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
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.