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Memories of Manny 

At last Saturday's burial ceremony for Manny Castillo, local writer/artist Nephtalí De Leon read a biographical poem he'd written in honor of the San Anto Cultural Arts founder. For those who missed it, here it is:

Dios-dado Mannny

unto the world came a child

Nov 3, 1968

and he was named Dios dado

given by the Gods

the sea conch and huehuetl boomed

and the quetzal feathers gleamed

and the gods gathered upon mount teotihuacan

what shall we do with this strange new youth?

and they called upon the tlamatinime the wise

you, xochiquetzal, get your brother xochipilli,

give him the colors of your soul, and Tlaloc,

give him your ayauh-coça-malotl — your rainbow,

let him paint the tepantli -- walls,

powerful forever — tlacuilol-tepantli — murals,

and you cuica-matini, give him the rhythm

and the music of your drums!

and the wind eehcatl came along

and he blew the spirirt life — yoli-liztli —

and they sent him to the west side of San Anto

for it was written so by ipalnemoani,

omecihuatl, ometoeotl, the givers of lifeâ?¦

and he took up his cross after Holy Cross High school

by the Alazan Apache courts he played with a chicken egg

could we have Chicano royalty here? a king and queen huevo?

this had to be something real nuevo, already displaying his roots

he runs into patti and rod, juan ramos, cruz ortíz

he's got dreams bigger than aztlán, he wants to play the drum�

he's on the edge of Chicano evolution, got a revolution in his soul

space and time change, walls begin to have a names

“Bright days,” “Sweet as Candy Lowrider mural,”

this quiet and shy cool cat guy got a heart as big as the sky

creates Placazo, barrio news-gram tortilla grafitti

barrio art, prison art, paño art, young cool reporters

fluid mellow hot they put society on the spot

while manny Castillo, his earthbound name, makes his own fame

got his own group -- los Snowbyrds rocking sound band!

he celebrates giants in the urban city street scene

like trine, ram de tacoland, and randy garibay

you know them dudes, them cats who never sleepâ?¦

gets mighty talents crews from the highway lands dark

but he's never in command he's just the might spark

gets video crews, holiday jams, and stained glass in the park!

36 murals and he's forty years old, the Gods they think

we gotta make a recall, we need this dude to spruce up our hall!

but titan Manny touched so many — us, the common folks

he reached far and wide to turn the tide, told our barrio we got pride

he pulled the colors from our soul rainbow colors bold

taught the walls to come alive with visionary hopeâ?¦

if there is a confusion because of his profusion

let me correct the news that say he was no arteest!

he was the greatest artist of all with a giant palette

every person was a brush and a music disquette

he pulled the paint from our souls young and old

magic weaver we were threads in his mighty magic loom

barrio flying carpets he gave wings to our dreams

greater artist our barrio has not seen!

Manny Diosdado Castillo the flags of Aztlán

fly at half mast and the gods will request of us poor mortal folks

that this day never die from the memory of men

from the memory of children the memory of women folks

for you Manny Castillo still have to paint a mighty tapestry

in heaven of the earth-bound things you inspired in us all

and the legends of a wonder native son grow as we speak

when the Gods lent your soul to our San Antonio streets!

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