Sunday, September 29, 2013

El Bobby

Callahan Bandstand, Southside Park, Sacramento
Mural painted by Royal Chicano Air Force, 1975

—José Montoya

Bobby Paramo
    Blackballed film maker, Chicano road
    Scholar Jaguar, wore his warrior name
Like he donned his pork pies and stingy brimmed
    Panamas—simple, casual, deadly! Sans
    Flash—just Bobby! Not Robert, Beto, Bob
Or Roberto—Bobby!

And that’s all that was simple ‘bout Bobby Paramo,
    That’s all that was simple, ‘bout Bobby!
    “Another remarkable life,” le dice el Corky al’
Louie de Fowler. “Simon.” Le contesta.

From the first GRITO, Bobby went seemingly into
Perpetual exile, we saw him here, los they’s
    Saw ‘m there—he moved the struggle like
A feast—from Los to San Pancho y hasta Fresno fue a
    Dar. Y Solano el vato—he’d hook with a
    Traveling pardner, ruca o vato—pero no le
Duraban—porque Bobby’s compact list of demands
    Were rigorous. La Causa meant struggle to
    This carnal. Y esos viajes pa’l terre were to
Bring news after Tlaqueloco and artifacts to all the
    Cultural centers all across Aztlan—la conecta
    Con la cultura Mexica was vital in Bobby’s view.

But even as he grew weary, still, no tenia paradero,
    Moving targets are hard to hit he’d say in
    That tirili way he joked. Then he’d get sullen
And serious.

Part of his rabia was that he felt let down
    By his contemporaries del Movimiento, specially
    His prodigies—ironically his demise could be
The chispa that ignites the imaginations of your
    Film makers—the script is there—his life
    Itself—with a closing shot of his ashes launching
The new Chicano invasion from San Pedro beaches
    To take Santa Catalina Island!
    Wasn’t that a Chicano dream once?
And films have got to be made before Sam Pickenpockets
    Makes a Bobby The Kid western, or Scores Easy
    Gets Pacino to play Bobby Paranoid—como
Le pusieron los culerios de Stanford during those perros
    Y antiperros days of Chicano filmmaker wannabes
    And rhetorical poets and sex y El Sexto souls—
My God! Culture Clash could do better than that, que no?
    If si se puede is doable, no solo se puede, se debe.
    Like when word of his passing hit the mean streets
De volada, sus camitas de la torcida y los Barelas de Burque
    And an RCAFer wannabe or two y aquellos select
    Few que siempre la hacian esquina mobilized
And this brother que nunca tenia paradero al fin paro!
    But his dreams of filming a triumphant Aztlan didn’t   
Die—the massive show of support that came together
For him in the end came from all quarters—Today we
    Can cherish his memory as we begin to realize exactly
    What he left for us—in spite of it all—his films,
His journals and the most precious gift of all—with Maria
    Nos dejo a su hijita de atolle—la dolce Vita! His
    Work is done—his exile is over and life goes on.
A sweet life—la dolce Vita!

(first pub. in La Luna, Rattlesnake Press, 2008)