Thursday, July 22, 2010

John Murillo's Up Jump the Boogie

“And the Cap/Don’t really tell what’s inside the can. Kinda like the soul,/Que no?

~Santayana, The Muralist from Up Jump the Boogie, John Murillo

Up Jump the Boogie, John Murillo’s first collection of poetry, is a musical exploration of memory, childhood, and of all the drumbeats we hear along the way. His poetry takes the heart and soul of Los Angeles and composes his own symphony of the rhythms around him: the hissing of low-riders as they let out their air bags, the thump of bass, mariachis, the enmeshing of one language into another. Murillo’s orchestration of language, not just as words, but as rhythm, brings the music of the line to an entirely new plain. He creates his own musical California landscape by mixing the rolling drumbeats of our hills, the snare drums of our waves, the bass of a ball bouncing on the court, and booming it over the loudspeakers of the page. To feel the emotion in not only his narratives, but in the sounds he creates telling them makes this collection a unique exploration of what poetry can do on and off the page. The lines are his records, the page his turntable, and the readers, just his humble listeners to the mixes he compiles.

“Between breakbeats and bad breaks, broken homes

And flat broke, caught but never crushed. The stars

We knew we were, who recognized the shine

Despite the shade. We renegade in rhyme…”

-from Renegades of Funk, VII

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