August 16th: Love letters
A Love Letter to Mae West
, by Brenda Moguez

Ms. Mae West
1000 Feather Boa Ave
Penthouse in the Heavens

Subject: A man’s kiss is his signature


I was raised by Latin women, not the stereotypical, in fact, there are few books written about the likes of my foremothers—Apache, Gypsy, Mexican, Ute—full-stop exotic women who refused to follow the rules, kind of like you, really. It’s their moxie where I draw my strength and what makes me most proud to be who I am. They didn’t confine themselves to the time they lived in or the men who shared their bed. Good or bad, I’m not sure, but their courageous spirit is also the source of both my love and heartache.
For the Ortega women our mixed blessings lie in the snarled wiring of our brains. We trip over generations of emotional corpses when it comes to the handling, processing, and managing, of our passionate feelings. After years of outside influences ranging from medicine men, Popes, fathers, lovers, and the occasional tango with free thinkers, we continue to crash at high speeds into the imaginary brick wall of love after we’ve swallowed love-magic in one gulp.

In a wink, our fearless-empathic-selves evaporate, and we’re left to tossing the dice hoping for sevens. Mae, you’re a woman who knows more than you ever had the chance to say. How I wish you were around today with a prime time television show, or a talk radio program taking calls from women like me who are befuddled by romance.

Heaven help me, Mae, but I need a cure for love, at the very least, electric shock to knock some sense into my head. I am tangled in my genetic wiring. Pathetic. My great grandmother took life in her own hands by taking the life of the man who beat her daily (this was back before forensics and the Texas Rangers). It shames me to confess this to you of all women, but here goes. Mae, one man’s kiss has tied me down. It’s left me motionless. I can’t move forward. It’s everywhere I look, in the wind that dances across my lips, in my dreams at night when my body surrenders to the spirit of the viaduct, in the quiet of my mind between thoughts. It’s at the back of my mind, always.

You said once, “A woman in love can’t be reasonable – or she probably wouldn’t be in love.” I ache for my old in-control-logical-sensibility. I’m ten feet under the crazy unreasonableness of love. The problem for me is he is not the man I want to love, think of, dream about, lust for, imagine, every time my mind is unoccupied. He wasn’t the first, but he’s the only one who took my heart without my permission. My damn heart saw him and sold me out for a long, slow, kiss, with one come-hither she melted at his feet. I’m doomed now. I feel the world closing in around me no less than one hundred and seventy-seven moments of each day. I try fighting it, but I rarely win. I want out of my mental trap and yearn for the level surface of the neutrality. After him, I know love isn’t a choice we make; rather it falls over a woman like a storm in December.

Now that I am stumbling in the wake of him, I can’t remember the way back to myself. I remember you said, “All discarded lovers should be given a second chance, but with somebody else.” Mae, I hear you, but damn woman, I don’t want him to be in any other’s arms. I don’t want him, yet I do, and how. I don’t want him to want anybody but me. I want to be the only one who lights him from the inside out, as he continues to do to me. It’s twisted I know. Is it always like this? I can hear my Apace grandmother hexing me now. Enough is enough, Hijita, she is saying.

I suppose we all have one lover whom we carry in our heart until our dying day. He is mine. It can’t be a good thing if I can still taste the inside his kiss-sweet like honeydew melon, spicy like cayenne. Oh Mae, I hope he’s not the last, but right now, it feels like he is my Waterloo.

It’s not looking good for me. Maybe you can summon my foremothers, and between all of you, conjure some heat, and send down a bolt of lightning to shake me loose from this love.

Lost in paradise,


Brenda Moguez foolishly said I do to a Brit, packed up what she couldn’t sell into a couple duffle bags and headed across the Atlantic. She found a sister in Dorothy, and thought London similar to OZ. Her larger than life-life, left her feeling anxious and elated, empowered and afraid, mostly she felt topsy turvy. To combat the extreme emotions that sweep through her body at least hourly, if not every other minute, she took to writing lengthy letters home on sheets of blue Par Avion paper. After running out of factoids to report, she took to making up stories. It was in the writing where she glimpsed an unknown dream. Much later, after catching a balloon ride back to the states, and settling into yet another chapter of her life, she realized she missed having a reason to write stories. She bought a journal, filled it, another, and another, and finally, she took up writing as a fulltime passion. She is currently shopping her first novel, and has started working on the second. She suggests if you are tinkering with the idea of writing to always—no matter what anyone says—to trust in your voice. Find her at

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3 responses to “August 16th: Love letters
A Love Letter to Mae West
, by Brenda Moguez”

  1. Brenda says:

    Will do. She has that sort of moxie.

  2. Lady J says:


  3. Betsy T says:

    If Ms. West ever writes it back, please send it my way – my love life needs HELP! lol







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