Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hakim Bellamy

To: New Mexico
From: Hakim Bellamy
100 Years of Corridos: A song for the New Mexico Centennial

In the 1st chapter
Of the Gospel
According to Anaya

Rudolfo writes
“All of the older people spoke only Spanish,
And I myself understood only Spanish.”
In English

Bienvenidos Albuquerque
I myself
Understand only English
In Dine

We speak many languages
But mean the same thing
And manana
Will be more of the same


Come on and sing along

We’re going to

For 100 years B.C.
Before the Commodores
Before Lionel Ritchie
And for a 100 years more

We’ve farmed
Feasted and fixed cars

We’ve moved people
And mixed razas

We’ve got an appointment
With the curandera

As soon as we leave the doctors

A lust for livestock
Like chupacabras

Afraid of God
And the inexplicable

Dinosaur fossils

So in love with space
And the people who live there
That we speak Chewbacca

The 48th state
Admitted to the Union
We might as well have been The Moon
…of Endor
To our forefathers

With the oldest
And highest
State capital in the country
People on both coasts
Should look up to us
Instead of wondering
If they have to exchange their money
Before coming

Dollars is our official currency too
And though
We don’t have much of it

Money can’t buy cultura

Our History Book
The King Alfonso Version
Is a canon
Of wars and peace

A Bible
Of you and me
That was written in Madrid
By missionaries and mestizos

We are men of magic
And women of wizardry
Who speak in spell and song
Wing words
And fly them like a flag

All yellow
Between red and green
Like a traffic light

Like the state question is
Hurry up
Or slow down
Never stop

All of the older people sung only corridos
In those corridos…
I only heard gospel

Maybe it’s me
Maybe it’s a stage

But every time
I hear the clap of thunder
It sounds like a blessing

Every time
I hear the pitter, patter
Of the rain

It sounds
Like a round
Of applause

And even the monsoon roars
And the flash bloods
Our hearts
With love

One hundred
New Year’s Eves
Of trying to puncture precipitation

Where the sky never dies
And the clouds wear bulletproof vests

Where we perpetually live
In the shadow of a hot air balloon eclipse

We are not a city
That speaks “Good Morning”
We are a city that speaks
Mass Ascension

Like Grandpa
Only spoke Spanish
While he was drinking

Buenos Dias

Like Grandma
Only spoke Latin
When she was praying

Buenas Noches

Where water
Is so sacred and scarce
That we pot it
In puddles
On our flat roofs

Pool it
In vestibule stoups
Of steepled temples
Where pigeons swirl and roost

Pond it
In mountaintops
On our not-so-flat horizons
We bottle it
In our bodies
And set fire to it
In our forests

Where it sounds like
Acequias babble “amen”
And bosques
Smell like baptisms

Where the rain
Doesn’t speak any language
It only understands dance

And sometimes
We miss it so much
We need TWO rainbows
To promise us
It is coming back

After thousands of years
Of owners
For this little piece of hacienda

It’s been us as tenants
Roommates for the past hundred

Call it a trust
Call it a Zia-shaped symbol for eternity
Over our right ring finger

Call it the interconnectedness of cultures
Call it married to each other

Speak now or forever hold your “chisme”

We are
Actions speak louder than wordsmiths
Storytelling rituals

We don’t speak Project Runway
We Cowboy Cosmopolitan
Urban Traditional

Where our children
Dare not say or see
Cucui or La llorona
But are lucky
Santa speaks Spanglish
And has a sweet tooth
For leche y biscochitos

Where birthdays
Are miracles
And each one
Has a spirit
Holy Spirit
Or patron saint

Where we celebrate

In the beginning
The Greatest Spirit
Created America
And the earth

And it was

I don’t speak perfect English
Barely even speak passable Spanish

But it’s okay

Because there is no such thing
As “perfect English”
Except for the word
Nuevo Mexico

© Hakim Bellamy June 12, 2012

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