Saturday, January 28, 2023

Hey, San Antonio, I got a dream.

In San Anto everyone wants to work got a job.
And it pays good, man.
You can feed the kids and even take them to Disneyland
with the uncles, aunts and cousins,
even put something aside in case the kids go to college.

The jobs ain’t no hamburger flippin crap either.
These jobs mean something,
like helping people out in close by hospitals,
helping kids in schools and on playgrounds,
teaching how to do hula hoops and free throws,
and how to make tortillas like Nani used to make,
soft and smooth, made with love.

In San Anto, all the barrios got their own parks,
and they always clean.
Gang kids keep’em that way.
That’s how they show off their pride,
how they get respect.
And every park has a boxing ring
and a wrestling mat on a stage.
That’s where the gangs duke it out,
under the Marquis of Queensbury rules,
with all the people from the ‘hood there
watching to make sure its a fair fight.

Any man or boy hit any woman or girl,
he got to fight all her brothers, uncles and cousins,
there in the park one by one
in front of the whole neighborhood.
In San Anto, we don’t put up with that shit,
a man hitting a woman.
What kind of a man is that?

In San Anto, don’t nobody get sick,
‘cause everybody got their shots and they eat good.
None of that junk food.
And if they do get sick,
they get the best hospital care money can buy,
but its free for everybody
‘cause you ain’t got health, you ain’t got nothing.
In San Anto, we ain’t got time to be sick.
We get our people back to work,
back to school, back home,
where they can do some good.

In San Anto, our TV don’t do none of that Hollywood crap.

All the barrios got their own production studios,
and we put on our own sit-coms,
written by our own people.
Who’d have guessed we had that kind of talent,
until we tried it?
And guess what.
No commercials.
We know what we need.
Don’t need no uptown lady in a fancy dress
telling us what we want.
Who needs that crap anyway?

Once a year San Antonio does its own Emmy awards,
all the barrios putting up their best against all the others.
Seems every neighborhood gets a San Antonio Emmy for something.
And everybody feels good.
‘Cause we did it,
not some cat in Hollywood.

In San Anto, we got clean water and clean government.
‘Cause we keep the fat cats with money
from building their shit over our aquifer.
And we keep their money out of city and county elections.
Anybody want to run for office,
he, she don’t need money.
Just get on the neighborhood TV and say your piece.
Don’t cost nothing.
Same with radio.
Hey, who owns the air waves anyway?

In San Anto every barrio got its own poets,
painters, dancers, music makers.
The barrio poets write poems
for baptisms and funerals,
weddings, even divorces.
And they get paid good:
hundred bucks a shot.

And paintings.
We got murals up and down every block.
Can’t go nowhere without neighborhood pride
hitting you in the eye
with Virgins of Guadalupe and neighborhood folks,
all heroes with their own immortality.

Every barrio got ten, twenty bands,
rock, conjunto, country western,
old folks dance bands, young folks rappers.
Street dances every Friday and Saturday
somewhere in the ‘hood.
Free. Except to chip in for the bands.

We want them paid good.
‘Cause they do our souls good.

In San Anto, ain’t got none of that violence crap,
drive-bys and all that shit.
People got a gripe with anybody else,
we got mediators, negotiators, trouble shooters, peacemakers everywhere.
No need to go to guns
when you got all that help to make things come out fair for everyone.

And schools. San Antonio got the best schools anywhere.
We put our best people teaching first, second, third grades.
Get those kids excited about learning.
Once we get them turned on,
ain’t no one can stop them thinking and learning.

We got libraries everywhere.
Can’t keep the kids out of them.
They lined up five, six deep waiting to get at the computers.
We getting more computers soon
so the lines be down to one or two.

In San Anto, we take care of kids and old folks.
Kids are our future and old folks our past.
We don’t want nothing bad to happen to them.
They’re what makes our hanging in worth it all.

San Antonio is good living, man.
Know how we did it?
We stopped asking the big dudes.
They never listened anyway.
We just went out and did it.
Yeah. It wasn’t that hard
once we made up our minds,
once we stopped following and swallowing
what the fat cats said.
They wanted to jump in and help us with all their expertise.
We didn’t need their shit.
We just went ahead and did it.
And we ain’t going back.

That’s my dream.
San Antonio.

Guadalupe River Ranch
April 16, 1996