I am a macehual
poet, a follower
with no other ceiling
than the open sky
full of stars
my sole flag is
a white cloud in the sky,
a dove of peace
the whole world
– already borderless – is
my home and backyard
Macehual: A Nahuatl (Aztec) term for the common folk, the bulk of the people, whose labor continues the vital core of society.
Francisco X. Alarcon, the L.A.-born Chicano poet and factory laborer who worked his way from adult school, East L.A. College and Cal State Long Beach to Stanford University died on Friday, January 15, 2016 of stomach cancer in his Davis home, still eschewing that final punctuation. He was 61.
His death ended a prolific career as a bilingual poet, children’s author and professor at UC Davis. Alarcon, once a finalist for California poet laureate, was known for his poetry about immigrants, love and the indigenous languages and traditions of Mexico, and also for bilingual books of children’s verse, which he called ìthe best thing I’ve done in my life.
Alarcon was also a leading voice in the struggle for immigration rights and was actively involved in La Bloga and Poets Responding to SB1070. This homage now appears on their site:
Our brother, friend, maestro, and founder of Poets Responding to SB 1070 has gone home to the ancestros. A warrior to the end, he went to the other side with much courage and dignity. This is a great loss for our poet and social justice community and we have pledged to continue on his (our) work, and his legacy!
Rest in poetry, peace, and power: Francisco X. Alarcon, Presente!
Francisco, you will be missed.