Junkyard Dogs is the debut poetry collection by National Poetry Slam champion Damien Flores. His poems evoke the Old Town Albuquerque of his youth, growing up in a large, complicated Catholic family, and his relationships with his family and the city of his upbringing.
With appearances from Juana Henrieta and Manuel Leyba, Tony Mares, Freddy Fender, and Johnny Tapia, Flores pays homage to the people and places of the Duke City.
Damien Flores hails from nowhere but Albuquerque, Alburque, the Duke City, El Duque, La Plaza Vieja, La Ruca, Old Town, New Mexico, United States of Atzlaìn. Named NM Hispano Entertainer's Association's Poet of the Year in 2007 and 2008, Flores teaches at the University of New Mexico and the Native American Community Academy, and he hosts the Spoken Word Hour on Sunday nights on 89.9 KUNM-FM. His poems appear in two chapbooks, A Novena of Mud and El Cuento de Juana Henrieta, both published by Destructible Heart Press.
"Damien Flores is a griot of his comunidad chronicling lives worth 'nothing and everything.' He sings songs of saints, whispers prayers of barrio boxers, chants testemonios of junkyard dogs, recites raza histories real and imagined, and dances with ghosts, claiming space for them among the living. Like John Henry reincarnated as Juana Henrieta, Flores's characters are defiant homes on gentrified blocks battling for survival. These cuentos, 'smooth as a new Cadillac,' are crafted with rhythm, soul, and honesty. But above all, they are written with love from the heart of a powerful storyteller. Junkyard Dogs excavates proud bones that refuse to remain buried."--Amalia Ortiz, HBO Def Poet and author of Rant. Chant. Chisme
"Through the voices of 'our breathing ancestors,' Flores brings to life generations of nuevomexicanos and Chicanos that have shaped the Burque landscape. His poetry reminds us that this space if filled with the hearts and souls of those who have come before us and continue to inspire us through storytelling. His poetry echoes life lessons of love and loss, heroic deeds, and the everyday triumphs of those we hold in high esteem and those that often are forgotten."--Dr. Vanessa Fonseca, Asst. Professor of English, Arizona State University