Annie Says

My tía, Annie, told me:
"You could never be a writer,
let alone a poet.
What do your know?
I mean, what can you write about?

"You got a D on your last book report
you gotta be able to write English good,
use big words...
and you've never even been out of Oxnard.
Writers travel
all the time
New York, Paris, Rome...
Every place they make Oil of Olay.
That's where writers go,
that's where they live.
Your family doesn't have money to travel.
You never will.
And you don't even type.
Now, how you gonna be a writer?
Sure, some famous poets,
they say
wrote longhand
but that was some years ago,
and they were men.
Men have it easy,
worthless lazy dogs.
But you wouldn't know about that
'cause you've never been with one.
You've never
pure passionate love.
Writers are always in love,
like this Harlequin romance I'm reading.
Now, how are you gonna be a writer?
You don't even like boys yet.
You've never given your heart to a boy,
so he could take it,
hold it,
clench it,
wring it dry,
to toss away,
forgotten in the gutter.

"They make you cry,
Writers know stuff like that,
they heal their pain with words.
You don't know about pain,
Look on TV...
The Brown Berets,
they're marching.
The whole Chicano movement
passing you by and
you don't even know about that.
You weren't born in no barrio.
No tortillería down your street.
Bullets never whizzed
past your baby head.

"Chicana Without A Cause.

"No, mi'ja,
Nobody will ever buy your books,
so put your pencil down
and change the channel for me,
it's time for 'As the World Turns'"