A Poem for Jimi Hendrix and All the Superheroes of My Youth Who Lacked the Power to Live Forever

Photograph by Jose Padua
When I was a child
considering the hierarchy
of superheroes
I wondered why
when they got to Superman
all the other creators
of superheroes
didn’t just quit.
After all,
except for the kryptonite,
Superman was invincible,
so what was the point of
the Fantastic Four,
for example,
each possessing a single superpower,
and as for Batman
who didn’t have
even one superpower
what the hell was the deal
with that?
Of course when I got older
I realized
that what was really interesting
wasn’t what they could do
but what they couldn’t do,
and what moved me
the most wasn’t
what some fictional superhero could do
but what a real person could do
that I wished I could do too—
like play electric guitar with my teeth
then make it sound
like an airplane,
then a machine gun,
then a breeze
when all that’s left
after the sun goes
down is the sound
of the wind carving
its invisible path
through late summer trees.

-Jose Padua

Photograph by Jose Padua

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