Santos Rodriguez — by Ricardo Sanchez (1973) | We still remember.. 40 years later #Dallas #policebrutality #Xicanism

40 years ago today, a little light was extinguished; that incident marked a pivotal point in Dallas civil rights history — Dallas’s Chicano movement…we have not forgotten, and today we remember. -tlakatekatl

 

HECHIZOSPELLS


Santos Rodriguez

JULY 29, 1973
TEXAS

           a poem about a
  child's death is a soul 
       articulating out a              
              heart beat:
       túm-túm-túm-túm...              
           hear that beat          
      throughout the life             
  process of this poem... 

  drum and clarion sound,
  drum and clarion sound,

                              túm-túm-túm-túm,

                              where has your soul gone,

                              where has your soul gone?

  young Santos Rodriguez,

  old and dead at age eleven,

  shot and killed

       by Dallas mindless hates,                              

                              hope and prayer 

                              your now companions,
                              where is your soul now? 

  is it up there listening

  to droning drum and clarion sounds?

                               túm-túm-túm-túm,

                               child fearfully departed,

                               túm-túm-túm-túm,

                               victim victimized by fate...

  SANTOS!

  how did Texas Tuesday begin for you?

  how did that July 24th day begin? 

  sunny? clear? 

  was it a day, you'd thought,

  that would bring joy? 

  did you then think,

  like perhaps you'd had      

  a thousand times, 

  that someday soon

       your imprisoned mother

       would from prison come?

  did your young eyes,

      filled with the horrid wisdom

      of barrio life and poverty,

  envision her

  embracing your young,

     yet experienced,

  life

  lovingly?

  did you still dream, Santos,

  even when policeman Cain,

            DARRYL L. CAIN,

  was handcuffing you, 

  even when you were forcefully placed 

  inside that venomous squad car 

  and Cain slew you

      just like his biblical counterpart

  wantonly murdered?

  did you still dream, Santos,

  and pray and hope

  that there could be 

  a land we call tomorrow?

  did you dream, Santos,

  to resonant drum beats 

  and shrill clarion calls?

      Santos, little Santos,

      eleven year old child, 

      living in that dreaded city,

      Dallas famed for deformation,

      even power couldn't have saved you,

            it didn't save Kennedy

            and he had money, power, & prestige...

  you, Santos, had poverty, brown skin, 

  and very much an accented heritage,

  and your eleven years of life

  were probably sad and histrionic...

  and Cain was probably target-practicing,
  and newspapers duly said 

  he'd already the blood 

  another youth had shed

  upon his.357 magnum hands...

  the paper said, to wit
                             "...the boy was killed

                             early Tuesday

                             while handcuffed

                             in a police

                             squad car

                             as he was being questioned

                             about

                             a gas station burglary..."

        túm-túm-túm-túm,

            barrio fears inside that car,

        túm-túm-túm-túm,

            chafing steel around your wrists...

        túm-túm-túm-túm..
  the paper also stated:

                             ". . . police said Patrolman

                             Darryl L. Cain, 30, placed 

                             a powerful .357 magnum pistol

                             against the boy's head

                             to coerce him into telling

                             details of the burglary.

                             The pistol went off

                             as the boy's brother, David, 13,

                             also being questioned, watched..."

  túm-túm-túm-túm,

      heavy steel against your head,

  túm-túm-túm-túm,

      your brother watching,

            unable, cuffed, and powerless;

                              smoke wafting through the car,

                                  young life slashingly splashed,

                                      revealing, revealing,

                                      the ease it is to kill...

  túm-túm-túm-túm,

      blood/brains spurting/gushing,

  túm-túm-túm-túm,

      eternalized by manic trigger...

  Santos, child, nothing but a child,

  sitting fearfully in front,

  Cain in back

  alongside your brother...

  twice the gun was pressed            

  against your febrile head,

      one empty click of Dallas cop roulette,

  and then Cain's horrid voice intoned:

                              "This time, meskin,

                        it has

                    a bullet

                in IT," and

  DAMN, BUT BAM,              your life gave out

  wantonly destroyed!

  your brother's tearful words:

                              "I felt like pushing 

                              the gun away... but I,

                              I was handcuffed ... I, I,

                              I couldn't do anything..."

  what,

  chingao, si, yes,

  what was to be your fate, Santos?

  YOU had a right to live!

  will you now haunt our minds 

  shrouded in your brother's words:

                               "He (the policeman) rolled
                               the chamber around,

                               and then he opened it

                               and three or two bullets 

                               were in it...

                               "He snapped it close and

                               then rolled it again...

                               "'Tell the truth,' the officer 

                               told Santos.

                               He (Santos) told him

                               we did not burglarize

                               the gas station...

                               "The gun clicked,

                               but it didn't fire. .

  space and time

  must have hung

  limply, yet electrically,

  visceral madness

  must have fearfully

  stirred

  in your mindsoul,

  and then

                              "He (Cain) clicked the gun again,

                              and it fired,

                              the bullet went through

                              my brother's head

                              and

                                blew

                                  the other

                                    side

                                      of

                                        his-face

                                          off..."
  túm-túm-túm-túm,

      drums and clarion calls. . .

  at home they'd picked you up,

  drove you around

  and questioned you like hellll.

  down to the station,

  the drive

           to get the truth,

  this is the place

  they said you'd burglarized...

  did burglary merit

  the taking of your life?

  had they a right
  to cause your family strife?

  David and you,

  yes,

  you both claimed 

  you were innocent,

  and damn, but turn of fate,

  it happened to be true...

  what were the facts, 

  those goddamned-too-late-facts?

  reporters said,

  and i quote now the Post:

                             "... the investigating officers

                             said fingerprints from Santos

                             and David do not match those 
                             at the scene

                             of the burglarized gas station.   

                             The officers said 

                             they could find no evidence

                             to link the Rodríguez brothers

                             with burglary at the gas station..."

  is it mere irony, Santos,

  hat Dallas shoots and kills 

  Rodríguezes by mistake?

  it happens often enough,

  for not too long ago 

  an entire family, 

         also named Rodríguez
  was horrendously attacked 

  late at night,

              while in bed,

  by shot-gun/machine-gun toting 

  plainclothesmen and cops;

  mistakenly shot & maimed,

  assaulted & mauled,

  then horribly ironic

  charged with assaulting cops

  as old man Rodríguez,

       striving to defend wife & children,

  fought to save his family...

                             damn but true,

                             a chain of Rodríguezes

                             guilty enough to be shot

                             just because they are Rodríguezes... 

                             what, just what in hell,

                             did you Rodríguezes do

                             that Dallas, Texas, must wipe you out?

  did you, Santos,

  like others named Rodríguez,

  yes, like others often do,

  forget to bow and smile 

  a hucklebuck retreat 

  before the masters of this state?

  did you forget to genuflect

  each time you passed

  before a texas ranger/rinche/pinche statue?

  did you forget to give

  and give and give and give and give

  your blood until your time would come?

                 until you'd be entombed? 

  did you forget your name, 

  the destiny assigned,

  and other hurting things

  that must make up your life 

  if you're to live at all

  within the u.s.a.?

                                what did you do, Santos? 

                                qué chingaos hicistes, niño, 

                                other than being alive,

                                other than being alive?!?

  túm-túm-túm-túm,

                                Santos, you are dead,

  túm-túm-túm-túm,

                                gone into the void;

                                you never really lived,

                                how could you?

  your mother

  was momentarily reprieved

  to come see 

  your withered body

  buried in the sod;

  she wept and prayed,

  then boarded another bus back

  to serve part of her destiny

  at goree unit,

       texas department of deformation;

  five years she's doing

  at a state prison for women; 

  that year, 1970,

  when she was convicted/sentenced

  was also the year

  your assassin, Cain,

  was found 

  grand-jury-no-billed-

               of-having-shot-and-killed

  an 18 year old boy 

  running from the law...

  túm-túm-túm-túm,

      muerte y más muerte,

  túm-túm-túm-túm,

      nuestra raza's pinche suerte...

                                Santos!

                                túm-túm-túm-túm,

                                  Santos, gone into the void,

                                túm-túm-túm-túm,

                                  murdered

                      túm-túm-túm-túm,

  DEAD

     tuúuummmmmmmmm!

       and buried

  amidst prayer

  and dirgeful sentiment;

         done in and destroyed,

                gone into the void,

                      that void

                where the poor have always gone,

  gone to trade stories

  of how bad

  it was

  to live

  in a city/sty

  called

         Big D...

                   D is for damned

                     all the way

                       to hell

                          for

                   all the murders

                   it has caused...

  Iloramos y angustiamos

  tus pesadillas, Santos,

  y afirmamos

  que cambiaremos

  este mundo

        cueste lo que cueste!

  adiós,

        carnalito,

               adiós ...........

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