"David Martinez is like an algebra problem invented by America—he's polynomial, and fractioned, full of identity variables and unsolved narrative coefficients. . . . Hustle is full of dashing nerve, linguistic flair, and unfakeable heart."—Tony Hoagland
The dark peoples with things:
for keys, coins, pencils
and pens our pockets grieve.
No street lights or signs,
no liquor stores or bars,
only a lighter for a flashlight,
and the same-faced trees,
and crooked bushes
staring back at me.
There is no path in the woods for a boy from the city.
I would have set fire to get off this wilderness
but Palomar is no El Camino in an empty lot,
the plastic dripping from the dash
and the paint bubbling like a toad's throat.
If mountains were old pieces of furniture,
I would have lit the fabric and danced.
If mountains were abandoned crack houses,
I would have opened their meanings with flame,
if that would have let the wind and trees lead my eyes
or shown me the moon's tiptoe on the moss—
as you effect my hand,
as we walk into the side of a Sunday night.
David Tomas Martinez has published in San Diego Writer's Ink, Charlotte Journal, Poetry International, and has been featured in Border Voices. A PhD candidate at the University of Houston, Martinez is also an editor for Gulf Coast.