Sunday, May 11, 2008
I often read the last poem first. Before I read anything in a poetry collection. I'm so happy that my copy of On a Greyhound Straight from the 915 (Finishing Line Press) by Mónica Teresa Ortiz arrived this weekend. The last poem, "Hereford, Texas", ends with the line "brown is forever." I promise this is not a spoiler. I love it so I share it: "Brown is forever." "Brown is forever." "Brown is forever."
And this opening to another poem "The 174":
"bus stops are like bars
conversations I don't want
"his eyes scan me up and down
bar coding me..."
And the bus conversation in "Bad Habits" where a woman asks the speaker "are you an indian or something?"
And "... I can't speak a spic / of Spanish and the bus is full of Mexicans and / Chicanos and a few Americans..." from "Dentist Appointment", a poem that I first read in The Weight of Addition: an anthology of Texas Poetry, where it won an editor's prize.
One of my favorite poems is "VISAS" - an abuelito, proud to be from Jiménez, is interrogated by the "Erik Estrada types." This stops the bus to Lubbock for three hours. But, it turns out "They can't send him back to Jiménez / Not this time. Abuelito's shit is legal."
"Brown is forever." After reading the whole collection, this line takes on greater signficance. Take a ride on the bus with this cast of characters in Tejas. On a Greyhound Straight from the 915 (Finishing Line Press) is available on amazon and from the Finishing Line Press website.
*note: the book cover above is a draft version. the final version has the "h" in "straight" and Mónica's accent on the "o".
**Very happy to see this work in print and looking forward to reading many more of her poems. A lot of heart here, and humor, and craft. I met Mónica in EPT a few years ago, and it's nice to read about ept here as it's reminder how it connects so many people, near and afar.