The Chichimecas

By Richard Garcia b. 1941 Richard Garcia
The Chichimecas are in the hills.
They have built a huge bonfire.
I am at my window with a telescope
counting shadows flickering in front of the flames.
There must be at least a thousand Chichimecas
and their many dogs, for they are the dog people.
 
Maybe there is only one Chichimeca
and his dog pacing back and forth
in front of the fire trying to make me think
that there are one thousand Chichimecas in the hills.
 
There are Chichimecas in the alley.
They have taken down the street signs
and built another bonfire—STOP, SCHOOL CROSSING,
SLIPPERY WHEN WET, the Chichimecas are showing
a preference for S’s slithering into smoke.
 
The Chichimecas have broken into the abandoned
train station from one of my poems. The one
where the sound of the plastic tips of my shoelaces
clicks against pavement like lobsters.
They are cooking the lobsters in a steel drum.
After they have devoured the lobsters, they lie down
with their dogs. Sniff, sniff, sniff, sniff the dogs.
 
Sniff, sniff, sniff, sniff the Chichimecas,
for they have found aerosol paint cans
and they are holding rags soaked with paint spray
to their noses. This makes the moon come down.
 
Chichi mommy, chichi mommy, chant the Chichimecas
as they fall asleep in a pile with their many dogs.
Chichi mommy as they snore and dream that the stars
are dripping milk into their open mouths.

Richard Garcia, “The Chichimecas” from The Persistence of Objects. Copyright © 2006 by Richard Garcia. Reprinted by permission of BOA Editions, Ltd.


Source: The Persistence of Objects (BOA Editions Ltd., 2006)

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Poet Richard Garcia b. 1941

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Race & Ethnicity, Class

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Richard  Garcia

Biography

Poet and writer Richard Garcia was born in San Francisco and started writing in his teenage years. Since then, he has authored various books of poetry, including The Flying Garcias (1991), Rancho Notorious (2001), and The Persistence of Objects (2006). Garcia’s most recent work is a chapbook of prose poems entitled Chickenhead (2009).
 
Praised by Nobel Prize Winner Octavio Paz for his “emotion…verbal economy [and] tone (the . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Race & Ethnicity, Class

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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