Winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry
Ultimately, the lyrics in Hoodwinked
read as odes to mortality. They marvel nonstop, unsentimentally, and
with necessary ambivalence, at the world as given and the human inability
to consistently rise to the exhausting challenge of making every second
count. These poems constantly acknowledge that 'all flesh is grass.'
They make us hear the wondrous, terrifying hum of impending obliteration,
while at the same time never growing immune to beauty, never ceasing
to be curious about what the grass itself makes of our common temporal
Gerstler, from the introduction
Under all the surfaces, is where these zany, ever-present
poems roam. You have to pay close attention, reading, to catch up to
the riddle and its revelation here. Hernandez is not fooling around,
but this book brilliantly fools with our expectations and inability
to focus on what's in front of us. —Carol
Muske-Dukes, The Huffington Post
The vast majority of images in the poems of Hoodwinked
are of everyday life, an ordinary, common life filled with ordinary
beauty and common events; but the repeated theme of death and decay
draw these images into magnified, sharp focus. From the start the poems
read like the memoir of a survivor. There are in fact two or three references
to war, but the overall impression is of occupation, an imprisonment
in the unforgettable reality of universal entropy. David Hernandez writes
fearlessly, unapologetically and coherently of the vital subject of
inevitable deterioration. —Debrah
Lechner, Hayden's Ferry Review
Moose in Snow
A moose is born, his legs
unfold and wobble
beneath the weight of himself.
He grows, roams the fields, his antlers
sprout into empty hands.
Then the sky drops
snow, a meadow
fills with whiteness
the moose trudges through,
his breath in the Montana air
cobwebbing. A man
raises his camera
and the moose materializes
in the blood light of his darkroom.
A painter finds the photo
and squeezes out
titanium white, burnt umber,
works the brushes until
he has the snow-stippled coat
just right, and the visible eye
looks like the night
standing behind a peephole.
There are reproductions, rollers
spin in a print shop
and its moose moose moose
descending on itself. One man
buys one, hangs it
with a frame in his sunny office
where his patients come
troubled, medicated, and I
explain to him this heaviness
pulling down the length
of my body, scalp
to soles, cells and all.
knees are her knees
are his knees.
Same goes with elbows.
We shove collectively
where the wave
says to shove, knowing
it will roll back to us
Heat from our bodies
our shirts sodden
and holding skin
like leaves to sidewalk
after a downpour.
How lovely the one
crushed beside me,
her slippery arm
flush against mine.
burn yellow, so do we.
Now she’s towed
to the outermost ring
as strobes of white
turn the whirling
mob off and on—
a wheat field
blasts of lightning.