Chazaro has moments of sincere examination—“Lucha Libre, in Two and ½ Parts,” a poem which is split into two and a half parts, is an example in which he explores how he may have turned out had he been raised in Mexico instead of the United States. He writes:
me might’ve been more
listo than American
might’ve loved mas facil than American
In this we learn the epicenter, the foundation, for most of the poems is a search for identity. Chazaro thinks: What if I stayed? What if I were raised in Mexico? Who would I have been? These are valid questions for anyone raised outside of their home country.
In this same poem, Chazaro grapples even further in a breathtaking revelation;
“I was born in Redwood City, but my mom tells me I was born
in México. When I’m older, she shows me
a forged birth certificate with my Mexican
identity: Alan Perez Chazaro. In case of emergency”
Chazaro is also one to play with form—multiple poems are broken into sections, and it works well to tell a story and make a point. And it is done in an effective way. Read “Lucha Libre, in Two and ½ Parts,” or “Clinica Xalapa / Visiting Hours,” or the title piece, “Piñata Theory,” for a zesty multiple-part poem. Each of the poems tells Chazaro’s personal story; the reader may find it mirrors their life story as well.
Chazaro has split the collection into sections—“Body,” “Break,” and “Gather”—strategically categorizing everything. He tactically crafts line breaks, like in “Burning Etcetera”:
“For as far as I could drink
there were barely-built
things and wargrounds where revolution
aries foxholed themselves
the way we must foxhole our desires
This collection contains poems which will resonate in the reader’s mind; poems like “A Millennial Walks into a Bar and Says:,” “Ode to Kendrick Lamar,” “Before Being Deported,” and “Notes on Gentrification” are about identity and humanity and how they have affected Alan Chazaro, and whether you were born in the US or elsewhere, they are well worth the read.