A disagreeable core

“Preservation of one’s own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures.” – Cesar Chavez

As the wetness in my mouth dries up
and the blood in my arms returns to the earth
under the weight of wood and cardboard,
I remain American.

As I stand at their gates forged in coin—
on me the chants and the sun-beaten brows
of my sun-beaten family—
I stand American.

When I call you wetback on convention
and deny you the taste of my grapes—
sweet, swollen, imperiled—
I am sorry. I am American.

If they call me something-American
because of this bond we share,
I still need you to be the something.
Me, the one who stays.

While I fight, brother, I will also weep
since I cannot fight for you today.
You will learn of these cruel choices.
After all, this is America.


A virgin’s dilemma

I say it only takes a miracle to enslave:
the sight of roses on ayate,
stars ablaze on your cacao skin.
In songbird lies kinship and betrayal.

The might of those roses and that ayate!
Was it truly you, Mary of the Hill,
whose song called for treason
as a means of holy recruitment?

Let us say it was you then, María,
who built a bridge between distant shores.
The goal of divine retention now
asks from your flock eternal nursing.

And to bridge the shores, a temple.
A pilgrimage of rosemary and incense,
the prayers of millions nursing
porcelain dolls through bulletproof glass.

Pilgrims—scented with good fortune,
healthy crops, and receding flood water—
sew your many doll-dresses with glassy eyes.
Their tears are the currency of your favors.

But if crops still die and towns still flood
at the modern hands of the heathen,
have these tears shed in December wasted,
their meaning lost to false idols?

The heathens aim at your children’s shackles,
though I say the challenge is yours:
care for a valley free of idols.
Without new miracles, without new slaves.


Account in archival paper

Nican mopohua,
here it is told in
inked quill & pulp,
in song & treason:
How the Perfect Virgin Holy
Mary Mother of God, our Queen,
miraculously appeared out
at Tepeyac, widely known as
A war hymn
for molten bronze,
roses & dynamite
at her feet:
Mexicans fly in haste
after our Virgin’s banner
and in the fight emerge victorious
defending our Nation and God.
Men own
her porcelain & glass
doll eyes, withdrawn
from the flock:
A mandate of excommunication
and punishment for those who
extract the Holy and Miraculous
Image of Our Lady
from its tabernacle without
express license from His Lordship.
at the flooded basin.
Tears are the currency
of her favors:
When I was a little girl,
those were festivities. Now,
after the river and the TV spots?
What a joke!
They’re invading us!
Huei Tlamahuizoltica,
The Great Happening
& proof.
Inviting us:
Book VII.
Legal information, 1666.
Dr. D. Francisco de Siles,
wishing to promote and advance
the cult and veneration of the
prodigious Image of Our Lady
of Guadalupe and Mexico,
requests intercession.
Witnesses will be required.