Yesterday was the 46th anniversary of the Chicano Moratorium. You can Google that for more info on it but it’s an important event that often gets ignored and or distorted. It was also the anniversary of the murder of infamous Chicano journalist, Ruben Salazar. I only bring it up because I’ve written about it (as well as argued about it) quite a bit over the years. I also mention it because one of the poems in my new book, due out soon, deals with Salazar’s death and the fallout after.
I haven’t published a poem on here in a while so this is a treat of sorts (heh), but each year around this time, I roll my eyes when I see people questioning Salazar’s death and then painting the Moratorium with broad strokes of revisionism and rose-colored, kumbaya glasses. It’s annoying. It’s also a discredit to the man who died.
Some might ask, “Why dredge through ancient history?” Well, because it matters. People get so caught up in the present and the minute by minute manufactured crises on social media, that it’s easy to forget the past. I’ve been accused of being a “dinosaur” before and an “armchair Aztec,” and maybe I am both of those things, but I think it’s worth documenting this kinda stuff because so few do, fewer still with any kind of conviction.
Anyway, this poem will be in the new book along with a ton of others. It’s looking to break 300 pages so I hope you’re ready for it. I’ll have pre-orders up soon as well as reveal the title and cover art. Until then…
*Note: I edited this image to include what the stamp artist did not.
by Santino J. Rivera
You believe whatever the fuck you wanna believe, ok?
Lord knows there’s enough misinformation and
history re-writing out there to fill volumes
there’s enough carpet baggers, revisionists and con men
looking to make a quick buck on Raza’s backs and spilled blood
There’s no mystery
Ruben Salazar was assassinated
no unanswered questions
the cops murdered him
plain and simple
They wanted the man responsible
for giving a national voice
to the “troublesome” Chicana/o Movement
El Movimiento has never been the same
kids today might not even know what that means…
During that time the very word “Chicano”
was part of the national lexicon
Can you imagine that?
There were no “Latinx”
no shoe shining
no boot licking
no border wars
no identity crises
no usurping of entire histories
no backdoor deals
no Brown adopted “white” guilt
no safe spaces
and real-life bloodshed
“Chicano” was used by people like Spiro Agnew, Hunter Thompson
and the Wall Street Fuckin’ Journal
You can credit Ruben Salazar for much of that!
Shit, the very word itself is taboo
Internet fodder and media toilet paper
as more and more people vie for politically correct
and media friendly terms
because no one wants to offend anyone
or step on any delicate toes
lest we break some oh-so-sacred eggshells
Chicana/os from that era scared the establishment
the status quo
Mr. and Mrs. AmeriKKKa
and all the ships at sea
and Ruben paid the price for it
and he keeps paying
when people discredit his memory
and his murder
He’s no martyr
but he was definitely the messenger
They silenced him
like They did so many others during that period
Anyone who was perceived as a threat
It was no accident!
so fuck you!
and your “mysterious” bullshit
and your lack of a “smoking gun”
There’s no mystery
just faded blood stains
where the Silver Dollar used to be
and about million voices of dissent
fading in the wind
©Broken Sword Publications, 2016