Book Review: They Call Me Guero

They Call Me Guero by David Bowles is a great middle grade poetry book.

The book features a Mexican-American, middle-school boy who lives on the Texas-Mexico border. He is called Guero because of his light complexion and “white-looking” appearances. For me, this was particularly poignant as the book’s protagonist reminded me of my very own Guero, the oldest of my brothers who’s corn-colored hair and blueish-green eyes earned him this nickname in our family.

The poems in the book share with the reader Guero’s everyday experiences. The topics and titles in the book are wide-ranging. They include “First Day of Seventh Grade”, “Los Bobbys” (an ode to his squad, three boys named Bobby), “Joanna La Fregona” (a poem about his special girl), and “Father’s Day.”

I found Guero’s story endearing and beautiful. This excellent book showcases the rich culture of the Texas borderlands. It is filled with heart and told from the perspective of a hopeful, young man. If you enjoy books like Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Diary of a Wimpy Kid you will love this book.

I highly recommend it and encourage you to consider giving it to a young person this holiday season.

Grand New Party

What a grand new party it will be, once we stop thinking you versus me.

And start acting collectively, like a WE.

They call themselves the grand old party A.K.A. GOP.

Their goal: to fuck us over. Yeah, you and me.

They believe in rights if you’re a corporation.

Just not for the people all across this nation.

With them, Poverty is your only station.

They want no health care or public education.

Democrats you ain’t far behind.

For decades you supported racist minds.

You spewed hatred and told minorities “toe the line.”

What’s more? Greed overwhelmed your lives.

Politicians they all knew.

Their rhetoric spread and the anger grew.

The people? They just fell for it.

Didn’t see past the fucking bit.

Fought each other to be the fittest of fit.

At the table, angry cause an “other” took a seat.

Fighting for one damn scrap of meat.

Since we don’t work together, we get beat.

It’s time to act. Don’t be hasty.

Be a voter, large numbers means safety.

Take care of neighbors.

Stop with the race wars.

Don’t let yourself be politicians’ whores.

But oh, what a grand new party it will be,

Once we stop thinking you versus me.

And act collectively, like a WE.

Norte

Al norte yo me voy

demostrando lo que soy.

Para triunfar, para sufrir,

para llorar y sonreír.

Para echarle muchas ganas

y hacer mucho de nada.

En el Norte trabajare

y muy rico me pondre.

Me sentire todo un rey,

aunque trabaje como un buey.

En oficinas, labores y restaurantes

con papeles o en flagrante.

En el norte yo ya estoy

dando todo lo que doy.

Hago todo por esperanza

de mejorar mi familia y la raza.

Veo aman nuestras comidas,

y desprecian nuestras vidas.

Del Norte me ire

con ahorros y tendre

mejor futuro en mi patria.

y agusto vivire.

El desprecio no sentire,

de mi gente? Pura fratria.

Por ahora, regresaré a oficinas, labores y restaurantes en el Norte.

This is the first Spanish poem I ever wrote. I felt that it called for being written in Spanish to get the perspective of the person who decides to come North (Norte.)