alan chazaro

self-portrait as revision

                                                            Daniel Gohman

                                                            Daniel Gohman

I am not a god killer though I wonder

what would happen to me on a Tuesday

in Copenhagen or Marrakesh? There are


orange fingers and wooden bowls

swirling in a jazz of morning

light, strange thunders


bisecting the sky of myself. There is no rain-

fall because the clouds will not wash

over my funeral. Give me a definition


of love that isn’t castrated. Show me a spade

emblazoned on enemy skullbone.

How can I finish what I have never


been asked to start? I’ve declared myself what I am

not: a country embedded

between a splitting torso. Breathing is a pattern


of sucking air from a room. Sinkholes are nowhere

to be seen until you’re in one. These monsters stalk

the fields of my reflection. Do not look away.

south los angeles is turning neon


when Kristian begins to tell me about wild rhinos

as we wander the American ghetto. I overheard someone

at a bar say So much of flying is just getting off the ground

but once you’re up there it’s so easy. I don’t know

if I agree or if I’m becoming a smaller window of myself.

I don’t know what chemicals paint this midnight. I’ve heard

 a white house screaming at a black one to get the fuck off

my block. I’ve circled wolves inside a strip club

while a dancer told me she wanted a gang bang in the pussy. It’s nothing

I actually believe. These masks are peeling but we refuse to look

deeply. When Ma told me she was sober it wasn’t

half true. Our drunken selves are wandering

towards a beautiful apocalypse. I can smell the ghosts

of tomorrow like fumes leaking a rusted pipe.

What is the architecture of this moment if not 

a deception? How can we meet again if we’ve never touched

beyond constructed walls? Hollywood is

an animal we stumble after, after hours. I have seen it 

vomiting sidewalks on Spring St.

litany, ending with night


The morning air is spiked with

thorns—I am not able to walk

through fire though maybe I have

tried—shame is a parade

of licking tongues and everyone

is invited—ask me if I am

redefining what I know or retracing

false contours—ask me if black

is emptiness or reveals

what is already there—

the translation of being naked

is certainty mixed

with uncertainty—have you ever prayed

in your abuela's tongue? —

there is a sun and a moon

dogging every battlefield—

there is a broken window

inside all of us—the vibes are similar

to Cousin Stizz blaring

from a Chevy—play it on repeat for everyone 

to move with—cross this desert

drying on the shores of my lips—crash 

your mouth and hipbone 

against my dark—the lightning

is a superbloom of wasted age

flaring into the night.

Alan Chazaro is a high school teacher at the Oakland School for the Arts, a Lawrence Ferlinghetti Fellow at the University of San Francisco, and a June Jordan Poetry for the People alum at UC Berkeley. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in various journals including BOAAT, Huizache, The Acentos Review, Borderlands, Juked, and Iron Horse Review. A Bay Area native, you'll find him wearing a Warriors jersey and listening to West Coast throwbacks