At 6 a.m., I read Lorca’s Poema del Cante Jondo. I take a photo
Of “La Lola” in the sunlight and post it on Facebook and Instagram.
The talented poet Dara Wier likes it. That makes my day.
Then, I submit poems to a literary magazine and prepare
My submissions for August 1st, when a few more journals open.
Also, I edit a prose poem about a dragon and a horse rider.
In the evening, when I’m finishing up some work on the computer
At the local library, an O.G. from the neighborhood with gang tattoos
Covering his body and face, walks in the library with his daughters
And helps them look for books. They tell him the names of the books
And he says “let’s look for them alphabetically.” I can’t help but smile,
As one of the toughest guys in the barrio is in the children’s section
Of the library looking for books with his kids. Much respect, though,
I keep thinking: that’s the most poetic thing I’ve seen all day.
Click here to read Jose Hernandez Diaz on the origin of the poem.
Image: “Children’s Books” by Lydia Liu, licensed under CC 2.0
Jose Hernandez:Without romanticizing the O.G. checking out books with his kids at the library, this really happened; I point it out in a poem because I respect his effort to search for better for his children. I also wanted to highlight a tender moment in my neighborhood in this poem. My neighborhood, Norwalk, CA (and the surrounding Southeast area in general) often gets a bad rap for having active gangs and criminal activity. I feel the strength or aim of the poem is to shed light on or suggest that people can surprise you. We must get past our prejudices and look for the good in people, especially in times of high-anxiety and distrust.
- The Most Poetic Thing - July 5, 2020