The Askwith Kenner Global Languages and Cultures Room provides an immersive space for members of the campus community and visitors to interact with each other locally and with people and places around the world.
Highlighting Black Intellectuals and Artists Around the World: John Murillo
Join us in celebrating amazing Black intellectuals and artists around the world! Today we are introducing John Murillo, an American poet.
John Murillo is the author of the poetry collections, Up Jump the Boogie (Cypher 2010, Four Way 2020), finalist for both the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Pen Open Book Award, and Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry (forthcoming from Four Way Books 2020).
John Murillo’s poetry works to bring awareness to the realities of African American life. His poetry is written in a very accessible and narrative style. The descriptive imagery and passionate writing in his poems are captivating.
We would like to feature a poem by John Murillo, titled Enter the Dragon.
Enter the Dragon
—Los Angeles, California, 1976
For me, the movie starts with a black man Leaping into an orbit of badges, tiny moons
Catching the sheen of his perfect black afro. Arc kicks, karate chops, and thirty cops
On their backs. It starts with the swagger, The cool lean into the leather front seat
Of the black and white he takes off in. Deep hallelujahs of moviegoers drown
Out the wah wah guitar. Salt & butter High-fives, Right on, brother! and Daddy
Glowing so bright he can light the screen All by himself. This is how it goes down.
Friday night and my father drives us Home from the late show, two heroes
Cadillacking across King Boulevard. In the car‟s dark cab, we jab and clutch,
Jim Kelly and Bruce Lee with popcorn Breath, and almost miss the lights flashing
In the cracked side mirror. I know what’s Under the seat, but when the uniforms
Approach from the rear quarter panel, When the fat one leans so far into my father’s
Window I can smell his long day’s work, When my father—this John Henry of a man—
Hides his hammer, doesn’t buck, tucks away His baritone, license and registration shaking as if
Showing a bathroom pass to a grade school Principal, I learn the difference between cinema
And city, between the moviehouse cheers Of old men and the silence that gets us home.