Melissa Lozada-Oliva

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Melissa Lozada-Oliva is a Guatelombian (Guatemalan-Colombian) American poet and screenwriter living in Brooklyn by way of Massachusetts.  Her book peluda (Button Poetry 2017) explores the intersections of Latina identity, feminism, hair removal & what it means to belong. Her novel-in-verse Dreaming of You is about bringing Selena back to life through a seance & the disastrous consequences that follow & it’s coming out October 2021 on Astra House. She is the co-host of podcast Say More with Olivia Gatwood where they dissect the world through a poetic lens. Lozada-Olivia is currently working on a pilot about a haunted book store. She is interested in horror because she’s scared of everything. Lozada-Olivia likes when things are little funny so that she has space to be a little sad. Her work has been featured or is forthcoming in REMEZCLA, PAPER, The Guardian, BreakBeat Poets, Kenyon Review, Vulture, Bustle, Glamour Magazine, The Huffington Post, Muzzle Magazine, The Adroit Journal, and BBC Mundo! Source

Excerpt from "Like Totally Whatever"

In case you haven’t realized it has somehow become necessary for old white men to tell me how to speak

They like, interrupt a conversation that isn’t even theirs, and are like “speak like you mean it” and like “the internet is ruining the English language.”

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And they like, put my “parentheticals,” my “likes” and “ums,” and “you knows” on a wait list.

 

Tell them no one will take them seriously in a frilly pink dress. Or that make-up.

Tell them they have a confidence problem. That they should learn to speak up, like the hyper-masculine words were always the first to raise their hands.

 

Declarative sentences, so-called, because they declared themselves to be the loudest, most truest, most taking up the most space, most totally white man sentences.

Have always told me that being angry has never helped like, anybody.

Has only gotten in the way of helping them declare more about how they’ll never be forgotten like, ever.

 

And it’s like maybe I’m always speaking in questions because I’m so used to being cut off.

Like maybe, this is a defense mechanism: Maybe everything girls do is evolution of defense mechanism.

 

But I guess feelings never helped anybody.

I guess like, tears never made change.

I guess like everything girls do is a waste of time

 

So welcome to the bandwagon of my own uncertainty.

Watch as I stick flowers into your “punctuation mark” guns, ’cause you can’t just challenge authority. You have to take it to the mall, too.

Teach it to do the “bend and snap.” Paint its nails, braid its hair, tell it it looks like, really good today.

 

And in that moment before you murder it with all of the in your like, softness, you let it know that like this, like this moment is like, um, you know, me using my voice.

Published:

2015

Length:

Regular

Literary Movements:

Spoken Word

Anthology Years:

2022

Themes:

Humor & Satire

Womanhood

Literary Devices:

Allusion

an expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference

Anaphora

a figure of speech in which words repeat at the beginning of successive clauses, phrases, or sentences

Dialogue

conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or movie

Irony

the expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect

Personification

the attribution of human qualities to a non-human thing

Repetition

a recurrence of the same word or phrase two or more times

Sarcasm

the use of irony to mock or convey contempt