It’s hard for poet Daniel Morales Leon, 38, who works as a cook at a coffee shop in the Arts District, to think of himself as an artist with a capital A.
He’d be more comfortable with the title of deviant or drunkard. He smokes a lot of weed, sometimes drinks too much and worries that he is disappointing his mother. He took a lot of creative writing classes in community college but he failed them all.
Tattoos cover his body, and some of his fingers have lost feeling from the time he was shot and robbed in front of his family home in West Adams. On his forehead, two scars form the partial outline of a bike pedal, a souvenir from a bar fight. (He didn’t say much about the fight, but he did confirm that the pedal was still attached to the bike when it gave him the scar.)
But he’s always been drawn to art and literature. His tattoos depict literary heroes like Edgar Allan Poe, John Fante, Albert Camus and Jorge Luis Borges. His left forearm bears the inked words of a Cuban revolutionary: “Before I die I want to recite the verses from my soul.”
Leon is exactly the type of artist that Dryland, a literary journal based in South-Central Los Angeles, is looking for, said the journal’s founder, Viva Padilla. For the last four years, Dryland has published writers and artists from a variety of backgrounds, expressing a literary perspective based on the experiences of people born and raised in South-Central Los Angeles. Read Rest of Article Here