portrait of the artist

as a young man

1996 – Somos Latinos Aspirantes assembly

color stupid (out of lines). 

“hello students,
you have a new classmate.
he is red.”
teacher called me red,
and i
didn’t know why,
but i
should have realized
it meant i
would die.
kids were all different.
violet was mean and violent.
yellow- shy.
pink- sweet but silent.
but no one got along
because the teachers wouldn’t let us.
teachers pointed out differences.
and what the teachers taught us would only end up killing us.
the kids made fun of everyone.
yellow-green was a mutt,
but didn’t understand what that meant.
blue and green were always fighting,
but didn’t understand why they fought.
didn’t understand why no one got along.
and in school had a friend,
they called him purple.
and teacher said,
we couldn’t play because we were different.
teacher said colors weren’t supposed to mix.
so when i got home,
got an eraser and erased myself.
and now i am invisible.
and now i am invincible.
1996.

1997 – Somos Latinos Aspirantes

stolen treasures.

ancient temple,
burning city,
heart of tenochtitlan
mutilated and raped into mexico city.

quatemoc says,
“we face rainy weather,”
as screams fill the air while his feet burn,
and ashes float through empty heaven.

men in guns and suits of armor
riding beasts that travel fast.
cortez the leader steals
the riches for his mistress.

the young warrior wonders,
“father, where do we go now?”
father responds,
“follow the sun west,”

“people of the sun have hope
until the sun is gone.”
but now, nighttime comes,
sun has disappeared,

moans and screams resonate.
sound of spanish leather
whipping against the once strong warrior.
the clouds no longer allow view of the sun.

so awake.
aztec blood
robbed of its dignity and pride.
european blood lost all power.

mestizo blood’s been dying.
and so, now swim
in pool of silence
with no escape but drowning

that when i look in the mirror, see
an ancient figure, which makes me,
feel so sad with its
bleeding wounds and lost ways.

and in the end this empty dance
for rain turns into pain,
genocide, mass suicide, more priests-
assimilated hopes and dreams.
1997.

1999 – Fiesta Assembly

can i feel it.

can i feel it? 
what do you mean, can i, feel it? 
yeah, i can feel it, see it, hear it, smell it, taste it. 
i can feel it like whiplashes on my back, like mental chains around my brain cells,
like handcuffs on my wrists. 
i can see pride hanging from a flag demanding freedom for its heroes,
demanding self-determination for its mother nation through ideals of revolution. 
can see heroes turned into murderers and terrorists through history’s pages. 
i can hear it in the songs of a colonized people, hoping to erect a new steeple. 
hear it in the voices of citizens that only want what ‘s theirs. 
i can taste it like blood on my lips mixed with anger, hatred, and a love for
freedom, like arroz con frijoles, so natural to parents, unlike freedom,
which is a daily struggle. 
i can smell it mixed with southern winds, with tales of rebellion of a proud
people. 
so yeah, i can feel it. 
can feel the rage of a nation colonized by an imperialistic united states and set up
as a commonwealth for big brother. 
but you, can you feel it?
4.29.99.

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