Report from the Temple of Confessions in Old Chicano English
-- after an installation by Guillermo Gomez-Peña and Roberto Sifuentes
Se cruzan canyons en el templo de confessions.
Language lies across the barbed lines,
piles of its bodies pireced y pinchados.
No one evades the essentialist evangels,
the Other who offers his objectified body
to the river rats who ride his wetback,
the coro de coyotes who crave his flesh,
the wheyfaced who whisper their sin in his ear,
the translators who trap and trade his tongue,
la raza who receive him, la raza who repel him.
In this chamber the chill of chicken flesh --
pollito mojado picoso y picado,
the black body bag of the repatriated.
Here the distorted words of debutants y do-gooders,
of know-no-betters y neo-nazis,
of Beowulfs and other born-again beasts,
of sandaled sombreros sleeping under cacti,
of Machiavelian mentes y mouths
of anthropological autoethnography,
of pretend pachucas peeling their layers,
of preachers and poets with puckered lips
of the misused multi- cultural machinery,
of the Hispanic hodgepodge hiding their Indio,
of the Quetzalcoatls concealing their conqueror
de la migra meando marking its turf.
Here the hemistitched hemispheres blend,
a vacuum of voices absorbed in the velvet
paintings of slick y sexy santos,
of the Aztec icon at the altar of Aztlán
tripping and turning transvestite warrior,
of the cyber-Cholo stripping down -- Simón!
The Vato loco's liquid eye lures us
over borders, their blurred tumbling barriers,
calling us to come stare into the cage --
jaula de joda aquí juntándonos --
the table turned and tacked to the wall,
lit with votives licking our luscious
breakfast bowl of cucarachas on their backs
squirming to free their feet and fly.
- Brenda Cárdenas