A man in a Fleetwood Mac shirt walked downtown. He waited at a traffic light with his headphones on. He had on his favorite old band tee. He was thirty-five years old. He’d quit smoking cigarettes the year before. He picked up abstract expressionist painting and concrete poetry. He was from Los Angeles, but his parents are from México. He eventually crossed the street and entered a café called The Ether. He bought an iced coffee and a turkey sandwich. He began to paint onto a canvas he had tucked away in his backpack. He painted a dahlia. A skeleton. Storm clouds. A dragon. Moonlight. A time machine. Then her. Lastly, he painted her.
Jose Hernandez Diaz is a 2017 NEA Poetry Fellow. He is from Southeast Los Angeles County. He is the author of The Fire Eater (Texas Review Press, 2020), Bad Mexican, Bad American (Acre Books, 2024) and The Parachutist (Sundress Publications, 2025). He has been published in The Acentos Review, The American Poetry Review, Border Crossing (CAN), Circulo de Poesia (MEX), The Hooghly Review (IND), Huizache, The Indianapolis Review, The Iowa Review, The London Magazine (ENG), The Missouri Review, The Nation, Poetry Magazine, Poetry Wales (UK), The Progressive, The Southern Review, The Yale Review and in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011. He teaches creative writing workshops for The Writer’s Center, Hugo House, Lighthouse Writers Workshops, and elsewhere. Additionally, he serves as a Poetry Mentor in The Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program. He will be the Carolyn Moore 2023 Poet in Residence at Portland Community College in the fall of 2023.