2021 - 2023
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.
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.