See our Photo of the Week (and archive of more)

Art Changes
Opinion Advertize Permission
To be notified of new articles Survey Store About Us

do u dare
by Alurista

This poem by Alurista is published here by permission and appears in Alurista's new book of poetry "z eros" (Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingue). We are also publishing a new poem in Spanish from the same book called

Alurista is recognized as one of the most significant Chicano poets. He was born in 1947 in Mexico City and migrated to San Diego, California, when he was thirteen. He holds a Ph.D. in Spanish literature from the University of California, San Diego. Among his other collections of poetry are Floricanto en Aztlan (1971), Spik in Glyph? (1981), Return: Poems Collected and New (1982), and Et Tu ... Raza? (1995). His work played a central role in the Chicano movement of the late 1960s and 1970s and continues to inspire new generations of artists and activists.

do u dare

moon full o' diamonds, look everything i do carves a
long lost treasure smile with your eyes as i purse my lips
in poverty, material u know heart remains whole, spirit
loving one earth despite the news 'bout mars weep the
twang u warp, twelve string may b thee, steel, cold, lava
reaps new land hope, faith in us, cherish the will to b
ourselves, selfishly we walk meadows, do not go beyond
pride, shine sunflower, live, struggle, cut cane, plant
orchids, count the petals off thee, rose, amatista perhaps
the russian stones, alexandrines 'n' siberian dunes re-
main what u, i b doing, got no dough, cookies? a la . . .
cookie?! . . . pos si in silence peace prevails pablo
plucking buganvillas, cats stalking, birds singing yet i
think 'bout u cause the grapes served 'n' chaliced, no
mind the nukes, the budget cuts, the clumsiness, the
ignorance, the barking dogs, pray, count blessings, gold
matters not, sliver cast off thy eye, stone u b pure, i
profess clarity, midnight courage, sanddollar doves rise
within, an eagle swooping down to capture rat crawl,
one day babylon will recall the tongue that bow spoke in
obsidian arrowheads capturing cactus flower beds at
dawn, peyote mist, dreams past nightmarish military
black gold plots locking earth clouds, rainless quaking,
rattling huracanes, fast winds wallowing, shells up-
turning melodies, missions, yes justice for all truly for
some, we b not included, could have played the part, yet
not my play, coolness, frankness, fondness, catness, will-
fullness, elliotness and hooverness, damness, touchi-
ness, jaguarness, treeness, beeness, antness, smokeless-
ness, lifelessness, firelessness, sexlessness, bodylessness,
mindlessness, brewlessness, rootlessness, a new sun
sparkles us again warm bright drumming sunflower un-
wind windlight earthflow b treasure tinkling bells sling-
shooting platanares mirasol rushing candidates abound
yet children have no shoes, beans are hard to find, rice
and tortillas lack comales whatfor whoever whosoul
what whip remain watersnake, milpas rise still and
corncobs spit golden hairs off green husks, the blades of
cane slice the skin off our hands we sweeten coffee
canela chocolate boxes soaping mothersingle as quail
bush ideology black gold requires a new greed and a new
prostitute manifesto for transnationals 'guised as open
trade dna dea doa usa crash'bol culon unborn, nonato
hud iud dui abc cia drumming sunflower unwind wind-
light earthflow bark lava magma showtime magnitude
amplitude thermometering blood b tracing tracy dicks,
search seek, swallow thorns forget the roses, flutes ink
no more songs, whales frolic still past this shore,
ahuacatli flower bloom bone b brotherhood bastion bee
sisterhood survives sweeps down winds springwater-
shot up the meadowed oaks weeping willows eucalyptus
flutter with mariposa reinas de su espacio, otters clam-
ming pearls and sweating vinegar jobs are hard to find,
asphalt eats rubber off walking shoes, leather skin bone
becomes before beckoning surrender sun simmers soft-
ly sinking across eye flutters two palm trees smiling,
lincoln rose laughing b a foster parent parent not your
own the other is swanflower sunflower swimflower to
the shore sharks await thy drum looking still for u reina
mora, shoe thyself clothe thyself house thyself love
thyself i will shall shell clam off the rock lobster boil
within salted pot lime luster leak no lead we b not
carving death, being born bean b bodacious carry pearls
silver onix, crap on bull there b no more alexandrines
left for anyone bearing hemlock

. . . poets pee off suicide as

meaningless . . . suicide? . . . no dice

play chicken some other cliff
keep heart whole
bear honey

cast your hemlock to the sea

u know life is a beach and then u have

to swim to shore wave
this forehead is now yours
the satchel off my left arm that thought b mine
as well, be filled

i know nothing off a lamp
unless my touch bears candles u stand under rain
wicks suck oil to flame

fire prevails centered
lest all our planets b gone wind carries dew
there b more than one star

silvermoon prevails
those of us who cherish sun surrenders, u b i

trim thy venus mound

'tis the hunted
not the panther
u b narrow
i the arrow?

'tis the hunter
not the hare
r u pubic?

do u dare?

Published in In Motion Magazine - May 13, 1996.