September 15-21, 1997: Juliette Torrez and Daniel McGinn

Week of September 15-21, 1997

Juliette Torrez and Daniel McGinn

Juliette Torrez


Juliette Torrez roams the dark side of America with a light heart She’s been sighted at Bumbershoot, Lollapalooza and SXSW On the side, she edits the hyper cyberzine Poetry Channel She coordinates the Albuquerque Poetry Festival and lives in San Francisco Her modern nomadic handbook, Sofasurfing, is coming out next spring through Manic D Press

The following work is Copyright © 1997 and owned by Juliette Torrez and may not be distributed or reprinted in any manner whatsover without written permission from the author.

Night Stalker Got Married

the nightstalker got married at san quentin
the serial killer took a wife
and called her mrs richard ramirez
it was true love, they said
but they never got to go to bed
that’s not allowed for death row inmates
she was a freelance editor
he was convicted of torture
i guess they had a lot to talk about

The Thief Was Kind

the thief was kind
in his own special way
as if to say
if this had been
someone else honey
all your shit would be gone
coming back from canal street
you could tell someone
fucked with the jeep
he took my clothes and my shoes
but he left my makeup
i guess he couldn’t use it
he took my fix-a-flat
but he left my black fur hat
he took my favorite t shirt
but he left my jacket
which was filthy
kind of grateful
the thief was being so picky
he took my curling iron
but he left my tape
of earth, wind and fire
he took all my books
except for the guide
to free campgrounds
he wanted to stick around the city
i know this because he took
my map of new orleans
he took my wallet some ids some keys
but the motherfucker left the rock
that he used to break in with

TV Child

tv child
what was it like
before direct dial
spinning 45s
on the stereo console
watching cable
kimba the white lion and speed racer
global village vietnam
nightly news saigon
dim sum view of what’s going on
who was the sla anyway
everyone was so uptight
willing to fight
for some real or imagined cause
donald le gre died at the scene
in a shootout with the lapd
sarah jane parker
squeeky la fromme
pulled out their guns
taking pot shots at the president
they got sent through
the california penal system
like charlie and sirhan sirhan
shootout in the courtroom
with angela davis
alcatraz gets taken over
by native americans
harvey milk and george moscone
get shot by a malcontent
and the sentiment sends
police cars on fire
while the zodiac killer runs loose
in blue spruce park
down the street
from my grandmother’s house

Gathering of Mammals

gathering of mammals
dancing in the dust
young beauties
weird nerdies
dressed like peacocks and ravens
cigarette machine
eats a dollar
go the beer garden
and holler to get her money back
hanging out with madcaps
who sing acapella
at the drop of a hat
renditions for an audience of one
still looking for cigarettes
nicotine drug dealer
out right now
check back later
walk a mile for a camel
and a cup of latte
kids playing ball behind the deli
old man looking for cans in the alley
shy smiles of strangers


as i drive down albuquerque streets
edges of houses pop out of grey sky
undisguised by barren trees
twenty three shades of brown
stucco painted to look like adobe
we’re driving past, past the porches
where strings of red chile
hang there in welcome
how now brown town?
and its good to be here
though when i’m gone
i don’t miss you much
i even dogged you, albuquerque
because you are
a hard hearted town
dressed in fake mud
being something you’re not
personality split by two sides of the city
uptown and downtown, the heights and the valley
split by businessmen
to develop their property
you never had a good image of yourself,
you don’t love yourself the way
san francisco loves itself
the way seattle loves itself
the way santa fe loves itself
and i wonder what crime
stained these hills
that made you such a hard hearted town
dressed in brown
ribboned in interstate asphalt
and a poisoned river
i’m fascinated by your sinister side,
and pray you don’t claim me
as a blood sacrifice
but when i come back
i see the way the sunset hits the sandias
and remember what it was
that i miss about this town
i see the morning light bright blue
the smell of cedar burning in the air
and remember what i miss
about this town
and when i go to the frontier restaurant
and ask for a green chile burger
they know exactly what it is
and they give it to me
and i remember what i miss
about this town
i love you i hate you
i’ll always come back to you
the land of entrapment
a curse or a blessing
i don’t know the answer, albuquerque
i just keep returning


mountains loom
at the colorado border
clarity of light calling my soul
lightness of being
one with the road
hamlet of skyscrapers
denver’s domain
almost matches
purple mountains majesty
and night meets us
in cheyenne wyoming
for a roadside party
in the land of a million cows
there’s the smell of prosperity
stench stains my clothes
past eden past loveland
past hell’s half acre
end of the world due east
where clouds meet the horizon
dying twin suns
cast a glimmer
in the evening sky
the moon laughs
as she races by
diana on the hunt
hitchhiking ghosts flag me down
vivid hallucinations
mile marker 1300
astral projecting
into other directions
at custer’s last stand
the clutch goes kablooey
and in the hills
i imagine indians laughing
hey honey
maybe you should have
gotten a jeep cherokee

Seeking Space Aliens

man she is a work of art
they said watching her walk down the street
going to meet her latest date
man she is a piece of work
they said watching her negotiate
charming her way out of trouble
doubling back on her trail
making sure she’s not followed
by people thinking she was
a piece of action
in her fantasy life
more arrogant pursuers got
their tongues cut out in an alley
by a knife that she carried in her coat pocket
never made the fantasy real
just felt up the handle once in a while
as she drank from her draft beer
in some smoky tavern
fielded twenty questions
drunken inquisitions
from people too nosy
for their own business
traveling alone, she had to be careful
always grateful to her guardian angels
constant conflict with devils
she fought the internal battle of
good versus evil on a daily basis
seeking spaces alien to her
because home didn’t feel the same anymore
the image was more delicious
than when she was actually there
collecting urban myths
and personal stories
eavesdropping in coffeehouses
to support her research
of the collective unconscious
a litmus test measuring
the local decline of western civilization
accelerated to the speed of light
to images captured on the television
feeding our superstitions
we carry condoms in our wallets
weapons in our pockets
to weave a spell strong enough
that we can protect ourselves
in strange places
seeking spaces alien to us
because home doesn’t feel the same

Where I Come From

in the back of the seattle city bus
a grandfatherly asian man
is holding one of his granddaughters
by the crotch as she leans against him
perched on his lap
she’s a big girl now, older than diapers
i get suspicious of his hand’s position
and wonder if he’s sexually abusing them
he is their grandfather
and who am i
but a stranger on a bus
i want to say something but if i am mistaken
then i am guilty of making a false accusation
while his granddaughters
are laying sprawled on him like kittens
and i’m thinking if i’m wrong
i could ruin their relationship
but then what is a relationship
built on sexual exploitation?
i don’t say anything
because where i come from
we don’t talk about it
because where i come from
we sweep skeletons in the closet
under the carpet
therapy is not acceptable
it’s like admitting you’re crazy
or that there’s a problem
problem? what problem?
no problem here
because where i come from
it’s better to deny the reality
than accuse pillars of the community
who save secret sins for the confession box
before taking the eurcharist
all is forgiven all is forgiven all is forgiven
social glue for masking monsters
looking at little girls in their sunday dresses
in the back of the city bus
i lock eyes with the grandfather
i see you old man, i know what you’re doing
before i could say something
before i could lose my temper
the bus comes to a halt
and he gathers up his granddaughters
leaves abruptly in a hurry
maybe spooked by my staring
and i said nothing
because where i come from
nobody says a goddamn thing

The Red Dress

for years her neighbors suspected
dark secrets hidden
by false smiles
for years she masked it
and everyone played along
like a sick and twisted joke
smiling supermarket clerk
always explaining her bruises
as due to her clumsiness
always smiling
one day her husband died suddenly
as fast as a car accident or a heart attack
at the funeral
she didn’t wear black
she shed her martyr syndrome
in a moment of bravado
and showed up to the burial
wearing a red sequin party dress
that came down to her ankles
they put the coffin in the grave
she threw in her wedding ring
gave a strange laugh shouting
“i hope you’re happy now, lawrence,
i hope you’re happy now
because i certainly am!”
and all the women silently cheered her on
red dress and all
while all the men wondered
what their funerals would be like

Daniel McGinn


Daniel McGinn writes poetry These are examples He enjoys the taste of eggplant With garlic sauce On occasion His favorite color is green

The following work is Copyright © 1997 and owned by Daniel McGinn and may not be distributed or reprinted in any manner whatsover without written permission from the author.

The Structure of Language
(poem found on page 15 in the introduction)

Consider the following utterances,
all of which are odd
for different reasons:

(1 ) I just swallowed my nose (2 ) I will show you fear in a handful of dust
(3 ) This lovely red rose is a red rose (4 ) Physical objects do not exist (5 ) I have just been decapitated (6 ) Pain is the stimulation of C-fibers

Thus, accused of having used language oddly,
the metaphysician who replies
“So what?” replies correctly.

Television Programs Itself

I miss the static
Between the stations
I could almost disconnect,
Remove the cable

Watch me and my house
Drift away
Behind a shimmering glass curtain

I would love to buy the world a coke, 
I will sing
A song of zero calories,

I could be lost
with my remote
Control, slipping
between the cushions
as me and my house drift off
Into sleep, 

I will dream
A dream of static cling
A rousing rendition of the star spangled banner

See the sparkles in my eye
Watch the bubbles rise and pop
I would love
a diet coke
I will sing of the sting
Of salt in my throat, 
Of the taste of nutra
Sweet in my saliva

I will dream in black and white
I will dream a cartoon profile
I will dream the indian’s head
In the bulls eye
In the test pattern

Theo’s Logic
(without your support this ministry will go off of the air )

this guy on my television has bikini girls his yacht is smiling at the
camera if i send him my money he will make me rich
i too, can be successful
stealing real estate from the poor, the widows and the broken this is how nations are born
and for pennies a day TV ministries are made With a flick of remote control

i turn the channel and watch another program
God wants me rich all God’s children need Rolex, cadillacs, 
water proof mascara, tissues i am so deeply moved i send them my money God will make me rich i shall be free
brothers and sisters
my poems will make you rich send me your money
sent more than you can afford this is the secret power-
the spoken word

go ahead
mark up my poems underline the good parts fold up the poems
like dollar bills stuff them in your wallet talk to my poems believe
in my poems expect a miracle expect your wallet to be filled!

some unbelieving poets have write to me
to tell me that I am full of shit

there is no cash in these letters this is why those poets are poor there is no cash in these letters
this is why those poets are unhappy
brothers and sisters, stop blaming me start blaming yourselves
It is because of your negative confessions
you do not believe you must allow the system to work
do not think negative!
do not speak negative words!
do not doubt and your wallets will be healed
where is your faith?
stop blaming me start blaming yourselves
this is my love gift to you dear friends, my poetry will make you rich send me your money know the truth the truth will set you free
do you understand?

send me your money blame yourselves this is the beginning of wisdom.

A Bottlepicker’s Daydream

You arrive
Home from the market
With a 12 pack of diet coke
In aluminum cans in a box
And a box of kitchen trash
Bags; the ones that nice checker
Put in a plastic bag for you
You remove the cardboard
Box of plastic trash
Bags from the plastic
Shopping bag You pull the
Cardboard strip from the
Cardboard box of bags
You throw the cardboard strip
And the shopping bag into the
Plastic bag you just bought Use it to line the plastic
Trash can This is a lot of energy
Expended, now you are thirsty
Go ahead Open the other box
And consume one of the one
Calorie diet sodas, you
Just bought it, and you
Deserve it Good Now you
Throw the can away.

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