Oh What A Life It Was

Grey handlebar mustaches smiling with a fear and love
Moldy junkies Hi-Fiving & looking for a toke
Free bironga chilling in a white bucket labelled Old Milwaukee
Walls were full of grafitti and stray dogs had the right away

It was West Side San Antonio
The streets were filled with sun-faced traviesos
Tatted heroes constantly combing their hair saturated in Tres Flores
Vindictive hoodrats scratching their pregnant bellies
Paletas de coco, cucumbers with Lucas
Cousins playing basketball shirtless
And the moments were slow
And they were good enough

It is very quiet these days
And if we dare to
If we really try
If we really want to
If we can park egos and embrace the ghosts of Potosi
Put the Ipads down and the smartphones
We could have a copy of a copy
Of a time we were not worthy of

While the memories are dense
Presently, our homes are empty
The new breed is not interested
In The Last Supper overlooking the kitchen table
Nor the paintings of fruit in still life
They have ripped Michael Jordan’s tongue from his mouth
And scream at Catholic salesmen selling faith door to door

They laugh at death because they are heartless
How quickly we have pardoned ourselves
We are all responsible
And we deserve to die in agony
But oh what a life it was

I have tried to make peace with the eldery
Who were mindraped and tortured long before me
I wanted to cradle Kennedy’s brains with them
Or prop up a bloodied and lifeless John Lennon
But I can’t because I didn’t belong
I am not a Rivas or a Valdez
I’m just a lucky a bastard

I was happy to ride shotgun with heroin addicts
And converse with iconic whores dying of AIDS in the back seat
I have stared into the face of death
And I couldn’t bare it
I cried and cried because I thought I was stronger
Better or harder
No one is

The chicharras still soundtrack a very deceased Cassiano Park
And there are still bundles of mosquitos above the trash cans
And the lights shut off at 10 pm
In the shadows, Park Rangers ask the junkies for drugs
And the hoodrats for blowjobs
I watch them with a yellowy moon back drop

We can see the stars from the Cassiano Courts
Though most gatherings end with a gun shot
Still, on summer nights there is an allure that overwhelms
And you can keep your Hollywood Boulevard
I’ll take the view from Hamilton and Laredo

The story of our lives is currently in a yellow suitcase
Covered in dust underneath paintings of naked women I once knew
Somewhere in the city of Desperate, CA
It makes sense to me now
Why the originals treated me so well
They knew we would bury them one day
They wanted me to remember their charm
And never forget where I truly came from

It started with dreamers in Mexico
Who made it here
Dedicating their lives to the cotton fields
Up to Wisconsin and Minnesota
And back down to the Alamo
The grass grew from floods and drops of blood
And this was the best it ever was

We were proud.
We were genuine.
We were alive.

The prime of my life was spent chasing those ghosts
Recreating an 80′s moment and failing miserably
Listening to friends telling me to care about myself
People endorsing the death of family
And an unnerving silence in the streets
Can only mean
That we have come to an end

That was it…and this is all.

– by Vincent Cooper

This entry was posted in Chicana/o, Chicana/o Literature, Poetry, Prose. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Oh What A Life It Was

  1. cocheeze says:

    i will always love and will never forget the Cassiano Park

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