Toca Mi Corazón, Play My Heart



El Jesús de Marcos es un caminante nato, siempre en movimiento, constantemente invitando al pueblo a seguirle...por su contacto con otra culturas y por su mezcla con otras sangres. Eliseo Pérez Álvarez, Marcos

Only Karen, only our children, only Paco,
know me like this. With this grip.
This firm confidence, not mine.
All this so much fun.
Oh, Jesus, this Raza! Oh, Jesus, this joy.
And light pouring from this taco!

Jim Bodeen
18 de agosto 2010


—para M. M.; y para Eliseo Pérez Álvarez

The woman teaching citizenship
classes in my town, the woman who is my friend,
Lord, is very good at what she does.
She knows her stuff, and you know
what's coming, God Never Surprised By Us,
she'll never be allowed to take the test herself.

Jesus ate with the poor and the outcasts.
Give us our daily bread is a prayer to Monsanto.
That's what Vandana Shiva says.
O Tlaloc, God of Water,
God of Eternal Spring,
why have you settled in Texas?

Henry Kissinger says, Control the continents
by controlling food supply.
En el mundo de los olvidados
the tractor is an image of war.
Sabemos que el hambriente es mortal.
Feeding people is no more difficult

than providing toilets and running water.
40 million people in my country live in poverty.
You can find Jesus sentado a la cena campesina.
¡El Señor está en dos lados de la frontera!
Puede verlo buscando a dentro de la Cortina de Tortillas.
Cortina de Tortillas sea mi protesta.

Tortilla Curtain be my protest!
When a woman asks for your promise, Lord,
she doesn't want to go through a hijacked democracy.
Astronomy is easier to grasp than rule of law.
Yes from you, God, makes my privileged life possible.
The hamburger in my hand comes from 100 cows.

Jim Bodeen
15 de agosto

"Camote es para la espalda."—Doña Cruz


Walking the trail to Ten Mile Falls
we meet Luz coming up the trail
with an agent from Homeland Security.
Karen keeps no time. She can't hear
blades from helicopters. Talking
with Tecos from Guatemala,
refranes come up political.
Me cayó un pelo en la sopa.
The man who just walked
through the door is someone
I'm not pleased to see.
A hair falls in the soup.
Age out is the term used by agents
referring to the sibling waiting in line
for his Green Card. Age out,
bleed out, it's been good to know you.

Hiking to Monkey Bear Falls with Paco
three women ask for a guide.
Paco es nuestro capitán. ¿Tienen agua?
Mother, daughter, grandmother. From Guerrero.
Cuidado con los raices del arbol,
Doña Cruz. Soy de campo, she says.
Muestreme la yerba buena, I say.
She's carried ollas filled with water
heavier than my backpack
with a couple of sandwiches and nuts.
We photograph our way to the falls
while Paco leads and Doña Cruz
wraps her shawl around her head
saying, Soy Arabi.

Muerto el perro, se acaba la rabia.
Guerrilla soldados sean mi mentores.
I do not want to sleep in the jungle
or face down bullets winning hearts and minds.
Refranes no son proverbios. No son frases trilladas.
Zen koans with consequences.
Miss the sublime and you're in big trouble.

Camote es para la espalda, Doña Cruz tells me.
I take the plant by the root and look at the vertebrae
pattern of leaves, in wonder. Boil the leaves
in water and rub the healing water on your back.

Jim Bodeen
12 August 2010


Mussled, muscled, mussed
on my grandma's birthday
30 years without her
No railroad tracks to hold me
Still a boy from a small town
gathering a country place
mountain time trail berry

Jim Bodeen
12 August 2010


Walk the path to the falls
Catch fast water in digital glass
Parade rest earth song

Jim Bodeen
12 August 2010


—para Felix Malpica

Boom, ba ba boom
Boom, ba ba boom

De noche remos
de noche que para encontrar la fuente
sola sed nos alumbra

How many, How many
Boom, ba, ba boom, ba ba Boom

Sing it, and chant it
Sing it until you can feel it
Chant it until you don't have to
look at the words...

Felix shows us how to bring
our fingers together until they meet
the other, confrontation-like,
becoming candles of light
in our song

by night, by night
only the thirst leads us onwards

chanting, chanting

Jesu tawa pano
Jesu tawa pano
Jesu tawa pano
Jesu tawa pano

Tawa pano mu zi ta re nyu
Welcome...we are here for you

Salaam eleikum
Salaam eleikum
Salaam eleikum
Salaam eleikum

Le ho yah! Ho yah!

Jim Bodeen
11 August 2010
Holden Village


for Emily Van Kley

Before we get to compost
we have to break down boxes,
sort paper for the barge downlake.
Treat flat paper boxes like paper
unless it's corrugated. It's tagboard
in both corporate and recycling worlds.
Sorting is nasty archeology.
Hair, waste and alcohol from the village.
How villagers live. This is garbology.
Burnable, plastice bottles, sorting colored glass.
Recycling. If it tears, it's paper.
Save all bottle caps.
For Africa or artists, one or the other.

I love the way dough acts in a compost bin.
Scoop some sawdust in there. It's too wet.
Chop peels fine. Orange and banana
take so long to break down.
Good compost smells so good,
the carbon and nitrogen.
Everything's gone wrong on this compost shift.
Get that chicken bone.

Jim Bodeen
11 August 2010


Two hundred Mexicans in a mountain retreat center
just sang Las Mañanitas to me on my 65th birthday.
I was born August 9, 1945, and I'm trying to reconcile
the first two sentences in this poem. Bring the word
down to size at the same moment you bring it to life
by singing it. Say, All. Sing All.
The Mexican pastor working for no salary
in the Valle del Rio Bravo tells the story
of being so mad at the coyote taking the money,
she called him up and gave him thirty minutes
to return the $2500 or else. When he returned
the money she said, "You go against the love of God."

Palabras sacramento. Faith moves us to do so much.
A young man wears a t-shirt that says, Soldados Caídos.
Fallen soldiers. Hay otro lado de macho.  ¿Sabe?
Even Mexicans can't talk about it anymore.
Ese macho es el "Sí" en "Sí, se puede." Yes we can.
This can be done. El "Sí" de Dios es una promesa.
Another man plays the flute for his pueblo in Arizona.
He tells me he lives next door to the man who wrote
the bad law. He tells me more than that.
His song is for those who suffer.

I am so much of nothing, I don't have to do much
to cancel myself out, but God has given me La Raza
to walk with in my great need. Raza, called
by high ordeal and common trial. Raza.
Who by fire and who by water. All.
Raza is the the prayer of awe in any context.
You want to lose yourself in the divine?
Ask for King David's song in the palace.
Stand and have 200 Mexicans sing
Las mañanitas to you on your birthday.
Be born 9 August 1945.

Jim Bodeen
9 August 2010
Holden Village

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