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Natural Takeover of Small Things

Tim Z. Hernandez

Publication Year: 2013

Natural Takeover of Small Things is a collection of poetry that offers an unflinching view of “California’s Heartland,” the San Joaquin Valley. In his distinctive, lyrical, pull-no-punches style, Tim Z. Hernandez offers a glimpse of the people, the landscape, the rhythm, and the detritus of the rural West. As Hernandez peels back the façade of the place, he reveals that home is not always where the heart is.
The book opens with an image of Fresno as “the inexhaustible nerve/in the twitching leg of a dog/three hours after being smashed/beneath the retread wheel/of a tomato truck en route to/a packing house that was raided/by the feds just days before the harvest.” It ends with “Adios, Fresno,” an astringent farewell to the city: “You can keep your fields,/the sun will follow me./I won’t reconsider./I’ve overstayed my welcome/by three generations.” By then, we have toured the breadth of the San Joaquin Valley, have tasted Fuyu persimmons and lengua, have witnessed a home crumbling to foreclosure, and listened to the last words of a dying campesino. We’re made aware that this is an atmosphere scented by an entirely organic stew—a melding of culture, objects, and forms. This is a place where rubble mirrors the refuse of lives. But garbage is also compost. And if we squint, we can see through the wreckage a few small patches where love could be taking root and hope might actually be sprouting.
Natural Takeover of Small Things is a collection of poetry that offers an unflinching view of “California’s Heartland,” the San Joaquin Valley. In his distinctive, lyrical, pull-no-punches style, Tim Z. Hernandez offers a glimpse of the people, the landscape, the rhythm, and the detritus of the rural West. As Hernandez peels back the façade of the place, he reveals that home is not always where the heart is.
The book opens with an image of Fresno as “the inexhaustible nerve/in the twitching leg of a dog/three hours after being smashed/beneath the retread wheel/of a tomato truck en route to/a packing house that was raided/by the feds just days before the harvest.” It ends with “Adios, Fresno,” an astringent farewell to the city: “You can keep your fields,/the sun will follow me./I won’t reconsider./I’ve overstayed my welcome/by three generations.” By then, we have toured the breadth of the San Joaquin Valley, have tasted Fuyu persimmons and lengua, have witnessed a home crumbling to foreclosure, and listened to the last words of a dying campesino. We’re made aware that this is an atmosphere scented by an entirely organic stew—a melding of culture, objects, and forms. This is a place where rubble mirrors the refuse of lives. But garbage is also compost. And if we squint, we can see through the wreckage a few small patches where love could be taking root and hope might actually be sprouting.

Published by: University of Arizona Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

I. Arms Up In Dead Heat

Home

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pp. 5-16

The Truth About Small Towns

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pp. 6-17

Brown Christ

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pp. 7-18

Old School

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pp. 8-19

Two Girls

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pp. 9-10

The Day Johnny Tapia Died on My Sidewalk

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pp. 11-22

Foreclosure Blues

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pp. 12-23

Born Into It

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pp. 13-24

Hispanic Upward Mobility

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pp. 14-25

He Appears

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pp. 15-26

El Grito

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pp. 16-27

Salinas as a Succulent

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pp. 17-28

Dear Hector,

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pp. 18-29

Undelivered Postcards to Lydia

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pp. 19-21

My Name Is Hernandez

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pp. 22-25

II. San Joaquin Sutra

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pp. 27-38

III. Natural Takeover of Small Things

Natural Takeover of Small Things

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pp. 41-52

On the Corner of Cedar & Clinton

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pp. 42-44

The Tractors

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pp. 45-46

Instructions for the Altar

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pp. 47-50

Eight Shots of Oval Park

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pp. 51-53

Flying Parallel

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pp. 54-65

Still Life of Menudo with Morning News

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pp. 55-56

Death Meditations

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pp. 57-59

Mantra Chores

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pp. 60-71

If Nothing Else

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pp. 61-72

Twenty-six Starlings

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pp. 62-73

The Myth of Kora

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pp. 63-74

Cooked Tongue

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pp. 64-75

As If We Didn’t Know

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pp. 65-76

Adios, Fresno

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pp. 66-68

Acknowledgments

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pp. 69-80

About the Author

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pp. 70-81


E-ISBN-13: 9780816599905
E-ISBN-10: 0816599904
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816530120
Print-ISBN-10: 0816530122

Page Count: 80
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Camino del Sol

Research Areas

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