“Mexican” Is Not a Noun

By Francisco X. Alarcón b. 1954 Francisco X. Alarcon

   to forty-six UC Santa Cruz students and
   seven faculty arrested in Watsonville for
   showing solidarity with two thousand
   striking cannery workers who were mostly
   Mexican women, October 27, 1985

“Mexican”
is not
a noun
or an
adjective

“Mexican”
is a life
long
low-paying
job

a check
mark on
 a welfare
police
form

more than
a word
a nail in
the soul
but

it hurts
it points
it dreams
it offends
it cries

it moves
it strikes
it burns
just like
a verb


Francisco X. Alarcón, “Mexican Is Not  A Noun” from From the Other Side of Night/Del otro lado de la noche. Copyright © 2002 by Francisco X. Alarcón. Reprinted by permission of University of Arizona Press.

Source: From the Other Side of Night/Del otro lado de la noche (University of Arizona Press, 2002)

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Poet Francisco X. Alarcón b. 1954

POET’S REGION Mexico

Subjects Activities, Jobs & Working, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Race & Ethnicity

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Francisco X. Alarcón

Biography

A prolific writer for adults and children, Francisco Alarcón was born in California, although he grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico. Alarcón returned to the United States to attend California State University at Long Beach and earned his MA from Stanford University. His collections of poetry for adults include Tattoos (1985); Body in Flames/Cuerpo en llamas (1990); De amor oscuro/Of Dark Love (1991); Snake Poems: An Aztec Invocation . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Activities, Jobs & Working, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Race & Ethnicity

POET’S REGION Mexico

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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