A Lover’s Letter to Morrissey

(as shared by Dr. Melissa Hidalgo at Cal State San Bernardino and at the National Association Chicana/Chicano Studies Conference, 2014)

Because we craved permission to be despondent in English

Desperate for words to hide erections for other boys

behind Trapper Keepers, to document Kotex leaks in our journals

We needed

To be maudlin about being untranslatable

To do this in private, in the company of someone with rank

We hunted for you in crates, battled mold and being broke

Scraped pennies from grandparents who collected cans to feed us

We needed to hear your 50s guitar, the key of sorrow

Fans of Juan Gabriel twirl

We shake farsantes, know posers when we see them

You our savior for the disconsolation of being

Mexican and born here or not, our duplexes south of the 60 freeway

No Movement murals cushion a daily gray sky, ninety-nice cent interchanges

To your voice, we work our lives away in UPS trucks, as perfect receptionists, in community college for eight years

You taught me to hate the queen

I already hated the church for making me dirty, we were instant friends

You showed me to want public transit death, as long as we were together

We saved you from the has-been dollar bin

We’re your American Manchester Day Dream, empty tire factories, soot-covered eyelids, cracked front teeth and bleeding lips

We fondled your open shirts and built a country around you

of sidelong glances and glum gladiolus

When you first saw our tight black jeans and creepers,

You caught us like that tiger, recognized our crestfallen brown eyes,

lined in black, our red lips

Knew closely our penchant for racing Chevys down Slauson with no headlights

We were your wistful twins, nostalgic that boy we won’t share

You saw us make love in cemeteries

Gave us trim sideburns, Las Vegas Elvis beats made us jump like beans

We are fatalists by nations on all sides

Death-happy because it constantly raps at our door

In the carcinogenic heart of this Manchester

Our black lungs sing with you

Because every time we listen

It’s our last day, too


Originally published in Brooklyn & Boyle Magazine, February 2014, Abel Salas, editor

Vertiz Hosts UC Riverside MFA Reading Series

Join Vickie Vertiz this school year as she hosts UC Riverside’s graduate student reading series. Come hear crisp stories, dangerous poems, and legends about sorrow, robots, and much more.

Featured readers from UCR:
Aleksandr Peterson, Derrick Ortega, Amanda Ruud,  and more.

Special guests: Chad Sweeney, and Cal State San Bernardino MFA students: Tristan Acker, K.L. Straight., Elisha Holt, Isaac Escalera, Heather Reyes, Andrea Fingerson and Ryan Garcia.
+ open mic


Cellar Door Books 225 Canyon Crest Dr. Suite 30A/B, across from Jammin’ Bread, Riverside, Ca 951-787-7807


Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, 7:30-9pm, Free event

Facebook page:


Mark your calendars for future reading dates:

January 16, 2014
Cal State University San Bernardino

March 7, 2014
Skylight Books

May 15, 2014- Second Year Student Final Reading
Culver Art Center