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By Joaquín Ramón Herrera

Art: Charles Sanderson

means beautiful despised
children of tomorrow
dodging wire forged by yesterday’s lie

to me
xicano is a name for orphan
a child abandoned by tradition, tribe, and history
a nimble heart running barefoot along the bloodied lips of the land
kicking up wind and rain
scoop of sweet corn in his bone-dry hand and
pure soda pop in his veins

xicano means student
sometimes of the wrong screed
he learns what he’s given
what he can find and sometimes only repeats what he’s heard
in a house where his people have lived as the conquered
the hated
the feared
the recruited
the exploited
the needed
the rewritten
the forgotten
the fetishized
the absorbed
and minimized
been here since the dawn of american time
the beautiful despised
means new day in the temple of ancient night
xicano means warrior with a red cheek splashed acrylic and bright
xicano means you are your own keeper and teacher, too
xicano means you fade away or you fight

xicano means negotiator
of the borders of these worlds
the manufactured and the natural
the reinvented and historical
the fantastic and coldly practical
the modern and hysterical

xicano means hummingbird, mockingbird, too
xicano means stone and smoke and blood and fire and fine synthetic blends and widescreen tv
xicano means cholo and pocho and pachuco and sometimes borracho
xicano means that you can get with white american girls who desire extra salsa
xicano means you are vendido if you get with white american girls desiring extra salsa
xicano means you love the lady guadalupe liberty lucha but nunca señora sun maid
xicano means you speak googlespanish
and english so well that you threaten to shame tu familia
xicano means your name, once carried to méxico by conquistadores
can still
kill robots in modern day U.S.A.
xicano means you have pyramid-shaped sparkles in your eyes
but usually mistake them for American Idol spotlight refraction

xicano means you belong to nothing and that’s why we use an X
xicano means you are a crossing between past and future
and that’s why we use an X
xicano means you are a seam in the soul of what is unbroken
and whole and that’s why we use an X
xicano means you are now standing where earth and space and
concrete and hope and calavera and gold and barbed wire and
pulque and LCD and smoking mirror meet up
and that is why we use
an X

Joaquín Ramón Herrera is a children’s book author, poet, artist and graphic designer, currently working as a video blogger for MTV. Visit his blog at www.theunapologetic

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