vers 12, Angela de Hoyos

How to paint
         on this page
                  the enigma
that furrows
       your sensitive
               brown face
- a sadness,
         porque te llamas
            Juan  y no John
as the laws
         of assimilation

[...] I was too late
or perhaps I was born too soon;
It is not yet my time;
this is not yet my home.
I must wait for the conquering barbarian
to learn the Spanish word for love:

Arise, Chicano! 
In your migrant's world of hand-to-mouth days,
your children go smileless to a cold bed;
the bare walls rockaby the same wry song,
a ragged dirge, thin as the air...

I have seen you go down
under the shrewd heel of exploit -
your long suns of brutal sweat
with ignoble pittance crowned.

Trapped in the never-ending fields
where you stoop, dreaming of sweeter dawns,
while the mocking whip of slavehood
confiscates your moment of reverie.

Or beneath the stars - offended
by your rude sings of rebellion -
... when, at last, you shroud your dreams
and with them, your hymn of hope.

Thus a bitterness in your life:
wherever you turn for solace
there is embargo.
How to express your anguish
when not even your burning words
are yours, they are borrowed
from the festering barrios of poverty,
and the sadness in your eyes
only reflects the mute pain of your people.

Arise, Chicano! -  that divine spark within you
surely says - Wash your wounds
and swathe your agonies.
There is no one to succor you.
You must be your own messiah.

To Walt Whitman
hey man, my brother
prophet democratic
here's a guitar
for you
- a chicana guitar -
so you can spill out a song
for the open road
big enough for my people
- my Native Amerindian race
that I can't seem to find
in your poems.

Below Zero
No se puede traducir
el aullido del viento:
you can only feel it
piercing your skinny bones
through last year's coat

walking to work
from deep in the barrio
una manana de tantas
             bajo cero.


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