Gustavo's Poetry Corner
DEAR READERS: Arizona’s pendejos have emboldened hundreds of Know Nothings in the past week to boast to the Mexican that they’re not racist if they support Senate Bill 1070 because, according to them, they believe in the law and they have no problems with immigrants so long as they’re legal. Nosotros los buenos know that argument is almost always demonstrably false, that Americans were bashing swarthy Sicilians even after the immigration officer at Ellis Island signed them through and shortened their name from Favaloro to Faber.
But I feel magnanimous this week. Maybe it’s the pre-Fourth of July Herradura before me, but I’ll indulge the anti-racist protestations of Know Nothings with a test. If—with (profuse) apologies to Rudyard Kipling—if . . .
If you can keep your cabeza when all about you
Is banda and mariachi blaring near you;
If you can see six Mexi kids and their pregnant mom in front of you,
But make allowance for their tough times, too;
If you can wait in the emergency room and not be angered by waiting,
Or, being lied to about a rooster in the back yard, not report to Animal Control those lies,
Or, being hated by Mexican soccer fans, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good in a sombrero nor talk like Glenn Beck, who isn’t too wise;
If you can dream of Ozzie and Harriet America—and not make sueños your master;
If you can think about cars parked on front lawns—without those thoughts causing you pain,
If you can meet with an Aztlanista and an Arizonan disaster
And treat those two babosos just the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth about Mexican assimilation others have spoken
Twisted no longer by pendejos to make a trap for fools,
Or watch our border, broken,
And stoop and build it up with humane tools;
If you can pool your lifetime winnings
And risk it on a business in a barrio where soccer balls get a toss,
And lose and start again at your beginnings
And never blame illegals about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nervios and sinew
To not sell your home long after your white neighbors are gone,
And so hold on when the only English speaker is you
Except for those pochos who say to usted: “Hold pinche on”;
If you can talk with Mexican crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with ICE—nor lose the ability to allow a DREAM Act student’s story to touch;
If neither George Lopez nor “press one for English, two for Spanish” can hurt you;
If truly bigoted relatives count with you, but none too much;
If your local pool gets disturbed every minute
With 60 Mexicans in jeans—and you don’t make them run—
You’re not a racist and truly about laws,
And—which is more—you’re a chingón, cabrón!
Ask the Mexican at firstname.lastname@example.org, youtube.com/askamexicano or myspace.com/ocwab. Or write to him at: Gustavo Arellano, P.O. Box 1433, Anaheim, CA 92815-1433. Find him on Facebook and Twitter!
This column appeared in print as "Special Poetry Edition."
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