The Foundry is our literary reading series, bringing you the work of established and emerging writers, from near and far. Our next reading, on Saturday, June 10th at Public Square Coffee House in La Mesa, features Matt Young, Kali Wallace, Steph Cha, Elizabeth Marro, and San Diego poet Hari Alluri. Today we are super proud to introduce you to Hari and publish two of his poems here, below.
Hari Alluri, author of the brand new book of poetry, The Flayed City (Kaya Press, 2017), is a dynamic and genuine writer whose work defines a world so specific in its detail, but somehow almost viscerally relatable. His performances are stunning: fun, heartfelt, and powerful. We love Hari: he’s an incredible mentor, supporter, and visionary in the arts, literary, and poetry scenes in San Diego.
Hari Alluri is the author of The Flayed City (Kaya Press, 2017) and the chapbook The Promise of Rust(Mouthfeel Press, 2016). An award-winning poet, educator, and teaching artist, his work appears widely in anthologies, journals and online venues, including poemeleon, Split This Rock, Sundog Lit, and The Margins. He is a founding editor at Locked Horn Press, where he has co-edited two anthologies, Gendered & Written: Forums on Poetics and Read America(s): An Anthology. He holds an MFA from San Diego State University and has received VONA/Voices and Las Dos Brujas fellowships and a National Film Board of Canada grant. Hari immigrated to Vancouver, Coast Salish territories at age twelve and currently serves as editor of pacific Review in San Diego, Kumeyaay land.
To get to know Hari a little better, here’s an interview from KPBS’s Midday Edition earlier this year: http://www.kpbs.org/news/2017/mar/28/san-diego-poet-explores-immigration-flayed-city/
And, finally, we are honored to print two of Hari’s poems here, both of which appear in The Flayed City: “A Declaration, Love,” and “[At the edge of drought…]”
A Declaration, Love
It is nothing
to be surrounded by fallen prayers—this is city.
I ash on shimmers. They no more implicate my day than dogs
who sniff for the piss of other dogs.
Perhaps that’s what prayers do. Regardless
of the city, their barks at muted streets
halfway up a fence, shifting
like migrants. Is the lie, “Here’s a person?”
Is the part to believe, “We love?” Like a cut
jungle burns to city, we ash
on shimmers. Prayers
swallow the revelation of you. You, a refugee, pray
to stay. Mumble toward your final words
in a detainment center slash library. I and thousands
check out books, exit casual
past your wall. You noose your sheets rather than be sent. Sniffing
at me for the dog piss of this city, as if it sniffs
your final words, a dog. I describe
to make things easier. My prayer is the dog I shoo
on broom-filled nights. It feels good,
old shoe, it feels: these nights under
the safety of a visa, a good that never held
your name. I do not sing: singing changes out my eyes.
You’re dead, so it’s nothing
if I slit your throat—prayer.
Cowl my face
in your blood. My silence halfway
up the nose of a sniffing dog. That jealous dog,
it bares its teeth in every passing prayer.
[At the edge of drought…]
At the edge of drought, a turtle learns silence from the hands who built this city, the ones whose names weren’t given to streets.
What comes after this will be gentle, with churning, with trolleys. It’s easy to overlook the seaside debris as you dismantle a crab.
We cannot shut out the dust moving across our shared vision. If you notice constant there are fossils in every breath.
The poems are excerpted from The Flayed City (Kaya Press, 2017). Reprinted by permission.
An earlier version of “A Declaration, Love” first appears in TAYO.
Don’t miss Hari Alluri, alongside Matt Young, Steph Cha, Elizabeth Marro, and Kali Wallace, on Saturday, June 10th at Public Square Coffee House in La Mesa (8278 La Mesa Blvd).
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