Celebrate poet laureate Alejandro Murguia as he gives his inaugural poet laureate address at the San Francisco Public Library this January 27.
The Poet Recalls His First Reading

Riding home from celebrating
my first book compadre riding shotgun
our lids heavy with poems and tequila
in beat up sports car
crawling towards Bernal Heights
dawn a spider with a thousand legs of light

A black-and-white
flashing triple strobes
angry no doubt at Latinos
riding around this hour of morn
instead of heading to work
pulled us over

Compadre and I exchanged glances
as other encounters with billy clubs
handcuffs and broken ribs surfaced from
our suddenly awake memories

Without license, nor proof of birth
I proved my name by reciting a poem
while badge 8601 followed along in my proud book
digging my rhymes

After my impromptu reading
8601 returned to patrol car
while I winked at compadre thinking
we’re cool with the heat so I never saw ol’ 8601
slide up my window like a snake and jam the 357 magnum
to my temple the barrel cold as a pinpoint of ice

I could feel the gun trembling in his hand
As his words pressed through lips tighter
Than a chicken butt-You’ve a red warrant.
Move and I’ll blow your fucking head off.

I slanted my eyes at him and replied
--Be cool. I’m not that bad a poet.

Celebrate poet laureate Alejandro Murguia as he gives his inaugural poet laureate address at the San Francisco Public Library this January 27.


The Poet Recalls His First Reading
Riding home from celebrating my first book compadre riding shotgun our lids heavy with poems and tequila in beat up sports car crawling towards Bernal Heights dawn a spider with a thousand legs of light A black-and-white flashing triple strobes angry no doubt at Latinos riding around this hour of morn instead of heading to work pulled us over Compadre and I exchanged glances as other encounters with billy clubs handcuffs and broken ribs surfaced from our suddenly awake memories Without license, nor proof of birth I proved my name by reciting a poem while badge 8601 followed along in my proud book digging my rhymes After my impromptu reading 8601 returned to patrol car while I winked at compadre thinking we’re cool with the heat so I never saw ol’ 8601 slide up my window like a snake and jam the 357 magnum to my temple the barrel cold as a pinpoint of ice I could feel the gun trembling in his hand As his words pressed through lips tighter Than a chicken butt-You’ve a red warrant. Move and I’ll blow your fucking head off. I slanted my eyes at him and replied --Be cool. I’m not that bad a poet.
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