Great moments from the life of the poet, journalist, and unrepentant shit disturber
RONCO Y DULCE
Coming out of the underground On the BART escalator, The Mission sky Is washed by autumn, The old men and their garbage bags Are clustered in the battered plaza We once named for Cesar Augusto Sandino. Behind me down below in the throat of the earth A rough bracero sings Of his comings and goings In a voice as ronco y dulce As the mountains of Michoacan and Jalisco For the white zombies Careening downtown To the dot coms. They are trying to kick us Out of here Again They are trying to drain This neighborhood of color Of color Again. This time we are not moving on. We are going to stick to this barrio Like the posters so fiercely pasted To the walls of La Mision With iron glue That they will have to take them down Brick by brick To make us go away And even then our ghosts Will come home And turn those bricks Into weapons And take back our streets Brick by brick And song by song Ronco y dulce As Jalisco and Michaocan Managua, Manila, Ramallah Pine Ridge, Vietnam, and Africa. As my compa OR say We here now motherfuckers Tell the Klan and the Nazis And the Real Estate vampires To catch the next BART out of here For Hell.
(from Against Amnesia, 2002)
PINOCHET MEETS THE PRESS
If the eye
inside the camera
pluck it out,
pluck out the eye
pluck out the film,
smash the camera,
slash the images,
pour gasoline over those
who framed the images
then strike a match.
Make sure there are
that those who look
for witnesses disappear.
Silence the people,
cut out the tongues
of those who would complain
about being silenced.
Swear on blazing bibles
that none of you
will ever tell anyone
what you have seen here.
Empty out the nation.
Bury those who insist on staying
in unmarked graves.
Pretend that no one
will ever know.
Turn off the lights.
Try to sleep.
(from Heading South, 1986)
11TH SUICIDE POEM IN NOVEMBER
The next child I won't father we will name
Nomathamba. We will call her Thembi for short
She will be exactly like Pharaoh drew her. She
Will smile several hours each day. Her teeth
Will come on like white Christmas. She will crawl
Into bed with us to see if we
Are fucking. She will never be scared. She will
Speak Xhosa. I will buy her a dog named Mardi Gras
And she will learn what it is to lose something
You love. She will grow up.
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