The death of Pancho Villa (retro)
#1
From NAPM in 2021.  One of my favorites, but should it be?  Curious if it's too much unknown history for non-aficionados of the Mexican Revolution.


The Death of Pancho Villa: A Parable


Francisco “Pancho” Villa was the son of a peon
his father dead when he was twelve
at seventeen he saw his sister raped by un hacendado
and shot him.  He took up the gun, for 13 years
he lived as a bandit in Durango, then Chihuahua,
desert and mountains were his refuge from the federales.

Came little Madero to father a revolution, 
to overthrow rotten Porfirio Diaz, who’d drained
the peasants of all but their next few meals.
Villa joined up, and soon led an army, and earned
betrayal after betrayal, first Huerta then Woodrow Wilson,
then all the others:  Orozco, Carranza, Obregon, 
warlords first then wannabe Presidentes.

Villa finally surrendered, after American searchlights
helped his enemies in a night battle,
after his Dorados were slaughtered
by American machine guns.  He retired to Durango,  
to be un hacendado,  but he’d made too many enemies 
to be spared one last magnificent betrayal:  
seven assassins, nine dum-dum bullets just for Pancho
and the absurd signal for his execution: 
a pumpkin-seed seller shouting “Viva Villa!” 
at the approach of his Dodge touring car.

He was my father’s hero, and he’s a hero we could share.
His reputation is not so good, now that legends must die.
Rapist?  Just a little bigamy here and there.  Murderer?
Most certainly, a murderer of murderers.  A peasant with a gun
who never understood how to kill without one.
“All persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.”  Kurt Vonnegut
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#2
(09-10-2022, 07:54 AM)TranquillityBase Wrote:  From NAPM in 2021.  One of my favorites, but should it be?  Curious if it's too much unknown history for non-aficionados of the Mexican Revolution.


The Death of Pancho Villa: A Parable


Francisco “Pancho” Villa was the son of a peon
his father dead when he was twelve
at seventeen he saw his sister raped by un hacendado 
and shot him.  He took up the gun, for 13 years
he lived as a bandit in Durango, then Chihuahua,
desert and mountains were his refuge from the federales. Origin story

Came little Madero to father a revolution, 
to overthrow rotten Porfirio Diaz, who’d drained
the peasants of all but their next few meals.
Villa joined up, and soon led an army, and earned
betrayal after betrayal, first Huerta then Woodrow Wilson,
then all the others:  Orozco, Carranza, Obregon, 
warlords first then wannabe Presidentes. This doesn't seem about how he fathered a revolution, but a list of what happened

Villa finally surrendered, after American searchlights
helped his enemies in a night battle,
after his Dorados were slaughtered
by American machine guns.  He retired to Durango,  
to be un hacendado,  but he’d made too many enemies 
to be spared one last magnificent betrayal:  
seven assassins, nine dum-dum bullets just for Pancho
and the absurd signal for his execution: 
a pumpkin-seed seller shouting “Viva Villa!” 
at the approach of his Dodge touring car. This might have too much activity too, hes defeated, he retires, hes assassinated

He was my father’s hero, and he’s a hero we could share.
His reputation is not so good, now that legends must die.
Rapist?  Just a little bigamy here and there.  Murderer? I don't like the rapist line because the only mention of his experience with women is him killing a rapist, if it was important to his reputation there should be a detail earlier in the poem
Most certainly, a murderer of murderers.  A peasant with a gun
who never understood how to kill without one.

The ending is worth it, it might have a little too much timeline not enough story, you have an opportunity here to make him a hero and not just a historical figure.  Thanks for sharing! happy birthday!
Peanut butter honey banana sandwiches
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#3
(09-11-2022, 10:55 PM)CRNDLSM Wrote:  The Death of Pancho Villa: A Parable


Francisco “Pancho” Villa was the son of a peon
his father dead when he was twelve
at seventeen he saw his sister raped by un hacendado 
and shot him.  He took up the gun, for 13 years
he lived as a bandit in Durango, then Chihuahua,
desert and mountains were his refuge from the federales. Origin story

Came little Madero to father a revolution, 
to overthrow rotten Porfirio Diaz, who’d drained
the peasants of all but their next few meals.
Villa joined up, and soon led an army, and earned
betrayal after betrayal, first Huerta then Woodrow Wilson,
then all the others:  Orozco, Carranza, Obregon, 
warlords first then wannabe Presidentes. This doesn't seem about how he fathered a revolution, but a list of what happened

Villa finally surrendered, after American searchlights
helped his enemies in a night battle,
after his Dorados were slaughtered
by American machine guns.  He retired to Durango,  
to be un hacendado,  but he’d made too many enemies 
to be spared one last magnificent betrayal:  
seven assassins, nine dum-dum bullets just for Pancho
and the absurd signal for his execution: 
a pumpkin-seed seller shouting “Viva Villa!” 
at the approach of his Dodge touring car. This might have too much activity too, hes defeated, he retires, hes assassinated

He was my father’s hero, and he’s a hero we could share.
His reputation is not so good, now that legends must die.
Rapist?  Just a little bigamy here and there.  Murderer? I don't like the rapist line because the only mention of his experience with women is him killing a rapist, if it was important to his reputation there should be a detail earlier in the poem
Most certainly, a murderer of murderers.  A peasant with a gun
who never understood how to kill without one.

The ending is worth it, it might have a little too much timeline not enough story, you have an opportunity here to make him a hero and not just a historical figure.  Thanks for sharing! happy birthday!
[/quote]

Thank you, this is very helpful.  I think I can see a way to lessen the history lesson and make it more of a story, per your comments, and still preserve the final line.
“All persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.”  Kurt Vonnegut
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