7th & Shatto By Pablo Robles

7th & Shatto

Homeless man on meth
Makes a stage out of a
Thrown-out -blue mattress
He starts to speak in tongues
As rats scurry from underneath
Running toward a tree
The tree where a Gangbanger sits for shade
His face tattoo still peeling
The sun is relentless
Shining directly on our wounds
And reflecting off the windshield of
An unmarked police car
circling the block over and over
Unsure of who to arrest first
Then fracturing silence with a siren
Burst and startling the man
Who replaced water with whiskey
Speaking between gurgles
His golden tin beer can is crushed
Then kicked under a car
Where a young girl is seated
Lighting a joint, above the smoke
Two girls on a second floor
Fire escape are scanning the street
Looking for their mother
And waiting to be fed

By Pablo Robles


Pablo Robles first found interest in poetry as an escape from gang violence. Early in his highschool career he focused more on street smarts than academia. He recounts, “as a first generation Latino our parents came from survival mode, meaning they had to escape the ghetto. So street life seemed familiar to my identity.” Luckily a poetry teacher exposed Pablo to Spoken Word poetry as another form of expression and being. From this mentor Pablo found direction. Now he has a Bachelor of Arts in English from UCSB and is begining Graduate school for an M.A. in English.

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