Book // Libro



WHY I AM LIKE TEQUILA (Willow Books, 2019) is a collection of poetry spanning a decade of writing and performance. This collection exists in 4 parts - each a layered perspective, a look through a Mexican/ Mexican - American voice living in the Texas Gulf Coast. Set within spaces such as Galveston Island, Houston, the Rio Grande Valley and Jalisco, Mexico, these poems peel away at all parts, like the maguey, drawing to craft spirits, quenching a thirst between land and sea.


“Why I Am Like Tequila is all “beautiful blue / maguey veins” stretching along the Gulf Coast, where borderlands and littorals meet. Indigenous Tejanx consciousness digs deep beneath the dystopian headlines (hurricanes, immigration officers) and finds "a million interconnected howls," in raw, cleansing songs about fathers, elders, lovers, neighbors, and children (the only, the never born, the never dead). Against Keats, Lupe Méndez seeks out a translingual beauty-truth ("inside I wanted el toque de luz") and insists on those untranslatable moments “when tongue slurs” and language “jettisons / out into the gulf.” From found poetry to a Spanish pantoum, Méndez’s writing performs “the act of island” where "I hold myself against this want" and we “dig dance move” with him. This is poetry about the contradictions of contemporary Brown masculinity and its discontents, about our island-cities and their archipelagos, about the blessings and curses of familia; in other words, urgent reading. With its heart of agave (“Mi corazón es un mezontle”), this book is firmly rooted in an expanded frontera, full of love and libations for our Américas.”                      

-Urayoán Noel, Author of Buzzing Hemispheres/Rumor Hemisférico

“In poems as intimate and outward as they are formally bold in disposition and address, Lupe Mendez connects the murderous brutality of events in Mexico and Latin America to scenes of U.S. violence involving citizens of color and immigrants caught in the institutional racism of church and state and law enforcement. “I am every grave / found in / Juarez, Sayula, Ayotzinapa… Caracas, Jasper, Sugar Land/ the next space, a next space, that next space.” The poet’s recognition of childhood hardship links his simultaneous life as artist, teacher, son, husband, and father to working class family histories in the precarious US American economy; to vigilante justice and terrorism on the borderlands; to the joyful sensation of blasting cumbias, quarreling lovers, park lights, and kinships, in a tribute to places like Magnolia Homes or in honor of the undocumented to whom Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts are indebted. Moving seamlessly between English and Spanish, Lupe Mendez re-enchants the world in poems that take root in the intensity and exaltation that accompany breathing—“el sonido de alas / un millón de alas en el viento.” “

-Roberto Tejada, Author of Full Foreground 

This collection is available for Pre-Order on Willow Book’s site, so click ———> HERE.