,

then off to the cantina, La Gloria,
where the dancing girls

charge a quarter for each dance,
you could touch their nalgas,

and they would just smile,
drunk as they were.

Us boys would be assigned the job
of walking to the beer joint

to tell him, “Grandma wants you home!”
and the dancing girls---

(remember, these are not really girls,
they’re actually women in their thirties and forties,

over the hill, on the way down,
their thighs well-versed)---

these women cry in their dusty beds,
their faces buried in a pillow

while grandfather comes home
defeated by pleasure.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

…Oh, Long Ago…

para ere efe

You abandoned your gems
right in front of me,

and I did nothing to help myself.
It was a hasty retreat.

I had breadcrumbs for two left feet,
I found I could not appeal to ghosts.

The rabid silence between your thighs
drove me mad to your shoulders,

your lips scraped Spanish,
your breasts turned into mannequins

after the flicker died,
and I am even now a refugee from coal.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Water God

The waterspider does a better job than Jesus,
if we pay attention.

It scurries to and fro
like the grandfather of voice,

scratchy to the trees,
bent to stones if you will,

with tattoos on its cheekbones
and a ballerina’s grace.

The waterspider draws artillery
only to patch the evening

before it goes to bed,
and this without the faith of language.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Could Lala’s Dinner Party

Could Lala set the table,
and me not spin her strawberries,

could Lala flaunt the dinner without wine,
pack the guests with narration,

a sparrow scratch his signature of song
for casseroles on the kitchen windowsill.

Lala retells the pulsing story
as I pat her behind and wrestle

with the partisans of time
who claim the sun is always right,

could Lala set the table,
and me not woebegone smile from this page?

In this poem, the opponent tries to comprehend
the purposely obscure poem. It seems to be about
a real event. The opponent objects to the absence
of simplicity, unaware that p[oem]s can not be
simple and straightforward. Chalk up brownie points
for him. Are you in his corner or mine?

Shame on you!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Chamaco Imagistic

What were you doing during the panic,
did your grandmother matter to the hot tamales?

Our donkey inspected its veins
postponed by the rope he called rain,

looked in the window where
grandmother stayed awake with the shawl

brought from Mexico
(grandmother crossed the river in her mother’s womb).

She’d blacken green chili peppers on the stove
before she crushed them in the molcajete

to make breakfast for grandfather
whose fingers were stolen by a sawmill

so he struggled to teach me guitar
and the brave syllables of ancient language

which had nothing to do with everyday speech,
and were always in short supply.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Car Trouble, But Personified

You call me because your car has broken down,
at the edge of Gone With The Wind,

chocolate cosmonauts honor Stalin
in your padded shoulders nearby, you tell me,

while ten blocks away, a dog barks
at the squirrel in Kilmer’s tree,

and a Balthus twelve-year-old
pulls a chariot with Bogey on it.

When I finally get to you
the clown, big shoes and all

jiggles the few lions Africa has left.
Oh, Harriet Belafonte of Samothrace,

your hands whirring behind the wheel
mad to the touch, and really beautiful,

must make me happy
like the Civil War Honest Old Abe abhorred.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Elegy For Hayden Carruth

The loneliness of the long distance writer,
the finish line always just beyond reach,

that line which you swish around
in your mouth like cheap wine,

you hold the glass in your hand,
vowels vibrating,

for a moment you see clearly
what theft on the other side takes place,

what atonement the tone accomplishes,
when imagination foregoes imagination.

The runner must invent the distance,
put up the landscape and the buildings,

paint the spectators and the non-spectators.
Oh, to wash my hand of endless words!