parked in a red zone
on Broadway in front of buildings
with abandoned glass,
waiting for you. No one
bothers or even notices
my car in the tow-away.
trafficless, nearly perfect
in Oakland. The air is zested
with weed and piss and other residues
of someone else’s last night.
From my woofers Frank Ocean’s Blonde
trebles while between my fingers I flip
a West Coast Avengers comic,
circa 1984. I don’t know why
I occupy this space, a penumbra of what’s never been
realer. I don’t resist the nearby lake, the clarity of clouds.
They keep me.
“Untitled Memory” from PIÑATA THEORY: by Alan Chazaro.
Published by Black Lawrence Press 2020.
Copyright © 2020 by Alan Chazaro.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Alan Chazaro is the author of This Is Not a Frank Ocean Cover Album (Black Lawrence Press, 2019) and Piñata Theory (Black Lawrence Press, 2020). He is a graduate of June Jordan’s Poetry for the People program at UC Berkeley, a former Lawrence Ferlinghetti Fellow at the University of San Francisco, and co-founding editor of HeadFake, an online NBA zine. Catch him rambling on Twitter @alan_chazaro.
"Cante Jundo, or “Deep Song,” is what Garcia Lorca called poetry attached to the rhythms and waves of a continent, its people, its waters, its history. In Alan Chazaro’s Piñata Theory, those resonances echo across the field 'between the countries of your body,' the shared stories of cousin-cultures stretching across manmade boundaries. 'I’ve become a borderland of tongues,' writes Chazaro, 'a mezcla of eyes.' Here is the piñata, unbroken, containing, holding together all the promise of youth and imagination. When it spills, it spills lavishly and generously its treasures."
—D A Powell
"The great American philosopher Jay Z once said, 'You can’t heal/what you don’t reveal.' Such is the ethos of this debut collection. Pugilistic, unflinchingly honest, and damn right gorgeous, Piñata Theory no se raja in decirnos how broken we are, how broken we’ve been. Alan takes the hyphen in Mexican-American, this unruly papier-mache we’ve inherited, and clothes the hollow of us. So before leafing this book, dear reader, take a breath—for your sake, for those who still can’t breathe. Stomach his hard-hitting truth, because 'We were made for beatdowns.' This some strong shit, as blunt as a spliffed Swisher, as the dusty 2×4’s we’d wield at dangling dulce. Whenever you ready, step inside this circle of homies. We’re cheering on our Yay Area champ as he plants both feet in this poetry world. It’s his turn. And as he swings for our freedom, sing like we did as kids, 'Dale dale dale, no pierdas el tino.'"