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                                                                      Renato Rosaldo

 

Pachuco


I learned the word
my first week at Tucson High
when Tim Acosta burst into homeroom,
yanked me by the collar, right
out of my desk, smacked
me against the wall, and growled,
I hear you’re gonna beat the shit out of me.
I stammered, Never said that, and he flung
me down, called me an asshole, and stomped out
as he gave me the finger.


A year later my friends and I baptized ourselves
The Chasers. Nobody messed with us—
not Tim Acosta, nobody. Every morning we leaned
against the wall, slightly lifting our chins
as friends passed by. One day six Mexican frosh jumped
an Anglo classmate and we joined in his defense, Mexicans
against Mexicans. Next day’s headlines reported:
Race War Ravages Tucson High.