Juan Felipe Herrera


Floricanto Issue
Volume 13, Number 1, Winter 2012


after Benjamin Peret

across the desert rushing
the geraniums conference with crows
speak about giant exiles fox-trot
from Alabama poultry plants in festival aprons
with the names of the fuschia ostrich &
the badger woolly foreman their addresses still
emblazoned inside their smoke-filled pockets
down to the laces democratic investigators ICE
& the busman yes you busman
why didn’t you escort them to the governor’s palazzo
why didn’t you bring up the questions of apocalypse
why didn’t you dance on the Chrysler engine & orate
Dante’s ascent onto the tenth ring
they would have honored you in their grilled caves
infinite yet impossible the shore their shore
yes the one oozing with pass-cards & pajamas now
my hands are bloody with this news
i pick up flowers for my lover
before we dance they elongate & rotate
they plead to work they want to dig spill a seed
but the earth is our busman

Juan Felipe Herrera (December 27,, 1948 - ) is the first Chicano U.S. Poet Laureate; he served from 2015 to 2017. He is the author of twenty-eight books, including young adult novels, children's books, musicals, and plays. Herrera is the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship in poetry. In 2012, he was appointed California Poet Laureate. In 2011, Herrera was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. To read more about this author, see also: "'You have a beautiful voice': snippets of a laureateship" by Francisco Aragón.