Archives for posts with tag: cigarette

One year ends and another begins. The calendar
                flips a digit, and the unrelenting
        passage of time
marches on, oblivious
                        to us or anyone else.

I stand on your back porch,
a dying cigarette hanging languidly
                        between my fingers,
the smoke drifting lazy and silent
        through the still night air.
I stand there and I think
                of the year recently deceased,
of the highs and lows,
        of the mistakes and the wasted
                                opportunities,
                of the boons and the near-regrets;
and then
                                I think of you and your footsteps
come closer and closer from your kitchen,
        like the rhythmic beat
        of a waking dream.

You come outside and water your garden wordlessly.
I watch you and fight back a confusing rush of tears that come
                unbidden and try to fall free, as if imitating
the water surging from the hose in your hand,
        placating
the parched soil and the plants so desperately in want.
I fight them all back lest you look my way and the dam
                breaks.

I can’t verbalise all that I want to.
                        Not yet.
When you come close, I wrap
        my arms around you
                        as many times as I can,
and tell you you’re wonderful and kiss your forehead but
        even that feels grossly
                        inadequate.
So I just hold you
                for a while longer
then we go inside and to bed,
where a single standing fan tries to ward off
        the uncomfortable heat and humidity,
where we can’t fall asleep without
                holding each other in some way, so close
that your hands on my chest
        are my hands,
that my breath on your neck
        is your breath;*

and I try not to think too much
        about the terrifying sense
                                of happiness
coursing through me,
about the unexpected calm I feel
                when I’m near you, about
the fact that you really do
                                exist.

*lines 45-48 are a sort of appropriation of those found in Neruda’s Sonnet XVII. Lines 45 and 46 are very similar (almost identical); lines 47 and 48 are different, but only in subject matter. I’m not claiming them as original, but I simply had to use them. They’re so damn apt!

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I

Come in, I say, even though we’re outside

         come in. Our own little world

where the sun still shines—

                                    the sky in your eyes—

but no one else is here. Just us

and some coffee

and a half-empty pouch of tobacco, enough

              to get me through the weekend.

 

I can see my self in your eyes.

                                    Does that

                                    make me vain?

I ask.

         You blush. Shades of pale red surfacing

on your porcelain skin. You’re beautiful.

                                    Does it?

Furrowed brow, you look away. Silence. Unmoving.

I roll a cigarette and place it under a lighter in front of you

                  and roll another. You light mine then yours,

staring

                                    into the dark distance.

 

II

A fire burning warmly in a clearing surrounded

         by autumnal foliage.

                           Come sit with me.

You do. You sit. You don’t look cold

         Aren’t you cold? You don’t answer

                                    but stare into the flames,

mind lost in thought. Where are you? I ask,

                                    silently.

Face flushed, you’re warm. Your own fire

         burns brightly

                           somewhere.

You came here as a favour

to see what you could see

         in my flames, beautiful pyromancer.

                           You’ll leave soon. I know this.

What if will always lose to what is,

and someone waits at your own fire wondering where

                  you’ve gone.

 

III

Glass walls and social constructs, that’s all

that separates us. That

                  and an insurmountable distance measured

by an unrequited infatuation, and all the words

                           I never said or wrote.

But one day, it might be different.

                  One day, I might write you

and tell you all the things I want to tell you.

                           One day, we might meet under desirous circumstances

and the dry leaves and the branches

will be devoured by the flame

and together we’ll watch it burn.

                                    One day.

The neon name of the diner flickered. It bathed the street in a soft blue glow, forcing a sense of melancholy on passers-by. It reflected off the wet ground and suggested a mirror diner where things might be better.

Inside, a middle-aged, world-weary waitress in a pale blue dress and coffee stained apron stood behind a counter, off-white and worn. She cleaned the night’s dishes with a trained efficiency: working smart not fast. She’d look up every so often to check on the two men and their coffee cups.

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This poem is in response to the blank verse challenge laid down by the prolific and adept sarahjaneprosetry (read her poem here).

 

with every pull of this cigarette

and every sip of this coffee, I

come back to the land of the living; the

dishevelment falls away like old skin,

unwanted; my mind becomes solid, no

more rattling like time-worn maracas.

 

I awoke in a bed not my own, in

a house not my own, but that of my ink

mate’s new fling, and on her back porch I sit,

the sun slowly climbing behind me—just

as I knew it would, dappling a forest

of gums in the rays of a newfound day.

 

and the day is young and nature’s sounds wash

over me and I sit in wonderment,

as if hearing it all for the first time;

white noise enriched with soothing hues and tones,

unexpectedly beautiful and soft,

I’m cloaked in an ethereal cocoon.

 

it feels like some new beginning but new

beginnings are precious and rare and, if

I am deserving of such a thing, I

beg of it to evince itself anew,

show me the light! the possibilities!

let me walk that desirous path once more.

 

 

I sit across from her

and tell

her it’s been

too long;

she looks beautiful

like she always has

and I tell her, you’re

looking pretty like

always.

 

she smiles and says,

two skinny lattés

please,

to a man

not

me.

 

I roll and light

a cigarette.

 

I’ve missed you:

the sun doesn’t shine,

flowers will not

bloom,

the well is dry,

words elude me!

yet I feel it now,

don’t

you?

 

she says, thank

you, to that same

man

and she sips her coffee

and checks her phone

 

seeing you now has opened

doors that were

merely ajar, I say.

I am yours! everything! all of

it! I

LOVE YOU!

 

her coffee is gone,

mine is cold, and

her eyes do not

lie

and we sit there like

that

until the sun does

finally

set,

and it does finally set.

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