I saw a sadness in the poems found in Emily Pérez’s Made and Unmade as the speaker is conditioned for a new life. As new people and responsibilities are introduced, she’s expected to adhere to these changes, and while she does it, there seems to be this underlying resistance, as she knows it’s slowly changing the external perception people have of her.
There is also a look at the messed up order of the world. The men in charge aren’t equipped to handle the tasks at hand, but for some reason they think they are. In the end, their only qualification is their confidence in thinking they’re qualified. Pérez doesn’t overtly call this out, but she simply puts it on the page and we’re able to see enough to to show us how things are versus how they should be.
my husband says you’re married,
who cares if you are hot by which he
heralds the death of all erotics,
signals we will not be secret
lovers sneaking off , the job to
grope each other’s unknown
darkensses in supply closets or
family use bathrooms
This collection is about taking stock of your life and how things have changed or remained the same. It is a look at how your perspective shifts over time and people inevitably view you differently as your circumstances transform. People treat you as if you’re a whole new person simply because you’ve entered into a new phase of life. And these poems are actively working against that. I can appreciate Pérez fighting against this notion and doing her part in preserving the core of who she is. Domestic life is a change of responsibilities, but not a loss of autonomy.
Purchase your copy of Made and Unmade from Madhouse Press.