Episode 35: Daniel García Ordaz

26 minutes

Learn about Daniel García Ordaz, his poetry and insights.  He is a poet, songwriter and teacher from McCallen, TX, doing amazing things for his community as the founder of the Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival.


book cover of You Know What I'm Sayin'You can order here: 



book coverYou can order here:



Daniel's Poets & Writers page: 



RSS feed: 
Bio:  Daniel García Ordaz is the founder of the Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival and the author of You Know What I’m Sayin’? and Cenzontle/Mockingbird. His focus is on the power of language, which he celebrates in his writings and talks. He defended his thesis, Cenzontle/Mockingbird: Empowerment Through Mimicry, to complete his terminal degree, an MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, and he co-edited Twenty: In Memoriam, a response by poets across the U.S. to the Sandy Hook shootings.

García is a teacher and writer, and a recognized voice in Mexican American poetry. His work has appeared in numerous literary journals, academic collections, and anthologies. He was born in Houston and raised in Mission, Texas. His publishing experience including editing and book cover design credits.

He appears in the documentary, “ALTAR: Cruzando fronteras/Building bridges" itself an altar offering to the late Chicana scholar and artist Gloria E. Anzaldúa, one of his great influences for this collection. García was one of five authors and the only poet chosen to participate in the Texas Latino Voices project in 2009 by the Texas Center For The Book, the state affiliate of the Library of Congress. He has been a featured reader and guest at numerous literary events, including the Dallas International Book Fair, McAllen Book Festival, Texas Library Association events, TAIR, TABE, and Border Book Bash, among others.

García’s work has also appeared in Juventud! Growing up on the Border (VAO Publishing), Poetry of Resistance: Voices For Social Justice (The University of Arizona Press), La Bloga, Left Hand of the Father, Harbinger Asylum, Interstice, Encore: Cultural Arts Source, 100 Thousand Poets For Change, Gallery: A Literary & Arts Magazine (UTRGV), Boundless, and The Mesquite Review, among others. See a videos of him on YouTube and follow him at @poetmariachi.




“Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy . . . but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

And what makes a mockingbird special, anyway?

Why it’s the trill from her tongue,

the cry from her lungs,

the sway of her lips,

it’s her dusty, rusty, crusty cries,

the trail of tears in her eyes

on sheet music playin’,

floatin’ and swayin’

to the beat, beat, beating, way-laying,


assaulted, accosted, bushwhacked and busted,

cracked open, bruised, banged and accused,

flat broke and broken terror bespoken—

a token of survivin’,

of thrivin’, of juke joint jump jivin’

of death cheaten daily through unwanton wailin’.


Why a mockingbird’s got diamonds

at the souls of her blues,

whip-lashed back-beats

at the edge of her grooves,

croons of healing above strangely-fruited plains of grieving.

She lets loose veracity with chirps

still rising at the edge of a knockabout life,

troubled and toiled

beat-boxed, embroiled,

de-plumed, defaced, ignored, encased,

caged and debased ‘cause of the color of her skin.

But as the din fades and the cool of eve rolls in,

there she stands—chest huff-puffed and proud,

unbowed and loud, endowed

with the power of flight,

under the big dip of night,

echoing the ancient Even cry of a lioness

defending her pride

in that sweet mother tongue:

I rise up, and, Adam,

I shall not be moved today!


The mockingbird sings what the heart cannot pray.

The mockingbird sings what the heart cannot pray.


*Cenzontle is the Nahuatl word for the northern mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos.


Our Serpent Tongue


Your Pedro Infantecide stops here.
There shall be no mending of the fence.

You set this bridge called my back
yard ablaze with partition, division
labelization, fronterization
y otras pendejadas de

Yo soy Tejan@
Chican@ Chingad@
Pelad@ Fregad@
I flick the slit
at the tip of my tongue
con orgullo


que when a fork drops, es que ¡Ahí viene visita!

a woman is coming
a woman with cunning
a woman sin hombre with a forked tongue is running
her mouth—¡hocicona! ¡fregona!—
a serpent-tongued ¡chingona! with linguistic cunning
a cunning linguist
turning her broken token of your colonization
into healing

y pa’ decir la verdad

You are not my equal
You cannot speak like me
You will not speak for me
My dreams are not your dreams
My voice is not your voice

You yell, “Oh, dear Lord!”
in your dreams.
I scream “A la Chingada!”
in my nightmares

Your Pedro Infantecide stops here.
There shall be no mending of the fence.



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