Chicano Poet

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Final Frontier

Grissom pulled the lever and sank the capsule,
the deep sea fish had never longed for space before.

Astronaut Heidi lost her tool bag,
and with it the grease guns to lubricate black holes.

Luckless probes crash into Mars,
those which were supposed to land softly like your breasts.

The moon, it turns out,
is quite devoid of cheese, & therefore of meese.

We’ll have to survive on something else
when we colonize it.

We’ll have to purify our own waste products.
The garbage disposal will serve us lunch. back Monday...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

“Reading Berryman, Collected Poems (not incl. Dream Songs).

I find him hard to read. Not just because of the baroque
syntax and vocabulary, but also the nervous strain, the angst.

This doesn't mean I'm not enjoying it. Just that it's harder
going than I expected. Maybe I've read the Dream Songs
over the years in a superficial way.”

The pot Henry Gould calling the kettle black!

Portrait Of The Hawk’s Rippling Bridge

He had a heart of gold when he jumped,
he had a heart of gold when he jumped off the bridge,

They are left who flee like geese,
they are gone who drink preciseness.

Lines of poetry can not be fooled,
and doubt can not be mistaken.

The sky rose higher,
the bridge endured.

Spit of the snow, saliva of the wind,
roundness of the trees.

"The coalmine was really my father",
she said, trembling yet tough---

daughter of a bird,
daughter of a beast and boy.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Gravel Pit Vs. The Cardenas Brothers

Remember the large gravel pit
next to Juan Seguin Elementary School,

which was later filled in,
and turned into the school’s playground?

As kids, walking home,
we’d go down into it,

wending our way around the garbage,
old tires, tree trunks, dead animals,

car parts, waste oil, unidentifiable rubble,
or we’d get into fights with other kids.

We’d stone the hell out of them---
the little cowards.

After our mother died,
father sent us to live with his parents.

Wild farm boys, we didn’t take shit
from nobody,

we took our lumps, gave lumps back.
Today we walk underneath the covered gravel pit,

pushing tons of fill material
out of the way just because.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Where Were You?

I had been diagnosed with tuberculosis. Got sent to live in
the San Antonio Chest Hospital. Don’t remember its real
name. It was 1963. I spent a year and half or thereabouts
there. The day before Kennedy was killed he visited Brooke
Army Medical Hospital or, again, whatever it was at the time.
It was almost directly across from the Chest Hospital. We
patients lined the low fence along Military Highway to catch
a glimpse of the President. There was a huge flag draped
over the front of the building where he spoke, and we could
hear his voice on the loudspeaker. Next day just after lunch,
there was a commotion in the TV room in my tubercular
ward. President Kennedy had been assassinated. It had a
devastating effect on most of us. For weeks we watched
TV for as long as we were allowed. In the next six months
I recovered and healed from my illness, but not until the
doctors had removed part of my left lung. I remember one
of my aunts visiting me in the recovery room, later telling
me that I didn’t look like I was going to make it. In June of
1964, I left the hospital at the age of sixteen. Committed to
being a poet.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Personification

In the third grade, at Juan Seguin Elementary School,
I’d walk the three blocks to Markgraf’s Grocery Store,

jump a fence on the side of the store,
and devour my tacos in secret, in shame.

Is that what fosters your arrogance now,
says my wife as she tries to corral me.

She doesn’t much like the fact
of my political incorrectness.

I yell like Stokely Carmichael,
I rant like Raymundo Tigre Perez.

Ten feet shorter than Ricardo Sanchez,
I take no prisoners.

Proud as I never was
when a dirty, little Mexican third grader.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A New Breed Of Vendidos

for Professor Ralph Grajeda (whereever he is)

Pancho Villa crossed the border
with a candlestick, said Professor Grajeda.

He should know, otherwise, why would he teach
Texas history to dolts?

He’s quirky and drinks Coca Cola
while he lectures on account…

On account of what, questions the pretty gringa?
In my mind, she’s pregnant with all of my kids at once.

Being a fourth generation Texas-Mexican,
I despise history, see no need for it.

Ah, the rocket ship which will take us cross-country
has finally arrived.

The professor is never wrong,
and scares the uppity wannabe Chicanos much.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Las Uvas

They say Cesar Chavez heard it through the grapevine,
sharp vines passed through his heart.

Round pellets of grape
made his lips speak with the pain.

Pain of thousands,
and wind naked underneath its clothes.

The sun’s belly on the ground,
burning even the dark-skinned Luis Valdez to a crisp.

The great weight of the grapes
trapped in campesino arms.

Cesar powerless to forbid,
Cesar too shaky to tremble.

Yet his cheekbones strong,
and his heart straight.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Kingdom By The Sea

I cup your breasts in my hands,
snails gather on shore with torches.

The rusty Russian tractor
in a dilapidated barn.

The wind runs like a little boy,
a stick of phone numbers in his hand.

The dictator of the sun
pockets the balcony.

He shuffles back inside like a lemon tree.
His subjects lift their eyebrows from themselves.

We go back to making love,
grateful God made so many immaculate mistakes.

Monday, November 17, 2008


She’s got a tattoo just above her buttcrack,
it says Chopin.

The little bumps of her backbone
appear so sweet.

Her face must be on the other side of her head,
I fear.

Her genitals blossom in her shorts
with rectangular pockets in the back.

Her brown hair dances in the wind
in smallish waves.

I’d recognize those hips just about anywhere,
I swear.

When she turned the corner and disappeared,
I heard the silence of Chopin.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rebuilding The Carburetor

I visit my father in the desert,
the polar bears of cactus roar,

icebergs of sand surround his house,
grapevines grope Mexican girls,

and the sun sacrifices cold at dawn.
“ The desert is not for everybody,”

my father says, as he pulls the carburetor
from my 1970 Mustang,

“it scares some, and it makes others
fall in love.”

I am none of the above. Once,
while backpacking in the mountains above his house,

a mountain lion tracked me for three days.
“ One way or another

death is always after you.”
he says, while replacing the venturis.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Protracted Elegy For Pete

Pete, your body blown apart
there in the Vietnamese jungle

while I read Americo Paredes,
you with a pistol in your hands.

Two of your fingers
quivering in the mud,

next to the smoking scalp
of Tommy, the black kid from Mississippi.

One of your lips
lying next to hot shrapnel

while I kissed a Chicana’s lips
at Pioneers Park,

whose name survived in my memory
for a decade, now gone,

but, remnants of you, Pete,
float above the page to this day,

expand and grow heavy
crushing me against the earth,

leaving only the scant wiggle room
I must make use of to escape.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Birthday Wish

Words have not passed between us
going on forty years now,

so much has failed,
and what has succeeded

has succeeded to a fault,
your lips, your thighs, your sighs

have belonged to someone else
for so long,

but make not a difference to me;
the state I’m in

being the state I’m in
my whole life through,

living it as if
it was always yesterday.

Monday, November 10, 2008

As I have always tried to infuse my poetry
with politics and women, these two poems
“Politics” by W.B. Yeats and Dream Song #
4 by John Berryman have intrigued me to no
end ( no pun intended). The Yeats poem written
towards the end of his life encompasses his
life-long themes, compact, a burst of light
like the beginning of the universe. The Berryman
poem, the lust that man can not escape yet
transfigures him, has us staring at the headlights
like a deer. Who has not felt the joy and the
fear? The escape from mind to flesh, the escape
from the complicated to the simple, the basic,
the real as it were. Unstoppable by mere polite
society and its restrictions on our imagination.
A Kama Sutra of verse, if you will. The positons
and the ploy of the iambics. Be it in the green
air of Ireland or in a Minnesota restaurant.


How can I, that girl standing there,
My attention fix
On Roman or on Russian
Or on Spanish politics,
Yet here’s a travelled man that knows
What he talks about,
And there’s a politician
That has both read and thought,
And maybe what they say is true
Or war and war’s alarms,
But O that I were young again
And held her in my arms.

By William Butler Yeats

Dream Song # 4

Filling her compact & delicious body
with chicken paprika, she glanced at me
Fainting with interest, I hungered back
and only the fact of her husband & four other people
kept me from springing on her

or falling at her little feet and crying
“ You are the hottest one for years of night
Henry’s dazed eyes
have enjoyed, Brilliance.” I advanced upon
(despairing) my spumoni. – Sir Bones: is stuffed,
de world, wif feeding girls.

-Black hair, complexion Latin, jewelled eyes
downcast… The slob beside her feasts… What wonders is
she sitting on, over there?
The restaurant buzzes. She might as well be on Mars.
Where did it all go wrong? There ought to be a law against Henry.
-Mr. Bones: there is.

By John Berryman

Friday, November 07, 2008

The Kelly Bundy Diagnosis

In memory of Larry the Mad-Hatter

Watching re-runs of Married With Children,
I try to picture Kelly without tits,

the Venus de Milo with one arm,
the one-armed man who killed Kimball’s wife,

the knife plunged into Sal Mineo,
the bullet finding Dr. King,

ask not what your country can do for you,
ask not what came first, eggs or Kennedys,

the bullets killed John Lennon,
the thighs maimed Kim Novak for life,

the poetry mercilessly
tears apart the poet---it, too, a disease.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

from the 1957 movie The Tin Star
starring Henry Fonda, Tony Perkins,
Betsy Palmer, and Neville Brand…

Gunfight At The Ohkey Dohkey Kohral

Rush Limbaugh incites the mob to hang
Tony Perkins’ prisoner while Henry Fonda

advises the young Sheriff so he may survive
the wild, wild West.

The Sheriff’s young wife whose sexxx
is burning underneath long, ruffled underwear

waits on the outskirts of town
where the dust appears to be dust;

the lumber for the town
brought down from the hills

on wagons made in St. Louis.
When the Sheriff confronts Limbaugh,

and slaps him in front of the mob---well,
there’s nothing like the cowardice of a coward.

The day of the presidential election I was listening
to the Rush Limbaugh radio show, and he kept
calling Obama, “that squirrel”, apparently that is
Limbaugh’s snide euphemism for racism. And
today (post election) Comedian Limbaugh is deflated,
grasping at straws, wanting Obama to solve the
problems (created over the last eight Republican years),
he wants Obama to solve all the problems on his first
day in office. He’s trying to incite (like Bogardus) his
ignorant followers who are already lunatics to begin
with. Good luck there, Rushbo.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


The homeless man collects dollars
at the intersection,

holding up his cardboard sign
which says he’s a down-on-his-luck vet (yeah, right),

when the light turns red
he walks up to each waiting car

hoping for a handout,
his eyes look at you from another world

because he lives in another world,
the girl in the convertible,

wearing a skirt which rides up her thighs,
gives him a dollar,

there is lust in his eyes
but only for the money.


I’m waiting for the light to change at Parmer and the I-35 access road,
taking a left towards Dell. My 2009 Dodge Ram Texas Edition is just
days off the lot, six cylinder, a sort of compromise for those of you who
are worried about saving the planet (Too late, I scream in a high-pitched
voice!). Anyway, so this redhead is stopped next to me in her Miata, you
know, that orianal sportscar, her skirt is way up her thighs, panties almost
visible. She does not see me slobbering on myself. She’s too busy giving
the homeless guy what he wants. The damn light turns green.


In this poem, we come to grips with three desperate characters, the
homeless man who got to this point in his life who knows how. The girl
who’s got a heart of gold and thighs to kill, and the horny guy who works
at Dell (good luck finding a job after Dell closes its doors in December,
bozo), who wouldn’t give a dollar to save starving African children, curses
traffic lights (except now) and the poor. Oh, the cosmology of intersections,
and what it brings together if only for the length of a light cycle. Go on,
you got a green light. Contemplation begins again at the next light. See you

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Joe The Plumber

They asked Joe the Plumber what he thought
of poetry.

He smirked and said something
about them sissies.

He continued working without a license
on a Republican’s backed-up toilet,

and Fox News made a hero
out of his butt crack.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Living La Vida Poca

for Jenny Wrong Way Goat Philips

In the bare mountains of New Mexico,
you trained to be a poet,

that, of course, was silly of you (I thought).
Inspired by your ancestors, you went ahead.

You battled shrubs of granite,
you leveled hogans of wind.

The Navajo girl who raped you
went unpunished for so long,

and when you did find water,
you turned it into poetry.

In this filthy, foreign city of no pity,
I finally admit my defeat at your hands.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Personification

In the third grade, at Juan Seguin Elementary School,
I’d walk the three blocks to Markgraf’s Grocery Store,

jump a fence on the side of the store,
and devour my tacos in secret, in shame.

Is that what fosters your arrogance now,
asks my wife as she tries to corral me?

She doesn’t much like the fact
of my political incorrectness.

I yell like Stokely Carmichael,
I rant like Raymundo Tigre Perez.

Ten feet shorter than Ricardo Sanchez,
I take no prisoners.

Proud as I never was
when a dirty, little Mexican third grader.