Another Friend Passes Over -- RIP raulrsalinas

Raul R. Salinas--also written as raulrsalinas--was an immense inspiration and mentor in my life and writing. Not only was he one of the veterans of Chicano poetry, he was known among the Beats, Jazz poets, and as a leading poet of the prison life after spending 11 years in state and federal prisons in California, Texas, Illinois, and Kentucky. He died today at age 73.

I knew Raul for many years. We took part in Native sweat ceremonies with Barrios Unidos in California; we read poetry together in various events, including in San Anto, Tejaztlan. He also founded La Resistencia Bookstore in Austin, serving as an example to me when I later helped create Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural & Bookstore in the San Fernando Valley section of LA.

One time we found ourselves in hotel rooms next to each other. I walked out into the balcony and saw Raul on his balcony looking into the Texas sky as I was doing. We shared moments about heroin addictions, jails, poetry, but also the Native spirituality we both shared. A couple of times he told me that his favorite poem of mine was "Tombstone Poets," about two heroin-addict poets in East LA.

My favorite of his was his most famous: "Un Trip Through the Mind Jail," a classic of Chicano poetry (actually of any poetry, anywhere). This text appeared in the 1960s and opened up the imaginations and language adventures of vatos like me.

Please go to his website at to find out more about his work, his importance in US and world letters, and about La Resistencia.

A true revolutionary, poet of the people, human rights advocate, Native spiritual leader, and a great friend, I will miss Raul very much. I will also honor his life and work by continuing his struggles for the dignity and rights of all people, but in particular the Native peoples of this land, this country, this continent -- this world.

Tlazhokamati y tiahui.


Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.