The Fresno Arts Council capped off National Poetry Month with the inaugural appointment of James Tyner the City of Fresno Poet Laureate on April 25, 2013 at Fresno City Hall. James Tyner will join the Arts Council in promoting and supporting an appreciation and knowledge of literary arts throughout the community. The Following is his first original work prepared for the proclamation ceremony at City Hall:
Saturday May 18th – Random Writers Workshop at 11:00 am at the Hashtag.
Saturday May 25th - Chicano Writers and Artists Association at the Gillis Branch, 2:00pm.
Saturday June 8th - Trio of Kundiman Fellowes, poets Brynn Saito, Andre Yang, and Mike Maniquez, at Gillis Library, 2:00pm. They will discuss what a Kundiman Fellowship is, and read some of their poetry.
July 6th – Poetry Workshop with the Fresno Poet Laureate: 11:00am. Bring 5 copies of a poem you would like to work on, open to all levels of poets, beginners very welcome.
I am Fresno
I am the high school kid that can’t wait to get out of this town,
there’s nothing to do here, nothing ever happens, waiting
for that last summer, before heading out of the city.
I am the kid just back from college, moving back in with mom
and dad, trying to find a job now that schools over. Back home
again, taking down old posters from the wall and putting up diplomas.
I am the couple that just bought their first house, a fixer upper,
yard golden from too much sun, their three year old walking up the steps,
paint still on dads pants from the bedroom he just finished.
I am fields of vines, grapes growing in a vast green, raisins drying
on brown paper, strawberries just plucked from the field.
I am moving north, new buildings, restaurants, glass and plastic
meeting not so far from the river, a hail of lights and traffic.
I am coming back downtown, dusting off the concrete and brick,
old restaurants that have been there for years, fresh again.
I am new business, sprouting, and food trucks, turning up
like flowers over asphalt.
I am a softball player, mitt clenched tightly, a wrestler alone
on a mat, a stadium of waving red.
I am a long line of poets, words spreading through culture,
through time, through classrooms, through books.
I am the owner of championships, of Pulitzers, Oscars,
Tonys, struggling to win just one more thing.
I am noticing myself, finally.
I am at a family barbeque and all the children there share
the same last name, the same blood, and all have different
shades of skin, my father by the pool, speaking Spanish
to my daughter, his aged brown hand running through her wispy
I am a bowl of Pho for breakfast, the noodles warm,
broth like a hug, meat tender and fresh.
I am Lula kabobs for lunch, the spice just behind
the tongue, pilaf golden and perfect.
I am sitting at the dinner table, rolling a hot dog
into a corn tortilla, boiled beans and white rice,
the air growing smokey from the tri-tip barbequing
outside, my cousin bringing in a plate of pan fried
noodles from the place down the street.
I am home.
I am Fresno.