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2020 Poetry

Jose Hernandez Diaz

BALLAD OF THE WESTCOAST MEXICAN-AMERICAN/CHICANX

“Arboles de la barranca
Porque no han enverdecido
Es que no los han regado con agua del rio florido
Me puse amar a una mujer con la ilusión de amar….”

-Mexican Ranchera.

My American friends think I’m too Mexican.
My Mexican friends think I’m too American.
My Mexican-American friends are my road dogs.

Mi gusto es escribir poesía toda la noche
y toda la mañana.
Mi gusto es escribir poesía toda la noche
y toda la mañana.

I don’t like my chile too hot; I like it just right.
I don’t like my chile too hot; I like it just right.

When I’m drinking on the weekend,
And I play “Arboles de la Barranca,”
It doesn’t matter whose singing it,
I feel 100% Mexican—those trumpets, damn.

I put ketchup in my breakfast burrito;
I put ketchup in my breakfast burrito:

Con la ilusión de amar.


Jose Hernandez Diaz is a 2017 NEA Poetry Fellow. His work appears in The American Poetry Review, Bat City Review, Cincinnati Review, Gigantic Sequins, Huizache, Iowa Review, The Nation, Poetry, The Progressive, Witness, and in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011. His chapbook of prose poems, The Fire Eater, was published on 2/14/20 with Texas Review Press. He tweets at @JoseHernandezDz.