Our final poem of the week for National Poetry Month 2019 is from the forthcoming book The Chasers by Renato Rosaldo. This prose poetry collection shares his experiences and those of his group of twelve Mexican-American Tucson High School friends known as the Chasers as they grew up, graduated, and fell out of touch, conveying the realities of Chicano life on the borderlands from the 1950s to the present. The Chasers comes out in May.
The Chaser Mystique
Most said we’d turn out badly.
Our name signified wild guy, partier, fighter. We thrived on reputation. Whether
they admired or hated us, everyone knew who we were, our jackets, our spot in the stairwell.
We played the cat, built a mystique, but we were just Mexican kids out for fun, nothing profound.
One dad in moving and storage, Chico’s dad a professor, another selling beer at ball games, another a cop, and yet another, head of a rotating credit association, the Alianza
We were in shape, every summer our arms threw baseballs, our backs strained under
bulky furniture. One worked as a lifeguard.
We hadn’t seen each other for fifty years, gathered at the Tucson High School reunion, told ourselves stories about ourselves, laughed as if we’d been together the day before.
At our reunion, people still talked about us, still gave a shit after fifty years.
Bobby Shoumaker and Richard Rocha
Watch the trailer for The Chasers here.
Renato Rosaldo is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at New York University and the author of several books, including The Day of Shelly’s Death, also published by Duke University Press.