the louderARTS Project

Photo courtesy of Peter Dressel

Rich Villar

Rich Villar's written work can be found in the journals Rattapallax 13 and Parse: Volume I; and is forthcoming in the inaugural issue of Achiote. In 2004, he appeared with Team NYC-louderARTS as part of the National Poetry Slam in St. Louis; the following year, he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His work was commissioned for Actors Stock NYC's production of Eve Descending, in which he also appeared.

Rich has read, lectured, and facilitated adult and teen poetry workshops throughout the Northeast and beyond. He is the host and curator of Acentos, a Bronx-based bimonthly reading series celebrating the work of Latino poets. He is currently at work on his first full-length manuscript, tentatively titled Noche Buena.

rich at louderARTS dot com




The Things I Remember That Bob Said

True Story:

Bob Jones and the Holy Spirit were golfing buddies.

They enjoyed shooting the shit
and making up rules
for squishy young skulls to follow
so you can go to heaven
to show your pastor
and your neighbors
and your mama
and your cat
that you were a better christian
than John F. Kennedy.

It was Bible class
where the law was set down
in lamb's blood

Rule Number 1:
Catholics got it all wrong
with their bless me fathers
and hail marys
and seven stations of whatever
we are protestants here.
and the bible says
to avoid vain repetition in your prayers
now let's review the prayer list, kids
class is starting
whose turn to pray?
same time, same way
every day

Put your hand down, Alex.

Rule Number 2:
white people dating black people
is frowned upon by God
separation is born from the lessons
of Noah's Ark
the bible tells you so
don't worry though
we don't consider Latinos to be black
so feel free to date each other
so long as you have a chaperone
avoid all physical contact
obtain official permission
wear your hair off your collars
and your skirts below your knees
I said

Put your hand down, Alex.

Rule Number 3:

Freedom is found
in complete compliance
to the rules which God sets down
and the beliefs God wants you to hold
including those beliefs
we are forced to rescind
during Presidential elections.

man looketh on the outward appearance, after all
but God looks on the heart.

Rule Number 4:
(I'm ignoring you, Alex)

Rule Number 4:
spare the rod
grieve your God
we hit our children
because we love them too much
to spare them
the oak taste of a paddle
in the shape of a hand
emblazoned with Scripture.

Stop crying, Alex.

Rule Number 5:
narrow is the gate
that leads to redemption
it takes work
to be this holy
it's a daily battle
against lust
against greed
against lust and messy desks
against lust and your curfew followed to the second
against lust and saying the word "darnit"
against lust, and kissing, and smiling, and staring at knees, and holding hands,
and vile butt sex in your dormitory
against sin.

Bob Jones
once said:

"I would rather see a saloon
on every corner
than a Catholic
in the White House.
I would rather see
a nigger as president."

I don't have the brain power
to fully digest that statement.

Some say
that the Holy Spirit and Bob Jones
still play golf on the occasional Saturday
they still shoot the shit
and make rules
such as where to worship
and which version of the Bible is the correct one.
these were the rules
we were raised with
in the midst of the sickness
that hung on the branches
around Madison Avenue Baptist Academy
in the malaise of Hackensack Christian Schools
where little brown ghetto savages were tamed
in the bosom of fundamentalist Christianity

I'm still a little crazy
healing by stealing breath from friends

the one rule I followed
was the one that said:
"Pray every day."
And I do.
For the ones who survived.



© Rich Villar



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