For All the Veteranas

And who is it that cares to think
anymore as to whatever became
of the former femme fatales-
yesterday's darling divas?
Those once glittering beauties
from the barrios of Denver and L.A.
the sultry sirens ( All has- beens now)
from Illinois hamlets
where grain elevators
dot I-70.
And what of the ex- Aphrodites
from quiet southern towns
like Cleveland, Mississippi?
And faded princesses
from bustling eastern cities
such as Boston, Baltimore and Philly
and fresh- faced angels,
now in their demise
from the vast Dakotas
and Montana's big skies.

Have they sunk into obscurity
with time?
Ravaged by age
do they disappear?
As their shapely legs
turn to varicose- veined
blubber
and the goddess faces
become furrowed
caricatures
haggard and worn.
These are the dowdy matrons
riding on your city's buses
unnoticed,
the women who hide
the decline of their bodies
dressed in long skirts and baggy sweaters
( modest as a Sunday school teacher)
the same women
who once wowed
in skimpy halter tops
and dazzled
in daring leather minis
the women whose flesh
now sags
so much like
their once pinnacled
dreams.
And these women
don't know whether
to laugh or to cry
at the ironies
of today's youth-
smooth- skinned,
arrogant,
( as they once were)
the boisterous
cholos and cholas
homeboys and homegirls
who snicker at,
scoff,
or at best dismiss,
these grizzled veterans
for being old-fashioned,
mundane, not hip,
uncool.
While all of the young ones
money, time and energy
is spent
glorifying, idolizing
the " gangsta" life
that they know
absolutely nothing about.

It is more than your attire,
rhythms and speech
more than your favorite
action movie.
I tell you glory
doesn't exist
look at me
I've lived the lyrics
but my brokenness is
no script
this tarnished life
not a motion picture
it's real.

And this poem is dedicated
to all
the weary veterans
the old- school heinas
of the 70s and 80s
the ones struggling to survive.
Who work at Walmart,
or at your local diner,
who telemarket magazines-
the ones living alone
in cheap motels
with cigarette burned carpets
or in small studios
that have no air conditioning.

With only our memories
for company
some bad,
of jails and prisons that we've been in,
of crimes we've witnessed,
committed,
or been victims of
and some bittersweet-
of the husbands and lovers
who've left
taut muscled,
with luminous eyes
and beguiling smiles.

Young Lance corporals
from Camp Lejeune,
Lakota boys from the rez,
big hearted drifters,
poor campesinos.
Men who've moved on
but are nevertheless gone-
whether successfully
respectfully
to money
marrying other wives
fathering other's children
or-
some lost to mental illness, alcoholism, suicide
and it is only we rucas and viejas who remember those
who will die
in Statesville,
Huntsville,
Leavenworth,
Cañón City.
This is for all you former heinas
who've never tattooed a teardrop
in the corner of your eye
because your hearts
are already tattooed
with tears.

This poem is about: 
Me
My community

Comments

Nathan3259

This was amazing!!! You should record it and make it a spoken word piece. It captivated me while reading it and I can only imagine how captivating it would be to hear. Excellent work!!

Annette M Velasquez

Thank you. I've read it at poetry slams and open mics with a good response. But I haven't yet made any recordings... I do intend to though, and also expand my poetry audience via more technology! I'm an older lady and need to quit being so old- school... I know everyone's on YouTube, making vimeos etc. this is the year when I'll be taking my art to a higher level. I've been invited to speak and present and a cool retreat in June, and even though I can workshop, discuss and lecture on the topics at length... I'm worried about getting my visual presentation right- I am not at all tech savvy. Still, I have three months to prepare and I'm getting friends to help.

MVP-Most Valuable Poet

the style of writing that The Lord is blessing you is goping to bring about unity

it's about being responsible in this whole process

pray about it that more doors open up for u

you have much to offer

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