Saturday, March 4, 2017

smoke in your eyes

when I gave up smoking cigarettes
seemed like the whole world staggered
to an end -- kalpas shaking

when I took the key right out my mouth
the howl -- like somebody forgot
to feed the cats -- it was like that

took the receiver off the hook
dial tone back in the 20th century
now white noise -- it was like that

fragments shattered on volcano shore
then the waves washed them away
blank mirror in your face

never did quite understand the meaning
of nicotine -- smoked a long clay pipe
for a time, packed with Balkan Sobranie

let us now meditate on the significance
of the filter, or exotic associations
Gitanes in the French Caribbean

unfiltered Camels in downtown New York
life measured out by tobacco
the habitual pose, gazing at autumn leaves

something to do with the fingers and lips
rolling ciggies, kissing tobacco
it did not seem particularly erotic

seasons going by, nerves numb
gazing out at the sea, waves washing away
and brushing off the ashes, all the ashes

when I gaving up smoking cigarettes
it was like turning the radio off
that pulsing moment stopped time abruptly

a study of the limits of desire
when a lovely flame dies
haunted scent of ancient autumn leaves

--Ross Bender