Richard Vargas

outside the box

not being able to find a job
in the university
i tried doing the next best thing
to make ends meet
reading poetry at birthday parties

the first time i found myself
tied up and hanging from a tree limb
swaying back and forth
as someone jerked me up and down
while blindfolded kids swung
a louisville slugger in my direction
me spouting off haikus
that rained down on the cursing
drunks like bite size Snickers
and Milky Ways

then they stood me up
against a wall
bent me over
pulled down my pants
blindfolded themselves
as they proceeded to try
pinning my ass with a
sestina which was all good
until someone went to the garage
and brought back a staple gun

something tells me this isn’t how
poet laureates get their start


Richard Vargas received his MFA from the University of New Mexico, 2010. He was recipient of the 2011 Taos Summer Writers’ Conference’s Hispanic Writer Award, was on the faculty of the 2012 10th National Latino Writers Conference and facilitated a workshop at the 2015 Taos Summer Writers’ Conference. He has read his poetry to audiences in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Chicago, Madison, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, Indianapolis, and Boulder. His three books of poetry are McLife, American Jesus, and Guernica, revisited. He edited/published The Mas Tequila Review from 2009-2015. Currently, he resides in Janesville WI.