The Old Man and Other Bright and Beautiful Landscapes

Photograph by Jose Padua
I don’t remember if it was last week
or last year, or just some gray day
when I didn’t have the energy to climb
my way up a blue mountain when I
realized that the old man listening
to light music on the way to the store
to buy soft food that wouldn’t hurt
his aching teeth was me. That the stark
landscape of an evening sky hanging
over a slowly moving brown river as
dark birds flashed their wings before
disappearing into the lush mystery
of tall swaying trees was a memory
that came rushing to me from the quiet
solace of an early afternoon’s hour
of delicate half-sleep. Sometimes
I’d leave the city far behind me
whenever I marveled at the flat
air that seemed to hover like a deep
speaking voice on helium over
a freshly mowed and neatly trimmed
lawn. Sometimes I’d walk to the county line
like I was climbing the stairs to sweet heaven.
Last week one of my neighbors banged
on the window of a car driven into a
wall down our street until the glass broke
to reveal a man who’d been driving drunk
wearing nothing but his clean, white briefs.
I think chance is what takes you the farthest
on a long slow road under gloom of night
with the lights off in this damp place
people who aren’t from here call the middle
of nowhere. It’s where I grow old and wise
among both lilacs and weeds, lifting
my feet one at a time, dreaming of nothing
but these bright, bitter and beautiful things.

-Jose Padua

Photograph by Jose Padua

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7 responses to “The Old Man and Other Bright and Beautiful Landscapes

  1. I think chance is what takes you the farthest
    on a long slow road under gloom of night
    with the lights off in this damp place
    people who aren’t from here call the middle
    of nowhere. (“Anywhere” when you get to see life/living through old(er) eyes I think. But damn bro, this hit home even for this city guy!)

  2. Jessie Martinovic

    Always a delight to read , your words Jose. What’s your favourite soft food?

  3. Just came over here from Jeff Cann’s blog.
    This was a great piece. Melancholic, nostalgic, yet beautiful.
    Looking forward to reading more

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