Tag Archives: smoke

Juggling Smoke

Very suddenly and very directly
The cold wind shut me up
Like I came down with yesterday’s rain
Like a plug opened in my head
And all of what I am ran out of me

I stood there sweating and aching
Not at all sure what to do
But I couldn’t speak
And I couldn’t hear
And I could hardly see

It was like I was juggling smoke
Right hand over left hand
The smoke never returning
Each breath scorched my lungs
And I was helpless to cry out
My voice had left me
Carried off on each cloud of smoke
Never to return

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Starlight Serenade

The evening sky is our lovers’ orchestra
Each beam of light from each star
Carries our dreams up to heaven
And back down into your eyes
The sounds that fill the air are ours
The sounds of my lips against your shoulder
The sound of sparks when you touch my skin

In a box next to the wooden porch swing
Is the life that I am going to live with you
It is a small box but it is brimming with us
I love the way that you are careful
To not overturn the box because of what’s inside
You said that you love the way I am careful
Because I know about losing too
So we swing carefully
And listen to the starlight serenade
And anything that could ever hurt us
Is carried away on the smoke
Of my last cigarette for the night

One More Social Smoke

One more social smoke by myself
While I listen to Ravel and toast the people
Who believe in my journey
Who say I won’t ever make it
Who don’t have enough money for smokes of their own

As surely as I have influenced others
Each person I have met has had some influence on me
Now the pieces come together
And I cannot see doing things any other way

One more social smoke
One more sip of top shelf stout beer
And I remember everyone I have ever met
I owe them a debt of gratitude
For their participation in the assemblage
Of the traveler who is not afraid of the journey
And I owe one cigarette
To anyone who doesn’t have enough money to buy their own

One Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas in my new first-floor pad
The second-floor walker had me tossing in bed
The little red Christmas tree burnt its last candle
Shopping for more was more than I could handle
Directors and actors still ran through my head
And all of the plays that still had to be read
There’s comedy pieces I pray they’ll find funny
There’s another one witty – I hope not too punny
When out on Milwaukee – it might have been Tripp
I heard a loud clatter – someone driving ripped
Away to my window I shuffled and stumbled
I could almost make out a squat form with a bundle
The bright safety lights from the Schurz parking lot
Lit my tiny courtyard and half of the block
I peered so much closer at the form with the sack
It was little old man who was straining his back
The little old man smiled up at the light
His eyes kind of sparkled in the still of the night
More rapid than camels the cruises pulled up
The blue stripe a blur – but the bright lights lit up
“Don’t move!” one guy yelled and he pulled out his gun
“It’s been a long night. You’ve had way too much fun!”
To my front door the old man sprang with a stride
I – quick – hit the buzzer to let him inside
As crippled-up sprinters the cops tried to soar
But the old guy made it in and slammed the big door
So up to my stairs he carried himself
I opened the door to the out-of-breath elf
And then like a movie the bull horn did roar
“Send out the old guy or we’ll break down the door!”
I returned to the window and what did I see
Twelve service revolvers all pointed at me
The old guy just sat down and pulled out a smoke
“You got any whiskey?” I thought it a joke
“I lost all the toys. They’re out there in the dark,
Now who’s going to deliver to Jefferson Park?”
His eyes looked so tired – a bright shade of red
His cheeks were so sunken deep into his head
His mouth was so wrinkled it looked like a prune
His beard was so threadbare there’d be nothing there soon
The butt of the cig he held clenched in his teeth
Smoke circled his head like a smelly death wreath

He had a sad face and a pasty white tummy
His death rattle laughter just wasn’t that funny
He sat on my nice couch just creeping me out
There was something pathetic about this old lout
With a turn of his head his old neck gave a creak
Something told me he was ready to speak
He spoke just one word – he whispered the rest
Those words hit me hard like his boot in my chest
He took one more drag from that damp cigarette
He thanked me and told me, “It ain’t over yet.”
Then he got up so slowly heading back to the night
“I’ll leave you alone now Kid – this is your fight.”
I heard his words echo as I watched him just leave
“I’m nothing these days if the kids don’t believe.”