“The Concrete River” written by Luis j. Rodriguez, is a poem by a famous Chicano who writes of life experience during his childhood and gang life. He was born in El Paso, Texas, and he soon moved to south Los Angeles. Later, the family moved to the San Gabriel Valley, where Luis joined his first street gang at the age of eleven. Luis had joined The Lomas Gang (which translates to the “hills”) during their early wars with the Sangra Thirteen Gang (Chicano slang for “San Grabrriel”). At the age of eighteen he was free from prison with the support of the community and Mexican Americans.
The poem “The Concrete River” seems to symbolize the life of Luis J. Rodriguez. “We think into the dust Baba and me” (1). We sink into dust seems to symbolize darkness. Where as if he was walking into the shadows of darkness. “Homeboys, worshiping god fumes out of spray cans” (5-6). I think Luis could be a religious man who has lost hope and now resorts to getting high, to rid himself of his troubles. In the second stanza “along the dried banks of a concrete river” (910). Luis is referring to the urban streets of Los Angeles. “Spray-painted outpourings on the walls, offer a chaos of color for the eyes” (11-13). Chaos of color symbolizes the vivid colors of spray paint on the walls.
In the third stanza Luis is symbolizing the horror of where he lives. “Home for now, sandwich in between the maddening days (21-22). He’s getting high on the spray paint and starting to see color. “We aim spray into paper bags, suckle them, take deep breaths…the Technicolor synthesized madness” (23-24, 28). In the fifth stanza he’s starting to trip out on the spray paint, he can see the heat waves coming off the streets as if they were snakes slivering on the grounds. He can see his nightmare come to life as if it is a horror movie in broad daylight. “Bubbling snake of water, nightmare of wakefulness” (31-32).
Luis describes people living in the shadow of darkness in the sixth...