Pub Date: March 7, 2016
“Do not let the fact that David Hernandez is one of
the funniest poets at work today mislead you into thinking ‘comic’
poets can’t also be learned, wise, socially aware, and capable of
deep pathos. Hernandez possesses all these qualities—in abundance.
His new book is nothing short of dazzling.” —David
“Hernandez is a poet writing to us from poetry’s
epicenter—where music invents itself, and the psyche and the sensory
world are one. These poems speak with such intimate authenticity that
the reader and the words are never separated by more than a breath—and
yet they’re overheard, perhaps not really meant for readers at all,
which lends them their uncanniness. These are major, important poems.”
Anyone Who Is Still Trying
Any person, any human, any someone who breaks
up the fight,
who spackles holes or FedExes
ice shelves to the Arctic to keep the polar bears
talks the wind-rippled woman
down from the bridge. Any individual, any citizen
muck from the coughing ocean,
who pickets across the street from antigay picketers
with a sign
that reads, GOD HATES MAGGOTS,
or, GOD HATES RESTAURANTS WITH ZAGAT RATINGS
27. Any civilian who kisses
a forehead heated by fever or despair, who reads
the X ray,
pins the severed bone. Any biped
who volunteers at soup kitchens, who chokes
lobbyist with his own silk necktie—
I take that back, who gives him mouth-to-mouth
startled heart resumes its kabooms.
Sorry, I get cynical sometimes, there is so much
the system, the districts, the crooked
thinking, I’m working on whittling away at this
harvesting light where I can find it.
Any countryman or countrywoman who is still
still pushes against entropy,
who stanches or donates blood, who douses fires
real or metaphorical,
who rakes the earth
where tires once zeroed the ground, plants something
spinach or kale, say a modest forest
for restless breezes to play with. Any anyone
who considers and repairs,
who builds a prosthetic beak for an eagle—
I saw the
video, the majestic bird disfigured
by a bullet, the visionary with a 3-D printer,
and fidelity, with hours
and hours and hours, I keep thinking about it,
need more of that commitment,
those thoughtful gestures, the flight afterward.
You’re right. I meant “midst,” not
I don’t know what I was stinking,
I mean thinking, soap speaks intimately
to my skin every day. Most days.
Depending if darkness has risen
to my skull like smoke up a chimney floe.
Flue. Then no stepping nude
into the shower, no mist turning
the bathroom mirror into frosted glass
where my face would float
coldly in the oval. Picture a caveman
encased in ice. Good. I like how
your mind works, how your eyes
inside your mind works, and your actual eyes
reading this, their icy precision, nothing
slips by them. Even now I can feel you
hovering silently above these lines,
hawkish, Godlike, each period
a lone figure kneeling in the snow.
That’s too solemn. I would like to send
search parties and rescue choppers
to every period ever printed.
I would like to apologize to my wife
for not showering on Monday and Tuesday.
I was stinking. I was simultaneously
numb and needled with anxiety,
in the midst of a depressive episode.
Although “mist” would work too,
metaphorically speaking, in the mist of,
in the fog of, this gray haze that followed me
relentlessly from room to room
until every red bell inside my head
was wrong. Rung.