8.18.2007

Trino's Parting Message to America's Tom Tancredos

Trinidad Sánchez, Jr.--or Trino as he was fondly called--was a special person.

An educator, poet and peaceful warrior for justice, Trino touched souls and ignited imaginations.

Trino died unexpectedly last year after a stroke. He was 63 years old.

And as if to put an exclamation point on America's current period of shame, Trino suffered without health insurance.

Among other works, Trino published two collections of poetry: Why Am I So Brown, and Jalapeño Blues.

A friend of his in life and in spirit sent me what is perhaps Trino's final poem--an anguished cry against the madness and hypocrisy of the anti-Latino racism of people like of Tom Tancredo.

For a glimpse of the man, read the trinity of posts on Trino by Ruth of La Tertulia.

TO BE OR NOT TO BE

For Tom Tancredo


Tom
I want you to know that
I am Illegal,
that my parents were Illegal,
that they came to this country
with a MEXICAN DREAM –
that life would be better
there would be an abundance of justicia!
They raised ten Illegal
children who fought and returned
from those unlawful wars
only to be more Illegal
than when they left.
If that’s not enough,
I want you to know
my siblings have multiplied
and all sobrinos y sobrinas
they are all Illegal.

I want you to know that
I am Illegal,
that we’re the ones who
renovated your home, raise your children,
clean up after people like you
maid your houses, garden your flowers.
work your fields, your orchards
construction sites & restaurant kitchens
doing the cheeeeeap hard labor
your kind refuses to do.

I want you to know that
I am Illegal.
We are all Illegal Americans from
North, Central & South America
we are all proud of being Illegal Americans.

I want to know
with a name like yours
if there are skeletons in your closet . . .
if they are Illegal
& did you ask for their pink cards
after all, people who live in glass houses
need to be extra careful.

Tom Tancredo
I am Illegal,
I’m proud of being Illegal.
Your Gestapo immigration
can’t fuck
with my MEXICAN/CHICANO sueño
for a better life – lleno de justicia
NOT the “just us” American dream
that you look for . . .
a life without people
who are different than you
in color and size and even better than you.

Tom
I want you to know
there are no Illegal people,
there are only Illegal governments.
I’m sure you will say
writing this poem is Illegal.
It’s against the law
because it’s the fashionable thing to be.

I want you to know
you will never understand
being Illegal is fun
being a wetback is cool
being a mojado es la moda
because being Illegal
is being different than you
and is the best thing
I know how to be!

Trinidad Sánchez, Jr.