Thursday, October 05, 2006

My "lonely cigarette" poem

So I came back from the meeting and tried to work on the poem inspired by my feverish ramblings last week which I'd promised to have ready for you guys by tomorrow... but, sadly, it fell completely apart the way poems do sometimes. However, feeling poetic and refusing to give up, I sat resolutely in front of my computer until I came up with something. Not surprisingly, after the conversation at the end of the meeting, it's a "lonely cigarette" poem. It's so cool when the group works exactly the way it's supposed to... from our chatting came--an idea!

It's not super-refined or anything, and it's not really a performance piece, so I won't be reading it tomorrow, but I'd still appreciate your feedback. This is *gulp* my first actual creative post on here.

Fading (working title)

You walk with me, the glint of light dangling—
perky, precarious—from two careless fingers.
A fading moon looks stoically away from us,
the trees bend and sway, the air laden with
latent raindrops, or early dew,
or some other small quivering wetness.
I laugh and tell you to blow me a smoke ring.

You tilt your head up obligingly,
take a long drag (always with eyes closed)
and round up your lips as if for a howl—
but out creep two ghostly rings
followed by a wobbly third.
“You can’t breathe from the throat,” you tell me.
“It’s gotta come from deeper inside.”
Then you take another drag and start again.

Impulsively, I lean in
and touch my lips to yours, lightly,
before you’ve had the chance to blow all the smoke out.
In your surprise, you let it out into my face, and I laugh again.

But you don’t laugh. You
look away, stoically, and mumbling, repeat
“from deeper inside.”
Suddenly, I feel a sharp burning in my own throat.

When we get to my door, I stop and smile,
and you look at me—we’re both wondering
whether I’ll ask you up. You lean toward me, back bent,
and look at me a little too long.
I sigh an apology, and step deliberately inside.
I don’t turn around till later.

By then, you’re just a figure with a cigarette
fading slowly, shoulders quivering,
into the plain dark night.