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

First by pronouncing WAI as Why.
Second by replacing WAI with Who Am I?


(four poems in one)

by Pablo Rodriguez
Modesto, California

Pablo Rodríguez is a 25 year old Paralegal at the Froba Law Offices in Modesto California. He is also a history student at California State University Stanislaus. Born in Cuidad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico in 1973, Pablo's family settled in California's central valley in the late 1970s. Currently, Pablo is in the process of forming a non-profit organization called Fuerza De La Gente with community activists from the Modesto area. A spin off of that organization will be his Chicano arts group to be known as the International Chicano Youth Authority. This will be in the tradition of the Royal Chicano Air Force and Culture Clash. Fuerza De La Gente is being formed to address Latino issues in California, specifically the problems that have arisen because of Propositions 187, 209, and 227. Fuerza De La Gente is expected to be a positive force in California.

Pablo received his community organizing training while working as a volunteer for the United Farm Workers of America AFL-CIO. He expects to follow the UFW's positive tradition with Fuerza De La Gente's goals. If you have any questions about Pablo's poetry or Fuerza De La Gente he welcomes your e-mail. You may contact him at


The following poem is actually four poems in one. It can be read from top to bottom and from bottom to top in two different ways. First by pronouncing WAI as Why. Second by replacing WAI with Who Am I? I did this because I had written a number of pieces attempting to define myself. I then realized that what I should do is tell people who I am not. Since my youth I was determined not to be called Paul. Pablo defines who I am.

Do you think that I am Paul
I am not an invisible person
I hear and understand
What you say about me
I am not like the others
We are one in the same
I am not your token
I am not
The usual suspect
I am not
A slave to men
I do not dream dreams
I see visions
I am not a label
I am not a name
I am Pablo
Pablo Rodriguez

(poem #2)
Knowledge is power
No matter the game
Keep me down
Keep it all the same
But I learn from my history
My future unsure
I follow my dreams
Today I endure
Never again
Never like this
Not like yesterday
The good times I missed
Today it is his
Tomorrow it is mine
Knowledge and justice
All in due time
We continue the struggle
Continue the fight
Look for someday
That thief in the night
Justice will come
His history is absurd
Read between the lines
Question his word
To find my future
I search in my past
Today will be better
Not like the last
I saw my history
My heart took a breath
Another Campesino
Poisoned to death
Look in the factories
Mira the fields
Substandard living
While riches he yields
He feeds my body
Nourishes my mind
My heroes on T.V.?
No ...
Not there you won't find
She works as your nanny
Harvests you food
Better life better living always pursued
They feed the world
Struggle to feed themselves
A nation of poor within a nation of wealth
Minimum wage
Tomorrow a better life
Anything to keep going
Today to survive
Their work poisoned our bodies
Their schools poisoned our minds
They've done it all
And still we shall rise
You have an American Dream
I have a Chicano Vision
Get off your couch
Turn off your television
Leap tall buildings in a single bound?
Not my heroes
On T.V. are not found

Pablo Rodriguez 5.5.95 - Livingston California

You are my uncle?
How is George my father?
The American Dream
Sabes que?
Save your breath
Don't even bother
Fair skinned blue eyed Uncle Sam
In your dream
Are Americans as brown as I am?
How about Camila and Maria Elena
Ritmo sabor
Dulce piel de canela
Hot dogs Apple Pie
Burritos and beans
I am Chicano and follow my own dreams
But it is more than a dream
I have a Chicano Vision
Self Determination
You won't find on television
Life is a journey
Not a destination
A color blind America
Sam use your imagination
Knowledge is power
I'm learning this game
Mexicanos Americanos
A difference the same
I am Chicano
Don't be mistaken
To live is to sleep
To die is to awaken
Cecilia, Doroteo y Dolores
They gave me the llaves
Que Viva La Revolucion!
Que Viva Cesar Chavez!
He is my father
My uncle
You are not Sam
Chicano Vision shows me
An American is
As brown as I am

Pablo Rodriguez 5.5.95 - Livingston California

    If you hate me
    I shall love you
    If you beat me
    I shall love you
    If you deny me
    I shall love you
    If you oppress me
    I shall love you
    When I love you
    I change the world

Pablo Rodriguez 12.20.96 - La Paz California

Published in In Motion Magazine August 25, 2001.