I fell in love with a locksmith
in creative writing class where
everyone was young and smart.
One girl wrote a short story
comparing everything to Wagner.
She said “Vahgner” recalling
her term in Munich.
Another wrote fantasy where
Rambo met Rimbaud, there was
camouflage and French pastry,
AKs blasting bottles of Bordeaux.
I was a low-rent girl from stucco.
I watched Stallone flicks.
Ate Kraft dinners.
Wanted to drop out
until the locksmith read
his story, “Charles Bukowski
and Me.” I’d never heard of Buk
either, but failed postmen
and alcoholics were my people.
The locksmith’s fingers were thin
and cool. When he traced fiction
over my skin, a Wagner aria
sprang from my lips onto his rumpled sheets.
Who knew? A double-wide could be a poem.
Santa Cruz, San Diego, San Francisco. Lucky’s, Karma, and Cher. McQueen’s poetry is a litany to what is beautiful, sexy, lonely, sad and searching for its own heart through its own body in America. These are poems for every woman (and the fabulous men!) who have been the bad girlfriend – unafraid to demand better or to walk out – even as we cling to the people and places that we keepy leaving and loving.
—Cassie Premo Steele, Poet, Earth Joy Writing
These poems have an energy from the dreamlike, headlong rush of “What Loving You is Like” to the darker, obsessive momentum of “Ted Bundy and Me”, McQueen’s poems are filled with mischief, transgress, and painful truths written with a lightness of touch and humor that makes each one a joy to read.
—Krishan Coupland, Editor, Neon Magazine UK
I’ve waited all my life for this Harley ride. Whitman’s “resist much, obey little” is the key to the ignition as I turn my life over to Debra McQueen, tentative at first,
hanging on too tight, but every curve we master I’m more and more willing to let her steer. This is a keeper, a ride I’ll take again. That’s what reading her is like.
—Jane Ellen Ibur, Both Wings Flappin’, Still Not Flyin’ and The Little Mrs. / Misses