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A HOUSE WAITING FOR MUSIC

“David Hernandez sings about the self and his community and transforms the magic of language into unforgettable poems. His poetic journeys seek a knowledge as they drive for revelation in the modern world. While reading these poems, I was reminded of the lessons learned from the great Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda—to know the self is to know poetry.” —Ray Gonzalez

A House Waiting for Music is a remarkable collection of poems. David Hernandez is like a hip, urban William Stafford—his quiet, subtle poems force us to see what we often miss, lost in the rush of our lives. He has a deft touch for finding the striking juxtaposition, the odd fragment of grace. Hernandez embraces the world, even when it seems irredeemable and without mercy, and he celebrates the small daily miracles of survival. The music of these warm, intimate poems resonates, and lingers.” —Jim Daniels

“David Hernandez's subjects are varied—from lust to TV to the cruelty of children to the grass under his feet—but running through all his work is a sense of the quotidian disasters we survive in order to see our lives and the lives of those around us. In his poems "the world is visible again, / stumbling forward and beautiful." A deft, sly, and heartful book, A House Waiting for Music contains enough verbal hip-hop to get the cops called. Listen up!—Kim Addonizio

 

Laurel and Hardy Backwards

There was a bedsheet thumbtacked
to a wall, the rattle of the projector,
its one eye glowing behind us like a train

stopped inside a tunnel. In our homemade
theater, Laurel and Hardy were delivering
a piano, pushing it up the longest flight

of stairs. They heaved. They heaved
some more, faces cartooned into struggle.
We’ve seen this film five, six times.

It’s not funny anymore. We waited
until the end, until the filmstrip slapped
and slapped the projector, the bedsheet

radiant with light. Our mother stood
in the doorframe, three months pregnant,
saying it was time for bed. None of us

had seen our lives before—five, six times
or just once. None of us know
about the miscarriage scripted

for tomorrow. My brother flipped the reel,
threaded the film backwards. We watched
a bowler hat leap from the ground

and settle on Hardy’s head, slammed doors
opening by themselves. We watched
the two trace their footsteps

and wrestle the piano back down the stairs,
a thing now impossible to deliver
to a house waiting for music.

 

Wile E. Coyote Attains Nirvana

“It is neither by indulging in sensuous cravings and pleasures, nor by subjecting oneself to painful, unholy and unprofitable self-torture, one can achieve freedom from suffering and rebirth.”
                                                    —from The Four Noble Truths

No wonder after each plummet
down the canyon, the dust cloud
of smoke after each impact,
he’s back again, reborn,
the same desire weighing
inside his brain like an anvil:
catch that bird. Again
with the blueprints, the calculations,
a package from the Acme Co.
of the latest gadgets. Shoes
with springs, shoes with rockets,
but nothing works. Again
the Road Runner escapes,
feathers smearing blue across the air.
Again the hungry coyote
finds himself in death’s embrace,
a canon swiveling toward his head,
a boulder’s shadow dilating
under his feet. Back
from the afterlife, he meditates
under a sandstone arch
and gets it: craving equals suffering.
The bulb of enlightenment
blazes over his head.
He hears the Road Runner across
the plain: beep-beep. Nothing.
No urge to grab the knife
and fork and run, no saliva
waterfalling from his mouth.
Just another sound in the desert
as if Pavlov’s dog forgot
what that bell could do to his body.

 

 

 

 

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