VIII & XV

by Alan Chazaro



VIII.


I’ve learned how to go unnoticed

on BART. It makes me wonder

if my physiology is false because I don’t

know how to trust anymore.

The Ashby station teaches me:

everything can be derived from a backseat.

After I’ve been engulfed, please

gift my wreckage to the sky.



XV.


I am an accident

of myself, a crashing land-

scape of tie-dye and blunt

smoke. I am the brown

bandana knotted against sweaty

forehead, a sun-

bathing nude. I am the flowers

and purple-shaded vision. Free me

from what is false. I lick dirt

and smile. This is

why they came, isn’t it? I am history

and heritage. There is gold

rushing my veins, immigrants

clamoring in skulls. Sift

and whirl me in your palms,

just like you imagined.


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. He chirps about Mexican memes, the Golden State Warriors, and Bay Area rap on Twitter @alan_chazaro.


These poems are from a forthcoming chapbook, Notes from the Eastern Span of the Bay Bridge, which focuses on place, identity, gentrification, and cultural resistance, based on Chazaro's upbringing in the San Francisco Bay Area. Each poem is written through or in response to the eastern span of the Bay Bridge, which was dismantled in 2015 for a new one to be built.