I AM JOAQUIN/YO SOY JOAQUIN by Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzalez

I am Joaquin, ,
Lost in a world of confusion,
Caught up in a whirl of a
gringo society,
Confused by the rules,
Scorned by attitudes,
Suppressed by manipulations,
And destroyed by modern society.
My fathers
have lost the economic battle
and won
the struggle of cultural survival.
And now!
I must choose
the paradox of
Victory of the spirit,
despite physical hunger
to exist in the grasp
of American social neurosis,
sterilization of the soul
and a full stomach.

I have come a long way to nowhere,
Unwillingly dragged by that
monstrous, technical
industrial giant called
and Anglo success…
I look at myself.
I watch my brothers.
I shed tears of sorrow.
I sow seeds of hate.
I withdraw to the safety within the
Circle of life . . .

I am Cuauhtemoc,
Proud and Noble
Leader of men,
King of an empire,
civilized beyond the dreams
of the Gachupin Cortez,
Who also is the blood,
the image of myself.
I am the Maya Prince.
I am Netzahualcoyotl,
Great leader of the Chichimecas.
I am the sword and flame of Cortez
the despot.
I am the Eagle and Serpent of
the Aztec civilization.

I owned the land as far as the eye
could see under the crown of Spain,
and I toiled on my earth and gave my Indian sweat and blood
for the Spanish master,
Who ruled with tyranny over man and
beast and all that he could trample
But . . .

I was both tyrant and slave.

As Christian church took its place
in God's good name,
to take and use my Virgin strength and
Trusting faith,
The priests
both good and bad,
gave a lasting truth that

Were all God's children
from these words grew men
who prayed and fought
their own worth as human beings,

I was part in blood and spirit
of that
courageous village priest

in the year eighteen hundred and ten
who rang the bell of independence
and gave out that lasting cry:
"El Grito de Dolores, Que mueran
los Gachupines y que viva
la Virgin de Guadalupe"

I sentenced him who was me.

I excommunicated him my blood.

I drove him from the Pulpit to lead a bloody revolution for him and me I killed him.

His head, which is mine and all of those who have conic this way,

I placed on that fortress wall to wall for Independence.




All Compañeros in the act,

to feel the hot gouge of lead which my hands made.

I died with them . . .
I lived with them

I lived to see our country free.

Free from Spanish rule in eighteen -hundred- twenty-one.

Mexico was Free

The crown was gone but

all his parasites remained

and ruled and taught
with gun and flame and mystic power.

I worked,
I sweated,
I bled,
I prayed


waited silently for life to again commence.

I fought and died for

Don Benito Juarez

Guardian of the Constitution.

I was him on crusty roads on barren land

as he protected his archives as Moses did his sacraments.

He held his Mexico
in his hand
the most desolate
and remote ground
which was his country
And this Giant
Little Zapotec

not one palm's breadth
of his country's land to
Kings or Monarchs or Presidents
of foreign powers.

I am Joaquin. I rode with Pancho Villa, crude and warm. A tornado at full strength, nourished and inspired
by the passion and the fire of all his earth, people. I am Emillano Zapata.

"This Land
This Earth
The Villages
The Mountains
The Streams

belong to Zapatistas.

Our life
Or yours
is the only trade for soft brown earth

and maiz.

All of which is our reward,

A creed that formed a constitution for all who dare live free!

"This land is ours . . . Father, I give it back to you.

Mexico must be free . . .

I ride with Revolutionists

against myself.

I am Rural
Course and brutal,

I am the mountain Indian, superior over all.

The thundering hoof beats are my horses.

The chattering of machine guns
are death to all of me:
I have been the Bloody Revolution,
The Victor,
The Vanquished,
I have killed
and been killed.

I am despots Diaz

and Huerta
and the apostle of democracy

Francisco Madero.

I am the black shawled
faithful women
who die with me
or live depending on the time and place.

I am
Juan Diego,
the Virgen de Guadalupe,
Tonatzin, Aztec Goddess too.

I rode the mountains of San Joaquin. I rode as far East and North as the Rocky Mountains


all men feared the guns of
Joaquin Murrietta.
I killed those men who dared
to steal my mine,
who raped and Killed

my Love
my Wife

I Killed to stay alive.
I was Alfego Baca,
living my nine lives fully.
I was the Espinoza brothers
of the Valle de San Luis.
were added to the number of heads
in the name of civilization
were placed on the wall of independence.
Heads of brave men
who died for cause or principle.
Good or Bad.

Hidalgo! Zapata!

Murrietta! Espinozas!

are but a few. They dared to face The force of

tyranny of men who rule

By farce and hypocrisy
I stand here looking back, and now I see the present

and still

I am the campesino

I am the fat political coyote

I, of the same name,

In a country that has wiped out AI my history, stifled all my pride.
In a country that has placed a different weight of indignity upon my age old

burdened back.


is the new load . . .
The Indian has endured and still
emerged the winner,
The Mestizo must yet overcome,
And the Gachupin will just ignore.
I look at myself
and see part of me
who rejects my father and my mother
and dissolves into the melting pot
to disappear in shame.
I sometimes
sell my brother out
and reclaim him
for my own when society, gives me
token leadership
in society's own name.

I am Joaquin, who bleeds in many ways. The altars of Moctezuma

I stained a bloody red.

My back of Indian Slavery

was stripped crimson from the whips of masters who would lose their blood so pure when
Revolution made them pay Standing against the walls of Retribution,

Blood . . .

Has flowed from

me on every battlefield

between Campesino, Hacendado Slave and Master and

I jumped from the tower of Chapultepec into the sea of fame;

My country's flag my burial shroud;

With Los Niños, whose pride and courage

could not surrender with indignity their country's flag . . . in their land.

To strangers
I bleed in some smelly cell
from club.
or gun.
or tyranny.
I bleed as the vicious gloves of hunger
cut my face and eyes,
as I fight my way from stinking Barrios
to the glamour of the Ring
and lights of fame
or mutilated sorrow.
My blood runs pure on the ice caked
hills of the Alaskan Isles,
on the corpse strewn beach of Normandy,
the foreign land of Korea
and now

Viet Nam.
Here I stand
before the Court of justice Guilty for all the glory of my Raza to be sentenced to despair.
Here I stand Poor in money Arrogant with pride
Bold with Machismo
Rich in courage and
Wealthy in spirit and faith

My knees are caked with mud. My hands calloused from the hoe.
I have made the Anglo rich yet

Equality is but a word, the Treaty of Hidalgo has been broken

and is but another treacherous promise.
My land is lost
and stolen,
My culture has been raped,

the line at the welfare door and fill the jails with crime.

These then are the rewards this society has
For sons of Chiefs

and Kings and bloody Revolutionists.
Who gave a foreign people all their skills and ingenuity
to pave the way with Brains and Blood
those hordes of Gold starved


Who changed our language and plagiarized our deeds

as feats of valor of their own. They frowned upon our way of life
and took what they could use.

Our Art
Our Literature
Our music, they ignored so they left the real things of value and grabbed at their own destruction by their
Greed and Avarice

They overlooked that cleansing fountain of
nature and brotherhood

Which is Joaquin.
The art of our great señors
Diego Rivera
Orozco is but

another act of revolution for the Salvation of mankind. Mariachi music, the heart and soul of the people of the earth, the life of child, and the happiness of love
The Corridos tell the tales of life and death, of tradition, Legends old and new, of Joy of passion and sorrow of the people: who I am.

I am in the eyes of woman, sheltered beneath

her shawl of black, deep and sorrowful eyes,

That bear the pain of sons long buried or dying,


on the battlefield or on the barbwire of social strife.
Her rosary she prays and fingers
endlessly like the family working down a row of beets to turn around and work and work There is no end. Her eyes a mirror of all the warmth and all the love for me, And I am her And she is me. We face life together in sorrow, anger, joy faith and wishful thoughts.

I shed tears of anguish as I see my children disappear behind the shroud of mediocrity never to look back to remember me. I am Joaquin.

I must fight And win this struggle for my sons, and they must know from me Who I am. Part of the blood that runs deep in me Could not be vanquished by the Moors I defeated them after five hundred years, and I endured. The part of blood that is mine has labored endlessly five-hundred years under the heel of lustful Europeans

I am still here!

I have endured in the rugged mountains
of our country
I have survived the toils and slavery,
of the fields.
I have existed
in the barrios of the city,
in the suburbs of bigotry,
in the mines of social snobbery,
in the prisons of dejection,
in the muck of exploitation
in the fierce heat of racial hatred.

And now the trumpet sounds,
The music of the people stirs the
Like a sleeping giant it slowly rears its head
to the sound of
Tramping feet
Clamoring voices
Mariachi strains
Fiery tequila explosions
The smell of chile verde and
Soft brown eyes of expectation for a
better life

And in all the fertile farm lands,
the barren plains,
the mountain villages,
smoke smeared cities

We start to MOVE.
La Raza! Mejicano!





or whatever I call myself,
I look the same
I feel the same
I cry

Sing the same

I am the masses of my people and I refuse to be absorbed.

I am Joaquin

The odds are great but my spirit is strong

My faith unbreakable
My blood is pure

I am Aztec Prince and Christian Christ