As Us

A Space for Women of the World

Richard Vargas – Poetry

Listen to Richard read this poem

13 Angels Rising

“Starting early in February investigators recovered 13 sets of skeletal remains from a once-remote section of mesa now being developed as a residential subdivision. Four have been identified… They are among a list of 16 women reported missing between 2001 and 2006.”
krqe.com, 3/27/09

“According to APD, Garcia is… one of seven site moderators known as the “Hunt Club.” Moderators are in charge of bringing in new clients and prostitutes…”
The Daily Lobo, 6/27/11

they say good is greater than evil
and if it is then the dead
shall rise and walk again
right out of their Westside graves
past the tracts of generic
cardboard neighborhoods
past the cars cruising Central Ave
driven by men with bloodshot eyes
and Budweiser breath who wave
dollar bills in the air
like honey coated flypaper

and if so inclined the dead
will reinvent their renewed lives
so that closed fists open up
become soft as pillows where
dreams of violence fade away
the way a bruise heals when
kissed by a seraph’s lips

families, babies, and friends rejoice
embrace their return from
the eternal night
the cruel night
especially now as
the sun’s light
shines down and
warms the sidewalk
beneath their feet

especially now as butterfly wings
with a gossamer sheen sprout
from the satin skin stretched
over once-battered
shoulder blades
healed and whole

especially now as they
show us how to fly
and rise above the
nature of our sin

not a moment too soon
to come back and save
us from ourselves

inclined to walk unafraid
among the demons we
all have within
and show us

how like a pebble
dropped in water
calm and still
our inhumanity
ripples outward
touching one
and all

(previously published in The Más Tequila Review #3.)

*      *      *

Listen to Richard read this poem

smoking outside in the alley at 3 a.m.

she yells the name of a friend
to come down and let her in
a cat locked out of the house
she calls out over and over
as the tired sound of her voice
bounces off walls of stone and
concrete then fades into a
summer night air clinging
to everything like syrup

i get up and look out
my second floor window
see bright tip of her
lit cigarette glowing
in the shadows
i imagine the faint scent
of lime and rum
the grease stained tens
and twenties stuffed
in her crevices and cracks
her limp dirty blonde
hair tangled in sweat
and Friday night cum

looking up
she sees me
looking down

she blows smoke into the air
asks “what the fuck is your problem?”

i gaze long at my
salvation
army Barbie
knowing whatever i say
will be the wrong answer


*      *     *

R Vargas head shotRichard Vargas was born and raised in So. California. He was an undergrad at CSULB, where he studied under the great Gerald Locklin. He lived in N. Illinois, where he organized readings for Luis J. Rodriguez, Diane Wakoski, Lisel Mueller, and many more. He relocated to Albuquerque in 2002, and graduated with his MFA from the University of New Mexico Creative Writing Program. His poems are published in various journals and literary reviews. He has two books published: McLife, 2005, and American Jesus, 2007. Vargas was awarded the Hispanic Writers Award for the 2011 Taos Summer Writers Conference, and served on the faculty of the 2012 Tenth Annual National Latino Writer’s Conference. He currently edits/publishes The Más Tequila Review, a biannual poetry magazine dedicated to poetry by some well known poets, and many who should be.

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Issue 3February 14th, 2014
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As Us Indigenous Women’s Literary Journal

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