I am Joaquín

I am Joaquín

lost in a world of confusion,

Caught up in a whirl of a gringo society,

Confused by the rules,

Scorned by attitudes,

Suppressed by manipulations

And destroyed by modern society.

My fathers

            have lost the economic battle

and won

            the struggle of cultural survival.

And now!

I must choose

Between the paradox of

Victory of the sprit,

despite physical hunger


to exist in the grasp

of American social neurosis,

sterilization of the soul

and a full stomach.


I have come a long way to nowhere,

Unwillingly dragged by that

            monstrous, technical

            industrial giant called progress

and Anglo success . . .

I look at myself.

I watch my brothers.

I shed tears of sorrow.

I sow seeds of hate.

I withdraw to the safety within the

circle of life . . .


I am Cuauhtémoc,

Proud and Noble

            Leader of men,

King of an empire,

civilized beyond the dreams

of the Gachupín Cortez.

Who is also the blood,

the image of myself.

I am the Maya Prince.

I am Nezahualcóyotl,

Great leader of the Chichimecas.

I am the sort and flame of Cortez

            the despot.


I am the Eagle and Serpent of

            the Aztec civilization.

I owned the land as far as the eye

could see under the crown of Spain,

and I toiled on my earth

and gave my Indian sweat and blood

            for the Spanish master,

Who ruled with tyranny over man and

beast and all that he could trample

                        But. . .

            THE GROUND WAS MINE. . .

I was both tyrant and slave.

As Christian church took its place

in God’s good name,

to take and use my Virgin Strength and

                                                Trusting faith,

The priests

            both good and bad



gave a lasting truth that




Were all God’s children


from these words grew men

            who prayed and fought


their own worth as human beings,



                GOLDEN MOMENT



I was part in blood and spirit

of that

            courageous village priest


in the year eighteen hundred and ten

who rang the bell of independence

and gave out that lasting cry:

“El Grito de Dolores, Que mueran

los Gachupines y que viva

la Virgen de Guadalupe. . .”

I sentenced him

                        who was me.

I excommunicated him my blood.

I drove him from the pulpit to lead

a bloody revolution for him and me. . .

            I killed him.

His head,

which is mine and all of those

who have come this way,

I placed on that fortress wall

to wait for independence.




All Compañeros in the act,



to feel the hot gouge of lead

  which my had made.

I died with them . . .

  I lived with them

    I lived to see our country free.


  from Spanish rule in


            Mexico was free ? ?

The crown was gone


all his parasites remained

                        and ruled

                        and taught

with gun and flame and mystic power.

I worked,

I sweated

I lead

I prayed


waited silently for life to again


I fought and died


    Don Bento Juárez

  Guardian of the Constitution.

I was him

            on dusty roads

                        on baron land

as he protected his archives

  as Moses did his sacraments.

He held his Mexico

            in his hand


            the most desolate

              and remote ground

              which was his country,

And this Giant

            little Zpotec


not one palm’s breath

of his country to

Kings or Monarchs or Presidents

of foreign powers.

I am Joaquín

I rode with Pancho Villa,

  crude and war.

A tornado at full strength,

  nourished and inspired

  by the passion and the fire

of all his earthly people.

I am Emiliano Zapata.

            “This Land

                This earth



The Villages

  The Mountains

    The Streams

      belong to the Zapatistas.

            Our life

Or yours

is the only trade for soft brown earth

and maize.

All of which is our reward,

  A creed that formed a constitution

  for all who dare live free!

“this land is ours . . .

            Father, I give it back to you.

                        Mexico must be free . . .”

I ride with Revolutionists

                        against myself.

I am Rural

            Course and brutal,

I am the mountain Indian,

            superior over all.

The thundering hoofbeats are my horses.

The chattering of machine guns

is death to all of me:







I have been the Bloody Revolution,

The Victor,

The Vanquished,

I have killed

  and been killed.

            I am despots Díaz

            and  Huerta

  and the apostle of democracy

            Francisco Madero

I am

the black shawled

faithful women

who die with me

or live

depending on the time and place.

I am



        Juan Diego

        the Virgin de Guadalupe

Tonantzio, Aztec Goddess too.

I rode the mountains of San Joaquín.

I rode as far East and North

    as the Rocky Mountains


all mean feared the guns of

                        Joaquín Murrieta.

I killed those men who dared

  to steal my mine,

    who raped and Killed

                        my love

                        my Wife


I killed to stay alive.

I was Alfego Baca,

  living my nine lives fully.

I was the Espinoza brothers

  of the Valle de San Louis


  were added to the number of heads


  in the name of civilization

were placed on the wall of independence.

Heads of brave men

who died for cause and principle.

Good or bad.

            Hidalgo! Zapata!

              Murrieta! Espinosa!

are but a few.


dared to face

The force of tyranny

                        of men

                        who rule

            By farce and hypocrisy

I stand here looking back,

and now I see

                 the present

and still

    I am the campesino

    I am the fat political coyote


of the same name,

                                    Joaquín .

In a country that has wiped out

all my history,

                        stifled all my pride.

In a country that has placed a

different weight of indignity upon




                        burdened back.


is the new load. . .

  the Indian has endured and still

emerged the winner,

The Mestizo must yet overcome,

  And the Gauchupín we’ll just ignore.

I look at myself

and see part of me

who rejects my father and my mother

and dissolves into the melting pot

to disappear in shame

I sometimes

sell my brother out

and reclaim him

for my own, when society gives me

token leadership

            in society’s own name.

I am Joaquín

who bleeds in many ways.

The altars of Moctezuma

            I stained a bloody red.

My back of Indian slavery

            was stripped crimson

from the whips of masters

who would lose their  blood so pure

when Revolution made them pay

Standing against the walls of


            Blood . . .

    Has flowed from


on every battlefield


Campesino, Hacendado

  Slave and Master



I jumped from the tower Chapultapec

into the sea of fame;

My country’s flag

  my burial shroud;

With Los Niños

            whose pride and courage

could not surrender

            with indignity

            their country’s flag

To strangers . . . in their land.


  I bleed in some smelly sell

from club

or gun,

or tyranny,

I bleed as the vicious gloves of hunger

  cut my face and eyes,

as I fight my way from sticking Barios

  to the glamour of the Ring

    and lights of fame

      or mutilated sorrow.

My blood run pure on the ice caked

hills of the Alaskan Isles,

on the oppose strewn beach of Normandy,

the foreign lan of Korea

                             and now


Here I stand

            before the court of Justice


for all the glory of my Raza

                  to be sentenced to despair.

Here I stand

            Poor in money

  Arrogant with pride

               Bold with Machismo

               Rich in courage


            Wealthy in spirit and faith.

My knees are caked with mud.

My hands calloused from the hoe.

I have made the Anglo rich


Equality is but a word,

  the Treaty of Hidalgo has been broken

  and is but another treacherous promise.

My land is lost

                        and stolen,

My culture has been raped,

                        I lengthen

            the line at the welfare door

and fill the jails with crime.

    These then

are the rewards

            this society has

For sons of Chiefs

                        and Kings

                        and bloddy Revolutionists.


gave a foreign people

            all the skills of ingenuity

to pave the way with Brains and Blood


those hordes of Gold starved



changed our language

and plagiarized our deeds

                                    as feats of valor

                                    of their own.

They frowned upon our way of life

and took what they could use.

            Our Art

            Our Literature

            Our Music, they ignored

so they left the real things of value

and grabbed at their own destruction

                        by their Greed and Avarice

They overlooked that cleansing fountain of

                        nature and brotherhood

  Which is Joaquín

            The art of our great señoras

                        Diego Rivera


                        Orozco is but

another act of revolution for

the Salvation of mankind.

    Marichai music, the

    heart and soul

    of the people of the earth,

    the life of Child,

  and the happiness of love.

The corridor tell the tales

of life and death,

            of tradition,

Legends old and new,

of Joy

  of passion and sorrow

of the people . . . who I am.

I am in the eyes of woman,

            sheltered beneath

her shawl of black,

            deep and sorrowful


That bear the pain of sons long buried

            or dying,


on the battlefield or on the barbed wire

            of social strife.

Her rosary she prays and fingers


    like the family

working down a row of beets

            to turn around

            and work

            and work

            There is no end.

Her eyes a mirror of all the warmth

            and all the love for me,

And I am her

And she is me.

We face life together in sorrow,

anger, joy, faith and wishful


I shed tears of anguish

as I see my children disappear

behind a shroud of mediocrity

never to look back to remember me.

I am Joaquín.

            I must fight

            And win this struggle

            for my sons, and they

            must know from me

            Who I am.

Perf of the blood that runs deep in me

Could not be vanquished by the Moors.

I defeated them after five hundred years,

and I endured.

            The part of blood that is mine

            has labored endlessly five-hundred

            years under the heel of lustful


                        I am still here!

I have endured in the rugged mountains

of our country.

I have survived the toils of slavery

of the fields.

            I have existed

in the barrios of the city,

in the suburbs of bigotry,

in the mines of social snobbery,

in the prisons of dejection,

in the muck of exploitation


in the fierce heat of racial hatred.

And now the trump sounds,

The music of the people stirs the


Like a sleeping giant it slowly

rears its head

to the sound of

            Tramping feet

        Clamoring Voices

      Mariachi strains

    Fiery tequila explosions

   The smell of chile verde and

Soft brown eyes of expectation for a

                                    better life.

and in all the fertile farm lands,

                                    the barn plains,

the mountain villages,

smoke smeared cities

                        We start to MOVE.

La Raza!






or whatever I call myself,

                        I look the same

                        I feel the same

                        I Cry


                        Sing the same

I am the masses of my people and

I refuse to be absorbed.

            I am Joaquín

The odds are great

but my sprit is strong

                        My faith unbreakable

                        My load is pure

I am the Aztec Prince and Christian Christ

                        I SHALL ENDURE!

                        I WILL ENDURE!