poetry quarterly

10th anniversary


Juan Felipe Herrera


after Benjamin Peret

across the desert rushing
the geraniums conference with crows
speak about giant exiles fox-trot
from Alabama poultry plants in festival aprons
with the names of the fuschia ostrich &
the badger woolly foreman their addresses still
emblazoned inside their smoke-filled pockets
down to the laces democratic investigators ICE
& the busman yes you busman
why didn’t you escort them to the governor’s palazzo
why didn’t you bring up the questions of apocalypse
why didn’t you dance on the Chrysler engine & orate
Dante’s ascent onto the tenth ring
they would have honored you in their grilled caves
infinite yet impossible the shore their shore
yes the one oozing with pass-cards & pajamas now
my hands are bloody with this news
i pick up flowers for my lover
before we dance they elongate & rotate
they plead to work they want to dig spill a seed
but the earth is out busman


Juan Felipe Herrera was born in Fowler, CA and has lived in San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. He is the author of twenty-eight books, including young adult novels, children's books, musicals, and plays. Herrera currently serves as the Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair in the Creative Writing Department at UC-Riverside. He is a recent winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship in poetry. He lives with the renowned performance artist, Margarita Nirvana Robles.


Published in Volume 13, Number 1, Winter 2012.