the louderARTS Project

John Murillo

John Murillo is an Afro-Chicano poet and playwright from Los Angeles, California. He is the 2002 and 2004 winner of the D.C Commission on Arts and Humanitiesí Larry Neal Award for Poetry. A Cave Canem fellow and former instructor with DCWritersCorps, John was a coach for Washington D.C.ís 2001 and 2005 National Teen Poetry Slam Teams. His work has appeared in such publications as Ploughshares, Cave Canem VIII and IX, DC Poets Against the War, and the forthcoming anthology, Fear of a Brown Nation. He is the author of the chapbook, Aluta, and co-editor of the forthcoming anthology, B-Boy Infinitives: Poetry of the Hip-Hop Experience. John is the current New York Times Fellow in Poetry at NYUís Graduate Program for Creative Writing.





Trouble Man
     --after Brandon D. Johnson

Itís the bone of a question
      Caught in your throat,
The first sighs of the next
      Dayís traffic, shoulders
Turned to fists under the skin.
      And say itís raining
This morning. Maybe a car
      Lingers at the stop sign
Outside your window.
      And maybe you know
This song. How long since
      A man you called father
Troubled the hi-fi, smoldering
      Newport in hand, and ran
This record under a needle.
      How long since a manís
Broken falsetto colored
      Every hour indigo. Graying
Beard, callused hands, finger-
      Nails thick as nickels. You
Were the boy who became
      That man without meaning
To and know now, a manís
      Life is never measured
In beats, but beat-downs,
      Not line breaks, just breaks.
You hear Marvin fading
      Into a new day, and it caresses
You like a brick: Marvin, and men
      Like him, have already
Moaned every book
      You will never write.
This you know, baby. This
      You know.



© John Murillo



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