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Matt Sedillo: “Mowing Leaves of Grass”

Mowing Leaves of Grass

I am the as yet written vengeance of Elvira Valdez

The best laid plans of Modesta
The reckoning of Santa Cruz
San Ysidro
Bisbee
Chandler
Porvenir

the blood sweat and tears
of all that I refuse to forget
I am that unpaid debt

no sidekick
no subplot
no mascot
no ethnic study
the universe I embody

the ground above me
the sky beneath my feet

marching las calles
y las estrellas
through circular calendars
sleep dealing
Siqueiros y Rivera
past the past
the future
in the present
in lak ech
all at once
cause in this moment
i am you
and you are me
and we

are two clenched fists
that still lit fire
sacred kept
the final breath
of the so called
last fighting Aztec
laughing in the face of death
the blade of El Pachuco
guarding the temple steps
the strength of memory
the promise of tomorrow
yo soy chicano

y chicano soy
y adonde me lleves
el chicano voy

they want you to think this is important
critical
to your rehabilitation
for the way in which you entered this world

read Thomas Jefferson
or else you’ll pregnant

standards and practices
curriculum and instruction
And you product
of public education
do not interrupt
or you’ll be led cuffed
face first
To pavement
Like
your father
your grandfather
your mother
your nina
your tios
Till you learn your lesson
it’s not personal
it’s all you people

so don’t get mad
don’t be hurt
and don’t make this political

this is economic
objective
the law of self interest
if we let you in
what will become
of the cannon
the classics

who will shelve
the wit and wisdom
of Ben Franklin
Shelly
Shakespeare
Chaucer
Walt Whitman
From the
Paumonok
starting

What has
miserable
Inefficient mexico
to do with the great mission
the new world
the noble race

you fought
you lost
you don’t get to define this
this isn’t racism
it’s providence
progress
And god willing
you filthy mongrels
it is just the way it is

I look at you
and i dont see color
i see labor
I see law and order
Cops and robbers
guards and convicts
institutions of correction
schools that look like prisons
caged apartments
where the cost of living
the cost of being
brown
is as high
as wage theft
and the rent

forget
your savage tongue
I will teach you
this robust
American love
spoonfeed you spics
freedom of speech
till you learn
to take a joke
and speak to authority
I will show you
Who you are
In a book
And you will believe it
Cause I said it
and now you read it
and who are you
to question
The cannon the classics
Lowry
Kueroac
walk out
on the great white brilliance
of Wilson
Garifeld
Roosevelt
Lincoln
now listen cause
cause this is important

The universe
Is a muralist
The cosmos
our self portrait
starring
A danzante
A curandera
A poet laureate
a stylist
a mechanic
the barrio dandy
Cruising the rings of Saturn
To the travel tips of Torres
Carrasco tearing
Down the curtain
On union station
Joaquin returning
Triumphant
Marching through the halls of Tucson
Mowing down leaves of grass
Fuck Walt Whitman
This is
An Art Leboe
Dedication
To
Frida
Selena
Cantinflas
Luis Rodriguez
Valdez
Sor Juana
Sandra
Anzaldua
The Mighty Quinn
to all that we are
And all we have been
Through lifetimes
and timelines
galaxies and dimensions
of pain pride and resistance
and gothic
are the solar showers
in the days of living music
when the people of the sun
were dancing
to the tune of Valenzuela
and la luna was a calavera
as the ancestors
welcomed in the future
Through circular calendars
Where I am you
And you are me
sitting at a desk
Looking to the stars
Searching for the end
To a poem
That never began
That always was
And forever shall be

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