Jose Hernandez Diaz

The Sunlight

A man climbed to the top of a palm tree. It was the beginning of summer. He looked out into the ocean when he got to the top of the tree. Waves and surfers. Seagulls and sunshine. He was inspired by the view; so much so, that he wrote a song. The song was called, “Summer, stay here forever.” He put the song to music and sold a couple thousand records. No big deal. When winter arrived, he listened to the song on repeat. It was about loving summer, yes, but, more importantly, loving the care-free, easygoing spirit of sunlight.

The Night

The night was when the artist wrote. The artist wrote stories about his childhood in California. The artist never spoke his own name. He used aliases and alter-egos. The artist wore a mask in public, like MF Doom. He wasn’t trying to hide, it was just that a virus had spilled into the city. At nighttime, the artist listened to free jazz as the moon bounced to the music. The artist had a job, but not a set schedule. It was perfect for him. It wasn’t easy, getting to this point for the artist. But he had figured it out. The night was quiet, his mind was alive, the city rose to his poems being written on the fog in the mirror after a shower.

Jose Hernandez Diaz is a 2017 NEA Poetry Fellow. He is the author of The Fire Eater (Texas Review Press, 2020). His work appears in The American Poetry Review, The Cincinnati Review, Poetry, and in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011. His work has been a finalist for The Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize, The Colorado Poetry Prize, and The National Poetry Series. He is an educator and editor in Los Angeles County, CA.