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

Octavio Romano

Monday, June 21, 2010

Lunes con Lalo: The Sky Over and One Crazy Dallas Pig...One Chicano Riot

The Sky Over
by Lalo Delgado
El Paso, Texas, Aztlán (el chuco) is bright blue. I ask myself if maybe someone paints it that way. Maybe it was Carlols Rosas preparing his first mural in the sky. I limp on my way to my Special Services office. Probably it is an arthritis pain on my left led. This is the University of Texas at El Paso where many Chicanos nodge daily inches of educational progress. This is one of those Austin controlled institutions of higher learning. Mechas are soldier/students at the bureaucratic barbed wire battlefields of academia. They greet me with a smile, a craca or a clenched fist salute as I meet them on campus. I have decided to share as unselfishly as possible a year of my life with them. In this year I will share verses, poems, thoughts, humanlogos, or mere quejas de la Raza.
         Last year I almost entered into competition with other Chicano writers in the Quinto Sol contest. Two things made me decide not to compete. One was that such contests are for unpublished Chicanos and I had already a book out. The contest, I thought, was only for amateur barrio carnales so that they could be exposed and printed. I thought myself to be in another league. This, of course, was puro mitote on my part. I remain as much barrio as ever. I am probably much more an amateur dispute my one book and a couple of others which have come out since.
        The other argument held more water. A Chicano does not compete with anotherone. Competition is an anglo concept. Contests, for that matter, are also an anglo trick to lure participants into false sense of accomplishment. I must admit that competition is a very natural human inner drive. To compete in natural. We compete with each other by merely saying buenos días. The tone of sincerity with which we bid each other a good day differs.
       I decided to use this one year and prepare a daily piece of verse or prose and at the end of the year enter it into the next year contest. A year full of Laloisms. This gave me the idea for the title of the book. There is no chronological order to the pieces. Some have taken place in the past while others belong yet to the future. Some of them are the now time. The way is which I randomly assemble this book is the same way in which I live.
       Since I left Denver in a zombie-like state I hope the work here is of a medicinal nature for my broken down spirit. Lio de faldas, we say in our own language. How far that misses saying surrendering completely to the opposite sex. This insanity provocada por amor renders the most conservative into fools and clowns. Therapeutic is the way I judge my present writings. They prevent me from an obvious mental breakdown. Worse yet they prevent a real suicide and allow me to live after killing myself with an overdose of words.
        It cannot be called anything else but crazy...I mean this demonic desire to make myself before the world. I want those who read what I write to become the nails and the cross for my painless cruxifision. More than mere verses mine are public confessions in search of atonement. These words which I produce are the valor lacking in me. These words are the miopic reactions to the love/life experience which if more realistically portraited would find its way into the horror movies. Fifty two Wednesdays de cenisas y cincunaydos viernes santos await you.

One Cray Dallas Pig...One Chicano Riot
by Lalo Delgado

 santos rodriguez, latest member de los ninos heroes
---doce anos de vida ayer y hoy ya no eres.
your killer is a man without a mother,
he was aborted by the U.S. asphalt
as not even mother earth would have him.
                from a magnum
                                       blew half you head away
while your hands remained handcuffed
the, quotes, police officer,
                                        not you, turned to be the one with a record.
two blacks...young also..like you.
the department must have, without a doubt,
                                                                 playing an officer of the law.
join now, santos, the long line of crosses color brown...
jr. martinez will teach you how to dance,
ricardo falcon will share with you his gran coraje,
ruben salazar will teach you how to write.
if what happened to you had happened some years back
the crime would have gone unnoticed,
now, anger intead of tears, a riot instead of oraciones
yes, carnalito, you're front page stuff en nuestros corazones.

Ray Rojas Note: Also of interest on topic of Santos Rodriguez is "Santos Rodriguez" by Ricardo Sanchez. Of note, it is Sanchez legendary "tum, tum, tum, tum" poem. Lalo Delgado, in his oral history, told a story that they would kid Sanchez about the length of his readings at poetry readings and Lalo said, "Hey vato (referring to Sanchez after a reading), maybe if you left out one or two 'tum tums' we'd all have time to read."
Newspaper mentioning the death of Santos Rodriguez with photo.

Shooting horror still vivid in memory of former policeman. Laredo Morning Times

"The Sky Over, "© 1970 Abelardo B. Delgado
 "One Crazy Dallas Pig...One Chicano Riot" from Its Mile Long Finger (Barrio Publications, 1973)
© 1974 Abelardo B. Delgado
"The Sky Over" and "One Crazy Dallas Pig...One Chicano Riot" posted with permission of Dolores Delgado and the Delgado family

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