from “Chalino Sánchez: A Sequence”

JD Debris
| poetry


[one for adán]


What ridiculous luck to even be born.
What ridiculous luck, living long enough to sing
how your father was murdered by false policemen.
What ridiculous luck to make it through the chorus,

the next measure, next note, through the breath
before the downbeat, the ’yes’ that one lung says
to its twin. Adán, what, if anything, brings us together?
Arbitrary borders, a belief in curses, folk saints

who steal from the rich. Aunts, sisters, & mothers
who’ve suffered too damn much. A brass band
is passing. I’m back on my grandfather’s shoulders
in Fall River, Mass. It’s Festa do Espirito Santo,

& a sousaphone gives heartbeat to the Virgin
Mary float, cymbals clashing… Yes, Chalino met
his badge-flashing, sunglassed assassins outside Culiacán,
yes, your limo crashed in that same free & sovereign state,

& no, I can’t match the pitch of fifteen thousand
teenagers weeping in the streets of Los Angeles,
or the mess that followed—riot gear & pellet guns,
Ford truck flipped over, in flames. But ridiculous

luck, Adán, is needed for one’s own voice to adorn,
postmortem, a few romantic ballads in a locked room—
Nadie es Eterno, Bésame Morenita—where two, in candlelight,
can create anything: even a little death, even a life.

JD Debris writes poems, songs, and prose. In 2020, he completed his MFA from NYU as a Goldwater Fellow, his work was chosen by Ilya Kaminsky for Ploughshares’ Emerging Writers Prize, and he was named to Narrative’s 30 Below 30 list. His releases include the chapbook Sparring (Salem State University Press, 2018) and the music albums Black Market Organs (Simple Truth Records, 2017) and JD Debris Murder Club (forthcoming).

from “Chalino Sánchez: A Sequence”
I Inherit an Apron