Take a Giant Step

Photograph by Jose Padua
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’re thinking about a river.

-Jose Padua

This is a revised version of a poem that was originally published on Split This Rock’s blog. I took the photograph of the Front Royal Kmart, which shut down at the beginning of the year, earlier this week.

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3 responses to “Take a Giant Step

  1. I agonize over the death of most things and to and including businesses while new land is broken for another failure.

  2. I recognize it. I liked that store for it’s housewares department.

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