Jose Angel Araguz



Jose Angel Araguz grew up in Corpus Christi, TX.  His work has been featured in such journals as Rattle, Blue Collar Review, and is forthcoming in Tiger's Eye Journal.  His work has also been featured in Ted Kooser's American Life in Poetry.  He presently resides in Eugene, OR.


Hell’s Kitchen

There will always be men in the windows of restaurants

Stacking chairs like hands on top of each other

And leaving tables clean and clear as sleeping faces.

Men with rags for hands,

Men with hair of fallen elm leaves

Who stop to watch faces

Roll by in the windows of taxicabs,

Men who swear by the rain

And the slick chisping of tires and street,

By the trail of sparks behind each taillight.

     And you will never have to be here, whoever you are,

Never have to taste the mix of gutter and exhaust,

Never have to walk into the street, stand in the middle,

And see the nothing coming from one direction

And the nothing coming from the other direction,

Never have to walk propelled by the nothing in front of you

Leaving you no farther from the nothing you leave behind,

Never have to follow the light of streetlamps,

Their broken mouths swollen with moths.

Letter to Rainer Maria Rilke from NYC

There can not be this many people in the world; some have to be on repeat.  Like the lady that just got off the train, I swear, we knew each other once, in fact, I am convinced she led me here to this city and now acts like I am no one just to spite me.

These days, I spend my time in the parks or on the trains, always sitting; in this way, I feel I am everywhere.  I am surprised I am not noticed.  Once, I turned to no one in particular and read: The blood of children runs through the streets/Like the blood of children.  That I can quote that without my skin splitting like fruit flesh means I am not scared anymore.

I like what you said about love, that it is pain, that it is joy.

I watch the rain fall in Times Square and can not tell between the pixels and what drops and gathers on the ground in rags of light.

Solitude feels like fire sometimes.

August 2010