Tag Archives: smoke

Untitled

Out on a milky ocean, fuzzy gray with streaks of silver
and here and there a thread of blue or white like sunlight in aged hair
I saw bodies drowning.

Unable to cling to their scraps and wrecks,
descending in slow fading trails into the dark mystery,
(these fuse-tail duds, sparking bright and sizzling to dull and smoky ends before the powder stops, or curls of blue-black ink rising from blown candles)
these smoke people rising downward all around me
and I saw that I was like them:

All these guts of fireflies,
waiting on a tyrant child’s thumb and forefinger
to crush us into moments of bloody wonder
before we fade into smears of irrelevant gore on the asphalt.

But my raft is sturdy, and I cannot see the bottom
And although I am tired of this fog, and
although I shut my eyes against this fog, and although
I think I will always be with this fog,
I can carry a small light.

I am no twisting smoke, winding into unlit fathoms,
am not a gliding seabird on migration to the sun,
but here in the mist I may yet scrape to landing
on the pebbles and rough rocks of some wild shore.

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Observation

“No,” he thinks.

“Yes,” he says.

He keeps a nervous eye toward the paneled glass door.  An unkind face could lock eyes with him through the vestibule at any second.  A sense of shame sticks somewhere between his Adam’s apple and his sternum.  It hovers in the hollow of his chest like a cold sludge.  But the man behind the bar has been moving all this time, and he slides a cardboard circle over like a paycheck, and he crowns it with a glass of something cool and dark.

Our man pulls the glass to his lips.  He takes the liquid just like a shot in the vein, mainlining the comfort of ale to the heart of his shame.  The sludge softens, and the shy coat of his guts takes it on for armor.  It won’t dissolve him from the oppressive crowd, but it might submerge him to a matchable depth.

A dead-eyed man rolls unhurried through the vestibule’s airlock, back from a mid-lager smoke.  His aura is ash and hollow plastic lighters.  His heavy eyelids will only fall with age.  His shirt is clean.

The man’s cough is deposits of brown stained phlegm.   They stick and quiver against choking lung sacs, reverberating and rattling up through a tortured esophagus and into the cracked desert of his closed fist.  He is not asking any questions or making friendly sallies.  Inside, he is a tin-metal wind-up toy, jerking and starting in a locked pattern of gears, a simple and useless machine with a painted metal smell. The smoke and eyes and slime and metal and well-bottom isolation of a man in his self-imposed and inescapable hell.

The smoke works its way through his pipes and valves.  He  takes a moment to close his eyes.  In the glow of alcohol, light like the fire of smokestacks rolls from his arms and shoulders.

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