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My Name is Gabacho, but My Friends Call Me . . . ?

My Name is Gabacho, but My Friends Call Me . . . ?

Words come to mind and to heart.

Corazon contento.
Enchanted nights.
Green green grows the soft
voice of the barrio.
Green grow.


Words and memories
Her story. His story.
Your story.
Whose story might that be,
mi hija?

I heard Mercedez Holtry read her wondrous poetry
on KUNM last night, “Humans of New Mexico”
and I heard this beautiful young poeta—
with her gringo last name
and full chicana blood and heart and fire—
let us know in precise and crystal shining words:
how it can hurt
how it can hurt

and how we pick our asses up
dust em off
(as if it didn’t hurt
to get kicked . . . )
smile . . .
and keep on keeping on

I don’t think Mercedez Holtry should become the next Poet Laureate
of Burque
I think she should be the next Poet Laureate
of this sorry ass U.S. of A.
Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Bannon and Trump—pendejos!.

When we Irish came over on the starvation coffin boats,
those of us who landed on the yanqui shores still alive
were treated like dogs
or worse, like People of Color
by the No Nothing bastards who ruled this land
in them bad old days
they stuck a gun in our hands
and said, “lotsa luck, Paddy,
and if you live through this war,
or you get jobs as cops,
or maids
and you go to your damned Papish church
and don’t stink up our Houses of the True Protestant God,
then, in time,
we might just begin to think
that your kids could
“turn white”

but don’t count on it, amigo
and stay away from the niggers and spics
if you know what’s good for y’all

Hey, so our years rolled on
here in Americkay
and some of us fought for Lincoln
or Jeff Davis
or Roosevelt
or Lyndon Johnson
or Obama

and some of us crossed the Rio Bravo
and fought, bled and died for old Mexico
and freedom
and never came back to Yanqui -landia at all at all—

Green grow the rashes oh
where lie the San Patricios!

So sang the brave Mexicans
who fought for their country with Irish soldiers bleeding beside them
and turning captured Yankee cannons back on the damned Texas Rangers
to great effect

When the Stars and Stripes went up over Chapultepec Castle
that sad year of the Northern Invasion
most of the San Patricios were hanged
by American G.I. ropes
and the others were branded on the cheek
with a rough D for Deserter

A lucky few might have got back to old Ireland
and lived to tell the tale of “hospitality” for Paddies
in the land of the free and home of the brave

Anyway, I just thought of this today
while I celebrate los gente del sol,
los ojos de coleur de cafe,and la poesia
in this fine fine country
north of the Wall
where la raza calls the shots,
que no?

Green grow the rashes oh.
Green grow

You just can’t live here
if you ain’t ready for a lot of Sol
if you ain’t gotta lotta Heart
if you ain’t got Soul

Que no?

If you live here,
and your heart has not broken,
then you have not lived in Burque
long enough.
Live a little longer, hermano, hermana—
Give our beautiful desolate desert city time.
It will happen.
It will break.




Bill Nevins, born 1947, grew up in the NY City area, lived in New England and greater Philadelphia, and moved to New Mexico in 1996, where he lived in Albuquerque's South Valley for an extended period. He now divides his time between Albuquerque’s North Valley and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Angel Fire, besides traveling. He has hosted a series of poetry gatherings and now reads at Voices of the Barrio and SOMOS, as well as the great Maple Leaf Poetry venue in New Orleans when he is there. His son, Special Forces SFC Liam Nevins, died in combat in Afghanistan in September 2013. Bill’s book “Heartbreak Ridge and Other Poems,” available via, is published by Swimming With Elephants Publications. Bill may be reached via