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).
Learn more about John Murillo on his website https://www.johnmurillo.com/
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.


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