500 years of empire blood and everything’s alright

I ain’t been right since the daze of Chela’s,
bummin rides in rusted Chevys
cruisin Anna’s ville like a chulito bandito.

Whatchu know bout Selena?!
Whatchu know bout SPM?!
Whatchu know bout anything?!?
What what!!!

I ain’t been right.
I just ain’t been right.

I strolled down the aisles of that mini H-E-B like a light-skinned midget conquistador.
Knew where I was going then even when I didn’t,
so don’t tell me otherwise, Vato Loco.

Whatchu know bout Cabeza de Vaca?!
Whatchu know bout Álvarez de Pineda?!
Whatchu know bout 500 years of empire blood?!?
What what!!!

I ain’t been right.
I just ain’t been right.

I asked Tata once, Hey Tata,
why don’t the people here look like me?
Boy, my father said, you are one of them.


I asked Granma once, Hey Granma,
am I gonna be alright?
Pray to God, mijito, my grandmother said, pray and you’ll be alright.


Alex Z. Salinas lives in San Antonio, Texas. His poetry has appeared in the San Antonio Express-News, Shot Glass Journal, As It Ought To Be Magazine, The Dope Fiend Daily, Duane’s PoeTree, and in the San Antonio Review, where he serves as poetry editor. His short fiction has been featured in publications such as Every Day Fiction, Mystery Tribune, Red Fez, Points in Case, 101 Words, Schlock! Webzine, 121 Words, Yes Poetry, The Fusty Nut Review, and 365tomorrows. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from St. Mary’s University.

David J. Thompson is a former prep school teacher and coach who lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He likes The Simpsons, Spain, postcards, and minor league baseball. His poetry/photography book Grace Takes Me is available from Vegetarian Alcoholic Press.