These Days of Candy
In his latest book, These Days of Candy, Manuel Paul López writes: “I’m a mouth with your laughter trapped in me.” That laughter is streaked with “tears,” “dried fireflies,” “blood,” and “long inspired verses.” Walt Whitman may have contained multitudes, but López brings us “The Warriors” (there are dozens of them, all memorable), “Mouse Pad Becky,” “Radio Mind,” Mr. Signal,” “The Saddened Man,” and “the superhero towel”– determined, defiant, and stunted individuals whose voices (the ones Mr. “White” Whitman ignored) are shrill, sharp, sensuous, and snappy. They bounce us around the expanding universe of warehouses and vacation hideaways, as they burrow into our lives, persistent as worms. “I am disoriented from the daily blood donations extorted from the body via black and white bloodmobiles.” Lopez’s poems are “a walking coagulant,” a “One angel wheelbarrowed inflation,” and a “Global Positioning System.” The only way to release the laughter is to read Lopez’s testimonies, as necessary as the poisonous air that we have to breathe.
Manuel Paul López’s books and chapbook include The Yearning Feed (2013), 1984 (2010) and Death of a Mexican and Other Poems (2006). He co-edited Reclaiming Our Stories: Narratives of Identity, Resilience, and Empowerment (2016). A CantoMundo fellow, his work has been published in Bilingual Review, Denver Quarterly, Hanging Loose, Huizache, Puerto del Sol, and ZYZZYVA, among others. His work has been supported by the San Diego Foundation’s Creative Catalyst Fund. He lives in San Diego and teaches at San Diego City College.