Blonde on Blonde

Photograph by Jose Padua
What if the purpose of evolution
isn’t to move us
in a straight line
but in a circle,
so that we get better
and better until we reach
the far end of the parking lot,
after which we start to decline,
know less and less,
and feel sick earlier in the day
as we need more and more rest,
all of which tells us
it’s time for us to go away
because the universe has gotten tired
of our sorry asses?
What if human existence
is like a cocktail party
that goes from five to eight in the evening?
You have a few drinks
and stand around telling each other
about your new job with the company
that makes plastic paper clips,
or your managerial position at the store
that just opened in the big mall
by the interstate that so far
isn’t attracting as many customers
as the old mall
closer to downtown;
you gush about your child
who’s on the honor roll,
or, if you’re one of those people,
your new pet snake
and how many mice he eats per week.
After you’re done speaking about your lives,
you sigh, maybe make plans
to meet again sometime soon,
then go off to your separate homes, towns,
and existences until death
puts an end to everything.
But sometimes I wonder
if there’s more to it than that,
if there’s an existence that
survives beyond this,
though I’m not at all sure
about these things,
which I guess makes me an agnostic
or, according to some people,
an uncommitted asshole,
though I tend to avoid those
who are prone to making severe
proclamations and judgements.
I’m the guy who enjoys standing
at the window of the tallest
skyscraper in town,
looking out at the city below
and feeling that somehow
this is what it means to be alive,
that living means
always being on the verge,
on the edge,
with every day being
the moment before a long trip,
the hour before a wedding,
the year before war breaks out
and so many innocent people die
while the guilty get richer
and make jokes
and laugh about it
not because they have to
but because they can.
In the worst of times
apprehension fills the hours
like a man in a black suit
who sits in the corner
and never speaks
until he suddenly looks
over at you to say
that your time here is finished;
while in the best of times
you take in what’s left
of an ordinary day
and realize that
nothing we do
can ever really be ordinary,
and that on those nights
when we stay up well past the hour
of sinking ships and insincere promises,
we are great,
telling each other our secrets,
breathing in the sea salt air
and breathing it out again,
dedicating our lives to each other.

-Jose Padua

Photograph by Jose Padua

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