Tuesday, March 21, 2017



Humpty Drumpfty and Other Poems by Melinda Luisa de Jesús
(Moria Books’ Locofo Chaps, Chicago, 2017)

Melinda Luisa de Jesus has a way of breaking apart Mother Goose rhymes, interrupting the rhythm and rhyme to create both comic effects and outrage. Here’s an example from the title poem:

Donald Drumpf felt so small
Donald Drumpf wanted a wall
But all Bannon’s horses
and all McConnell’s men
Couldn’t do fucking squat
So they subcontracted to some nice Mexican dudes
            down at the Home Depot

We chuckle at the profane, colloquial break after line four, and admire the clever joke, which is also commentary – the big shot developer hiring (as he has often done) illegal immigrants to do the work. The Mexicans are not only “nice,” but hardworking and competent. What’s especially delicious is how the poem proceeds –

But it sure was strange how that sturdy wall
seemed to move
a few feet north day
after day
Pretty soon there were two, even three taco trucks
on every corner
and good panaderias in every town

Here’s another, short enough to quote in its entirety:

Pussy hat, pussy hat
What makes your purr?
Five million people worldwide
Protesting 45’s fuckery.

She also has some choice words for her “fellow Filipino Americans who voted for Trump:”

We’re just here
to be the diversity in the photo op
to serve and clean,
always smiling, submissive
houseboys, nannies, maids, sex workers
model minorities

She is not smiling in these clever, stinging poems. Laughing maybe, but with rage right behind.


Steve Klepetar’s work has appeared in nine countries, in such journals as Boston Literary Magazine, Deep Water, Antiphon, Red River Review, Snakeskin, Ygdrasil, and many others.  Several of his poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, including four in 2016. He has published 12 collections, the most recent of which include "A Landscape in Hell" (Flutter Press); "Family Reunion" (Big Table Publishing); and "How Fascism Comes to America" (Locofo Chaps).

1 comment:

  1. Another view is offered by Eileen Tabios in the February 2017 edition at