What I like about Didi Menendez's poetry is that she sees honesty and vulnerability as essential to the palette. Forget showboating, Forget verbal tricks; she uses language as an arrow that never misses the heart and brings with it personal history, longings, dreams, wishes, and fabulous attitude. The only thing better than a person who knows who she, is that person turning it into art. She works 26 hours a day creating, producing, and presenting. This is what I call Holy Work. Making things that did not exist before. -Grace Cavalieri
Didi Menendez was born in Cuba and now lives in Illinois. She's a curator of 21st century visual art, hosting annual exhibitions throughout the country. She has a publishing house for poetry books (GOSS183) and is the Editor/Publisher of several periodicals featuring either Art or Poetry and many times both: i.e., Poets&Artists, MiPOeseia, Ocho. She's a painter, as well as a presenter, working in oils, acrylics, and electronic methods.
She says her favorite poets are Grace Cavalieri, Bob Hicok, Nin Andrews, Ron Androla, John Korn, Matthew Hittinger, David Lehman, and Denise Duhamel.
I stop for Coup de' Villes and blue eyed men who run
marathons of ghosts and what if I was in love with a
boy named Roberto in our Spanish class in High School
who was half Japanese and half German and preferred penises
to my virginity and what if the boy next door was in love with the
other girl next door and not me and what if her name
was Maria and what if my husband later would leave me
for a Maria and what of it if I break to admire the canary
yellow long cars parked in front of the old Ozark House
filled with men who were shipped off to Viet Nam when
they were 17 and what if I ride my bike past the golf course
across the Ozark House at sunset as these same men search
for their keys after three scotches on the rocks and who may
have been my father but are not because my father was
too busy tripping on LSD as his lobotomy hummed a little tune
from long ago when he was young and living the life of a prince
in Havana, the prodigal son who should have taken on the family
business but instead was imprisoned by Fidel in a cold cell naked
and as his paranoia sank in, the rest is history and here I am and what
if Free Bird starts to play in my headphones and I fly
like a little boy catching the moon while I think of you?
I used to dance the discos in Miami.
Now I ride my bike down the blocks of the Midwest.
I pass the good ole boy's house with the confederate flag.
I look the other way to the playground with children playing.
The sun is hitting my eyes and my photochromic lenses turn black.
I turn around the golf course but it is too hot for the bankers, insurance
salesmen and brokers. Cars are filling up the local dive as I turn past to
the houses with recently mowed lawns and the buzz of air conditioners
while the scent of lilacs still lingers in the air, my headphones filled with
Spotify1970's stream starts to play Van Morison's Moondance. I start to bop
my head like those little dogs in the back of Low Riders cruising down
Sepulveda Boulevard and I am back in Hollywood High as I sit across
the cutest boy in class and Mrs. Baxter is talking about syntax and I
remember how rejection pierced through my heart and although
the pang is a long distant ache, I continue back to my little
house filled with recently watered sunflowers as my
dog wags it's tail when I open the door.
Reaching for the Stars
August 12, 2016
I’m leaving you for Keanu Reeves.
Sure he lives in another State and is a movie star and you are someone I have met in person and have a million and one things in common with.
Sure Keanu tends to wait by bus stops for a bus which never seems to arrive and you live in town and have a car.
Keanu seems to to be someone I could share a Cuban sandwich with while we wait for the bus. We could talk about Quantum Physics, poetry, art, the next great American novel, and baseball.
Sure he has had tragedy, despair, and love lost just like any other Joe.
I think he would appreciate my company and homemade flan along with a demitasse of espresso while we tatty tattle about politics and the current State of Affairs.
He would get to know and understand me realizing that I am in fact a nice, smart and funny girl. I could amuse him with my antics and maybe make him laugh now and then between the sorrow.
Sure Keanu is not my Facebook friend and not on any other social media and is not listed in the phone book and I don’t know where he lives, or have his email and is probably somewhere in China filming another failed movie but so what! He is just as unattainable as you are so I might as well reach for the stars.
I’ve got my hair teased like a B52.
I am a potato publisher.
Ida know about potatoes.
Pink plumb potatoes.
I used to publish penguins.
Penguins can be difficult.
I used to photograph potatoes.
Potatoes in veils.
Potatoes in bibs.
Potatoes in gowns.
Potatoes on the cat walk.
Sweet Sixteen potatoes.
I’ve got my hair teased like a B52.
I am wearing purple passion pants.
I am practicing my percussion.
I used to play the piano.
I am pointing at you.
You You You!!!
You beautiful potato you!
You are going to be big potato.
I can see it now.
Don’t forgot your cashmere sweater.
Where is the coca-cola?
Here is a straw.
I used to play hot potato.
Miss Mary Black.
Dressed in black, black.
Jumped so high she kissed a potato pie.
I used to paint potatoes.
Potatoes in silhouette.
Pixels of potatoes.
Potatoes in black and white.
I prefer sepia potatoes.
Pass the potato please.
Reject that potato please.
Give that potato a raise.
Where is my Pulitzer?
Where is my Pushcart?
Where is my Best American potato?
Hey stop that penguin!!
He has taken my cashmere sweated potato.
Poor poor potato.
I grew up in a cult.
We were the minority.
until we took over the city.
Other cults tried as well.
They dressed in orange and red,
shaved their heads,
sang songs at the airport.
Their tambourines jingling in the air
between the baggage claim and the tourists.
my cult was submissive.
We tried not to stick out.
Although most of the outsiders thought
we were loud and boisterous,
we were quiet between ourselves.
There was unification in our cause.
A silent understanding of what
had to be done.
And so, we set out
to infiltrate the universities.
We earned the degrees
in the language of the locals.
We built houses, temples,
We renamed the streets
after the names of the executed.
We married and procreated
and taught our offspring
the language of the cult.
Some of us infiltrated
New Jersey and Chicago.
Our community there was not
as vivacious as the original city
we took over.
Miami was the city
which most reminded
us of home.
And there I lived.
In that city
among my cult
until one day
I had to leave.
And so it is written.
I settled in the prairie
where the seasons changed.
Where there was no shore to escape to.
No shore to wait for others to arrive.
And here my offspring
will grow among the corn stalks
where I will
never look back
when I become
the salt of this earth.