Cigarette Burns.

I lit my first cigarette at 17
Back lit by a Swiss playground
Inhaled to quell the boredom.
The lighter flickered in the damp air,
Unsure fingers experimenting with
Vague impressions, channeling
James Dean, Norma Jean, Bukowski,
Nicotine tendrils that curled around
Caressing my faded grey hoodie
I tried my first drag, burning
Couldn’t inhale.

We traded stories and gossip,
Cherry blossoms falling around us,
Back lit by the Vancouver Mountains.
She blew out smoke rings while I
Pushed out puffs through my nose,
Like a dragon. At 19, nobody tells you
Philosophy and art and pain are intertwined.
We drank iced coffees and coveted
Those stolen moments, I inhaled
With faux grace and went home
Dizzy with heartache, head spinning.
I puked.

I tried to tamper the excitement,
Alcohol swirling through my veins,
Heady lights and too many bottles:
That Dom P, Grey Goose, Gentleman Jack.
Rush of crushed pills and
His warm lips against my burning neck.
I sucked on the white stick in hand,
Consumed by the ashes that fell,
Pulled back into reality when they screamed,
“Happy 21st!” The Shanghai skyline
Glittering as they cheered.
I exhaled.

Sadness is like an addiction,
The numb comfort
The sadistic waves of longing,
I lit my morning cigarette at 24,
Cup of Joe in hand, watching
The clouds blowing past from my rooftop
And remembered being
17 and unsure, lighting
that first cigarette:
wave of nostalgia that burned
The boredom that never ceased.
Smiled. Inhaled.

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2 thoughts on “Cigarette Burns.

  1. This one was pretty relatable… it’s weird how almost always we find ourselves drawn towards things that are not good for our system, and despite knowing what the consequences could be, we embrace these things so dearly.. and I love the title. The poem is beautifully written.. I look forward to reading more of your work💗

    • thank you so much for the kind words. yes, indeed… we’re drawn to what we know isn’t good for us, yet it draws us because of the knowledge… weird, isn’t it. i wonder how much is self-fulfilling prophecy and how much is just positive “negative” advertising.

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