Karen Tardiff Reviews “SCREW THE WALL”



“Check Your Privilege at the Wall”
“Juan does not hold back any punches. From the beginning when he dreams of a free America, you know he isn’t living free in this America. He calls out the racism he learned to deal with as a young child, but refuses to be a part of. In “Push Farther My Father Said” you see the beginnings of his own revolution, wielding his words to create a path out of the onion fields. Don’t be mistaken, he doesn’t disparage his upbringing. Juan knows where he has been, what has been sacrificed. What continues to be sacrificed. In “I See Brown People” he sees the work being put in my brown people everywhere, except “In history books?/In schools?/In the world?” By the time you get to “Screw the Wall!” and it’s rallying cry, Juan has dismantled the institution and the government, so you think you’re ready. But you’re not. If this poem doesn’t make you uncomfortable, you need to go back and read this book again. Juan has laid it all bare in this collection. He is dropping history and reminding us that equality has yet to be achieved.”
—Review on Amazon.com
Book Available at FlowerSong Press:
Book also available on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble !!!


“Juan M Pérez presents and bestows an impressive benefaction to Chicano poetry literature. The Poet Laureate provides a rich textuality of subject matter creating social, familial, and political relationships that define the thematic elements of his narrative poetry.
El campo de cebollas es la patria de Juan, spiritually and physically. It is a place of ancestral memories, of youthful experiences, y refugio, where economically disenfranchised native people live and work on their stolen land; a life shaped by sweat labor and a father’s love, a father who saw the repressive reality of America but nevertheless tells his son to “push forward.” And the son does. The motif of poems and stories in Screw the Wall es el viaje de Juan por la carretera que refleja las palabras de su Papa.
The Bard of the Onion Field, like Alice in 1871, decides to climb through the looking glass into the world he can see beyond. Along the way he meets Mexicans who are moving to Mars; the Cat, the cool Cat from the other side, you know, of town; and he marches with Cesar and Dolores and Sweet Baby Jesus and Latter Day (saints) Mexican-Americans. Pérez invites us into his soul where he sees brown people in salads and gives us a civic lesson on the Declaration of Independence—the ESL version. He predicts the fall of Humpity Trumpity from his wall and then he screws whitey.
Screw the Wall and other brown people stories is Juan’s way of returning to the onion field; but this time with the benefit of a critical social perspective of the repressive reality of America.
“Push farther,” his father said; “climb with me through the looking glass,” urged Alice. And the troubadour pushed and climbed, planted and sowed, shared and planted again.
As he returns leading us back to the onion field, through the mesquite, prickly pear cactus, catclaw, guajillo, cenizo, y huisache, we hear a voice, a voice echoing from a young Taino asking, “as the pillage and plunder continues, who will be left to tell of what happened to us Grandfather?” An elder replies, “among us who survive there will be poets to recount that which happened to us.” (raúlrsalinas)
I Am Juan of the Onion Field.
Snip. Snip. Snip.
P.S. Juan’s narrative poetry is meant for oral recitation.”


This poetry volume by Juan Perez, released May 2020, bears the title #ScrewTheWall which may, even now, make some folks flinch. Yet the verses speak of a variety of barriers, not just THE Wall. …Btw, one epigraph – taken from the current President himself — ended up a highly ironic quote about our choices when we find a wall in our path! …All the poems are in English — except one, a ballad on “book trafficking.”
The poem “Mexicans Appear Violent” dealt w/perceptions of brown skin; “When Mexicans Attack!” spoke of Hollywood’s own sway. I liked the poignant verses on past-generation migrant field workers; those of the present also had their contributions acknowledged. “Mexi-Scam” was an indictment of how MX-Americans have had their identity & worth impaired, not just via external forces… but internal ones, too.

My Second Zombie Zonnet Manuscript Wins HONORABLE MENTION in 2020 NaPoWriMo Contest!!


NaPoWriMo 2020 Chapbook Contest Winners!!!

First Place: Carla Christopher

Second Place: Brian Donnell James

Third Place: Al Ripandelli

Honorable Mentions:

Sandy Karrow
Lyndsey Collison
Sarah Ritter
Diane Lowman
Pamela Denyes
Nancy Simmonds

LOCAL GEMS PRESS was the Contest Sponsor.

“We want to applaud the winners and honorable mentions. We had a record number of contest entries this year, and a record number of people who completed the challenge! We had so many amazing chapbooks submitted, but sadly we could only take a few. Regardless, the challenge this year was an amazing success, so many people wrote so much and we want to thank everyone who participated.”



The Rhysling Awards Results!

First of all, A Million THANK YOUs to the beautiful persons who nominated and voted for my speculative haiku, “beyond its two eyes,” in the Short Form Category of the Science Fiction And Fantasy Poetry Association’s 2020 Rhysling Awards, as well as, for including it in this year’s Rhysling Anthology.

No, I didn’t place, but it was an honor just to be included.


1st Place: “Taking, Keeping” • Jessica J. Horowitz • Apparition Lit 5

2nd Place: “when my father reprograms my mother {” • Caroline Mao • Strange Horizons, Fund Drive

3rd Place: (tie) Creation: Dark Matter Dating App, Sandra J. Lindow, Asimov’s SF, July/August, 2019


(tie) “The Day the Animals Turned to Sand” • Tyler Hagemann • Amazing Stories, Spring 2019


1st Place: “Heliobacterium daphnephilum” • Rebecca Buchanan • Star*Line 42.3

2nd Place: “The Cinder Girl Burns Brightly” • Theodora Goss • Uncanny 28

3rd Place: (tie) “Ode to the Artistic Temperament” • Michael H. Payne • Silver Blade 42


(tie) “The Macabre Modern” • Kyla Lee Ward • The Macabre Modern and Other Morbidities (P’rea Press)