Pushcart nominee: Jose Padua. Gin and the River.

29 Nov

Six of our beautiful writers have been nominated for the 2013 Pushcart prize. Over the next week, we will feature each of them, along with the nominated work.

Today’s nominee is Jose Padua. His poetry, fiction, and non-fiction have appeared in Bomb, Salon, The Weeklings, and many other places. He was a featured reader at the 2012 Split This Rock poetry festival. He and his wife, the poet Heather Davis, write the blog Shenandoah Breakdown.


Gin and the River

If the river could speak like gin,
the greater the flow the more
the woods that surround us
would sound like stray dogs,
the more the water flooding
the banks would warm us rather
than chill us like a scene in a scary
movie. If the river could speak like
gin, the closer we’d be to Asia, the
continent, not the Italian actress, but
maybe her, too. We’d be close
enough to walk to the Great Wall
and then we’d walk the Great Wall,
gazing out at the hills of northern China
and southern Inner Mongolia, walking
and gazing until our feet get sore or
until someone calls us and tells us
it’s time to come home. If the river
could speak like gin we’d come
to the river more often with juice
and tonic and lemons. We’d bring
the knife and we’d cut the lemons
into wedges right there, savoring
the sting of lemon juice on our fingers,
then licking our fingers and making
funny faces that last as long as the wait
between the lightning flash and the thunder.
And then we’d drink the river, even though
it isn’t really gin, because the river spoke
to us, because it acted like gin. Because
when the river speaks to us like gin we
believe it more. We pull our glass tumblers
down from the top shelf and we walk—
through a darkness so thick we have to
push it aside with our hands and kick
it away with our feet—to the river,
ready to go crazy like static on the
radio, ready to drink until everything
in space is dark again, until our
fingers feel numb with the power.




3 Responses to “Pushcart nominee: Jose Padua. Gin and the River.”


  1. Jose Padua | vtbidania.com - March 24, 2014

    […] Gin and the River, Pea River Journal A Life of Uncontrollable Urges (or Tourette’s and the Writing Life), Shenandoah Breakdown Why […]

  2. Prints Project update, late August | pea river journal - August 28, 2014

    […] Jose Padua on Walt Whitman. […]

  3. Best of the Net 2014: our nominations | pea river journal - September 14, 2014

    […] Break in This World“ Corey Mesler, “A Small Simic Afternoon“ Jose Padua, “Gin and the River“ Eric M. R. Webb, “The Bottoms of the West End of Kentucky“ If you haven’t […]

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