Weekly Poem: déjà vu

March 13, 2014

Voices, Art / Culture, Poetry

The mayor comes over to my table and says I am invited
to join him and el jefe ICE agent for a drink. I walk over
and sit down as the mayor pulls out a small black book
and hands it to the agent. He begins to read aloud:

Richard Vargas, born in Compton, California. Members
of your family came here from Mexico, and you are one
generation removed from picking grapes and cotton.
You went to school, the university, and now call yourself a
“poet.” We know that you masturbated incessantly in the
7th grade, and that you smoked pot on a daily basis when
you were in college. You left California, but we still
haven’t found out why. You have a weakness for women,
cigars, and expensive cognacs. Tell me, are you one of those
hopeless romantics who refuses to accept the  establishment
of a Fourth Reich in your beloved United States?

“Well, some parts of the U.S. look like they beat you
to the punch. But if you’re asking me, there are certain
neighborhoods in Albuquerque I wouldn’t advise you to


(Image derived from photo by Evi Christodoulou)

This piece was written by:

Richard Vargas's photo

Richard Vargas

Richard Vargas was born in Compton, California, and attended schools in Compton, Lynwood, and Paramount. He earned his BA at Cal State University, Long Beach, where he studied under Gerald Locklin and Richard Lee, and received his MFA from the University of New Mexico in 2010. He edited and published five issues of The Tequila Review from 1978 to 1980. His first book, McLife, was featured on The Writers Almanac with Garrison Keillor, and a second book, American Jesus, was published by Tia Chucha Press (2007). Vargas was the recipient of the 2011 Taos Summer Writers’ Conference’s Hispanic Writer Award and was on faculty at the 10th National Latino Writers Conference in 2012. Today he resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he edits and publishes The Más Tequila Review. The above poem is available in his new book, Guernica Revistited (Press53) has just been released.

Contact Richard Vargas

Honorary Subscription

Is your time on New Mexico Mercury worth the price of a cup of coffee a week?  Then click on the button below to purchase a recurring monthly subscription.

Payment Options


One-time Payment

If you'd like to pay for the content you've enjoyed on New Mexico Mercury with a payment when it's convenient for you, click on the button below for a one-time purchase.


Responses to “Weekly Poem: déjà vu”