A man in a Mars Volta shirt fell off a skateboard. The city was essentially abandoned. There was a virus in town, but he insisted on skating. As soon as he fell off the board, he bounced back up. He was a loner, a misanthrope. He chain-smoked cigarettes, because he was young and foolish. He wore the same pair of pants every day. He hadn’t had a girlfriend in six years. But he was very creative, a painter and poet. So creative, he often forgot to tie his own shoes. He was terrible at putting furniture together. They say when he stared at women in the eyes, he was irresistible. Yet, he was afraid of eye-contact. I’d tell you more about the man in a Mars Volta shirt, but I need to have a cigarette. The world is ending; I don’t want to waste it on poetry.
I had a dream I was on the planet Mars. I don’t remember many details other than the vast redness. Then today, with the news of our government landing a spacecraft on Mars, it was kind of intense. I might have heard about it throughout the week, in the background, but didn’t think too much of it: whatever, a spacecraft is going to land on Mars; there’s no humans onboard. But it is strange how events show up in the subconscious, like there’s a mirror in the back of our brains. Then again, it is also strange how the leaves begin to fall in the autumn, then rise again, like a phoenix, in the spring.
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, Boulevard, Crazyhorse, The Georgia Review, Literary Hub, Los Angeles Times, Poetry, Witness, The Southern Review, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. He lives in southeast Los Angeles County where he is an editor for Frontier and an online creative writing educator.