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Your daily dose of Chicano poetry

"I write poems on walls that crumble and fall
I talk to shadows that sleep and go away crying.”

Luis Omar Salinas (1937–2008)

Anderson Cooper 360°: Ethnic studies ban racist?

March 16, 2012

Call for Submissions: ¡Ban This! The BSP Anthology of Xican@ Literature

March 12, 2012

I Too Am Singing America >> jj méndez

January 18, 2012

by jj méndez


As I scrub your dishes, pots and pans

With skin-piercing detergents in the greasy

Kitchens of your restaurants, hotels and grand chalets

I too am singing, America!


As I clean your lawns, parks and highways

In brazen heat and bone-chilling winds

And make you proud of your streets and railroads

I too am singing, America!


As I harvest your bounty under the scorching sun

In the bosom of your fertile fields while

Breathing pesticides that permeate your fruited land

I too am singing, America!


As I tile your floors and tar your roofs

And paint your walls with lead-filled hues

While my limbs grow numb and arthritic

I too am singing, America!


As I fine-tune and lubricate your gas-guzzling SUVs

Hand-wash and caress your sedans with the finest wax

My aching back and joints guarantee your gleaming cars

I too am singing, America!


As I count and assemble your disposable widgets and gadgets

Under artificial light and sweltering heat and floating ashes

Inhaling the rancid indoor air of your sweatshops and factories

I too am singing, America!


As I splinter the veins of your mines in search of precious metals

In the cavernous bowels of your majestic mountain ranges

Taxing my skin and lungs inhaling nauseating dust and gases

I too am singing, America!


As I care for your prolific poultry and inbred cattle

In the viscera of your prodigious farms and ranches

Surrounded by dusty silos, sloshing waste and squalor

I too am singing, America!


As I march into your battlefields and global confrontations

And leave the indelible stain of my blood in your trenches

To uphold the inalienable rights given by your Constitution

I too am singing, America!


As I toil proudly in 187 human hues and SB1070 tones

Interlacing the legacy of my ancestry, I bestow on thee

The transcendency of La Raza Cósmica’s genome

Anticipating the day you become a rightful part of me…


I too am singing, America!



My name is Joel Mendez. I was born in Texas, raised between migrant trips to the ‘norte,’ and finally came of age in the streets of ChiTown. By choice, I was literally left behind by my hard-working family who wanted to continue living the cycle of migrant/seasonal work (which they loved so much). I finished raising and educating myself in the Windy City’s public schools and eventually graduated from the University of Illinois. Currently, I am a high school mathematics educator (fancy title for math teacher) and continue surviving in suburbia as I continue to make my annual visits to the old neighborhood where I get my inspiration to write poetry and brief essays (none published).

In light of the current wave (again) of hatred of all things Mexican, I share this poem in which I attempt to honor the contribution of Mexicanos (de aqui y del otro lado) in building and maintaining our ungrateful nation. It started out as a response to Walt Whitman’s “I Hear America Singing” and Langston Hughes’ ‘I Too.‘ Upon reading their respective poems on the subject, I felt a Chicano response was long overdue… Hope you like it.

Tucson’s Sin of Scandal — Failing Students >> Rodolfo F. Acuña

January 18, 2012

 By Rodolfo F. Acuña

What is missing in the media’s coverage of the elimination of the Tucson Unified School District Mexican American Studies program is that students were learning and they wanted to go to school. I take this shutdown personal. One of the reasons I have stayed in education for over fifty-five years is that I wanted to do something about the dropout problem. I always heeded John Dewey’s dicta that a student failure was that of the teacher. If students drop out then there is something wrong with the educational system.

Arizona education has many problems: taxpayers do not want to pay for schools and AZ is dead last in student per capita spending. White parents don’t want their children going to school with Latinos and blacks as well as other working class people, so charter schools have multiplied to “balance” student ethnicity by making it whiter.

Arizona has blatantly avoided federal court orders to desegregate: more than fifty years after Brown v. the Board of Education (1954), the TUSD is still under a federal court mandate to “balance” the schools. The federal government, meanwhile, has poured millions of dollars into Arizona to help pay for integrating the schools.

The truth be told, there has been no improvement. The dropout problem remains over fifty percent. As part of an effort to correct imbalances, the federal court included the MAS program in its desegregation plan which federal government paid for. Read more…

TUSD Does “not ban” but confiscates undocumented books >> Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez

January 18, 2012

Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez

While TUSD claims that there are no banned books, the fact remains that administrators have come into MAS classrooms (which no longer exist) and removed the MAS classroom materials, which includes books that were formerly utilized in the now suspended MAS program.

While TUSD claims that only 7 book titles were ordered boxed and carried off, the fact is that the confiscation, in some cases in front of the students, involved more than the 7 books that were listed by TUSD.

The seven books that are “not banned” are:

Critical Race Theory by Richard Delgado
500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures edited by Elizabeth Martinez
Message to AZTLAN by Rodolfo Corky Gonzales
Chicano! The History of the Mexican Civil Rights Movement by Arturo Rosales
Occupied America: A History of Chicanos by Rodolfo Acuna
Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire
Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years by Bill Bigelow

However, teachers have had to clean out all their materials, including artwork and posters. In a further irony, some teachers are being told to turn in the books that have not been banned. Go figure!

As part of the MAS-TUSD curriculum, there are some 50 books. All have been or are being removed or confiscated from every classroom… which strikes the average person as odd… do they think that the presence of books that were formerly part of the MAS curriculum would be a distraction or bad influence. Apparently, those books don’t belong in the classroom.

So if officially, the 50 books (listed at the end of the Cambium report) are not banned, they are confiscated, or in the process of being confiscated… THUS THE BOOKS ARE NOW UNDOCUMENTED! They are as welcome in TUSD schools as undocumented migrants are welcome in this country.


The New Barbarians: A Declaration of Poetic Disobedience from the New Border by Guillermo Gómez-Peña

January 15, 2012

Guillermo Gómez-Peña


1. To the Masterminds of Paranoid Nationalism

I say, we say:
‘We,’ the Other people
We, the migrants, exiles, nomads & wetbacks
in permanent process of voluntary deportation
We, the transient orphans of dying nation-states
la otra America; l’autre Europe
We, the citizens of the outer limits and crevasses
of ‘Western civilization’
We, who have no government;
no flag or national anthem
We, the New Barbarians
We, in constant flux,
from Patagonia to Alaska,
from Juarez to Ramalla,
todos somos mojados
We, the seventh generation, the fourth world, the third country
We millions abound,
defying your fraudulent polls & statistics
We continue to talk back & make art

[Shamanic tongues]

2. To those up there who make dangerous decisions for mankind

I say, we say:
We, the homeless, faceless vatos aquellos
in the great American metropolis
little Mexico, little Cambodia, little purgatory
We, the West Bank & Gaza strip of Gringolandia
We, the unemployed & subemployed who work so pinche hard
so you don’t have to work that much
We, whose taxes send your CEOs & armies
on vacation to the South
We, evicted from your gardens & beaches
We, fingerprinted, imprisoned, under surveillance
We, within your system, without your mercy
We, without health or car insurance,
without bank accounts & credit cards,
We, scared shitless at ground level,
but only at ground level
like a pack of hungry wolves
exploring the ruins of an empty mall
we continue to be… together

[Shamanic tongues] Read more…

More Hispanics in U.S. Calling Themselves Indian –

July 5, 2011

“Hispanic is not a race, ” said Mr. Quiroz, whose ancestors were the Quechua people, of the Central Andes. “Hispanic is not a culture. Hispanic is an invention by some people who wanted to erase the identity of indigenous communities in America.”

via More Hispanics in U.S. Calling Themselves Indian –


What is a Sentence? By Ray Gonzalez

July 2, 2011

It is the asking without favor or direction intended to make sense beyond what is felt and needed, what is retold to weave a corner of thought outside of the twisted raven hanging in the winter tree, as if this image takes care of insult and statement — a corner of thought hanging in the air just outside of reach of the swarming bees. Perhaps, it is a lie and a telling without really lying, fantasy transforming the idea into a powerful, yet silent dance that is aware of every fault and weakness inside its composer, the inquisition forgotten and the reply sought on paper. If this happens, there could be a novel. If it doesn’t take place, the poem is the horror of waking up in the real world.

When the sentence realizes the gangrene of shadow becomes the child of the open palm, it must end in a variation of itself…

Read More Ray Gonzalez HERE, at Cerise Press

Since Father Died << Reyes Cardenas

June 12, 2011

Since Father Died

Since father died last year,
the desert has all but disappeared.

The hundred degree temperatures
have fallen below zero.

A Century Plant’s
hundred years are up.

The San Jacinto Mountains lie so flat,
they’re dwarfed by dew.

All roads leading into Indio
are closed forever and day.

In the new Coachella Valley,
the once mighty sun is just a candle.

posted by RC @ 12:26 AM

La Bloga: Interview with Daniel Hernandez concerning his new book, “Down & Delirious in Mexico City”

June 12, 2011

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