This week in the PEN Poetry Series, PEN America features five poems by Wendy Trevino, whose latest book, Cruel Fiction, is out this month from Commune Editions. 



for Jessica Iñiguez

What the entertainment industry learned
From Buddy Holly, in the days after
The music died, is that there are few things
More lucrative than the untimely death
Of a rising star. & in the case of
Selena, Queen of Tejano, there was
Even more to be made off images
Of collective mourning, as “Latinx”
Coalesced into a new market that
Became part of the story. Howard Stern
Played the xenophobic American
For the shock value, while in Mexico
1,000,000 people lost their jobs & the
Feminicides in Juarez didn’t stop.



I was in a vintage clothing store on
Valencia called Shauplatz when I found
Out Michael Jackson had died. I started
Crying. “Oh, Honey, don’t cry. Prince is still
Alive,” one of the men who ran the store
Said. From my apartment on 25th
Street, you could hear cars honking & blasting
“Beat It” until it got dark. It was like
When El Salvador beat Mexico in
A World Cup qualifier days later
Or when the Giants won the World Series
The next year, except “we” felt bigger while
Sharing this loss. Josh says he thought it would
Go down, which is more or less what I mean.



Carlos Ferrer’s maid. At an expensive
Private college in Central Texas, that’s
Who I thought I was. How I saw myself
In relation to the people I was
Around. I was the kind of girl guys like
Che Guevara want to play with. & by
“Guys like Che,” I mean guys from money, not
Revolutionaries. That’s the feeling
That, at page 9, was so strong I had to
Put his bio down. I was right to stop
Playing. It wasn’t just a feeling, but
Looking at that passage, I also see
The self-absorption & myopia
I’m capable of. I’ll come back to that.



Capitalism is bad for women—
Be they cis or trans. Whoever we are
We start there. Not all women will agree.
Let’s be honest: the brutality
Of capitalism’s not as brutal
To some women. For instance, in Juarez
Not every woman’s body is seen as
“Disposable.” The women whose bodies
Rosa-Linda Fregoso refers to
Are racialized, as well as gendered &
Poor. Can we admit what it means to be
A woman—what it requires you do
Daily depends on other things you are?
& you have to hate capitalism.



for the 57,000 & 2.3 million #allofusornoneofus

The largest prison strike in the history
Of the US is still going. “We want
[You] to understand the economics
Of the prison system…It’s not about
Crime & punishment. It’s about money,”
Inmate & organizer Melvin Brooks-
Ray says. Whoever we are we’re also
Against the state, prisons & cops. Against
The enforcement of gender. Confinement.
We know the war has to be total. It’s
Just like that. We’re against borders & choose
Who we want around us. I think it will
Get harder. We can’t forget Diana
La Vengadora. It might come to that.



Once a week, the PEN Poetry Series publishes work by emerging and established writers from coast to coast. Subscribe to the PEN Poetry Series mailing list and have poems delivered to your e-mail as soon as they are published (no spam, no news, just poems).