Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Jose Padua: Self-Portrait as Human and as House

I can’t imagine how boring I’d be now
if I’d always been the best person
I could be instead of operating
at fifty percent of my capacity
or sometimes even less.
I can’t imagine the trouble I’d be
if I’d never totally failed at anything,
if I could sing a song like a rock star
when I was young, give the girls
that rock star look of total confidence,
that you-can’t-help-looking-at-me
why-try-to-resist-me look, or if
I’d been better at applying the principles
of higher mathematics to my ambitions,
devised a formula that would have made me
a success in my chosen field twenty years ago
at the age of thirty-five. Oh, the times
when I just didn’t know what to do;
when like a set of instructions written
in a language no one understands,
I wasn’t of much help to anyone;
and all those years that seemed to stretch
me between long seasons that looked
like they were about to break me.
I can’t imagine how having been
smooth and calm in my younger days
would do anything other than ruin me
for these more recent weeks, run me down,
my arms falling to my sides, my legs collapsing
beneath me fragile as an old wooden chair that’s
been left out too long in the cold and damp.
And I can’t imagine these days being more
beautiful for my being wealthier, this
frail house feeling warmer for being newer,
and my life being better for being certain
of how to stand, how to walk, how to grow
old a little more slowly. Sanctuary is never
the reason for these dense mornings,
these softer evenings, these nights like
moments of sweet enlightenment;
and preservation is best left for houses
and monuments; all the solid objects
that might be laid to waste if they
weren’t busy being made; or being born.

Copyright 2016 Jose Padua



Photograph by Jose Padua

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This entry was posted on February 19, 2020 by in Humor and Satire, Poetry and tagged , .

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