Paul Valadez_for_The Best Pozoles in Santa Cruz

Essay written for broadcast on the radio show This I Believe

The Best Pozole In Santa Cruz

That big other
was like my big other
from another.

Was all,
“I’m a kidnap your kid,
make him feel like a kid again”

made it             easy      to work over
the No Knock Police Raid

(with the faulty funnel
for hazing trainees
stashed in the back room).

Bear. Hugged. Me.

Above the tiny trees
in the clamp-on forest, it ran

a biplane sky-banner reading:
get that new rug baby, we may be here a while…

That big other cold.
Its ringtone, the old hit:
Double cup love, you the one I lean on.

It was like it.

That big other needed
to get
born again—
Liberté, Egalité, Beyoncé,
or something

kept sending me out
to clean the display,
or something—

which was        incidentally,
my other
part-time job.

About the author: Shane Book’s first collection, Ceiling of Sticks, won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry and the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award. His second collection, Congotronic, a University of Iowa Press Kuhl House Poets Selection, was published in 2014. He is a graduate of New York University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. He is also a filmmaker whose award-winning work has screened in festivals and on television around the world.

Artwork: Paul Valadez