Poetry: Hunger, or What I Should’ve Told Grandma When She Declared We Lived in the “Ghetto” by Alan Chazaro

Alan Chazaro’s poem gets in your body and roots around—asks you to hold uncomfortably warm objects in your hand, cracks open your reluctant jaw, unknots your tender limbs. One of those pieces: you walk in a stranger, leave a lover.


Hunger, or What I Should’ve Told Grandma When She Declared We Lived in the “Ghetto”

Grace me my lover’s teeth
to necklace, the gold
roping of hands

against my chest; hold
the neighbor’s Rottweiler
after he dumps his hot

shit piles on our lawn;
there is no tenderness that follows
a bullet wound; no wild-

flowers mixing in
wildblooded streets;
last month, a group of teenagers

crashed a stolen car in front
of where I drunkenly parked, killing
the stop sign; our embrace

became a flash of night
inside a loosened fist,
a flickering disappearance

of houselights when
the police arrived; nearby
the Richmond marina sleeps;

I dream of unknotting
a pinstriped yacht with both of us
inside, our slow

togetherness drifting
off like the dust
of some unreachable planet;

this isn’t to say I wish
to leave you; it is to say our jaws
grow wider from this unhinging.



Alan Chazaro

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, Public Pool, Borderlands, Juked, and Iron Horse Review. He is most proud of his sneaker collection and of receiving an AWP Intro Journals Award, which was selected by 2017 Pulitzer Prize winner Tyehimba Jess.

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