Alan Chazaro is a public high school teacher pursuing his MFA in Writing at the University of San Francisco. He is the current Lawrence Ferlinghetti Fellow and a graduate of June Jordan’s Poetry for the People program at UC Berkeley. His work has been featured in the Intro Journals Project from the Association of Writers & Writing Programs and is forthcoming in Borderlands, Juked, Iron Horse Review, Huizache, Pilgrimage Magazine, and others.
pppppppppppppppOde to Kendrick Lamar
There are nights like tonight when it rains / biblical amounts of everything and music /
plays while I drive somewhere I usually don’t go / after dark because I get lost /
in my head while Briana bubbles / about next week and I think about yesterday / about
where to park and when to leave, so I drink / IPAs and smash burgers
into my gut / before small words crawl out / forced. Some days / I can feel the dark rushing
/ a tidal wave of fuck / you’s cresting my insides. / I double-knot Timberland boots and
avert eye contact / in my hoodie and baseball cap. / I am not this person / have never
sailed a fist into a stranger’s skull. / But here is a thunder / storm / and I must know my
way. Tomorrow / I will drive a pick-up to the end of the road / on the other side of 880 /
and I will park and read poems / while 18-wheelers rumble / within inches of me. It is
what excites / and repels my attention while riding / this neighborhood; /
how the blood of sweet grass reminds me of something else.
An Inventory of Cultural Fragments
Tio Gerardo in a Dodge Caravan playing
Chavela Vargas. Caballos without
saddles flowing fields. Frijoles
con tortillas y queso for breakfast.
Bus rides from Guadalajara to Teo-
caltiche. Guitarras fluttering.
Faded graffiti. Murals
made of iron and fuego. Soccer jerseys
soaking summer sweat. Poetry
in Spanish with broken English
translations. Broken windows.
Cathedrals gold-plated. Agua
de jamaica and tacos de nopal
for dinner. Mezcal inside jazz clubs.
Crickets inside my mouth. Salsa
picante. Policemen with pump-
actions. Fountain plazas at midnight.
Abuelo asleep in a front room.
Dormant volcanoes. Flowers
that wouldn’t survive the north.