Sunday, January 07, 2007

Another Poem I'll be Using this Quarter

Here for safe-keeping, and for distribution. It's by Luis Urrea, and can be found in a lovely book of photographs--one line or two accompanying each picture--by Jose Galvez, superb for classroom use. The book is simply called Vatos; the poem is a litany in trochaic pentameter (a rare meter, in my experience) called

Hymn to Vatos Who Will Never Be in a Poem

All the vatos sleeping in the hillsides
All the vatos say goodnight forever
All the vatos loving their menudo
All the vatos faith in la tortilla
All the vatos fearing the alarm clock
All the vatos Wino Jefe Peewee
All the vatos even the cabrones
All the vatos down por vida homeboys
All the vatos using words like ranfla
All the vatos who woke up abandoned
All the vatos not afraid of daughers
All the vatos arms around their sisters
All the vatos talking to their women
All the vatos granting their forgiveness
All the vatos plotting wicked paybacks
All the vatos sleeping under mota
All the vatos with tequila visions
All the vatos they call maricones
All the vatos bleeding in the alley
All the vatos chased by helicopters
All the vatos dissed by pinches white boys
All the vatos bent to pick tomatoes
All the vatos smoked by Agent Orange
All the vatos brave in deadly classrooms
All the vatos pacing in the prisons
All the vatos pierced by needle lightning
All the vatos who were once our fathers
All the vatos even veteranos
All the vatos and their abuelitos
All the vatos proud of tatuajes
All the vatos carrying a lunch pail
All the vatos graduating law school
All the vatos grown up to be curas
All the vatos never been to misa
All the vatos Jimmy Spider Tito
All the vatos lost their tongues in Spanish
All the vatos can’t say shit in English
All the vatos looking at her photo
All the vatos making love till morning
All the vatos stroking their own hunger
All the vatos faded clear as windows
All the vatos needing something better
All the vatos bold in strange horizons
All the vatos waiting for tomorrow
All the vatos sure that no one loves them
All the vatos sure that no one sees them
All the vatos sure that no one hears them
All the vatos never in a poem
All the vatos told that they don’t belong here
All the vatos beautiful young Aztecs
All the vatos warrior Apaches
All the vatos sons of Guadalupe
All the vatos bad as la chingada
All the vatos call themselves Chicanos
All the vatos praying for their children
All the vatos even all you feos
All the vatos filled with life eternal
All the vatos sacred as the Sun God
All the vatos Flaco Pepe Gordo
All the vatos rising from their mothers

All you vatos you are not forgotten.

3 comments:

Bob Holman said...

Selinger, truly enjoy yr podeas! Please drop a line for United States of Poetry update... Bob Holman, nuyopoman@aol.com

SarahJane said...

very cool poem. thanks - just browing through your blog.

Anonymous said...

Tomorrow, my students will "tag" this in our classroom. It will hang, with pride, next to Luis Rodriguez and Jimmy Santiago Bacca. Thank you for educating me to educate them.