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- Feb 2023
When reading “Yo Soy Joaquín” by Rodolfo Gonzales, I could not help but feel a sense of helplessness. The line “Yes, I have come a long way to nowhere,” is one of many that brought the feeling of helplessness to light. This line makes me visualize a lifetime of struggle and hard work, only to realize you are in the exact same place, the place you have been struggling to get out of, seeing now that this whole time has been spent on a “hamster wheel”. As you read the poem, you may think it is written in first person, the first being “Cuauhtémoc”. I looked up who this was before reading on, finding out that he was the ruler of “Tenochtitlan” he ruled from 1520-1521, he was the last Aztec emperor. He explains that though he was ruler of his people and “the ground” he had a “Spanish master”. One quote from him that really took me back was, “I was both tyrant and slave”. How strange to be a strong ruler, only to be a slave to someone else. I cannot help but wonder what pain this must have caused him, another sense of hopelessness I get from this writing. He fought against those who tried to rule over his people and died alongside them in hopes to be able to see Mexico free. “Mexico was free?” he later asks before explaining that though there is no longer a crown, the people who influenced the divide still remained. You later realize that when the line “I am” is not to say that he is the Aztec ruler, or the man who felt as though he was working hard toward nothing, “I am” is showing that Joaquín is in everyone who has fought for their freedom in any way. He is basically saying he is the people who came before him. This makes me think that while yes I can feel the hopelessness in the words and the loop of wins followed by defeats, I can also feel the immense strength in each of these people. I absolutely love the ending of this piece as well, it brings the whole story back to strength.