Alan Chazaro

Alan Chazaro is the author of This Is Not a Frank Ocean Cover Album (Black Lawrence Press, 2019), Piñata Theory (Black Lawrence Press, 2020), and Notes from the Eastern Span of the Bay Bridge (Ghost City Press, 2021). He is a graduate of June Jordan’s Poetry for the People program at UC Berkeley and a former Lawrence Ferlinghetti Fellow at the University of San Francisco. He writes for SFGATE, KQED, Okayplayer, and 48 Hills, and is on Twitter and IG being a useless pocho millennial as @alan_chazaro.

Poem on Belonging

SELF-PORTRAIT AS AMERICAN

I say fuck
because it feels right
about now,
and I say love because
what wrong
could it bring?
I haven't shot a pistol
since my stepdad
flung his Desert Eagle
from the bedroom and took us
to burst freedom as kids.
The smell of sulfur
and devil, the pinch
of steel between my 10-
year-old finger. I didn't
seek this, was never good
at hitting body-
sized targets,
kept my eyes
shut while I curled
the trigger. It's heavier
than you think,
to hold and re-
lease thunder.
Not like the movies but
somehow like the movies.
Ears still ringing,
vibrations
in my bones.

Copyright © 2019 by Alan Chazaro. This poem originally appeared in the poetry collection, This Is Not a Frank Ocean Cover Album (Black Lawrence Press, 2019). Used with permission of the author.

*Alan, a Redwood City native, featured at the 2020 San Mateo County Peninsula Virtual Bookfest, Burlingame Reads 2021, and Redwood City Public Library poetry events.