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2021 - 2023
Poet Laureate

Armin Tolentino

Armin Tolentino is the author of the poetry collection We Meant to Bring It Home Alive (Alternating Current Press). He earned an MFA in Creative Writing at Rutgers Newark and his work has been published in numerous literary journals including Common Knowledge, Arsenic Lobster, Hyphen Magazine, and The Raven Chronicles. He has been a recipient of the Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship in Poetry, been a finalist for the Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award and the Kundiman Poetry Prize, and a winner of the Oregon Poetry Association Poetry Contest. He serves on the Literary Arts Oregon Book Awards Advisory Committee and is a volunteer and workshop facilitator for Write Around Portland.

A Weeks Pay Lost at the Lizard FightArmin Tolentino
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Anton LaVey's Blazer
by Armin Tolentino

I own a blazer that once belonged

to his Satanic Majesty, Anton LaVey. 

The lining is shredded.  Two buttons are gone. 

 

Even so, a thrift shop steal.  Five bucks bought me

a gabardine coat and his ghost who lists about

my apartment, translucent, the tired smoke

of a long burned out fire. 

 

In the left inner pocket, I uncovered a lock

of hair that sheltered his heart till the last

of his earth days, all he had left of his beloved,

Jayne Mansfield.  Each strand of near-white blonde

is tie-dyed pink by the blood of her gushing carotid. 

 

In ’67, his hex was a thumb at her neck

and when she refused him, he snapped off

her dandelion head and carried

that mistake like a cairn of flat stones

in his stomach. 

 

Sometimes while shaving, I see in the mirror

him cradle her headless body, humming

Vivaldi which few knew she loved. 

 

Chilly mornings, I'll wear his blazer and scan

AM radio for the classical station.  Not that I'm

a fan.  I just know that sometimes, even the devil longs

to shake the ice that crusts his wings and tongue,

to talk to God once more and teach Him

the meaning of the words regret and forgiveness. 

Caravel Journal

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