Friday, June 26, 2009

POEM: Portrait of A Smoker

She is a study in silent stillness,
With cigarette lodged
Between her sharp, white knuckles,
Wrinkled and protruding,
The stem like a lighthouse,
Red tip aglow
Warning everyone around her
That she is engaged in a
Breathing meditation –
Stay clear of the shoal of her,
Beware the rocks and tenacious sandbars.

There is the slow arc of hand at hip level
Rising to meet the mouth, soft,
The way pale moon rises gently,
Her pliant cheeks bellow inward;
Her plump though chapped and meaty lips
Enrobe the filtered end;
Her gaze is just a sugary look,
Like glaze, with curly smoke
That entwines her far off eyes,
An incense offering that purifies
Her hallowed space,
Arms crossed like a bound and pious saint.
There is an exorcism of evil spirits that occurs,
Which inhabits the few free minutes
She claims as her own, breathing all the time
An exhale like prayer of billowy smoke,
Rounded, opaque and so gray up to God.

To the Indians of the plains,
Tobacco was this gift from God,
So they could commune with Maheo
So they could make their way back to Him
In the form of love that ascended
In the form of smoke – she exhales
Pillowed clouds that latch on to changing winds,
Like thoughts that are her inner monologue
Of what she is really considering now
At this very moment: this and nothing else.

For now, she is present
To the lit and burning end,
To the snug fit between her fingers,
To the gradual diminishment of her cigarette
And what remains – time and tobacco
In a constant footrace.

There is the glow of silence
All around her everywhere
And she is entirely at home.


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