Two Poems

Alan Chazaro

Pretty

 

We’d say I love you, but not

in a gay way. High school

boys, we’d only touch

 

through fist

& gorilla chest

affirmation of man-

 

hood, avoiding the kid

with flamboyant ways like we would

staring at the sun’s flames. Now,

 

grown, I can look deeper

as two gay men inside

Davies Symphony Hall

 

burn into each other.

How their flesh

becomes a soundtrack for their truth.

 

Are they unafraid

when saying I love you?

How they twirl fingers

 

in each other’s hair

& rub tender neck-

lines like no one else

 

is alive. It seems orchestral,

boundless, how they merge—

head on shoulder,

 

hands in lap, lips

slightly apart. Pretty,

is what someone might call it. I say

 

someone because to say pretty

would be hella gay of me

& since middle school

 

I’ve been taught to never use

umbrellas when it rains, to never

reach inside your gut

 

for explanations, to never turn

at angles that might expose you.

 

 

 

Bricks

 

Near the park where we hoop

on weekends, we park the car

and spark blunts into rotation like

just-born stars orbiting black

and brown fingertips in a ritual

of ash and smoke-dream. We mix

drinks and argue

Steph Curry, women, Wolverine, never

reaching conclusions. When we get bored

we freestyle—I’m in the backseat

of Delande’s Buick when a trap

song comes on and my boys

are hype. They rap fuck bitches

get money as I peel

my layers off, summon Mos Def

over trill, spit rhombus

over rectangle. The cypher

is a loop of infinity and head nods

I never break so bless

the rhythm with intellect

on cue. Halfway through my verse

Kevin turns around and says

Nah, you need to drop

more niggas in that. His durag

and gold chain shine in the moon-

light like beautiful armor.

I do not tell him that the word is

a brick rubbing my tonsils. That I am

more caterpillar than panther.

I do not say that the two syllables carry

oceans in my mouth I cannot hold.

That I have tried it and drowned.

That I am too afraid to crush the darkness

and the light between us.

 

 About the Writer
Split Lip Magazine

Alan Chazaro is a public high school teacher pursuing his MFA in Writing at the University of San Francisco. He is the current Lawrence Ferlinghetti Fellow and a graduate of June Jordan's Poetry for the People program at UC Berkeley. His work has received an AWP Intro Journals Award and appears or is forthcoming in Huizache, The Cortland Review, Borderlands, Iron Horse Review, Juked, decomP, and others.