Baile Mundo: Cinco de Mayo on The Nightside. Join us as we put a finishing touch on Cinco de Mayo.

Music from The Latin Playboys, Dr. Loco, Flaco Jimenez, and Los Super Seven and spoken word from Manuel Ramos, Aaron Abeyta, Luis J. Rodriguez, Carmen Tafolla,  Jose Felipe Herrera, and Jose Martinez.

“Cinco de Mayo” By Luis J. Rodriguez

Cinco de Mayo celebrates a burning people,

those whose land is starved of blood,

civilizations that are no longer

holders of the night. We reconquer with our feet,

with our tongues, that dangerous language,

saying more of this world than the volumes

of textured and controlled words on a page.

We are the gentle rage; our hands hold

the stream of the earth, the flowers

of dead cities, the green of butterfly wings.

Cinco de Mayo is about the barefoot, the untooled,

the warriors of want who took on the greatest army

Europe ever mustered—and won.

I once saw a Mexican man stretched across

an upturned sidewalk

near Chicago’s 18th and Bishop one fifth of May Day.

He brought up a near-empty bottle

to the withering sky and yelled out a grito

with the words: ¡Que viva Cinco de Mayo!

And I knew then what it meant—

what it meant for barefoot Zapoteca indigenas

in the Battle of Puebla and what it meant for me

there on 18th Street among los ancianos,

the moon-faced children and futureless youth

dodging the gunfire and careening battered cars,

and it brought me to that war

that never ends, the war Cinco de Mayo

was a battle of, that I keep fighting,

that we keep bleeding for, that war

against a servitude that a compa

on 18th Street knew all about

as he crawled inside a bottle of the meanest

Mexican spirits.

The Nightside on 89.3 fm KUVO JAZZ Sunday night, Cinco de Mayo at 9 p.m.

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Photography: Flaco Jimenez / All of SA

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