Since This Is a Chicano Poem – Michigan Quarterly Review

Since This Is a Chicano Poem

Fall 2021 | Andrew Navarro Reads "Since This is A Chicano Poem" MQR Sound

Poet Andrew Navarro reads his poem "Since This is A Chicano Poem" from MQR's Fall 2021 issue.
Chicano images are lovely; a bloody boxer heeds the words of his trainer or father, feathered serpents sleeping in mud while drunks in donut shops remember Chihuahua. Each new creation adds strokes to a pre-existing mural, but each dab hardly leaves space for that goofy Anglo sense of self captured in wooden writing cabins back in places as exotic-sounding as Massachusetts or Kansas. If language complicates identity but people insist on being original, then all of us, in our secret spiraled journals don’t know who we are. Yet certain things are certain. If I, for one, begin a day by wearing pants, then this day will in fact be productive. If, however, I sit consumed in the dark paying no attention to the plastic box’s beeping then this day will unfortunately fall to sadness. One moment I’m dreaming of images like the severed hand of a life-size Han Solo action figure choking me to death, next, I’m sitting at a computer screen at a loss for words resisting every urge to give in to sleep. Dreams are hardly ever translatable. Once I dreamt of a beautiful astronaut the size of my head who crash landed in my backyard. She taught me to paint throughout the months I nursed her back to health, her tininess was perfect. She’d explain Color Theory and French Impressionism as I fed her from a can of soup. Since this is a Chicano poem, this woman clearly symbolized an ancestor I once had. Ancestors often appear within the work of a Chicano leaving those of us living little to do but play along with the dead and their shadow puppet games. This is never easy. The dead after all have no shadows.
Andrew Navarro introduces and reads “Since This Is a Chicano Poem”

For more from the Why We Write issue of MQR, you can purchase the issue here.

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