Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2019  Vol. 18 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Christ in a Cholo Stance
—For the homies & the churches that find them,

Dreamer was the first to go to church.
I always knew he would be.
He was looking for premium mammon
to redeem for cash at the Highway City pawnshop.
He pried the steel bars of Christ’s Victorious Worship Center
& slipped through the gap
of a bathroom window.
He had to suck in his beer gut—good thing the meth
was wearing on him.
Then he did the dopefiend shuffle
into the sanctuary. Shit,
there was a sunrise service going down.
He stood in the midst of the congregation,
a deluge of well-rouged, repentant women
wearing mother’s pearls, bearded men
weeping into ill-fitting sport coats, off-duty
sheriffs standing guard, Tea Party patriots
protecting the collection plate.
In a corner, a former puta
danced in the Spirit, spinning like a whirling
dervish, waving her hands in the air,
shedding Sin like hairs
falling from a brush.
No one noticed Dreamer, so he let Flaco & Paco
in & they ransacked the place, stuffing last-
supper chalices & jewel-encrusted
crucifixes into stolen Raider backpacks.
Then Boxer came through. You know that crazy
vato’s always looking to party.
Nigger & Syko followed with the hynas.
Next thing you know, a pachanga’s going down.
The homies snorted lines of coca off
the leather covers of Costco Bibles,
skinnydipping with their babies’ mommas
in the baptismal font, Better Is One Day In Your House
thundering from speakers like
the day of Pentecost,
walls shaking like a tecato backsliding
from the percussion of a diabetic syringe.

Then something strange—the pompadoured pastor
made an altar call in his country gravy
accent & the homies answered—
one by one.
From my seat on a broken pew in the back row,
I tried to warn them, but they couldn’t hear
me above the Tongues.
I climbed on the horns of the altar & proclaimed,
The church stashes more indigenous treasures
than the Cherry Auction remate!

No one heard me, so I shouted,
Every time a homie gets shot
a rookie cop get his wings!
But the deacon’s tambourine was too loud.
I thumped & thumped & thumped on the good book:
Jesus hates sin! Loves the sinner!
He’s ambivalent about citizenship.

None would listen—instead, Flaco & Paco
tithed their bus passes.
Nigger & Syko confessed they were molested
as children.
Boxer prophesied the End.
Dreamer ate the Body & the Blood.

Then they had their tattoos removed,
exchanged sangre-red paños
for white kerchiefs blessed
by a Joshua Tree.
But Joshua trees grow in Aztlán too.
I felt a fire kindle in my belly
& spoke as the Spirit gave me utterance:
of Heaven & Hell
of jail cells & social justice.
Finally, the congregation took note.
They took a vote & I was
sentenced to deportation
for lacking two forms of identification.

& as all my former perros drug me down the aisle,
my head bumping polished church
shoes, the good news circling
my brow like a crown of thorns,
a tiara of stars, they beat me,
jumped me in like a backyard initiation.

I looked at the Cross, a Son
burning with the flames of Six Suns.
& there was
a golden idol
of Christ in a cholo stance.
Arms wide, head sporting a beanie
of thorns,
He looked me up & down & said,
What are you looking at,

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