Lunes con Lalo
The Chicano Movement: Some Not Too Objective Observations
by Abelardo B. Delgado
Let me begin this chapter by quoting from a letter I have received from Tiger (Reymundo Perez) from Syracuse, New York. I read the letter in Denver, and was moved by the expression of this poet carnal. He was found carrying a gun and was booked.
|Reymundo "Tigre" Perez|
Excessive bail was placed on him because his name was also in the list of subversive Americans. But the meat of his letter was that he was found carrying a book of his poems, Free, Free at Last. He fears his book will also be tried with him.
We are butting out a book called Los Cuatro in which Tiger is one of the four poets. He wanted us to remove his poems for fear of jeopardizing the efforts of the other three.
My answer was: “bull shit!”
We write what we want in prose or in poetry. We were so long without a word in this country. Now the written word comes out like machine gun bursts.
And so, the cultural awakening that has come about through the Movement has released the “almas gigantes” to materialistic world in which they were not only held captive, but incominicado.
Now you see El Teatro Campesino and now your see galleries of the scope of the one in the Cruzada para la Justicia in Denver; and now you see poets like Alurista debating about where to go since so many colleges crave for him. Now you see shows worthy of prime time on T.V. Such as the one presented in Denver on September 16th. The music, movement song, poems – angry and gentle, the canvas magically painted yells at the passerby and tells the story of oppression, gallantly confronted by millions of Chicanos.
The Chicano hand has not lost its gift and he chisels and he molds away a mystic beauty. The eye still captures the contrasting serenity existing deep inside Chicanos.
The novelist, the trio, the conjunto, all add their trademark to their work. What is of even more importance, is a sincere desire to share the talents with the barrio and the campesinos and in the snobbish action tell the elite to screw themselves.
Let the snobs continue listening to their soundless music, see their empty canvases, and read their computerized poetry, because what we create is for our Raza first, and we feel some will be left over for the critic, the socialite, the academician and for Madison Avenue.
This is the key happening in the world of arts, ancient and revived by us Chicanos, and we feel that it is another way of saying “Ya basta.” Through the school systems you, dominant snobs that you have always been, decided for us that what was good, what poems were good, and even in our language; made us look beyond our own greatness, unto the Spanish for association.
It was not a total failure on your part, for many Chicanos claim to dig seguidillos or coplas, instead of corridos and boleros; and they go ape to hear Lorca or Cervantes, but ignore the giants to the South, to Mexico; and the giants in our own country such as Cleofas Vigil and Ricardo Sánchez.
The cultural revolution alone is worth the many sacrifices endured, such as the one where Tiger's poetry will label him a radical communist. It is no wonder that a couple of lines from the poem, “Stupid America” express the despair within us --- “He will die with a thousand masterpieces – hanging only in his mind.”
The artistic and poetic heart of Chicanos, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and Latins in general, is essential to the survival of the affluent Americans, and to the destruction of their materialistic stupor.
Other parts of this series:
Part IV Goals