On These Days Driving

Photo by Jose Padua
Perfection is all those horrible old love affairs
they tell their latest lover about in bed as they smoke
cigarettes, together and laughing in the darkness.
Perfection is all those bad years spent starving,
mad, aimless, before finally finding a way, through
chance or struggle, to make it.
Perfection is the moment when the worst
is behind you and the best slowly reveals itself
like a song from decades ago that only now
is becoming a hit.

I confess that I’ve got it all
ass-backwards, that perfection is beyond me
and my best was long ago
with the worst now revealing itself
like the dream you can’t remember,
the dream that leaves you gasping for air
as you sit up,
scared and alone,
staring out into the infinite darkness.

I never liked perfection,
I never tried to make the pieces
fit neatly, cleanly, exactly.

I always like the team that worked
the hardest, yet blew it in the end
and came in second,
the movie star who grew old and crazy,
forgot her lines and faded away…
it was something about the blemish on her cheek,
the hint of insanity,
the look on the players’ faces,
which whether out of lame stupidity
or brave wisdom, seemed to say
that things just weren’t right.

And though there hasn’t been
a day in the last twenty or so years
when I haven’t at least
considered the possibilities
of jumping out a fifth floor window
or throwing myself into the middle
of rush hour traffic
on the interstate,

I don’t.

So if you see me
in the late evening
or early morning
walking the streets, looking up
for shadows in the facades of buildings,
or on the road driving past
The International House Of Pancakes,
The Food Lion, and The Best Western
by the airport
ready to swerve,
just keep in mind that as far as I know
I’m on the right highway
and moving in the right direction,
with the grey and white signs
leading me westward
into the deep, imperfect blue
of heaven on
earth.

-Jose Padua

Photograph by Jose Padua

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