Santo de la pata alzada

Last summer, I arrived on another ordinary Tuesday at my school’s post office to pick up my mail. Among bank statements and magazine subscriptions, a signed copy of Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano‘s Santo de la pata alzada: poems from the queer/xicano/positive pen was the only exiciting element.

I don’t quite remember how our online friendship first started. Now I cannot wait to meet him in person (and read more of his “unsolicited opinion” and joterías!), sharing more conversations via many cups of coffee.

This month, Lorenzo celebrates the 5th publishing anniversary of what has become one of my favorite books. He also celebrates that he no longer has to force himself “to conform into a man less queer and less brown“. Congrats, Chito. Keep up that great, outspoken work. :)

Here, the poem “Hairspray & fideo [also the title of his blog]: my brown growing pains”:

growing up
the only smell I held dearer
than ‘mamacitas burnt fideo
was the smell of Aqua-Net

the kind of smell that lingered
long enough to cause a fire
when one of my college-bound uncles lit a fatty

those where the days
when ‘mamacita would warn me of the cholo neighbors
that dressed and acted like my tíos

and when I’d mention this similarity
she’d say
tus tíos no son cholos
they just dress that way

back then ‘mamacita would spend hours
talking to tía Nona from Monterrey
about so-and-so’s daughter
that got pregnant before marrying
and about a cousin of a cousin of a cousin
of the neighbor that had a dog
who bit the old man that owned the corner store
when they were growing up
was moving to San José
so we should expect a call
he must of called collect cuz ‘mamacita never accepted

yeah, those were the days
when Ken would grind the camouflage off G.I. Joe’s ass
while my cousins weren’t looking

when they were looking
I’d comb Barbie’s hair
drown her in a cloud of Aqua-Net
and take off in her corvette
cuz we didn’t need no man
telling us what to do

that was before lip singing to La Isla Bonita became uncool
before Barbie lost her hair due to all the hairspray
and Ken and G.I. Joe went their separate ways
to a segunda

that was before we had to grow up
forget by means of ridiculing the past
of not being caught dead speaking Spanish
outside ‘mamacita’s house

our brown growing pains didn’t happen overnight
they happened all the time
they happened when we learned that tíos going to college
meant they were going to prison
and that’s why ‘mamacita wouldn’t accept collect calls

when we realized nobody in our family
had ever been to a university and that maybe
it wasn’t going to be that easy for us to go

maybe the tíos in college had a point
things aren’t that easy for us
maybe the reason Ms. Nelson treated me like shit
in her second grade class was because
I didn’t belong there
or did I?

oh, but the years have passed
some primas got pregnant before marriage
some never married – the lucky ones
some primos are still in the closet
tíos finally came home from college
and I became a full-blown queen – convinced
that camouflage is no longer sexy
and that Herbal Essence hairspray
does not have the same healing powers as Aqua-Net


2 Comments on “Santo de la pata alzada”

  1. […] de la pata alzada (de nuevo) del buen Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano, sobre el cual comenté hace unos […]

  2. Beto says:

    No había leído este post completo.
    El hombre escribe increíble. Quiero leer más de él pronto.
    ¿Modos de conseguir su libro?


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