Discovering Joseph Pablio

 

 

 Mexican Imigrant Worker, photograph was taken in 1937 by Dorothea Lange; not my actual great-great-grandfather, just a man resembling him.

Great-great-grandpa

left Mexico at a time

when nobody did.

He worked for a soldier,
a farmer, a preacher,
made wooden shoes and bowls,
the way he had south
of the Rio in his youth

He married Black Irish Nancy
then changed both their names
to Franklin. He signed with an x

and told the clerk he was White.
She filed his marriage under
“colored” where I found his middle initial

was his mother’s Mexican name.

2 thoughts on “Discovering Joseph Pablio

  1. nochipa

    i liked this work when i first read it on the boards
    the substance of the work paints a bigger picture than one might assume
    i say that in conjunction to how many words are used to create the effect of the poem
    its what makes you and the work so good your use of words conbined with images

    my painting went well today after three bad days
    i thought i would celebrate by comeing to read your work
    and commenting

    jack

  2. Yeah!!! That yeah is in celebration of a good painting day for you.

    Thank you for reading this piece and saying what you thought of it. I wished for a real picture of Joe Pablio but the only real one we had burned up in a fire that destroyed his cabin when my daddy was five. When I found this photo I thought how it looked like my dad when he was young and that it fit the description of my great great grandpa, except they say he had a mustache, which always conjured images of the nacho cheese man for me! I have never told my dad this though. My great grandfather lived to be over ninety years old and told many tales of “Old Mexico” that are still in the family. However, um…most of them couldn’t possibly be true, but that is the richness of marrying Appalachia and Mexico. They both have a history of elaborate storytelling. For this poem, I tried to stick with truth.

    Nochipa

    Nochipa

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