The Night Jimi Hendrix Died

Photograph by Jose Padua
The night Jimi Hendrix died I was
unacquainted with the process
of integrating chords and leads,
or with the evolution from mannerism
to baroque and then late baroque style.
I was born in a hospital that
was torn down before the dawning
of the age of Aquarius, before
there was even a song about it
and the word psychedelic got
dated and trite and we no longer
felt as far out as we used to.
When I was young I worshipped
the god of disruptive mood swings,
silently staring at my homework
before screaming because nobody
told me not to; now I listen to my
inner child-like voices whenever
I feel the need to feel free. There’s
always a first time for everything,
and the first time I went to New York
City I was a child and when I saw
the trash blowing over the sidewalks
and onto the streets, the business cards,
candy wrappers, bread crumbs, and
other discarded bits of food I was
impressed the way only a child
can be impressed by what looks
like chaos and disorder but is
really nothing more than
a brief change in the weather.
And now that I am no longer
a child, I look upon the vanishing
of years, the disappearance of all
the motions I remember making,
and those nights when what is immobile
seems to move about in the dark to
reflect the slightest glow of moonlight.
And the greatest blessing bestowed
upon us is aging’s wisdom—
shades of faces, shadows of trees
and mountains; endless miles and miles
of rolling ocean and curving road.
These and whatever moments can be
called climatic or even divine
become even more so when
we realize they can be so easily
lost or forgotten. Those moments
so wearying and lovely when it feels
like the air may be drawing out
from your lungs and never coming
back; that breathless purple instant
when you smile one more time
before all the images in your mind
collapse, leaving just flat space
and the slight, subtle aroma of mint.

-Jose Padua

Photograph by Jose Padua

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