Vox Populi

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Jose Padua: Union Square

I used to see him around Union Square or
sometimes a little further uptown or just
midtown like Herald Square but not right
in front of the thick glass door to Macy’s
because they’d make him move along, get
off their expensive piece of sidewalk, get
off their patch of Manhattan concrete lawn,
a late-middle-aged white man with one or
two kids in tow, playing his one greasy slide
riff, the only one he seemed to know, on
what looked like a home-made electric lap
guitar, his mad raised brows over the alm
pink gleam in his nearly crossed eyes ready
to crack like he’d invented a new form of
rock ‘n’ roll combined with either delta blues
or screeching city delivery truck brakes. Even
then, before I had kids, I thought about what
his kids thought, their crazy dad, his singular
song, with the only people putting money
in his cup looking as crazy as he did, with
the only people stopping to listen looking
like they had nothing better to do, with me
moving along as slow as a hangover headache
but still moving, still uncertain I had anything
more to offer the world than the power in
a single chord progression played with passion.


Copyright 2021 Jose Padua

Photograph by Jose Padua

4 comments on “Jose Padua: Union Square

  1. Rose Mary Boehm
    April 13, 2021

    Fabulous poem. Moving.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. haoyando
    April 13, 2021

    There’s a homeless pandemic in California. Some of them have mental issues and should be taken care of.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. kim4true
    April 13, 2021

    This is a character that is going to stick with me.

    Liked by 1 person

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