Juan Works in House Construction

Behind the glass of the Ole Ole Restaurant
a mannequin Mexican stands sentry
twitching moustache and sombrero.

His rainbow-woven poncho drapes
exotic commercial viability:
tamed, idealized, fetishized.

Across the street,
in ragged jeans crouched,
tired brown men wait
along the sidewalk
for the next job.

They pace and patch the borders
of someone else’s
American dream.


I am a (Moderate) Feminist

I hate that the word “feminist”
has been co-opted by “feminazi.”

I hate that if I say I am a feminist,
people assume I think women are better.

Because being a feminist must mean:
a. I’m not a humanist
b. I hate women who are home-makers
c. I go around looking for trouble and am oversensitive

I live my quiet life but if I go on a date, I go dutch;
I know I don’t owe him anything,
but I don’t want him to think I do.


Dancers lace their shoes

My girl is the redhead, the third in line by the corner over there.

She cut her locks three days ago, to sell as a wig, and bought the shoes she is lacing on, an old pair belonging to a consumptive ballerina. She’s dead now, that ballerina. My girl will be murdered too once she goes on stage. A chorus girl can flounce around and expect applause, provided she’s dressed scantily enough, but not in this.

We thrash artists the way working men drink and hit their dogs.

I’ve already tried persuading her not to go up there, you see. But she won’t listen and a mistress grows tiresome, once they lose the naivety of youth. I’ll be parting with her at curtain call, but here is her address, since I see you’ve been eyeing her.

Do treat her kindly.