no niegas que vienes de mi ombligo.
I was lethal when you was fetal, scratched
            records when you feared needles.
Never had a mirror near you ain’t know shit
            about your people. ¿Were you black,
brown, or illegal? Gringos saw you as below,
            vetoed your voice as feeble, but we know
you was seeing visions like Ezekiel.
            Ain’t talking spinning rims or wallets fat
with c-notes. You were on the camino
            to be more than how they read you.
            Thought it made you more
than your amigos, smoking blunts, high
            on perico. The difference between Jay-Z
and Beanie Sigel. You let your ego lead you.
            Didn’t look in the rearview. I gave you
knowledge of self. You pushed your history
            beneath you. Followed teachers who deceived
you, surrounded by white people. Like I’m not
            why ya feet grew. You ain’t need me
more than I need you. So see-through, thirsty
            for shining. Punk-ass gave up on rhyming.
They called you rapper before a poet. You never rose
            up to own it. Now you say you made it. Son,
tell me how that life taste. Worry less if you spit
            truth. Keep worrying bout “the White space.”
Keep worrying bout magazines none of your family
            reads. You too grown for rap CD’s and bootlegging
MP3’s. Keep calling your silence ruckus. You ain’t
            the first to punk out. Shit, hella brown poets
scared to touch this. You can fool yourself,
            but you never fooled me. If you wan be anything
other than sucker, you go through me. ¿What?
            ¿you forgot ‘bout Lauryn Hill and Nas?
¿Who dafuq you think taught you how to rock?
            To grit, to hustle, to spit like I do.
I should send Big Pun to kick the shit
            outta you. You can’t step to the Queen
unless your record be mean. If you run, my heart
            ’ll beat thicker through your chest
and your brain, make letters go lean and hiss
            incredible things, cuz I’m unforgettable
in the ebb and flow of your indelible vein.


Related: More ‘Viva Macondo’ entries

Willy Palomo is the son of two immigrants from El Salvador. In 2018, he graduated with an MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and an MFA in poetry from Indiana University. He has taught literature,...