Father’s childhood

(San Antonio, Texas, circa 1929)

By Gabriel A. Fraire




By Gabriel A. Fraire


smile glowing through clear eyes

day one, I am done

and forever we live as two


we grew, from children

to having them


loving children

change direction

do we love less

to love them more


working mother friend lover

in that order

slips spring into summer

we notice

in the autumn of our years


adjusting expectations


yet love deepens

with layers

of interwoven strength


and this winter

empty nesters alone…


I see a smile

glowing through clear eyes


you had me at day one

and kept my heart forever



A Pie full of Love


By Gabriel A. Fraire


Sitting on the porch

    far side of the house

The smell of fresh baked pie

    finds him,

watering his mouth to distraction


In the garden they had gathered fruit

Searching, reaching

His hand touched hers

A warm feeling throughout

Brought back by the pie’s alluring scent


Right mix

fluffed with love


“Go sit on the porch”

She said,

He did.

“And write me a love poem.”

She said,

he started,



The smell of fresh baked pie

    finds him,

watering his mouth to distraction






Blood on the Boardroom Floor

By Gabriel A. Fraire


The Queen was not a tyrant

but free will did not reign

Her rival staged a coup

acquired  power

mandated dictates

but did not choose her words wisely


Arrow pierced hearts

All sides bled

but before a truce could be called

the new Queen abdicated the crown

leaving a vacuum


Will we implode


or simply disappear?


I need to know who cares





Alone on the bench

Sunday dressed

All the other children have visitors


Grandma would keep dad for a while

And leave him for a while

But never visit

Sunday being hard

Saturday night being so easy


He didn’t expect a visit

But wished the nuns would stop

making him Sunday dress

To sit alone on the bench




If you’re Brown ya gotta prove it

(East Chicago, Ind. Circa 1938)


Uncle Joe was arrested

for forgetting his wallet

while walking the street

late at night

coming from his shift in the mills


born in the USA

not good enough,

if you’re brown

ya gotta prove it


not allowed a call

no one knew

he got deported


many months later

he returned


then got drafted

sent to war

and killed


he doesn’t have to prove it anymore




The Perfect Flour Tortilla

 By Gabriel A. Fraire


Less than four years old

Standing on a chair

Tiny tummy leaning

    into the counter

hands on pin

rolling dough balls

into flour tortillas


It is all black and white

Grandma by my side

With her faded flower apron

Short greying hair, eye glasses

Scowl on her face

She snapped orders

For the few things she did not do herself


Never once did she say,

“I love you.”

But I felt it in those hands

That cupped mine

As she showed me how

To knead

and roll

The perfect flour tortilla



Equals until…

By Gabriel A. Fraire


I was the only Brown face

in an all  White school

we were equals

until puberty

when the White girl said,

“I’d love to date you.

But don’t come by the house

I’ll meet you in the theater.”




First Grade

(Gary, Ind. 1953)


The Teacher slapped me

The Class sat stunned silent

Then she screamed

“Do you have tacos in your ears?”

The Class laughed, wildly


I had written the letter “M” backwards







When selected as the 2014-2015 Literary Laureate by the Healdsburg Literary Guild he found himself surrounded by poets.


Feeling obligated to participate in the guild's poetry contests Fraire began writing "poems".


Fraire says, "I would never insult poets by claiming to be one."







I Am Gabriel/Soy Gabriel  

 by Gabriel A. Fraire – Feb. 20, 2014


“Fraire, that’s a different name,”

she said, squinted, then added,

“Where does it come from?”

My father, I said

to myself

knowing full well she was really asking,

Why is your skin dark?

But before I could answer,

she asked?

“What are you?”

What am I?

I am human.

“No really, what are you?”

So I told her.


I am Gabriel

Soy Gabriel

I am an American

of Mexican descent

“Funny, you don’t look like a spic.”

I am a Mexican-American

“Oh, a wet-back.”

I was born in this country

my parents were born in this country

my grandparents came from Mexico

more than 100 years ago


I am a hyphenated-American

due of the color of my skin

because in America

only White people can be

full fledged Americans

The rest of us are hyphenated-Americans

I am a Mexican-American

Yet, I’m neither Mexican nor American

too brown for the Whites

too white for the Browns

I don’t speak Spanish

my English is poor

I play football with my feet

   and my hands


The government calls me Hispanic

What is a spanic?

Are there Herspanics?


As a young man I was a Chicano

this worried my parents

my father saying to my mother

“It’s like Black Panthers for Mexicans” 



I come from a big family

but only have two children

    by choice

I love my beans and rice

but burgers are my comfort food

I drink tequila with a Budweiser chaser

I dance to corridos

but my roots are rock an’ roll

my car is subdued

until I jack that mother up


I will answer to Latino

but never, beaner, greaser,

illegal or



What am I?

I am Gabriel

Soy Gabriel