poem index


Luis J. Rodríguez

El Paso , TX , United States
Luis J. Rodríguez

In 1954, Luis J. Rodríguez was born in El Paso, Texas, and grew up in Watts and the East Los Angeles area. Involved with gangs at the age of 11, he had lost 25 of his friends by the time he turned 18. His autobiographical account, Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A. (Curbstone, 1993), received The Carl Sandburg Award of the Friends of the Chicago Public Library.

His books of poetry include My Nature is Hunger : New & Selected Poems, 1989-2004 (Curbstone Press, 2005); Trochemoche (1998); The Concrete River (1991), which won a PEN West/Josephine Miles Award for Literary Excellence; and Poems Across the Pavement (1989), which received San Francisco State University's Poetry Center Book Award.

He is also a journalist and critic and the founder of Tía Chucha Press, which publishes emerging, socially conscious poets. In May 1998, Curbstone Press published his first children's book, entitled América Is Her Name. He currently resides in California and manages the Tia Chucha Cultural Center in San Fernando.

by this poet

We sink into the dust,
Baba and me,
Beneath brush of prickly leaves;
Ivy strangling trees--singing
Our last rites of locura.
Homeboys. Worshipping God-fumes
Out of spray cans.

Our backs press up against
A corrugated steel fence
Along the dried banks
Of a concrete river.
Spray-painted outpourings
On walls