Poet and visual artist David Hernandez interrogates mortality in two new poems:
If forty is the new thirty then ten is
the new infant. Housing development
a coyote roaming a hillside
swaying with windblown foxtail.
New wave is the new grunge, disco
the new new wave,
but punk is still punk.
You reading this
is no longer you reading this
but rather your eyes a decade ago
skating down a menu:
Who eats tuna melt these days?
What is the lifespan
of albacore, the ones that dart
past the net? I miss my dead grandparents
who are the new grandparents
alive and coughing
in a nursing home, its doilies
the wool of unborn sheep.
In the waiting room, my long
napped across blue sofa chairs,
Rain is the new ocean.
The ocean, the new rain.
Now is after the fact.
Before, a cloud of bees
frenzied above the neighbor’s yard, then ours.
Which is to say, hazard cannot stay long
in one place. Or one place is
never hazardless. Two weeks
we waited for the results, two weeks
I dissolved a cube of ice
in whisky, and Lisa’s mind was always
elsewhere, already cutting out
her breasts, her ovaries. Then the terrible
weight was crushed, the fine powder
swept to the vanishing point,
and I felt, for a few footsteps, that we were
immortal, our cells
never honeycombing toward ruin.
Slaphappy heart, bamboozled brain,
I also had believed the bees
an omen, how they mobbed and sizzled
around our angels’ trumpet tree
as if the yellow flowers could finally
blow notes. That humming: it was not music.
More like the drone of a chainsaw
a block away, dismantling another sapling.