Breaking Up With Los Angeles by Raquel Gutiérrez

Three poems from the forthcoming self-released chapbook Breaking Up With Los Angeles, available in February 2014, read more here.


for José E. Muñoz

His mouth full of pita chips and baba ghannouj making the exotic mundane belonged to him and he tells me to be brillante, permission granted

engage the brown; it’s not rice and beans studies but you must engage the brown

turkey burger, a glass of Chardonnay order whatever you want

he fed me well he fed all of us well

He picks up the tab, of course he does so with fists full of American currency coarse in display, eyes a-blaze and obtained

from the local check cashing spot in the Village

I am spic rich! he exclaims his smile so goddamn real

it hurts




(Resource Space in Skid Row)


death made

many cameo appearances last year

for the few who still engage poetry

accept this futile attempt

to leave behind directives for my own

here’s a few explicit pleas to not let

my unimaginative family decide

my last rite into passage

scatter my ash; the keeper of my ambivalences,

a casket is

a sorry stage unable to

satisfy my internal monologue,

scatter me in the mouth of Los Angeles

her stomach the desert

her ass the sea

her shoulders the mountains

and her womb

the east Los Angeles freeway interchange

for the 5 brought me all of California

while the 101 took to me to where it was possible

impossible on the 10 during rush hour

and the 60 carried my broken teenage heart home




Artists make bad administrators

loathesome is the way artists

without family money


Spreadsheets make boring bedfellows

Funders; otherwise known as those responsible

for public radio

eradicating child hunger

and providing poor women with the tools for success

murder the spirit

with innovation

shiny objects


The chakra that shines orange and

anchors sex and creativity

creative thinkers organize a year

on Post It notes

one-upping with technologies of order

that say nothing except

we are just going to fuck up your 501c3





( Mexico City)

I smoked his old cigarettes

The ones he put out in the ashtray

you kept in the stairwell

He smoked heavy metal too

even when you quit half a decade early

By the time I got there it was pure ash and filter

That smoke already became stain on his teeth

by the time I got there

You were home. Smelled my mischief


Called a young black preacher

Just above my head

She told me to get on out of there

Don’t I got a new piece on the side now?

Her vulgarity takes me by surprise

But everyone and her mama is a

Misogynist these epochs

I run out

Tempting to stay just within earshot

Of the apartment we used to share

I take the ashtray instead


Thinking of the condom wrapped in tissue

But it was his art

on display

in my house that seared the most