A hidden poet in plain sight


Photo courtesy of Chris Paganelli

The poetic talent of this Iona College student goes beyond campus walls into the Big Apple.

Tiffany Persaud, Features & Lifestyle Editor

Alas, Iona, business students are not the only ones adding credentials to this school. Although some artistic forms of expression seem to be dwindling in popularity within the younger crowds, the few remaining practice their craft until perfection.  

Dario Hernandez, also known as his pen name, Ruben DeEscapado, is a double major in English and Philosophy. During the weekends when he is not drowning in essays, he writes poetry in his spare time at Central Park. In addition to the rarity of his craft, he substitutes a computer with a typewriter.  

When Hernandez arrives at his designated bench in the park, he sets up his workstation and places a sign in front of him saying “Pick a topic, get a poem.” Although these poems are written for free, any tips are appreciated and make his poetic endeavor feasible.  

Hernandez signs his poetry with the pen name Ruben DeEscapado, his alter ego. He was going to be named “Ruben” which means “the escaped” in Spanish.  

“I use it [Ruben DeEscapado] to further emphasize the fact that writing in this version of myself is an escape from reality,” Hernandez said. “It allows me to be to me in a more authentic way.”  

Growing up in a sports-oriented household, Hernandez didn’t have the time to truly develop his writing. He kept his poetry in a journal up until his girlfriend showed him a poem that he knew he could have written better than the author.  

Hernandez is open to composing a poem on any subject, except himself. The broader topics such as love and relationships are popular but are difficult to condense into a few lines. Poems derived from specified topics are simpler to write but Hernandez prefers a challenge. 

Poetry is a marriage between being inspired and in turn inspiring others. Hernandez’s heart gets all fuzzy when he watches people get emotional whilst reading his poems.  

“What I am really doing is giving people perspective,” Hernandez explains. “When they give me a topic, they begin writing a poem in their head. Then I give them something that’s clean and defies whatever they are thinking. I show people their thoughts outside of them.”  

Actions speaking louder than words don’t phase Hernandez. His gracious writing incites emotions brash New Yorkers probably thought they never had. Spreading joy is the main goal but making a difference in someone’s life only with a few words holds power that only writers can hold.  

“I’m healing with my words,” Hernandez said. “Moving forward I want to write novels that have the same effect.” 

By posting on his Instagram page @rdescapado, Hernandez reaches a larger audience he couldn’t possibly come across in the few days he spends in Manhattan.  

When there’s no love, critiques or praise, there’s no motivation. Without the support of his girlfriend, friends and family, Hernandez would not have pursued poetry to the lengths that he has. He’s comfortable with the idea of failing because his support system will be there to help him move on.  

Like most New Yorkers, Hernandez’s fuel is a large cup of coffee and a toasty bagel. We may never know if that’s the secret to his success, but we do know he’s willing to teach those who are curious about writing. He keeps the seats beside him on the bench empty, so no gatekeeping here, just passion for poetry.