For the Sun, the Moon, and Everyone, and Everything

Photograph by Jose Padua
Those days when I was socially awkward weren’t
that long ago. After reading James Joyce’s “The Dead”
on my own in high school and feeling illuminated,
lifted, and sad all at once, there was nothing like
asking a girl to the prom for making me feel like
another ordinary asshole or some such shit. I would
have preferred to write a poem and have the girl
accept me or reject me on literary grounds rather
than on my personality or lack thereof; rather than
on my looks or my poor sense of style, but as I would
say years later when I was more likely to say these
things, oh what the fuck? Nowadays, because I’m
a poet I’m expected to be a little odd in some respects.
If I don’t at least twitch a little bit when I’m giving
a reading, or stare at someone as if I’m beholding the
entrance to oblivion, people start to feel a little ripped
off. Nowadays if I write someone a poem it’s flattering
rather than creepy, because poetry is my art and my art
is what’s expected of me, most of the time. So I dedicate
this poem to everyone in the world—to the sun and the
moon and everyone and everything. This doesn’t mean
I am asking anyone to dance, or for anyone’s phone
number or whatever it is people ask for these days. And
this doesn’t mean my feelings have changed, or that my
view of human existence is any more or any less cynical.
But the earth is spinning at around a thousand miles per
hour, and the universe, after how many billions of years,
is still expanding, and this morning I am drinking coffee,
tasting what to me seems the perfect combination of bitter
and sweet, earth and sky. I am astounded once again, by
the beauty of it all, and stirred to the point of giddiness
by that which is both lovely and strange.

-Jose Padua

Photograph by Jose Padua

4 responses to “For the Sun, the Moon, and Everyone, and Everything

  1. Amen! Some days, a sun ray, a plants scent or a mockingbird performing stop a power pole can be almost a religious experience….for me ….and the closest I will ever come to an interaction with a diety. This morning is cloudy and the birds are silent but your poem reminded me that there is so much to anticipate! Thanks

  2. Do you do many readings? If yes, where? How do you make them happen? I think I’d like to read, but there isn’t any place obvious to do this locally.

    • shenandoahbreakdown

      I used to do more readings but not as much lately. More often than not they’re at a bookstore or at a bar/niteclub (usually on an off night when there isn’t much going on and a reading might actually bring people into a place). I know that in Central PA (Harrisburg), the Midtown Scholar has readings with well-known authors (we saw George Saunders read there), and the Curious Iguana down in Frederick MD has readings with more small press writers.

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