Look at the homie, even when in a gang he came home to crack Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, Willto Power. Believing everybody dies at twenty-four,not seeing a future in pump-faking, even then. You ever try to read philosophy high?Gone to the hole and hoped for the foul, wished only to finish.After rolling joints in two Zig-Zags,after an hour of starching pants,he transferred trollies and buses. He’s going places.Look at homie, trying to fix himself. Thinks,out of repetition comes variation. It takes a lot of effortto look like you’re not trying.It should be an air ball to go to collegeat twenty-one, the father of two, just to play basketball. Whenmost folks say they want to change the world they mean their own.
Copyright © 2018 by David Tomas Martinez
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission
David Tomas Martinez is a CantoMundo fellow and recipient of a 2017 NEA Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, the Verlaine Poetry Prize, and the Stanley P. Young Fellowship from Breadloaf. Hustle, his debut collection from Sarabande, won the New England Book Festival’s Poetry Prize, the Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award, and $10,000 from the Antonio Cisneros Del Moral Foundation. Poems from the new book have appeared in Tin House, Oxford American, Boston Review, Prairie Schooner, Ploughshares, and Poetry. He lives in Brooklyn. (Author photo by Eliza Griffiths)
“Original to the bone, deep cuts, power punches and intimate portraits—truth art, truth word, a major voice. Ever seen a patched-up Ferrari engine race down Main Street without a body? Check this out. Brave Soul.”
—Juan Filipe Herrera
“David Tomas Martinez offers us the America that is the music all his own. There is not a fake note in this orchestra. The highs give you the large, ever expanding breath of real opera music, and the lows leave you limping, moaning in hurt for days. For, if this is the kind of poetry that takes no prisoners, it is also the kind that opens itself bravely, stands naked in front of the world, with nothing to defend itself with but its vocal music, the hum of its voice—and its piercing, honest, larger-than-life, feisty—and unforgettable—tone.”
“This is a book of urgencies, and Martinez rises old-school like Icarus, intent on leaving anguish, falseness and bullshit in his wake….”