Barrio Snake Songs

Chicano Monologues

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i have walked too many miles in my own shoes to care anymore about what this american paradigm is trying to lie to me. i was born in this america as a mexican on the weekends or weekdays. depending on how american my environment is . was or could be. i can’t tell you how many times i’ve lost the sense of my own mexicanness inside of america. and yet the border crosses me out. because in mexico and latin america i get lost in how american i am. just another gringo. despite the the fact that i will never be a gringo or white american or american as mexican apple pie. we die here. over and over. mexican americans die here and get lost here. in this america that holds to many keys for its own kingdom and doesn’t want to share them . without this america. we are as american as an america that loses to itself. this america has to many racial credit card debts. this american has too many people that it tried to sweep under its quilt. under its carpet. under its sensibility. this america that loses its own name and its own identity when it tries to convince itself that its not native america(n). this american that tries to claim that its not muslim, chinese, mexican, central american. that tries to claim that it was never lost in this ocean. i was born in this america. waiting for the seventh sun. not knowing that it had already been reborn and died 13 times before i realized i was a part of the eight ninth tenth generation. we are american as the tamales and beans that built this nation. we like black america. burned and hung on trees. limbs breaking. limbs broken. and we remember. all the parts that america wants to forget . sweep under its console and pretend its a sea of another pacific. another drowned song. another set of songs. this america that wants  too play too many tunes for its own good. i was born in this america. waiting for an american paradigm that wasn’t a paradigm. that wasn’t an ism i was born of this america. born again inside of uc berkeley. beaten by a brown police officer while protesting 187 and the devasation of Colin Powel trying to do away with affirmative action. i born of this america. as protestors on top of the campanelie were locked up fighting for a different berkeley. a different california. a different set of instructions on how we say and admit that this america is racist. this america is classists. this america is trying its hardest to kill its own contradictions. before they have had the chances to become full out lies. too many seeds sown onto this american earth. inside a black america. inside a native america. inside a situational unconditional never forgiving america. that tries to lock itself up. place the keys in its mouth and swallow freedom. for the sake of proving its own false argument. america are you waiting for another sign that you need to stop and look passed all these obsidian mirrors. all the layers of tescatlipocatl that landed on your lap. set fire to all your old flames. and cradled your america land. an undocumented america without enough papers to cover up the ashes of burnt treaties . i am of this america. waiting for another america. waiting for another set of american treatments. of this america still waiting for itself. still trying to criminalize itself for the sake of making profit off of bailing itself. this america i was born into.

i remember walking towards downtown. walking down cesar chavez deep into the tunnel after the bridge. the one that towers over the prisons i didn’t know where prisions. i just knew that at the end of that tunnel was olvera street. some wierd sentimental mexico that i couldn’t afford but walked down there. from cesar chavez and pennsylvania. bussed sometimes for soto st to passed the placita. to a bookstore hidden in some part of downtown not to famous . not too crowded but still too expensive for my own belonging. sitting there with piles of fresh smell of penguin publishing . sci ficitoin books. and all the layers of english words i couldn’t afford. but i would walk in there over and over. before broadway. before downtown becomes downtown. inbetween olvera’s nonsensical white washed mexicanada and the busy towers of a mexican american downtown trying to sell you the most inexpensive plastic rolex you could ever imagine. all the colors flairing bright along the dark pissed concrete of broadway and 7th street. trying to hustle me for my moms dollars. all these places have no price tag inside empty mexican and mexican american pockets. they just stay busy . despereately waiting for under the table no benefit jale dollars to emerge as plastic gold. wood silver. sometimes pennies turn to diamonds here and turn your wrist green with that bracelet you just bought. this bustle is my america. wandering in the hidden and open and sullen pieces of this mexican american paradise.

 

overlooking the towers. big prisons. big monuments. i stare and glance. and watch grow bigger in my teen years. but don’t know what this america is. i don’t know what is caged behind these buildings.

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Election Day Red White and Blues #1

we’re trying to find a fix for what just happened. we elected a man. who many question what his purpose. whats his reasoning. but now the real question is . what was the point of trying to make him in charge. him has been in charge for longer than 500 years. as one friend put it. he’s the 44th not the first. and this is just the beginning. i think. well we want to imagine something more. you know. something different. but i kinda think this is what our ancestors were warning us about in 2012. but  i think they wanted to give us a 4 year head start in preparation. just an opportunity for awakening.  but now what. he’s about to be in office and the question is what. what are you going to do. what are we going to do . what is he going to do. its all right there. but its all been right there. we have just been ignoring it all. we want to imagine that he’s in charge or that he’s going to do something for or against. and now it seems everybody is afraid. but we’ve been dealing with this sort of stuff for a long time. and we’ve been screaming about it. writing about it. documenting it. singing about it. whispering about it. getting silenced about it. and people were just ignoring this the whole time. and it was okay to ignore us. ignore them. and now what . we’ve been ignoring and ignoring. and believing he was going to get in office. and ignorning and clicking and posting about how he was wrong for this country. and posting and sitting and just thinking. this would never happen. and now he’s here . right in front of us. and the quesiton is . whats next. but its not for me. because we’ve been living this. breathign this. praying about this for a looong time. and now we’re just waiting to see what you guys are finally going to do about it. because we’ve been doing. we’ve been doing and we are going to continue doing.

 

 

x plus y

this is what i become in the outcome

of what i say . whats mis heard. what gets decided

to be heard. and all the inbetweeen rumble.

that becomes the angst. of become chicano

in a town full of hispanity. the sound of spanish

over the rubble of being hispanic. of spanish decent

and not having to be necessarily tied to anything hispanic

just the rubbling. that leaves you wondering. what exaclty

about hispanicity. do i claim. where am i hispanic. where am i american.

where am i dead chicano. tongueless chicano. and where am i native.

and what exactly do i lay claim to .

and then in the contiued white washing of the adobe walls

they will say.. well you know. i’m just human. thats what i am

i don’t want to claim race. because i’m not goign to be hear and say

that i’m one thing over the other. we’re all just human. i mean.

yeah we might all come from africa at some point. we might be

native at some other point. but we are here right now. thats what

really matters.

we are the sound of the races. racing together. we are thing.

taht we sometimes want to negate. that we don’t have anything t

to do with any of it. that we are just human. thats what we all are.

in the process of white washing the adobe walls. of the already. white washed

notion of tric cultural idenity. we want to dismiss it a little bit more.

to take away any possiblity that there is osmethign more to offer. them

or us. or the inbewteenes. the ones that are mixed blood. that want to lay some

type of foundation. to say. whait a minute. i’m not just native. i’m not just mexican.

im not just spanish. but some mixed. white. mixed black. mixed in between. and

those different pieces. have nuances. have reference. tonuges. languages. culturas

que pues. are a part of the cellular level. of my memory. some dna. instruction

in there. that ight matter. somewhere along this

raod. black. red. yellow. white. and every spectrum in between.

wihtout just. white washing all the adobe walls.

full of hispanic heritage.

somewehre along these notions. i am mexican american.

chicano by revolutionary minded default.

because i choose to take some polictical stances

now if you want ot claim an x.. in your chicano

identity. i think thats where it gets tricky in some circles

but i would want to argue that you might have to do something for that a x..

something that bends . breaks. the borders. of helping the poeple

some would argue that you would have to continue to stand there

in the chicano firerange. in order for it to continue to have value

all that is up for negotiation for some

up for non negotiation for others

irrelevante to otherse.

inside these notions of what it means to be hispanic

chicano. white black. lets just say the only thing that

concerns in a place like santa fe … new mexico..

is the white washing of herstory

the white washing of history

the white washing of the blood off the blood less conquest

in order for a more perfect

tourist union..

angry brown man

whose curriculum

i graduated high school with a 1.59 g.p.a eventually pick up my grades. go to the community college and get into UC BErkeley. eventually i get into a masters program. all of this to say. that i am no different than any other student in the barrio. that i was not special. that it did in fact take alot of energy alot of things to move and hustle. but that it can be done. also to say don’t give up on that student in the back of the classroom.

i was bored alot of the time. i was not challenged. classes where i was challenged i got an A in. Classes that were easy or boring i usually failed. i think i failed every first period class i had. i guess i should have my transcripts sent to me.

to see where it was that i was failing. where i failed myself. where they failed me. the thing is that i went to a highschool that had 6000 students. it was the biggest school this side of the misssippii. and it appeared in the movie “Waiting for Superman” and was labeled a “Drop Out Factory”. In essence a space where children are sent to fail. This term was used to describe alot of schools all around us. in the whole country that pretty much have a poor percentage of students that actually graduate. This is an epedimic occuring in our schools across the country. its an occurance that is happening in santa fe. where students that actually do graduate end up having to take remedial classes if they actually managed to apply to colleges post highschool. these are the things that people wanted to kept hidden. as yes the district is making big changes and trying to adapt. but to pretend that in a state that is ranked dead last that its not affecting the best schools the best districts is a lie needing to be looked at. There are alot of factors ofcourse that need to be considered but the reality is there staring at us right in the face. but we want to look away and pretend that becasue some test scores and percentages have shown improvement that its all said and done. and that there is nothing going on.

there are drop out factories across the country. and in santa fe there are only two public highschools both of which are inside this label and trying to not let that label be known. the reality of the type of education that is being instilled across the way where there are private highschools is night and day.

when i was in highschool. when we were at graduation. i was 19. i had flunked ninth grade. i was sitting there. hearing the validictorian speak. and i was saying to myself. we aren’t ready. we simply are not ready . i kept saying this as i was sitting there all in red. in my red cap and gown. i was really upset. something inside me knowing that this was an inferior education. this was not preparing us for life. for school. i could hear that angry voice inside as i watched people up there on stage. with their 4.2 GPA’s and all their talk and i thought they dont know. we don’t know. none of us are ready.

but i didn’t really have much more at that the time than that. when i got to college. somebody had filled out an application of me. and i sat there with them. as they filled out application after application .. even after deadlines had passed they sat there patiently with me. telling me that i could go to college. after i had gotten a 1250 on the SAT or something along those lines. as you had to get a 1300 on the SAT so that the UC system would dismiss your GPA. but since i barely missed that mark. I gave up. It didn’t occur to me take it again. Maybe taken it again without going out being drunk with your friends the night before and showing up to the test hungover. This is barrio self sabotage because nobody in your family has ever gone to college and your friends also don’t have an experience of having family that has gone to school or graduated. My mom had done some elementary. My dad had done some elementary. I didn’t see him much  but i knew he worked in a fast food restaurant. i knew he drank alot. i knew he would come around every now and again. he had another family he was tending to..

my mother. drinking also. but would never consider herself a drunkard because of the reality of how much my dad drank. i guess its a theory of drunken relativity. she only got drunk on the weekends. he got drunk a little more often. He drank hard liqours . she just pounded whatever was in front of her. but these are the things that kinda start to also influence all of these things. in the bariro

like looking around .. talking to your homies. and asking as we are graduating. hey how many of us. have our fathers around. and the bulk of us didn’t. we were a little crew of folks that would hang out. party. play basketball. and the bulk of us didn’t have our fathers around. this was not everybodies reality. but this was our reality. these were the things we were walking waking up to. living on the daily. and not even realizing that this was all of our particular realities.

we didn’t get into heavy drug use. i could even fathom using weed. i just figured i was crazy enough as it was. i didn’t need to consume some shit that might make me crazier than i was. i kept picturing myself behind the wheel. just pressing my foot to the accelarateor and just driving out of control. which is funny because weed kinda takes on a whole other effect. but this image of myself. this imaginary self kept me from doing weed all of highschool. but it didn’t stop me from drinking. i had my first beer at 16. we were out near my cousins house.

my cousin had been long drinking with my mother. as my mother used to get my 15 year old cousin and all her friends beers. i didn’t know this until one day i walked into my aunt’s studio apartment. to find my cousin and three of her freidns and my mom all laid out there. drunk with 40 ounce drinks. cheap drink of choice. and i was angry and upset watching my mother with these teenagers getting everybody drunk. eventually .. at some random moment . right outside my cousins block. drinking with the homeis. i had two beers. we were faded. and on the way back to my cousin’s place. we saw this man. asleep in his van. and we woke him up. and i can’t remember how it is that we convinced him that he should let us drive his car and take him home. we drove him to his place a couple of miles from there. and the moment when he was about to get out of the car. we drove off with the van. the crazy part was that the van wasn’t very fast. we were yelling at our friend to drive faster as the man. was holding on to the door as we were speeding off. but he was punching it. and nothing. the man was still keeping up. unitl eventually the van went speeding off fast enough . and we saw on the back windows this man roll off stubbling. and also this dog attacking him. we were all buzzed at the time. laughing at the antics we were in. ofcourse like dumb asses we were joyriding for a while decided that we were going to drop the van off. on one of the side streets in front of our highschool. when we got off. we realized a couple of things. one. that this man had a camera and a mac lite. and a big mattress. to us all these things hinted at him taking nasty pictures of people in the back of his van. we imagined him as this pervert. we criminalized him. to justify our crime.

the next day i had to tutor folks in calculus. it was saturday morning. and the van was still there. i had to tutor students in calculus to make up for the fact that i didn’t want to do the homework in calculus class.  and so they had me tutoring folks for the sake of makign up some credit.

but there i was trying to figure out where we had . like dumbassses dropped off the keys ot this van. somewhere along the road there. just thrown them. drunken stupidity of teenage thinking. i wandering around looking for these keys that i never found. after tutoring folks in calculus. but there i was .. looking and looking. not thinking. oh hey israel maybe the cops might be looking for this vehicle and there you are looking for these keys and you might get asked some quesitons.

more fb monologues .. voices in the ethernets

Pues cuando uno esta en esas situaciones

Se encuentra tratando de explicar de lo que son

De lo que fueron y pues uno nunca sabe quien y porque

Ni como son las cosas solo que tenemos que seguir luchando

Para todos los derechos de nuestra humanidad

Nadie te puede quitar esta realidad

Tenemos que saber que siempre estamos aqui

Para el pueblo

Para la gente

Para que puedan entender que nadie nadie

Esta en esos momentoes

2

Somos los liberados. Somos los que vinimos a esta tierra

Para encontrar nuestra pas. Nuestra dignidad. Para que el pueblo

Puede deveramente entender que aqui estamos para la gente

Que nadie nadie. Nos puede robrar nuestro derecho a nuestra

Humanidad. A nuestra conneccion a la madre tierra. Que nadie

Nos puede robar este momento. Estamos aqui para defender la madre

Tierra. Nuna nadie a poder quitar nos estos derechos

3

No pues haci es. Vinieron y se lluevaron a mi esposo. Gente piensa que

Estamos pidiendo demasiado y que si somos ilegales somos alguien que

Nos pueden hacer cual quier cosa. Pero pues la realdid. No somos ilegales

Ningun human es illegal. Que mas te puedo decir de esto . somos parte de

La tierra todos los que estamos aqui somos esos.

4

I’ve been working on this land for 2o years in some way shape or form.

I’m part of this land. Zapata said whomever works the land is the one

That ones the land. And well I’ve never own land. I’ve picked strawberries

Lettuce tomatoes. So many things. And well its always like that. I guess

People say these thigns. They don’t respect us. They don’t respect the work

We do. They don’t respect any of it. And well what am I supposed to do.. with that

Reality. Trying to work hard on this land and nobody sees you. You do your work

Because it’s the closest you can be to god. Its not the only way pero. If you luck up

And you think about what its like in this day and age to be a part of this earth

And to become creator. That’s what you become when you work the land

And you harvest you are part of making something. No not the only way

But still its right there. Right in front of you for all like.

5

Yeah I saw Ramirez shoot that man. It through me off because I had been in the

Force 10 years by then. I never expected to see anything like that. Well I should

Have known better. The man was face down. Already hand cuff. And you could

See officer ramirez’s eyes. The rage. The frustration. It wasn’t even about this

Man on the floor face down. Who had in fact given him a hard time. It was about

These conditions we work in. where we are the enemy. Where we are the ones

In that space being seen as criminal. That’s what it was about. That’s what this was

About. I could see it in ramirez’s eyes. All the pain all the hurt. All the times that

He was in the trenches with me. He had been on edge for weeks. Already. I asked

Him how his wife was. He didn’t give me the usual funny spiel he does. You know

When he’s happy when he’s about to come to some funny thing about being married.

He just kept grunting. And letting out this deep sigh. That he would try to play off

By telling some random joke he had heard that day.  And he was short with everybody

I should have known better when that day he started arguing with Dona Maria where

He usually helps people with those type of things you know. He usually is really helpful

With the old people and their old people things that we routinely do. Pero no this time

No way he was going to do that. I don’t know he just snapped. So when we went to the

Liquor store to deal with this young man, who had been harassing Mr. Kim I knew

Pues. It was heavy there. It all moved so fast.

6

I shot him. Because he was a threat. Because he was a danger to our community.

this america

likes to live in a world of amnesia. lieks to pretend things don’t exist. likes to say that everybody can pick themselves up by their boot straps. likes to say that things are gonna get better. if we just ignore them. and live the american post racialized american dream. put it to a hault this american fabrication of what is really going on in america. we are living in a

false economy. false american dreams. false perpetuataions of the americana onslaught. and we have to fidn the means to discuss them. heal them and move them. this american paradigm is right in front of us. waiting for us to speak some bigger truth. some bigger form of what should and shouldn’t be happening.

lets talk about it santa fe. lets talk about all the ways you want to perpetuate the false hood. the false identty. that you are a tri cultural state. that you are a space where white hispanic and indigenous come together. whose propaganda are you trying to sell. who is benefiting from your myth. and who can tell a different story. about this americana. about what is going on in this new mexico. where you have the poorest conditions. in the country. dead last in education. dead last in child well being. dead last in all the things. and lets talk about who is this affecting the most. and who is this affecting the least. lets talk about your numbers. how many immigrants are in these numbers. counted. and un counted. how much of these services are because of second third fourth generation mexican american. what is going on here. what are the underlying themes. what is not being spoken. what is not being said. how do we change this dynamic. how do we look at it with some real accountability at the helm. and the truth of the center. how do we address. this realistically.

slam poets

in the mediocracy of becoming some healed song

we become the sorrid song. at the back of the slam poetry event

we become the mircale of ourselves. the good example of what it means

to survive. about what i means to be a good example to the neigbhorhood

how you can get ahead. how you can do right. you can find the reason

of how to live on this earth. speaking these truths. speaking the beautiful light

that is happening. all the silencing. all the violence that happens in the silenced.

you want to be helped a certain way. not imposed how you should be helped

you don’t want to be labeled. your feelngs your emotions. you want peace and

dignity. you see me as an oppressor.

amnesia

i forget how hard it is to right into the center. i forget that struggle. to look and look again at the parts that no one wants to talk about. all the things buried under teh skin. all the things that you will recieve heat for saying. criticism. lose friends etc. but then where are you left but to speak these truths that are getting silenced.

all the things that happen in the downtown santa fe plaza

what happens in the school district

what happens inside of the non profits

what happens when you start speaking these truths

what happens to the way you are percieved

agitator. banned. radical.

that you just want chaos and to disrupt.

you become the cliche for the angry brown man. who is just trying to dismantle power

address the work. and the world. from a higher place.

what becomes the voice of reason

what becomes the voice of higher reason

how you become locked inside these conditons.

you’re treading on the light waters. that nobody wants to talk about

the historical silencing that comes through a town that is caught in its own tourist trap

to sell the masses cowboys and indians. and the trauma herstorical trauma that rest upon that

all the dangers right there in the center.

articlutate the hurt. articulate the healing. articluate the song the dance

and everything in betweeen.

ghost songs

there are ghost songs in my throat. about the space i occupy

how did i just become some angry brown man. in there eyes

i didn’t use to care about this. at all. if you saw me as this

but in a town like santa fe. its got this really small feel. with very limited

space to occupy. so if you get this label. in this town. its an interesting

space. because heres the thing. i come from east los angeles. and thne

spent a long time schooling in berkeley and oakland area. a space wehre

having confrontation with the police. is the norm. and yet here. if you saying

anything thats deemed as controversial. anything that seems leftist. or so

called radical.. then you get boxed in. i realized that there are a couple of factors

in this. one. this reality that santa fe. wants to lay claim to being this spritual community

this higher self consciousness. you don’t see any radical posters very much anywhere.

there is this retired community. and a whole other community that is just deemed as

white liberalism.