Poem by Richard Garcia
Places I've Been Thrown Out Of Sestina
A boastful barber in San Miguel de Allende chose
the sharpest German-steel blades, finest of any
razor on earth, to shave my 40-grit, three-day beard, six
in all he went through—when finally forced to act,
Out, he said, ¡Vete!, Vamoose—you gringo bushwhack,
wrecker of steel. He yanked me by my belt and collar
and out I stumbled—with half a shave for half a dollar.
Of my few poems I read to Julie, oh why did I choose
“Chickens Everywhere”—seppuku bushwhack!
Julie, collector of chicken curios, big, little, any
and all things chicken. After "unnatural acts
with plucked chickens," out I tumbled toward Motel 6.
Thrown out of church on Ash Wednesday, 666
smudged in ashes on my upturned vampire collar.
There was Sister Mary Bernadette, acting
angry in class about the space helmet I kept on by choice.
Through the ceiling, and up into outer space I drifted. Any-
one home? I whispered. But heaven wouldn't be bushwhacked
by a ten-year-old. Sister’s ruler had one comment: Whack!
—and an eternity of "Our Fathers," sixty-six.
As a child I was ejected from many movies, as any
of my co-sneaking friends could attest. By my collar
the manager led me and Diane #2 out, when we chose
spasmodic giggling at Sean Connery’s prisoner-of-war act.
The letter from my grammar school principal was an act
of mercy, drop-kicking me to Junior High, but I felt bushwhacked.
Kicked out of classrooms in high school, I pretended it was choice.
Nash and me, chased from a biker-bar after he shot photos—six.
I was asked to leave a poetry workshop: apparently I collared
too many kudos. I tried to be nice but was expelled any-
way from a poetry conference, for allegedly kicking any-
one, some person, in the head, but really, it was only an act.
Or did I trip on his head? I was once—many times—collared,
booked. And once, in an alley, I explained to bushwhacking
fuzz, I was expelled by my cellmate, not escaped. Six
cops offered a choice—a beating now or later. I chose.
Anyhow, even in dreams I'm the loser that gets whacked.
Actually, accidentally born months early, 86'ed.
Was I collared, evicted from some better place? Or did I choose?
Richard Garcia won the 2016 Press 53 award for his book of prose poems, Porridge, which was published in March of 2016. His book, The Other Odyssey, from Dream Horse Press, won the American Poetry Journal Book Award for 2014, and The Chair, from BOA, published in 2015, was chosen as the best poetry book of 2015 by the editor of Poetry magazine. His poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies. He lives in Charleston, S.C. and is on the staff of the Antioch Low Residency MFA in Los Angeles.