after Danez Smith
I’ve left Earth in search of darker planets, a solar system revolving too near a black hole. I’ve left in search of a new God because I don’t trust the Gods I’ve been given. I’m talking capital “G” Gods, as in I’ve never practiced faith but I’ve practiced bettering my pistol’s aim in Golden Eye—religiously, yes—and I’ve prayed to the angels of basement arcades to let me lightning-kick my way out of a shrinking room, because I am just a boy in a jacket and Nikes and don’t know the worth of 9 quarters, because I am just a boy in a universe that is neon and jagged with pixeled torsos, but this does not stop me, because I know everything is angled from goodness, from the dirt of nothing, and even now I am learning to save planets from destruction, and I must destroy what lies in my path so please, forgive me, abuela, as I pick up my blaster to blow
the noses off whatever is unholy, and forgive me, for I have not yet finished my homework but I am finishing this game, and I swear that I am emboldened by this, and I promise I am teaching myself something new, and my older brother Aldo is beside me, and he is sometimes cheering me and he is sometimes punching me and we are play fighting until we are adults, and nothing makes more sense than this, and we do not believe in beauty except the kind that descends from darkness cloaked in spacedust, when we are called upon to battle with swords and rockets and rockets that shoot little swords out of them because there is no limitation to weaponry when our planet depends on it, and I’ve often wondered why heroes in our games do not resemble us, mocha-skinned Middle Eastern boys, except we are Mexican, but this doesn’t matter, because this isn’t a poem about colonialism or hyper-masculinity, because in these games what matters is that we are running, and we are brave, and we are crashing mountains, and we are star jumping, and we are forever leaving surfaces in search of rounder planets, in search of unshadowed moons, and you might call this whatever you’d like but we called it the weekend, and we might never know peace, and we might never know the geometry of sacrifice, but trust that we will glory and we will find our ways
Soundtrack for Player Two
Strange: how a sound begins in theory; listen: behind music you hear nothing holding
back vibrations; question: what is my hypothesis to your hi-hat if there is no noise?
I am waiting for player one to die. In my headphones, Rexx Life Raj and Domo Genesis. In my knuckles, blood coarse as oil. In conclusion, the harmony is in between.
These vibes are everything. When it’s my turn, I’ll ride them wherever they lead.
This wait is thicker than wildgrass. This wait is poverty flashing neon. This wait is a Canadian flock of geese. This wait is mid-February. This wait is killing me.
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, Frontier, Huizache, Borderlands, Juked, and Iron Horse Review. He is most proud about his sneaker collection, his recent Pushcart Prize nominations, and being selected by 2017 Pulitzer Prize winner, Tyehimba Jess, for an AWP Intro Journals Award.