Self-Portrait As Human and As House

Photograph by Jose Padua
I can’t imagine how boring I’d be now
if I’d always been the best person
I could be instead of operating
at fifty percent of my capacity
or sometimes even less.
I can’t imagine the trouble I’d be
if I’d never totally failed at anything,
if I could sing a song like a rock star
when I was young, give the girls
that rock star look of total confidence,
that you-can’t-help-looking-at-me
why-try-to-resist-me look, or if
I’d been better at applying the principles
of higher mathematics to my ambitions,
devised a formula that would have made me
a success in my chosen field twenty years ago
at the age of thirty-five. Oh, the times
when I just didn’t know what to do;
when like a set of instructions written
in a language no one understands,
I wasn’t of much help to anyone;
and all those years that seemed to stretch
me between long seasons that looked
like they were about to break me.
I can’t imagine how having been
smooth and calm in my younger days
would do anything other than ruin me
for these more recent weeks, run me down,
my arms falling to my sides, my legs collapsing
beneath me fragile as an old wooden chair that’s
been left out too long in the cold and damp.
And I can’t imagine these days being more
beautiful for my being wealthier, this
frail house feeling warmer for being newer,
and my life being better for being certain
of how to stand, how to walk, how to grow
old a little more slowly. Sanctuary is never
the reason for these dense mornings,
these softer evenings, these nights like
moments of sweet enlightenment;
and preservation is best left for houses
and monuments; all the solid objects
that might be laid to waste if they
weren’t busy being made; or being born.

-Jose Padua

Photograph by Jose Padua

Advertisements

2 responses to “Self-Portrait As Human and As House

  1. … Written in a language no one understands. Such is the plight of the visionary, the prophet. I think you show the virtue of patience well, and the gracefulness that goes along with it.

    • shenandoahbreakdown

      ah, thank you! well, I do recognize the virtue and aim for it (even when I’m not always able to achieve it!)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s