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The Beat of an Immigrant Chicano

on Swan World Press

Juan Cardenas

Juan Cardenas is a Chicano Beat Poet, Flutist, and Teaching Artist. 

He teaches poetry to youth with California Poets in the Schools, and to his community of all ages. Juan is the Associate Director of the Los Angeles Poet Society.

 

Juan is celebrating his new book, The Beat of an Immigrant Chicano, published by Swan World Press in Paris, France. 

What people are saying about The Beat of an Immigrant Chicano.

“The Beat of an Immigrant Chicano carries a  haunting voice that pulses with raw emotion. It reminds the reader to count our blessings and our blues. Juan Cardenas is el Chiapas of border words that resonate so deeply at this time.”
~ Iris De Anda, Poet, Activist & Author of Codeswitch: Fires from Mi Corazon

“The Beat of an Immigrant Chicano is intersectional poetry at its best, enlivened by vivid images, carried by musical phrasing, and full of hope.”
~ Richard Modiano, Executive Director Emeritus Beyond Baroque Foundation

“Juan Cardenas redefines what it is to be a «Beat» poet taking the reader on a moving, courageous, and at times harrowing journey across physical, emotional and spiritual borders. The Beat of an Immigrant Chicano marks the welcome voice of an emerging 21st century Beat poet armed with fresh eyes that see past the truth of this United States of Reality Show.”
~ S.A. Griffin, Poet, Actor, Editor, & Author of Dreams Gone Mad with Hope

Home. Run. 

“Klang!”A baseball flew high across Mexican skies

as it caught a glimpse of the American desert

at the other side of the steel fence.

It took me two strikes to hit a homerun

at a baseball game that took place

on the unpaved streets of TJ,

just a few yards from the border.

 

It was my last day in Mexico,

Early in the morning, as I sat at the breakfast table of my Coyote,

eating frijoles de la olla with warm corn tortillas,

when I saw a group of boys my age playing the

United States’ favorite pastime sport, Baseball.

 

I watched with excitement

as I saw one team strike the other out,

fouls and homeruns flew above the uphill dirt road.

All bases were formed with sweaters and Coca-Cola bottles.

 

I hadn’t witnessed smiles and playful fun for weeks.

The night before had been attempt one; a traumatic desperate chance that failed, and left me with a chilling sense of mortality.

I had never been so cold for so long,

and never had I seen someone so scared.

 

I watched so attentively that my beans were getting cold,

Imagining myself running for a base,

when my mom asked:

“Do you want to go out and play with them mijo?”

 

The red-threaded, white leather ball

savored the fragile freedom and height 

of the wind’s unpatriotic belonging.

 

(c)2020 Juan Cardenas

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