Chicano Poet

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Rock Paper Scissors

i tried to erase you from my mind
with rock paper scissors

my butterfly eye
knocked out

your cicada genitals
promised elsewhere

my one wing
pressed to the silver sky

the lights on your knees
sweeten night for someone

rock paper scissors
switching on and off

your warm backyard
walks around in sneakers

naked otherwise
my red sex cold in the Himalayas

the Heralayas
below sea level

i have tried in vain
crumbling rock burnt paper broken scissors

Monday, January 30, 2012

Henny And Bee

The way back machine
has spotted Henny and Bee

the dust along Hidalgo Street
the Shanafelt junkyard

and even further back
the tent-covered roller rink

eons before Vaughn Street
was extended

that crush I had on Bee
was never meant to be

oh how my heart ached
and schemed

and melted like ice cream
but the past is past

and even the way back machine
shakes & trembles & falls apart

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Soul Tren

What the hell’s
this Mexican doing on Soul Train

his high-pitched voice
clashing with the host

hey mami
he says with an accent

you’re not from here
says the girl with the nice butt

it’s all relative
he says

catching the soul sister
by surprise

dancing a cumbia
to the hip hop beat

some stop
once they cross the river

this carnal’s
gone way too far

Friday, January 27, 2012

History Lesson

The Mexican eagle
sleeps upon a limb.

Half a woman
cries from the arroyo.

A whole bitter race
of lemons on the bank.

A sacred virgin
created just for the occasion.

The snake is begging
on its knees.

Juan was blind
says a detractor.

But the nation
was born anyway.

A playground
which can not mature.

The virgin hugs you
with her cactus arms.

Child, you must know
what you are made of.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cantina Blues

The cantina was rocking with smoke
smoke which had been lived in

night after night
El Perro sat at his usual table

his back against the wall
a good view of the dirty door

he knew which cabrón
had a gun

or a knife
or a gun and a knife

he knew which cabrón
was likely to start a fight

after six or seven beers
he knew which saloon girl

to stay away from
El Perro hated going home

but he went home anyway
bipolar son of la chingada

sometimes he was Mexican
sometimes he wasn’t

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Conjunto Blues

The accordion player
has always been an anti-hero

in the smoky cantinas
where immorality is not only tolerated

but a way of life
wayward heart beats deepen in a hole

and always the girl who brings
lipstick to a knifefight

saturday nights and sunday morning
come upon her thighs

the unfaithful husband
who slinks home at dawn

and barks at his wife
because it’s a dog’s world

the conjunto guys
counting pennies sunday afternoon

music still rattling around
in their sweaty underwear

they are addicted to bitterness
and its highs

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Heavenly Haiku

They paved paradise
and put up a statue
of Joni Mitchell

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Arizona: The New Order

The laws they pass
to suppress

the laws they pass
to enslave

the righteous ones
who stand behind them

who can’t read
the Constitution

it is not they
who created the nation

it is not their future
we are seeing

it is their impotence
they advertise

their self-loathing
brought to the surface

it is their sole desire
to impose upon us

a world where nothing grows
but hate

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Cosmos

I’m playing darts with your boobs
in this violent playful way

which has taken over our lives.
That day you tried to run me over

with your cherub car
in the mall parking lot---

that was sweet of you.
I was running for my life

and yours.
Sometimes we draw blood

and sometimes we don’t,
sometimes you bite my lips so hard,

I almost pass out.
Sometimes when I slap you silly,

you say you see the stars
entering one black hole

and coming out another.
Stephen Hawking screwed again!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Parting Of The Rio Bravo

God and I went to the movies
to see the Ten Commandments

the black kids had to sit in the balcony
the brown kids hovered in mid-air

we were almost there
and we were not quite there

no one was as good as you know who
but we did our best

my skin did not object
my heart did concentrate

my brain had been conditioned
the sea was boiling

the Pharaoh’s men hot on our heels
the brown kid next to me said is this for real

before the Rio Bravo did its best
to separate Mexican from Mexican.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Murder Suicide

You’re so cute and silly
pointing the gun at my head

the melting ice caps
and their soggy ideas advance relentlessly

you kick your panties across the room
with your feet

you once saw your daddy
screwing your mommy’s sister

startled by a foghorn
they jumped out of bed

your aunt’s titties
flapped like wings

your daddy’s knighthood
put on hold

your twenty favorite Neruda poems
walk out to sea

the lyrics bubble
rise and pop in your hand

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Days Of Our Lives

You were always fretting
over that small mole left behind by the moon

of a word so hard to find in lush carpet

a moon rock
illegally buried in the bowels of Arizona

whales beached themselves
in Austin, Tejas

but that mole
like the dark side of the moon

comes to a gallop
and I pour used motor oil in the brackish backyard.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Chicano Nerd

After La Virgen de Guadalupe took over from God
my love-life did not seem to get any better

pretty girls still rejected me
chicanas were the worst

at hurting my manly feelings
white girls let me down gently most of the time

slowly I began to realize
that no matter who’s in charge of this mundo

no matter how many candles I lit
I had to switch over

to La Virgen de San Juan---
maybe she’d make me into a chick magnet.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Poem On His Sixty-Fourth Birthday

Sticks and stones may break my bones
but so can ice cream cones.

The sky will fall,
the clouds roll up into a ball.

Birds will walk out of the sky,
they’ll have no choice, will I?

Sticks and stones will break my bones,
but not just cake alone.

Happy birthday, you old goat,
your poetry has missed the boat.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Mal De Ojo

I have one eye in the middle
of my forehead

and a broken wing
hidden under my tattered coat

my feet stinky and dirty
my guts

held in place
by a worn belt

and I am
the only Mexican I know.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The Bullfight

Taken to a bullfight as a child
does not define me

climbing that steep pyramid
whose history doomed us all

the train puffing smoke
in valleys and mountains

broke down at the border
like everything else

still I have blood on my hands
the toreador and his dance

the matador and his sword
plunged into the back of my neck

I am down on my knees
blood gurgling from my nostrils

it amazes me I can get up
to write this

Sunday, January 01, 2012

For Shelby, Age Six

She took a pencil in her little hand
and drew the world as it was meant to be.

You would not recognize it now,
where she put all the trees,

what she cleverly undid
with the seven naughty seas,

the mountains seem to matter more to valleys,
animal eyes so fluffy and so peaceful,

the rivers march before us
almost embarrassed of their waters,

and man himself is spared
all sorts of silly stormy weather.

I am so proud of how
she’s finally fixed God’s faulty world.