Alan Chazaro

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.

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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.

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An Inventory of Cultural Fragments

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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.

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