Richard Vargas: Three Poems

Richard Vargas edited/published five issues of The Tequila Review, 1978-1980. His first book, McLife, was featured on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac in February, 2006. A second book, American Jesus, was published by Tia Chucha Press, 2007. His third book, Guernica, revisited, was published April 2014, by Press 53. (Once again, a poem from the book was featured on Writer’s Almanac to kick off National Poetry Month.) Currently, he resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he edits/publishes The Más Tequila Review.


strange fruit

she held out her hand, offered him a bite,
cupping what looked like a plump, bruised
testicle in the soft flesh of her palm.
he politely declined, remembered the
tree in his grandma’s backyard, how the fruit
would ripen and drop to the ground where the
rotting skin swelled and split in summer’s
heat as guts were left sticky and exposed.
the fat, black flies would come, hover for days,
feast and vomit like decadent Romans.

but she insisted, lifted the fig to
his mouth, teased his reluctant tongue. the taste
of its sweet red meat went down easy like
oysters. he licked his lips, asked her for more.


milagro #17

Sunday morning
coffee and writing poetry
listening to Swiss Movement
on my stereo and during
Leroy Vinegar’s “Kaftan”
Eddie Harris’ sax starts
to honk all noisy and funky
a real prayer i can dig

when i hear the birds
outside getting excited
actually answering
sax tweets with their
own loud free form
response and for a brief
moment i’m engulfed
in a a mix of notes
everywhere and
man-made and

must be one big
jazz club

and all
God’s angels


milagro #10

mountain fires
and strong winds
send smoke our way
eyes burn and a breath
becomes a gasp for air as
lungs turn into flip-
flopping goldfish
taken from their bowl
and dropped on a
hot sidewalk

at night
sliver of new moon
filtered through haze
is dark orange

the color of chile
ripening in the fields
just before it turns
blood red

chile moon
deadly moon
taking my breath away
the price i pay

to be smothered with
your beauty

What are you looking for?