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My Name's Not Rodriguez

   It is a sigh of climbing feet,
   the lather of gold lust,
   the slave masters' religion
   with crippled hands gripping greed's tail.
   My name's not Rodriguez.
   It's an Indian mother's noiseless cry,
   a warrior's saliva on arrow tip, a jaguar's claw,
   a woman's enticing contours on volcanic rock.
   My real name's the ash of memory from burned trees.
   It's the three-year-old child wandering in the plain
   and shot by U.S. Cavalry in the Sand Creek massacre.
   I'm Geronimo's yell into the canyons of the old
   I'm the Comanche scout; the Raramuri shaman
   in a soiled bandanna running in the wretched rain.
   I'm called Rodriguez and my tears leave rivers of salt.
   I'm Rodriguez and my skin dries on the bones.
   I'm Rodriguez and a diseased laughter enters the
   I'm Rodriguez and my father's insanity
   blocks every passageway,
   scorching the walls of every dwelling.
   My name's not Rodriguez; it's a fiber in the wind,
   it's what oceans have immersed,
   it's what's graceful and sublime over the top of peaks,
   what grows red in desert sands.
   It's the crawling life, the watery breaths between
   It's taut drum and peyote dance.
   It's the brew from fermented heartaches.
   Don't call me Rodriguez unless you mean peon and
   sod carrier,
   unless you mean slayer of truths and deep-sixer of
   Unless you mean forget and then die.
   My name's the black-hooded 98mm-wielding child
   in all our alleys.
   I'm death row monk. The eight-year-old gum seller
   in city bars and taco shops.
   I'm unlicensed, uninsured, unregulated, and
   I'm free and therefore hungry.
   Call me Rodriguez and bleed in shame.
   Call me Rodriguez and forget your own name.
   Call me Rodriguez and see if I whisper in your ear,
   mouth stained with bitter wine.

                                                 Luis J. Rodríguez


This website was created and is maintained for use in classrooms dedicated to multicultural understanding. 
Material from and links to other sources have been chosen because of their relevance to this goal. 
For questions or comments, or to report problems with links, please contact:
Ann Ramsey