Lupe Mendez is a Poet/Educator/Activist, CantoMundo, Macondo & Emerging Poet Fellow and co-founder of the Librotraficante Caravan. He works with Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say to promote poetry events, advocate for literacy/literature and organize creative writing workshops that are open to the public. He is the founder of Tintero Projects and works with emerging Latinx writers and other writers of color within the Texas Gulf Coast Region, with Houston as its hub. His publishing credits include prose work in Latino Rebels, Free Press Houston, the Kenyon Review, and Norton's Sudden Fiction Latino: Short Short Stories from the United States and Latin America, and poetry that appears in Huizache, Luna Luna, Ostrich, Pilgrimage, Border Senses, the Texas Review, Tinderbox Poetry Journal and Gulf Coast.
Oh body, do not corner me,
do not grind me into paycheck,
give me a moment of you, body,
a morsel/laugh/eye contact
a moment past a season in the sun.
In the winter, let me rest, reposo,
give me some time to poet,
some time to scribble moon x 100
blue mark black out page stages.
I teach in a brick box. I am metal,
an insurance horse, don’t even have
my own dentist/space/shovel.
When I finally die/cry/dream
will have to find me a substitute.
They will be the only one
who thinks of me — in the fall.
Where did he put all those things?
And I will have to put myself together,
outside the urn, go back to work,
show them where I put those things,
then ask them if they need help.
I carry around a dead voice vase
full of wind. Wander without me,
body. Let me sleep, sleep, sleep
in for the next few days,
pen a particular pillar, mirror it,
wordsmith the shit wick out long
words, out of short words, a short
work week, maybe that is what is
needed. I cannot depend on you
to hear me. You ask too much already.
You so caught up in you, you only
listen to for the word "you". Funny,
I did write them with you in me mind.
"Prayer of a Work Horse" is a poem that speaks to fatigue that can affect a person who is the breadwinner or the caretaker. As the husband to a wife who suffers with LUPUS, I would be foolish to not write about this. Being the caretaker is a hard role, the constant "on call" element, the daily readjustment to the disease, for your partner and you. This poem hurt to write — but it was honest. It was about those negative moments, when you are isolated and tired, when you are clueless and helpless and not able to process that all, positively. It takes time to grow into these necessary forms of support but it is not without its own issues.