November 2, 2001

Cue Lazarus a Book of Poetry

 

Out of the searing Sonoran Deserts
has come a mediano, half Mexican
half güero. He speaks the words
of wisdom of a past not forgotten.

Reviewer: Dan Muñoz
El viejo

Is it a coincidence, I wondered, that when the unknown God of ages past needed a voice he called a wise old man named Moses up to a mountain top from the desert floor? In a voice that thundered from the clouds, the Lord commanded Moses to go to Pharaoh and demand the release of his people. In a sense, Moses was the Lord's messenger. Later, when the Lord was ready to cast off ungrateful and unfaithful people, Moses once again became the voice of God and delivered the Ten Commandants which would save the people.

Carl Marcum, a much younger man than the Moses of biblical times, was raised in the searing heat of Nogales, Arizona and Tucson, Arizona. He spent his young life absorbing the all too common drama that confronts a "Mediano" a person in this world but not really of it - not quite Mexican and not accepted as an Anglo. He suffered during his life from a duality that most of us who are born in America have felt. He experienced the pain of his existence but could not speak the words to free himself.

Somehow Marcum felt and heard the voices that spoke within him and he began to express the feelings that he had....

Huachuca Blackout

"Yield
Do Not Enter
Abandon All Hope
Watch for Falling Boys
Next Service-300 miles
Stop. Men under Construction . . ."

Later he pondered who he was and who his people were. He formed the words that would lead to his haunting poem on Pancho Villa ...

Dreaming Pancho Villa

Last night I dreamt I was Pancho Villa-
ragged, bandoliered, reckless
I dreamt my poetry at the end of a pistol,
felt it kick nearly out of my hand.
But this morning I awoke again
white and assimilated into these cobwebs
of my half-self. When did I forget
my mother? Sometimes Spanish . . .

 

"Half, medio, milkweed,
Carlos Gringo, Carlos Murphy
Part mexicano
part Kentucky hillbilly
I've angloed my way
through this life-
hablando español
de conveniencia
nunca pensando en
la bendición.. . . . . .

Mercum senses the meaning of his life and of his "Chicanismo." He has found the answer to the eternal question that faces our Raza: Who are we? He bares his soul to help the reader end his own search and come to terms with his identity.

Carl Marcum went to the University of Arizona where he earned a B.A. and a Masters in Fine Arts. He is currently attending Stanford University, under a Wallace Stegner Fellowship. By his own admission Carl states he lives "in a pokey little town three exists south of San Francisco." (That just about puts him in Brisbane!)

Highly recommended "Cue Lazarus" if you can't find it in the bookstores get on the Web site and order a copy or ten. <WWW. uapress. arizona.edu>

Return to the Frontpage