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

Octavio Romano

Monday, July 25, 2011

Lunes con Lalo -- Yo Soy Chicano

Lunes con Lalo --

Yo Soy Chicano

by Abelardo Delgado

I am a chicano and find it easy to explain

if my jefes and my better off carnales take the pain

to listen to my wounded barrio words,

let me start out by saying that

chicano is the name we have given ourselves

and consequently wherever we whisper,

speak or shout the word there's pride.

The word was in one of

those south el paso alleys

to add to our calo, it could

very well have been the daughter – word

of brain floating in mota clouds

and introduced among the cabula,

among the curses and marihuanic dry mouth giggles

and the frustrated moments

of a juventud oppressed,

maybe the late 50's or the early 40's when pachuco was the rebellious

expression of chicanos refusing

agringamiento forced...

the word is barrio and the word

is calo and as much as

academicians or sociologists may hunt

it is our word, it is our name, it

had its origin in us,

not mexican, not latin, no spanish,

not hispanic and not mexican-american

or as u.s. Government would have us be ,


americans of spanish surname...

no mires, none of that bullshit for us,

we are chicanos and i'm afraid not of those

who find the name vulgar,

and who listen to the gringo for a definition

instead of to us who bear the name,

the gringo would have you believe

chicano comes from the translation of the

word chicanery,

have you heard anything so absurd,

batos locos with chicanery in their vocabulary,

even I offer the academicians an out

for we chicanos are forever chopping

long words such as hijito to ito

and so with the word mexicano

we have xicano but the x sound

if you recall doña ximena in el cid

has the ch sound and so you

get chicano out of the last three

syllables of mexicano or look at

the x from an indian point of vocabulary,

in xochomilco or la reina xochitl,

another carnal says it means

hermano chico or chicano hermano

spliced together, so be it,

but I tell you the word

is a pachuco fabrication

just like carnal and bato

and jefe and ruca and canton and refin.

Merely suggesting the reason for our

pride in such a name.

We chicanos belong by and large

to the bottom of the socio-economic barrel

and identify ourselves best with the poor,

the deprived, the exploited, the abused

and for those reasons for centuries

people have been telling

what we are not content with

in one way or another, confined,

colonizing us in barrios, assigning those

jobs for mere survival no one else would have

and running us in one door and out the other

in the precious educational system

and so now that we are able for the first time

to know who we are, to arm ourselves,

to organize ourselves and to call a ya basta

on the continuous bending over,

now that we wine up to the beauty

of la familia and our whole cultura,

now that we speak of immediate

and adequate reparation,

they would brand us outcasts,

malcontents, and even suggest we

go back to mexico,

how beautiful that we at least

have a place to be sent back to,

I pity those who don't

so don't call our name in vain,

say it with respect

for it speaks of social revolution

and under it are filed

our struggles to be free.

Please, don't shout it wildly if

you do not understand our chicanismo,

rather roll in your tongue

and whisper it to yourself

like magic word and source of power

and then one day like

us who call our selves chicano

very casually announce to the whole world

yo soy chicano and feel your soul uncurl.

(c) Abelardo Delgado. Published with permision of the Lalo Delgado Estate

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1 comment:

Julio Soriano said...

Me gusta mucho este poema.