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Dreaming of You: A Novel in Verse

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NOW IN PAPERBACK FEATURING A SHORT STORY FROM THE FORTHCOMING COLLECTION BEYOND ALL REASONABLE DOUBT, JESUS IS ALIVE

"A macabre love story that casts an inquisitive eye on Latinidad, womanhood, and celebrity worship."
—Keely Weiss, Harper's Bazaar

"Melissa Lozada-Oliva's surreal novel-in-verse is sure to delight and surprise readers . . .
You may know and love Selena's voice, but Lozada-Oliva's is utterly new, original,
and worth hearing, too." —Elena Nicolaou, Oprah Daily

A macabre novel in verse of loss, longing, and identity crises following a poet who resurrects pop star Selena from the dead.


Melissa Lozada-Oliva's Dreaming of You is an absurd yet heartfelt examination of celebrity worship.

A young Latinx poet grappling with loneliness and heartache decides one day to bring Tejano pop star Selena Quintanilla back to life. The séance kicks off an uncanny trip narrated by a Greek chorus of gossiping spirits as she journeys through a dead celebrity prom, encounters her shadow self, and performs karaoke in hell.

In visceral poems embodying millennial angst, paragraph-long conversations overheard at her local coffeeshop, and unhinged Twitter rants, Lozada-Oliva reveals an eerie, sometimes gruesome, yet moving love story.

Playfully morbid and profoundly candid, an interrogation of Latinidad, womanhood, obsession, and disillusionment, Dreaming of You grapples with the cost of being seen for your truest self.

ISBN-13: 9781662601651

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: Astra Publishing House

Publication Date: 09-27-2022

Pages: 224

Product Dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)

Melissa Lozada-Oliva is the child of Guatemalan and Colombian immigrants. She co-hosts the podcast Say More and is a member of the band Meli and the Specs. She holds an MFA in poetry from NYU and her writing has been featured in Remezcla, PAPER, The Guardian, The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 4, Wirecutter, Vulture, Bustle, Glamour, The Huffington Post, Muzzle Magazine, The Poetry Project, Audible, and BBC Mundo. She is from Massachusetts and lives in New York City.

Read an Excerpt

Hello, querido reader.
Do you like poetry?
Maybe you like songs?
Do songs get trapped in your
head like a rat on sticky paper?
Are you afraid of dying
and does it fuel you?
We aren’t trying to
sell you anything,
but consider hanging us
on your wall.
Primero que todo,
we love chisme.
What is a meal
without the seasoning of gossip?
What is a conversation without
a little talking-some-shit?
We make eyes
at each other through the trees.
We clink our beers together on rooftops.
We send messages later, on the car ride home.
We all know the story of Selena Quintanilla.
The Tejana pop star who was murdered
by her best friend and the manager
of her fan club, Yolanda Saldivar.
There are heroes.
There are villains.
There are fans.
There are girls trying to find
their reflection in a rippling
pond, and then feeling startled
when a piece of gum falls out
of their mouth.
There is a frog that thinks
the gum is a fly and chokes to death.
Where were we?
This is a story of mirrors,
or what happens
when you bring the mirror
back from the dead and when
you look in it you see yourself
eating yourself.
This is about You,
except when it’s not about you.
This is a love story.
But it isn’t our story.
However, as chismosas, we feel
that it happened to us.
So we believe we are the best
ones to tell it.
We will try to
tell it to you
the best that we can.
First, let’s introduce
our speaker, Melissa,
who does not speak
entirely for us.
She is a girl who dreamsa lot.

Table of Contents

CONTENTS

CAST OF CHARACTERS

PART I: COMO LA FLOR, TANTO AMOR
Dreaming of You
I’m So Lonely I Grow a New Hymen
My Sisters and I Would Watch the Selena Movie
6'5" Looking for Something Casual that Has the Potential to Be Something More ;)
I Watch Selena’s Open-Casket Funeral
Just to Make Things Clear, I Am Not a Haunted Person
What If Selena Taught Me How to Fake an Orgasm
El Chico del Apartamento 512
Karaoke Interlude
Crush Sonnets
I’m Not a Virgin But
The Future Is Lodged Inside of the Female
Resurrecting Selena
I’m Not Sure What to Do with Her, Exactly
El Chisme According to Others: Selena at theHalloween Party

PART II: ME MARCHO HOY
Selena and Me
Selena on the Train
Hi, Uh, Hi, Hello, You’ve Reached Melissa
Selena and You
I Take Selena to a Poetry Reading
In the Middle of My Poem
A Star Is Born Again
Selena Asks for Directions
I Try to Go On with My Life
I Will Name It She
Who’s That Girl?
Mami Calls Me to Tell Me She Had a Dream
If You Could Give It a Name, Who Would She Be?
Papi Calls Me
Dear Ms. Melissa Lozada-Oliva
Abraham Quintanilla is Out for My Blood
Yolanda Saldivar Gets Away With It
In Which I Answer All of the Questions from My Imaginary and Very Important Interview of the Future
El Chisme According to Others: Yolanda at the Gay Bar

PART III: YO SE PERDER
Yolanda Tells Me
Yolanda Tells Me What Happened that Night
March 31, 1995
My Lover Shows Me His Gun Collection
Remember that Yolanda Was a Little Girl Once
What If Reclaimed the Woman
Will We Ever Stop Crying About the Dead Star
Dead Celebrity Prom
You and Me Don’t Talk Anymore
Poem for Fucking a Fish
I Made You a Playlist to Get the Real You Back Even Though Real You Doesn’t Listen to the Lyrics
We Cry About It Together
Yolanda Leaves a Note
El Chisme According to Others: Where Is Selena?

PART IV: COMO ME DUELE
Yolanda Wears Melissa’s Skin into Selena’s Hotel Room
Hellraiser
Killing Time at Karaoke
Her Funeral Plays on a Loop
Selena Dies a Third Time
We Begin to Slow Dance
There Is Only One Way Out
Yolanda Saldivar Orders a Stack of Pancakes
Last Chisme Before We Go

EPILOGUE
Yolanda and Selena Don’t Talk Anymore
It’s Selena’s Birthday in Salina, Kansas
In the Beginning

ALTERNATE ENDING
Selena Doesn’t Die
Selena Still Isn’t Dead
Selena Still Has Some Time Left

RESURRECTING SELENA, FEAT. TIFFANY MALLERY
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
ABOUT THE AUTHOR