Natural Takeover of Small Things
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 fa?ade 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.
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Natural Takeover of Small ThingsUser Review - Annalisa Pesek - Book Verdict
"Harp & ham hock/ sugar & succotash," Hernandez (Skin Tax) calls the rural West by more than its name: "Fresno is the inexhaustible nerve/ in the twitching leg of a dog" and "San Gabriel;/ patron ... Read full review
I Arms Up In Dead Heat
II San Joaquin Sutra
III Natural Takeover of Small Things
0F MALL THINGS accordion altar amid ammonite asphalt I notice avocado Baobab beneath blood blossom bonﬁre Born ofa woman brassieres breath broken burn butterﬂies campesino campos cemeteries dead DEAD HEAT death Devil’s Dinuba dirt dirty dogs drought Elephant Heart eyes father’s fences I notice ﬁeld ﬁlled ﬁnd ﬁngernail ﬁngers ﬁre ﬁrst ﬁve ﬂake ﬂed ﬂesh ﬂight ﬂora ﬂowering ﬂows Fresno front porch garden gutters hardwood ﬂoor Hmong holy hunkered incest Internments invisible Kalimba Krylon Laos leaf I notice liquor store Lydia methamphetamine monsoon morning name is Hernandez NATURAL TAKEOVER 0F night OVAL PARK palm persimmon pigeons pitbull plum sacred sacriﬁce sagging San Joaquin Valley say Lydia shadows shards silos snowﬂake Socorro splayed squirrel’s sternum strip malls Tacos TAKEOVER 0F MALL taste teeth testicles thigh throat tongues tonsil tornado fence trafﬁc train tracks end trees truck tule unpredictable window words