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HOODWINKED
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 conundrum.” —Amy 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

“Each poem feels fresh and surprising....[Hernandez's] humor is sharp and insightful, the kind that, when the topmost layer is peeled back, reveals an honest survey of its environs.” —Jesse Damiani,The Journal

“David Hernandez's Hoodwinked, his third and strongest collection to date, is indeed worthy of distinction as a book that grapples with the search for enduring beauty and emotion in a quickly deteriorating world.” —Rigoberto González, El Paso Times

“In these poems, through spot-on imagery and humdrum examples of daily life, Hernandez excels at balancing that realm blurred so often: the admission of truth and how we fool ourselves into desiring a reality believed to be the truth.” —Michael Boccardo, Gently Read Literature

“A poet with a gutsy voice all his own.” —Alejandro Escudé, Rattle

“Hernandez....delivers a collection of poems that give both a beautiful impression of purpose while displaying an unerring and striking talent for wordplay.” —Erin Day, Louisville.com

 

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.

 

Mosh

My 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
more furious.
Heat from our bodies

rises eye-level,
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.

When spotlights
burn yellow, so do we.
Blue, ditto.

Now she’s towed
to the outermost ring
by circumstance

as strobes of white
turn the whirling
mob off and on—

a wheat field
windblown beneath
blasts of lightning.

 

 

 

 

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