© 2024 Marfa Public Radio
A 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Lobby Hours: Monday - Friday 10 AM to Noon & 1 PM to 4 PM
For general inquiries: (432) 729-4578
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
We're currently experiencing technical problems with our KOJP signal, which serves the Presidio area. We regret the inconvenience and hope to be back on the air soon.

You got a big chompón with that big chompazo you took at the party


Órale, we’re continuing with words in Caló that come from the language spoken by the Kalé or Romaní from Spain, Portugal and France, who also call their language Kaló. The word for this episode is chompa. It means the top of your head in Caló. It comes from the word the Kalé use for the same, chola. There is another similarly-pronounced word in Caló, cholo, which means a gang member (chola for woman). This particular word isn’t related to chompa, however. It comes from the Nahuatl (Aztec) and means dog. We’ll cover that word in a future episode. In the Caló spoken on the Rio Grande, like all languages, references to the head can convey many entendre, depending on the context. A chompón, for example, is a lump on the heat and a head-plant in the proverbial immovable wall. And a chompazo is a hit to the head.

Cuito couldn’t figure out how he got a lump on his head. He hadn’t noticed it until he went to scratch. Suddenly there it was. Itchy, but tender to touch. Big.

He tried to think through where he’d been and what had happened over the past few days.

“This morning, didn’t go anywhere and nothing happened. Last night, stayed up late watching boxing on TV. Before that, yard work all day. Woke up early and stayed in the yard the entire time. No visitors. Just the six-pack of tall-boys and me,” he recalled.

“And the night before that was the party across the street,” he thought further.

“What happened there?” he asked himself.

After a long time pushing himself to remember, he desisted and turned his mind to something else, like the cats living in his neighbor Tita’s yard. And there she was, feeding them again.

“You should give them cat food, not cheese, esa,” Cuito yelled out to his neighbor, who was throwing out small chunks of cheese through her bedroom window.

“They can get that elsewhere. In my chante, just cheese,” she responded without looking over at him.

“They don’t go elsewhere cuz all the cats in Southside know the food is here,” Cuito protested.

“I don’t care how many come. I’m gonna give them the same amount. They can vote for how they’re gonna share it. Just like you at the party the other night,” Tita retorted.

“Like me what?” interrogated Cuito.

“Pos I told you to step further back from the piñata, but, no, you said they had voted you to backstop it. Y when the bigger kids started swinging at it, one of them hit a home run and shot all the candy onto you, and…” Tita couldn’t finish because she couldn’t control her laughter.

“Oh, that’s what happened?” Cuito asked himself aloud.

“It was a gabachita that swung the bat,” he added.

“No, it was my boyfriend’s grandkid,” Tita corrected him.

“No difference. He knocked the piñata on me and almost knocked me over,” Cuito said.

“Almost? You flew back when the candy hit your chompa,” shrieked Tita.

“Órale. Now I remember how I got the chompón,” said Cuito.

“Lucky you didn’t get worse. You took a big chompazo,” said Tita, bending over to take a big breath to belt out a howl.

Oscar Rodriguez is the creator and host of Caló.