Excerpt for Remedies & Tragedies by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

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Copyright © 2017 by Rodolfo Hernandez

All rights reserved.

Illustrations by Jaclyn Simons

ISBN: 978-0-9995013-0-6

ebook ISBN: 978-0-9995013-1-3

For my parents, who support me unconditionally

For my brother, who first believed in me

For my friends, who I love like family

For my community, who I wouldn’t be here without


Way of the Self













Way of the Heart




1 of 1



















Way of the Universe



















You can skip this. If you just want to get to the poems, go right ahead, it’s your book now. That’s always been my philosophy: anything I write is not mine, it’s yours. By “yours”, I mean the people who support what I do. Whether you’ve known me for years, you simply enjoy my writing, or you just happened upon this book by chance, these words are yours. And so, for those of you interested in where this rambling prologue is going, keep reading.

I gave up a lot to get to this point. I let go of people I loved, I left behind many more, and I cast aside a life that had been so carefully constructed up until then. I sought answers for the many, many questions I had about my existence, and I didn’t think that I would find them within such suffocating parameters. Even now, I still haven’t found everything that I plan to, but I know at least this: we cannot make everyone in our lives happy, but we can at least make ourselves happy by choosing to follow our own compass. What others might consider the right direction will not necessarily be the same for you. The definition of happiness is just as ephemeral and elusive as the concept itself, and I had to learn this the hard way.

My hope is that you, my dear reader, will not have to deal with the same kind of heartbreak and loneliness that comes with forging ahead toward a goal that only you can see. Maybe somewhere in this book, you’ll find strength, courage, motivation, or whatever you need to lift yourself up and move. I’m just a kid from North Carolina who started writing because he loved reading, and if I can make progress toward realizing my dreams, then I know that you can too.

Conceptually, this book’s poems are split into two categories, which you can probably guess by the title, although I organized the poems into a different set of themes. I chose not to sort the poems into either a ‘Remedies’ section or a ‘Tragedies’ section because what one person could consider a remedy might be a tragedy to someone else, and I wanted to leave this interpretation up to the reader. Within the two categories, you’ll find positive pieces, poems meant to inspire you and remind you of all the good that’s out there. You can also find contemplative pieces, poems that you read when you’re in the mood to face your sorrow. Again, they can all be interpreted differently depending on the person.

This won’t be my last project. I say that as an affirmation to myself as well as to my community. Maybe there will come a time when I run out of words, but as far as I can see, that time is nowhere near. I promise that I’ll never compromise my voice, my style, or the messages I try to send with my writing. If you’re someone who wants to be a writer one day and you’re reading this, I urge you to make the same promise to yourself. I know it’s easy to want to use the “popular” methods of building a readership. There’s nothing wrong with finding inspiration in what others do, but if you trade your authenticity for a little success, you’ll find that extending this success will be much more difficult in the long run. Please, don’t give up on your unique abilities. Eventually, you’ll find your way.

Enjoy this work, I poured my soul into it. I hope that the result is worthy of being remembered.

Way of the Self


I don’t need to be known.

To know myself is my

only goal.


You could be bitter

Being blissful is better

Let go of bad vibes


I don’t need a spotlight.

My shine comes from

within, which means that

nobody can shut it down.


For everything that’s gone

wrong, I’m thankful for all

that’s right in my life. I’m

exactly where I need to be,

stronger than who I was,

and optimistic about who I

will become.


Of my many goals, I seek

most of all to be the master

of my soul and elevate

beyond the selfish whims that

so often lead to ruin.


Stay calm under fire

They take shots when you’re winning

Don’t let them stop you


The water is deep, it rises to

my neck and seeks to consume

me. But even in this

peril, I won’t succumb. I’ll

hold my head as high as the

hope in my heart.


Sorry, but you won’t always

have time to do everything

you’ve ever wanted. Please

don’t wait, the world and your

soul need you.


If I were to be reborn, I wouldn’t

change the way I lived. I would simply

hold on a little longer to all the people

I cared about. I wouldn’t let them

slip into memory so easily, to serve as

nothing more than my ghosts.


There will be tears, heartache, and

painful silence. I speak not of a lost

romance, but rather of the symptoms

that come along with discovering who

you really are at your core. Such pain is

necessary to break through your initial

understanding and lead you to the answers

that you’ve been searching for.


Wait for the daylight

You’re not lost, the sun will rise

Right when you need it


Our largest obstacle is often

our own self-doubt. We

stop ourselves from being

great when all we need to

do is believe.


I was left broken. But I’m

thankful still, for this is the

only way that my deepest, truest

self could ultimately come

to light.


My old friends told me that I’ve changed. I laughed,

but deep down, I also cried. I cried because I realized

that yes, I have changed, that’s the point of life, to

grow. And I’ve grown so much, I can’t see them as

friends anymore. I’m cruising down a road to personal

joy, which I know now is lonely until you arrive. It’s

not without its bumps, but at least I’m on my way.

Meanwhile, they’re stuck where they are, and they

want to keep me stuck there too. Their only interests

are self-destruction and keeping others locked into

the same toxic wasteland. So I wept, no goodbyes or

well wishes came from them. I extended my hand to

try to bring them with me, but nobody reached out to

grab it. They’ve made their choice, and so must I.

I want to live in a world where the air is easy to

breathe, the grass is green, and the water is clear

enough to show my reflection, a person who I’m

happy to see.


You call me stubborn because

I refuse to compromise what I

want. I won’t give up on myself to

comfort your fragile ego. This isn’t

a fair trade, and it never will be.


Sometimes you have to almost

drown in a sea of your tears

before you finally get the sunshine

that you deserve.


Don’t be afraid to explore,

the world needs your imprint.

You’ll be surprised with who

ends up supporting you.


Take the plunge. The water is

cold but you’ll adjust. The only

way to find out what’s on the

other side is to dive in.

True Self

Being confident is hard sometimes.

I guess we all still have a

little bit of that awkward, shy

kid in us.


Critics will be there

But what you think matters most

Don’t let yourself down


Allow your ambition to stretch

beyond the horizon, or however

far you want. Where you

choose to end it should be up

to you and no one else.


An examination of the self is

vital to growth. We fixate on

external obstacles so much,

when the reality is, we can be

our own greatest enemies.


The only question

“Am I happy?” Ask yourself

And make sure you are


You can be upset and torn up

inside, we’ve all been there.

As long as you can find a way

to make peace with yourself,

everything you thought was

broken about you can be put

back together.


I’m not shy, I’m misunderstood

because only those

who also speak from the

heart can hear me.


For too long, I was a puddle to

people. I was stepped on, ignored,

and never taken seriously. Not

anymore, now I understand that I’m

the ocean. I’m deeper than you can

imagine, I give life to the world, and

despite how much they try, no one

will ever control me.


Life is short

Time never stops to wait

You can choose to be idle

Choose to believe in fate

Expecting things to happen

A catatonic state

Or take control of your life

Before it is too late


There’s only one way

To build something takes hustle

Every single day


Small minds will never

see the bigger picture, no

matter how you frame it.

As long as you keep your

vision alive, they’ll never be

able to stop you either.


Leave the destructive

hostile criticism where it

originated: unaddressed

and out of your life.


Each passing day, I embrace

irony and learn to be thankful

for the people who’ve hurt me.

How to forgive someone was

one of the greatest lessons I’ve

ever learned.


Know that your passion

Will not ever quit on you

So don’t quit on it


I’d rather be authentic and love

myself, versus being fake and

having everyone love someone

who wasn’t really me.


Ignore what others have to say.

If it’s not to your face, then it’s

not worth your time.


No more excuses

Building a winning mindset

Will get you further


I’ll give up when passion

stops coursing through

my veins, my heart stops

beating to the rhythm of

madness, and my mind

fails to find the good in all

of the world.


Let not even the sky be your

limit. There’s always room to

grow, there’s always an opportunity

to expand your mind.

Keep going until the stars call

you neighbor.


To be free is to also court uncertainty.

So many options are available, and

so too, are there fresh problems that

must be faced. These are nothing

more than new challenges, which I

accept gladly over the slow death

of being trapped in a predictable



Sometimes we look for an escape and

forget to consider the ones we leave

behind. I’m constantly torn between

acknowledging the pain of others and

being true to myself, between egotism

and egoism, and between what I want

and what I know I should do.


Make moves, not excuses.

You’ll never get what you want

until you stop looking for reasons

not to try.


Not everything merits a

response. Being happy with

yourself sends a far louder and

clearer message than words

ever could.


I can’t recover the time I used

in pursuit of empty goals and

the wrong people. What I can

do now is let that all go, learn

from my choices, and reclaim

control of my future.


I left the path of easy comfort

I separated without a doubt

To walk a road of uncertainty

To see what life I’m truly about

So I’m not going through the jungle

Just to be the same when I get out

Minimizing risk is not for me

I’ll make grass grow even in a drought


I belong where I’m understood,

I’m certain of this,

although I’m still trying to

understand where I belong.


Fight hard for your soul

Across any battlefield

‘Til death, or victory


You’ll be accused of many

things as you achieve success,

of having changed. Really, the

only thing that’s different is

people’s opinion of you. After

all, you can’t have gotten this

far by being anything less than

true to yourself.


There’s no “better” you

You’re already at your best

If you just believe


You don’t need a mirror

to see who you are. Simply

take a look at your choices

and the people around

you. This reflection will

tell you everything you

need to know.


As my feet sink into the

ground, I realize that I’ve been

carrying this weight for far

too long. The sooner I let go

of heavy things like anger and

doubt, the faster I can move

toward a better future.


Spare me the indignity of a

lie. Hit me with the truth, no

matter how much it hurts.


I want the good life

No goodbyes, only good times

Good hearts and no lies


I’m just at that point in my life

where I need to get serious

about my health, my career,

and my relationships. I can’t

spare any of my energy for

something that won’t last.


You can’t hold up the wall

forever. Songs have to end,

so dance to yours before

it’s too late.


Each new day brings hope

A chance for new beginnings

To be born again


Opinion isn’t always

grounded in fact. You know

who you are, don’t let

the pointless chatter deter you

from being yourself.


Should someone call you soft,

accept it as a compliment and

not an insult. I would hope

that after all the negativity

that’s hit us, our hearts would

not harden into something as

dead and cold as stone.


Believe in your potential.

Have faith that you’ll become

all that you think you can.

Hold tight to this notion, and

it will manifest.


I don’t want power

I don’t want money or fame

I want no regrets


Keep all the superficial sensations,

I don’t want to be left

hollow in the end. I’ll take the

experiences that dig deep and

leave substance in my soul.


You’ll have moments when you’ll

think you’re not good enough for

someone. When this happens, look

in the mirror and understand that

if you’re good enough for the


looking back, you don’t need someone

else to make you happy.


I refuse to believe that our world is

beyond salvation. Sometimes driving

out the darkness isn’t as easy as

flipping a light switch. You have to be

willing to start a fire, even if you are

what ends up getting burned.


To be self-aware

Scares us because we fear

What we’ll likely see


Heavy is the cost of

fulfilling your dreams, but

heavier still is the weight

of your regret.


Resist the definition that

society will try to corner you

into. Obey only yours, as tacit

conformity will be the death

of your identity.


You tell others what you’re

worth. More than any

other value, being yourself

is priceless.

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