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Friday
Jan162015

Smoke

Sometimes, when I listen to traffic and feel lonely, I miss cigarettes. The best thing about cigarettes is the perpetual need for something that is readily attainable. Nicotine is nothing like Truth or Justice. You have to fight for Truth and Justice and all you get in return is pepper spray, probably, or maybe a big welt from a rubber bullet. But nicotine is easily ingested by inhaling tobacco smoke. So you crave and satisfy, crave and satisfy; it’s like little Hero’s Journeys all day long, freeing you from the plague of identity, launched into the archetypal cycle of mythical time. As night follows the day and the snake swallows her tail, Mr. Jones knocks and you spark one. Too bad they kill you.

Your life wants to kill you. Get lonely and let it. What’s the worst that could happen? I read a story this morning about a little boy watching the smoke from an incense stick burning by his dead mother at her funeral. It made him very pensive and lonely and he got hip to evanescence. Say it with me now, slowly: 
evanescence. Disappearing, vanishing, fading away. Smoke has a lot to teach. Smoke’ll get you lonely. And to die from loneliness is the only way to flower into light. 

The man I rent a room from threw a New Year’s Eve party at his house with a big bonfire in the backyard. The smoke appeared to me as a ghost using the alchemy of fire to eke out a brief haunting presence. Memory. Old friends. Up in smoke. The smell stayed in my coat. Midnight came and went. The people came and went. Like everything else in this great big world. I quietly considered some resolutions: run, listen to smoke, keep burning, stay alive. When the fire was out and everyone had gone, I ate a piece of cherry pie in the dark. I don’t remember things as sharply as when I was a younger man. The future is none of my business.