How to Undress a Cop
by Sarah Cortez
Publication Date: September 30, 2000
Bind: Trade Paperback
Poems included in the collection have been awarded the PEN Texas Literary Award.
It’s not every book of poetry that includes an “Ode to Body Armor.” But then, it’s not every poet whose experience in academia includes a stint at the police academy.
The poems of Sarah Cortez are tough-minded, verbally supple, and often deeply (even explicitly) erotic: You want me to come/ to you each night, drop my gun belt,/ lie along your muscled length . . .
And each of these fifty lyric poems (with titles such as “Rosie Working Plain Clothes,” “Las Tías,” and “Attempt to Locate”) displays Cortez’s many facets: the street smarts of a law-enforcement officer (deputy constable in Houston’s Harris County); the bilingual vocabulary of a proud Mexican American; the coolly analytic eye of a corporate accountant (as she once was); the linguistic dexterity of a Latin teacher (another former occupation); and the frank sensuality of a strong and spirited woman.
Surveying fellow officers, friends, criminals, lovers, strangers, and family members, Sarah Cortez has learned that a bullet-proof vest may¾with luck¾protect the body, but keeping the heart from harm is a chancier and more mysterious affair. Long after the pages of How to Undress a Cop have been turned, her unique and distinctive voice will stir the blood and haunt the memory.