Friday, January 6, 2012

Poem of the Week: Jose Padua

Jose Padua

Take a Giant Step

All the out of business auto body shops

on this slow highway, all the abandoned

buildings with peeling paint, the vacant

lots overgrown with junk trees and weeds

bounded by chain link fences, all the things

we could never fix and threw away, all

the insane metaphors for living, the fake

equation of ideas, the pretty words that

soar today in a shallow heart as wisdom

before giving way to tomorrow's clever

observation, commandment, or list

of the neglected and overrated, and all

the shut ups and neverminds we breed

with our lips because we have never been

upon the verge of either idiocy or genius.

This is not where you belong, alone in this

tiny town without mending, this is not

the long endless line that waits for an exit

out of city sleep, this is not the thick wall

you can't hear through. So go, like everything

that has decayed before us, everything that has

shattered so beautifully, go into that street

like a man crashing a parade with smelly clothes

and dirty skin, go into that building that's on fire

because the sky is full of smoke and you are water.

-Jose Padua

Jose Padua was born in Washington, DC, in 1957. His poetry and fiction have appeared in Bomb,, Exquisite Corpse, Another Chicago Magazine, Unbearables, Crimes of the Beats, Up is Up, but So Is Down: New York's Downtown Literary Scene, 1974-1992, and many other journals and anthologies. His manuscript, Here Comes the Monster, was runner-up for the Many Mountains Moving Poetry Prize. After living in big cities like Washington and New York all his life, he now lives in the small town of Front Royal, Virginia, where he and his wife, the poet Heather Davis, write the blog Shenandoah Breakdown.

Padua will be reading at Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness, March 22-25, 2012. Join us!

Please feel free to forward Split This Rock Poem of the Week widely. We just ask you to include all of the information in this email, including this request. Thanks!

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