By: Manuel Gonzalez

With watermelon mountains
Melting misconceptions
From crazy loco dreams
And contemplative confessions
I see cholos chasing chicas
Living mi vida loca
Like the ancient mexica
With kicked back kakis
To camouflage clown faces
We smile now
But we cry later
Breakdancing b-boys
Battling the cross fader
My name is Albuquerque
But my friends call me Burque
Mi Madre makes masa
With flour and manteca
Rolling out her tortillas
And scraping her spices in a molcajete
Like the ancient Azteca
As the Tolteca knowledge
Is passed down from the Grandfathers
And Mi Madre lights a candle
To la Virgen De Guadalupe
My name is Albuquerque
But my friends call me Burque
Politicians like hot air balloons
Both floating on hot air
As I stare at the sunset
And that blue black color of the magic hour
Where the mystical existence of spirits
Is evident for those with eyes to see
My name is Alburquerque
But my friends call me Burque
With the Rio Grande pumping life
Through the heart of Aztlan
Pumping life
Through the words of storytellers
The blood of warriors
The tears of mothers
The passion of lovers
That river who knew my grandmother
Who named my son
And protects my daughter
Gave inspiration to my father
To sing songs of our people
My name is Albuquerque
But my friends call me Burque
The sacred sands of the Santuario
Silently sends the sound for my soul
And the pacience and perservierence of the penitents
Plant the seeds that will one day take me home
And the legions of Mary
Who pray the rosary for humanity
Who doesn’t have enough time to bend their own knees
My name is Albuquerque
But my friends call me Burque
Listening to Saturday morning traditions
Played by musicians
The founding fathers of my self image
Singing rancheras
And cumbias
And those boleros sung with a teardrop on the vocal cords
My name is Albuquerque
But my friends call me Burque
I’m looking at Atrisco and I’m thinking of land grants
Wondering if the chavalitos even have a chance
As the day turns to night and they begin to dance
You know I was named after a duke who never left Spain
And being junior without knowing your father can bring a lot of pain
My name
Is Albuquerque
But my friends call me Burque
Manuel Gonzales

Manuel Gonzales

Manuel Gonzalez is a performance poet who began his career in the poetry slam. He has represented Albuquerque many times on a national level as a member of the Albuquerque poetry slam team. Manuel has appeared on the PBS show, Colores, in “my word is my power.” He was one of the founding members of the poetry troupe The Angry Brown Poets. Manuel teaches workshops on self expression and poetry in high schools and youth detention centers. He also works with an art therapist to help incarcerated young men express them-selves. He is one of the coaches and mentors for the Santa Fe High Poetry Slam team. Manuel is from Albuquerque, New Mexico. His mother’s family is from Barelas. His father’s family is from a small town in Northern New Mexico called Anton Chico, and his father was the lead singer of the band Manny and the Casanovas. He identifies himself as being Chicano. The history, culture, and spirituality of his people are among his inspirations. “I’m proud to be from New Mexico, and to me it’s more than just green chile and desert. It’s seeing the value of famila and respect. It’s the Rio Grande valley and Santuario de Chi-mayo. It is feasts, dance, poetry and prayer.” His connection to his culture helps him connect to his students. Manuel teaches poetry as a means for self expression. Looking within oneself and examining ones roots is the essence of the type of poetry he works with emotions, feelings, experiences, and prose in an historical and cultural context is the goal of his workshops. Self esteem, finding something to say, figuring out how to say it eloquently, and letting your voice be heard are just some of the benchmarks in Manuel’s workshop. For information on booking a workshop or performance or both please call (505)831-4512 or e-mail . Find him on YouTube.  ©Manuel Gonzalez

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