Charlie Vazquez: 5 Poets Who Changed My Life

I’ll admit that I’m a bit of a classicist when it comes to poetry (and the fine arts in general), so I’ll blame the long line of queers and other renegades that created most of it! The five poets that changed my life are, and in no particular order…

Charles Baudelaire – What is sexier than Baudelaire at his creepiest? Poems such as “The Corpse” and “The Dance of Death” still enrapture me. Diabolical and decadent and sexual splendor at its finest!

Edgar Allan Poe – Who can make one shudder better than Poe can? My first literary hero, period. Even Charles Baudelaire went crazy over him. That says a lot. Better known for his riveting short stories, but poems like “Spirits of the Dead” deserve better studying.

Federico Garcia Lorca – Raw, Spanish fierceness. “Gypsy, let me lift your skirt and have a look at you. Open in my ancient fingers the blue rose of your womb.” The foundation of queer literary latinidad. Who better to have an affair with Salvador Dalí?

Arthur Rimbaud – A melancholy boy’s colorful thoughts and imagination. I take that back. A drunken adolescent’s brilliant imagination. “The Orphan’s New Year Gift” still brings on the tears…

François Villon – French bad boy. Fifteenth century. Murderer. Jail. Banishment. Jean Genet’s predecessor by hundreds of years.

I keep winning and remain the loser
At dawn I say “I bid you good night”
Lying down I’m afraid of falling
I’m so rich I haven’t a penny
I await an inheritance and am no one’s heir
Warmly welcomed, always turned away.

Clip of me reading my poem “Bronx Dharma”