Paula Mendoza: This Is Why I Can't Have Nice Things

the nature of a literary|art collective means getting used to a constant coming and going of people who forever leave a beautiful mark on not only who we are as a group, but as individuals, too. it's always bittersweet: so many friends who have worked with spiderweb salon in the past have left to go on and do wonderful things in the world: whether it's moving to peruse a creative dream in a big city, starting sprawling projects of their own, collaborating on new, exciting things and exploring different mediums, or going back to school for creative writing, poetry, dance, or art... today we get to share the work one of these dear friends who moved just last year to work on her PhD in creative writing, but who we still cherish as one of our community as she goes on to make amazing things happen! meet poet & artist Paula Jane Mendoza. we miss her dearly and will let her message, poem (This Is Why I Can't Have Nice Things), and prompt speak for themselves here, lighting the way on this second thursday of national poetry month:

Writing is often lonely work; where my head’s at when I write is kind of a lonely place. I don’t think anyone can live there for too long. Crawling out of my personal think-pit would never happen if it weren’t for the joy and strength afforded by other sympathetic souls who believe—absurdly, impossibly—that making art makes this world a little less terrible. What all this means is that anywhere I stay long enough, I put in the time to locate my tribe. Denton may be the first place I’ve lived where that search felt almost magically easy. Spiderweb Salon held space for me, and for so many other writers, artists, and musicians—to make. Play. Find light. I realize this isn’t much of a bio, but how I do my thing is because humans like those I’ve met through Spiderweb Salon exist. So, right. My thing: I’m coming from Austin, Texas (before that, B.C., Canada and before that, Caloocan, Philippines). Got my MFA at University ofMichigan in Ann Arbor, and am currently in Salt Lake City earning my PhD in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Utah. My work’s shown up here, there, and elsewhere and you can check most of it out here: I’ve also got a few chapbooks (All Slither, Bruha, and 23 Below), which you can pick up at Malvern Books in Austin, or at Deep Vellum in Dallas if you happen to be in town. Or, if you come through SLC, let me know, and I’ll barter you a copy for coffee and a conversation.

This Is Why I Can't Have Nice Things

Deserve's got nothing

to do with it.


I am not careless.

My cruelties exact.


I am not good, I am a human.

I am a good demon, my lies are lies.


This is why beneath his palm

what flesh he grabs is full and warm.


It can be his, I give it like that.

One can say


of my love's eyes, they are

soulful, of my lover's eyes, ice.


Sky is only blue because light gets bent.

Everything I see is crooked.


And last but not least, Paula's writing prompt for us today:

Did your mom or your teachers or your friends ever tell you something over and over? Like, some admonition or reprimand addressing one of your (many) bad habits?  Maybe something pointing out a tendency, a flaw, a fault? Or, it could be a oft-hollered warning, a piece of advice. I always used to hear, “You’d forget your head if it wasn’t screwed on”. Also, there’s the one about running with scissors and putting my brothers’ eyes out. Think back on all those glittering shards of scoldy clichés. Choose one. Now, literalize it. Or, think of a supernatural creature whose sole reason for existing was to prove their scolder right. Now, write it.

 Paula working on a fresh zine at a spiderweb workshop c 2015/2016 

Paula working on a fresh zine at a spiderweb workshop c 2015/2016