"Chicano writers from El Paso are the most progressive, open-minded, far-reaching, and inclusive writers of them all."

Octavio Romano

Monday, July 31, 2006

Trini Sanchez, Jr. walks on

It with great sadness that I bring the new of the passing of my friend, poet, activist, Trinidad Sanchez Jr. I've tried to access his old website, but have been unsuccesful, but try: https://alumni.shsu.edu/~org_iha/Trinidad%20Sanchez%20Jr.htm

"FROM Regina Chavez y Sanchez cgi-bin/compose?mailto=1&msg=F3285A37-326A-402D-A0DC-5BFDAC34928C&start=0&len=14730&src=&type=x&to=trinidadjr43@hotmail.com&cc=&bcc=&subject=&body=&curmbox=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000001&a=4a042bc73eb718a3372825d38a5ba5a406a4239b121ea3efb070cbca7527d643:

My beloved husband, Trinidad Sánchez, Jr., died today at the Methodist Hospital. He was such a loving man, gentle spirit and leader. His words and laughter will live on forever. The poet, activist and teacher must live on in all of us!"

Years ago, his book Why Am I So Brown, one of the best-selling book of Chicano poetry in the 1990s, gain us chuckles and inspired many of us to start writing Chicano Poetry.

Ricardo Sanchez called Trini the "heir apperrant to writers like him and Abelardo Delgado." It was a true statement. I remember spending time with Trini and Lalo in Denver drinking cafe at La Taza.

I spend many a night with Trini concernign the plight to Chicano Poets.

I'm going to miss my amigo.

Trini wrote one of the last memorable signature poems. And that an achivement in itself. Not many poets have a signature poem. Even Ricardo Sanchez fought at length to get a signature poem like "I Am Joaquin" or "Stupid America.' Below I'm posting Trini's most famous poem, though it looks like he had made some revisions:


A question Chicanitas sometimes ask
while others wonder: Why is the sky blue
or the grass so green?
Why am I so brown?

God made you brown, mi'ja
color bronce--color of your raza, your people
connecting you to your raices, your roots
your story/historia
as you begin moving towards your future.

God made you brown, mija
color bronce, beautiful/strong,
reminding you of the goodness
de tu mama, de tus abuelas, your grandmothers
y tus antepasados, your ancestors.

God made you brown, mi'ja
to wear as a crown for you are royalty--a princess,
la raza nueva, the people of the sun.
It is the color of Chicana women--
leaders/madres of Chicano warriors
luchando por la paz y la dignidad
de la justicia de la nación, Aztlan!

God wants to understand . . . brown
is not a color . . . it is: a state of being
a very human texture
alive and full of song, celebrating--
dancing to the new world
which is for everyone . . .

Finally mi'ja
God made you brown because
it is one of HER favorite celebrations!


One of his recent poems that gained noteriety was his plug against Tom Tancreado:


For Tom Tancredo

Tom I want you to know that
I am
that my parents were
that they came to this country
that life would be better there would be an abundance of
They raised ten
Illegal children who fought and returned
from those unlawful wars
only to be more Illegal
than when they left.
If that’s not enough,
I want you to know my siblings have multiplied
and all sobrinos y sobrinas
they are all

I want you to know that
I am
that we’re the ones who
renovated your home, raise your children,
clean up after people like you
maid your houses, garden your flowers.
work your fields, your orchards
construction sites & restaurant kitchens
doing the cheeeeeap hard labor your kind refuse to do.

I want you to know that
I am
We are all
illegal Americans from
North, Central
& South America
we are all proud of being
illegal Americans.

I want to know
with a name like yours
if there are skeletons in your closet . . .
if they are illegal
& did you ask for their pink cards
after all, people who live in glass houses
need to be extra careful.

Tom Tancredo

I am
I’m proud of being illegal.
Your Gestapo immigration
can’t mess with my MEXICAN/CHICANO sueño
for a better life – lleno de justicia
NOT the “just us” American dream
that you look for . . . a life without people
who are different than you
in color and size and even better than you.


I want you to know
there are no illegal people,
there are only illegal governments.
I’m sure you will say writing this poem is
It’s against the law
because it’s the fashionable thing to be.
I want you to know

You will never understand
is fun
being a wetback is cool
being a mojado es la moda
because being
is being different than you
is the best thing I know how to be!


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Trinidad Sanchez, Jr. suffers stroke

from Regina Chavez y Sanchez....

Tuesday, July 18th Trino had a massive stroke on the left side & a minor stroke on the left side. He is unconscious. Strong on the left side, diminished not paralyzed on the right side. he looks as if he is just sleeping..... The doctors offer no hope. We have Do Not Resusictate orders, we have both decided we do not want life by artificial means, especially if it means there is little or no hope for recovery or rehabilitation. We have requested comfort care and nutrition ONLY. As most of you know, I have been very ill and we planned for this to me. I was totally unprepared for this to happen to my beloved. The danger is for the next 7-14 days, during which he can go one way or the other. We are people of faith and trust in God's will. Trino always said he is ready to go at anytime. He is at the Methodist Hospital, Medical Center in Intensive Care, room 405. I leave status reports every day on our home phone number because I cannot possibly call everyone. I have been in Denver on & off since October of last year due to my Grandma's ill health and subsequent death in January. Then my Mom had open heart surgery on May 29th. I returned home on July 10th. Thank God because I am terrified to think of what could have happened if I had not been home when this happened.

Wednesday, July 19th Uneventful he continues to sleep. The MRI shows the two strokes in detail. There are two affected arteries. I agreed to blood thinners to reduce the risk of further damage by lack of blood flow, howver the possibility of hemorragheic stroke is increased.

Thursday, July 20th Uneventful he continues to sleep. Lots of visitors are coming & going. Reading him poems, taking to him and praying with us. The S.A. Express News ran an article about him and the stroke, so many of his friends and students are coming and calling.

Friday, July 21st He woke up! It was a miracle and he is fighting. He SAID his name, age, the year, wife and responded to commands by moving limbs on his left side. He can communicate by shaking his head, yes & no!!!!!!!!!! I told him if he needed to go home to the Lord, not to stay for me. He shook his head, NO. Then I asked if he wanted to fight, he shook his head, YES!

Saturday, July 22nd He has slept most of the time since waking up. The doctors say it is like he ran a marathon and is recovering from Friday. We have to get through one day at a time. Moments of hopeful and faith alternate with moments of hopelessness and terror....

Sunday, July 23rd He was moved out of IntensiveCare to the Neurology 9th floor at the Methodist Hospital, Medical Center, Room 914. He has showed progress, but is not out of the danger zone yet. Another quiet day. After Friday it is frightening. He can still go either direction. I have been sleeping at the hospital with him, but now they will not let me sleep with him anymore, so I have to go home, alone. Only male relatives or friends authorized by me can stay the night. Any men with a free night available?

Monday, July 24th Trino is not insured. The doctors say he will need in-patient rehab begininning as soon as this week, and rehab hospitals have no legal obligation to take him. The hospital can literally say he is medically stable, take him home, no rehab....several people have offered to organize benefits, please coordinate with each other, I'm afraid I will not be much help, I feel my place is at his side. Waking up without him was horrible...... Tiday was another quiet day, he contiues to respond and say his name, etc.. But the periods of alertness without being awoken, vary. Our friend, Ernest Bevans is spending the night at the hospital with him since I cannot. I showed him how to massage and stretch his limbs when he's awake, to prepare him for physical therapy by keeping his muscle as toned as possible.

Tuesday, July 25th Today he had minor surgery. Instead of the NG (feeding tube) from his nose to his stomach for nutrition and meds, I authorized a PEG. It goes directly into his stomach and the dangers of drowning are eliminated. I consider this a temporary procedure. Today is Day 7 of this crisis. My Type A personality wants to see something, anything since today is the marker. But, it's one day at a time....... Ernest spent the night with him.

Wednesday, July 26th Trino is sleeping very heavily, I believe recovering from the minor surgery yesterday. I spent the day chasing doctor's for a status letter and waged the battle with Social Security. They took extensive labs to monitor his blood & GI systems, results tomorrow. Ernest spent the night with him.

I love you and am grateful for all the prayers, love and poems, it is why he's going to be OK. Even though I'm not helping with the benefits, please e-mail me updates as possible.

Call for updates at OUR home.....210-733-5167

Friday, July 14, 2006

Chicano Poet Veterano Raul Salinas Healing

Here's some news on el gran poeta Raul Salinas who healing up after some sickness. Via his bookstore news:


Saludos desde South Austin,
We would like to thank all our comrades, family, friends, & supporters for the good strong healing energy & prayers sent to our elder raul. We also want to thank everyone for their messages, cards, and gifts.
raul is on the slow road to recovery & is resting at home. As each day goes by, he is gaining strength & clarity, but he is still limited in mobility & energy.
He went to see his doctor today for a check up on his condition. His doctor gave him a "thumbs up"/approval to go ahead & conduct class tomorrow at St. Edward's University. But he warned raul not over do it. He also give him permission to slowly & to cautiously (at turtle speed) start going back to work at the bookstore with limited travel around the surrounding area.
So despite the good news about getting back into the swing of things, raul will not return to the office until sometime next week. He is being very cautious & conscious of getting energy and strength before getting back to work. After this coming Wednesday, he will gradudately begin to return everyone's phone calls, e-mails, and messages.
Also, raul will be going in for his first "banding" of the esophagus veins procedure on August 3. For the time being, family & close friends will closely moniter raul's health; i.e. make sure he eats well, drinks lots of water, & gets some excercise to keep the blood circulating.
Once again, if you would like to leave a message for raul, you can e-mail them to this address &/or call me Rene Valdez at 512-416-8885. I will relay any messages to him.
We thank everyone for their support, energy, & prayers in this time of struggle!
Con Respeto y En Lucha,
Rene Valdez
Resistencia Bookstore
Red Salmon Arts

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, July 07, 2006 3:39 PM
Subject: Update on raulrsalinas' health

Greetings to all our comrades, friends, family, and supporters,
I am not sure if you have heard, but raulrsalinas, our elder, teacher, & brother, was in a Houston hospital this past weekend.
He is suffering from an ulcerated esophagus. While visiting Houston last week, he started to cough up/vomit blood. An ambulance picked him up and took him to a nearby hospital. Unfortunately, the doctors had problems stopping the bleeding and they told us it was very serious. So they immediately put him in a helicopter and flew him to St. Luke's Hospital in downtown Houston.
Thanks to Great Spirit, the doctors & nurses managed to stabilize him by stopping the bleeding. He remained there until Tuesday July 4. We had quite a scare!
raul is doing better now. He is now at home resting and slowly recovering. However, raul is not entirely out of the red. He visited the doctor today, and he was told that besides the ulcerated esophagus he also suffers from cirrhosis of the liver. And because of the cirrhosis, the liver is not working like it should, which is causing a back up of blood flow in the esophagus area.
So, for the next month, he will be going back and forth visiting his doctor who will be working on the veins that cause the bleeding in his escophagus.
We are asking everyone to send him good energy and say prayers for our elder raul. He is a little weak, tired, and worn out, but maintaining a strong and positive outlook. raul is a warrior and fighting to get well!
At this time, he is not taking phone calls or visits until he gets more strength and rest. If you would like to leave a message for raul, you can e-mail them to this address &/or call me Rene Valdez at 512-416-8885. I will relay any messages to him. Or if you want to send him a card/letter, please send them to:
1801-A South First St.
Austin, Tex. 78704
We thank everyone for their support, energy, & prayers in this time of struggle!
En Lucha,
Rene Valdez
Resistencia Bookstore
casa de Red Salmon Arts