A Simple Declaration of My Personal Philosophy

Photograph by Jose Padua
Efficiency is the enemy of art,
purity the death of the soul.
Curses are rarely stranded
at the tip of my tongue, and
the blades I work with are dull
from overuse. A day when
I haven’t wasted a moment
is a day when I’ve done nothing
worth doing. I have horrible feelings
I live with, spend hours staring
at sidewalks, empty park benches,
and dirt, before finally writing down
the correct sentence. The hospital
I was born in was torn down,
the building I once lived in renovated,
its apartments transformed into
units priced too high for everyone
except the assholes. Afterthoughts
are my greatest inspiration, the
black buttons that seem connected
to the pale cloth by the slightest threads;
distractions the things that move me
the most, take me the farthest
from here out to there and never back;
the old houses that brought me here,
and the noisy floors and filthy walls
that let me stay. Because the farther I go,
the closer I get to being where I was
when I started, to recognizing the Earth
and the way my feet stand slightly tilted
upon it. Because the farther I go
the more I find myself returning
with soft steps to these hard places,
these points scattered like the dark
flickering of stars on the old, wrinkled
map, each of them lying in wait
for its moment of rediscovery.

-Jose Padua

Photograph by Jose Padua

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