Saturday, September 13, 2014

Because I'm Not Chicano

It's because my family's
been living in Cruces
since the 1860's. Its because
my mom's father was
Apache, but there are
plenty of Germans, too.
I grew up watching
my dad's mother
making tortillas
my dad's dad practicing
the fiddle so he'd
play well at the wedding
that weekend.  Any wedding
in Cruces, any time they
needed a strong, resonant violin
player.  But my parents
who spoke Spanish
with me lived in the
suburbs of Albuquerque,
sheltered me from
that life.  So I

went out to Cruces
this summer, went
to Tucson, too
where the other half
of my family
lives.   There
is the pain of the
desert, pain of separation,
the infinite desecration of land
of peoples,
but I am not nor will
ever be a part of the pain
you write.  It's my own
pain that's my muse
and I like Lowell more
than Castillo.  I'm sorry
if this fact offends you.

I am sorry I am not
en la frontera fighting
our battles, which seem
more like yours, not
mine.  I have children
to raise, and their
mother's Irish-Italian,
that is, we are now
Americans and have no
need for tribalism, even
though the world
is ruled by such.

My real friends
laugh, and those who
know my work laugh.
I will go all over
this country reading
and blazing like a fox tail.
For I am hot as hot coal
there is nothing to stop my words
now, no redneck county sheriff
to tell me shut up, Mesican, or
shut up, Indio.  My children
are free and mixed and I am alive.