Falling in Love with Fellow Prisoners: Poems

Falling in Love with Fellow Prisoners: Poems

by Gwendolyn Zepeda


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Falling in Love with Fellow Prisoners: Poems by Gwendolyn Zepeda

“Drive back and forth / A rush-hour tide / I strive to regain that feeling I felt / When I thought that this was worth it. / The drive is gray. / I cry.” Gwendolyn Zepeda, a Houston native who has struggled to escape the inner-city barrio she grew up in, wonders why she's crying about her long commute to the suburbs. “I'm driving towards something I sure / Can't complain about, something my / Parents could never have had.”

Single with three sons, Zepeda made her way in corporate America, “the cold, beige womb of a money-grubbing mother,” in the fight to provide them with better opportunities. Along the way, she has had to come to terms with the guilt of working in physical comfort while others work outside, trapped in dangerous jobs; the realization that the quality of her work doesn't really matter to anyone; and obnoxious male bosses who need “a wife on the side,” or worse, proudly report their sons' sexual exploits. She's afraid, because “My whole life depends / On satisfying this man's needs ... My own son is my everything. He's the / Only reason I'm here now this / Afternoon listening to this man piss / Into my brain.”

She's an astute observer of people: her elders, full of bitterness; the stranger on the elevator, who exudes the smell of hate; the needy girl who's broken and screams like a bird in her ear so that “I turn and slip away. I've / Had my fill. I'm in the water / Where it's warm and deep and / She can't follow. / Goodbye. Good luck.” She's compassionate and considerate, but Zepeda always chooses survival.

She has survived, even prospered, but her innermost fears still haunt her: “I like lying safe with you / Here in the dark, but still / Keep planning in case / I'm left alone.” Whether musing on dysfunctional relationships or parenthood, Gwendolyn Zepeda, the first Poet Laureate of Houston, captures the aching loneliness and vulnerability of contemporary urban life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781558857698
Publisher: Arte Publico Press
Publication date: 11/28/2013
Pages: 75
Product dimensions: 8.30(w) x 5.50(h) x 0.30(d)

Table of Contents

Preface Lucha Corpi vii

Raised Catholic

A Locust a Hundred Feet Up 3

Paranoid 4

The Mexican in Me / The White in Me 5

Tempt 6

Prayer to a Man 7

Elders 9

These People 10

I Had a Job I Hated

A Man Needs a Woman 13

I Ruined My Work Shirt with Jack in the Box Taco Sauce 14

Strongly Felt Sensations of This Morning 15

The Elevator's Tight Squeeze 17

Like a Baby Doll 18

The Homeowner 19

In the Parking Garage 20

A Bad Feeling 21

Eula in the Bathroom Stall 22

9-to-5, After Noon 24

His Son Is His Everything 25

Falling in Love with Fellow Prisoners

Words for Nerds 29

Unrequited 30

Zombie Maker 31

Blondes, More Fun 32

Be Witch 33

The Flower for December Is Narcissus 34

Fishing 35

Freckles 36

This may be your favorite song, but 37

(The Suess Carried Over) 38

Our Love Is Like a Bomb Shelter, Baby 39

He dialed me by accident and I eavesdropped 40

Ain't I a Woman

Hush Now 43

Girlfriend 44

Embarrassing to Admit 45

Situational Anemia 46

Nicked Spine 47

Child 49

Self-Acceptance 50

Malady, Adjusted 51

Proposal 52

Omega Wolf 53

Strongly Felt Sensations

That Music Made Me Cry 57

At the Animal Shelter, Was a Volunteer 58

After Hours of Girls Gone Wild 60

Curtainless Bohemian Girl 61

Sunflower 62

Why There Are So Many Songs About DJs 63

Winter 64

This Girl I Know 65

Springtime Is an Indomitable Monster 66

Diner Trick 67

Live Band 68

Traveling 69

Drive Through 70

A Link 72

You Are Missed, Mr. Rogers 73

Vietnamese Noodle House 74

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