A Smoker’s Torment

Oh
how I long
to quit you

With
dry mouths and
stained teeth

They
whisper to
their habit:

You
make my clothes
stink of shame

You
make my skin
sag and wrinkle

You
make me stop
everything for you

You
can’t tell me
what you do for me

They
take a look
and ponder the choice

It
looks so harmless
and so inviting

They
spark the flame
and give in

It
seems to have
won this time

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Born Too Late

What can you do
When you’re born
Too late?

What can you do
When you’ve missed
The ones with something to say?

I take long walks
Down semi-crowded
Sidewalks

I can hear
The thumping

Tribal

Primal

Devoid of emotion

Masturbatory limericks
Clouding my head
Making it pound

It eminates
From cars passing
All the same

With a sigh
I drop my chin

What do you do
When you’re born
Too late?

All the beautiful women
Have nothing to say
They just want to
Dance and shake

But the dance has
Lost its art
Its elegance is gone

All that stands now
Is foreplay

Primal

Loveless

Nothing to do
When you’re born
Too late.

When love is an illusion
Wrapped in sweat
And stinking of booze

The dance floor fills
As the alcohol spills
And I am pushed

Pushed into the corner

From here

From here I watch

From here I watch the people

All the men
Who lean across the tables
On their elbows

They fein interest

They’re not listening
It’s a game
They’re not listening
They’re nodding their heads

But they’re not listening

They give all
The right responses
Pre-rehearsed and practiced

But they’re not listening

They can only envision bare flesh
Naked pleasure followed
By adandonment

Yet I am still listening

I know everything
And have nothing

Nothing to do
When you’re born
Too late.

Nothing to do
But sit and wait
For a time to shine

In a room with dim lights


Haiku Hullabaloo

Love is elusive
The definition is lost
We give it away

Motionless blue sky
Hovering above our heads
It’s going to fall

Don’t keep looking down
Sooner than later you crash
Keep your gaze ahead

Don’t let on too much
You are full of misery
Remember it’s yours

Questions choke the air
Truth is such a rarity
Answers have no place

Puzzled heads look up
To see all the falling stars
We have no idea


Inevitability Offers No Guarantee

As his lips found their way to hers, the anticipation inside him grew to an almost uncomfortable level. He felt his hands trembling as they caressed her thighs and their tongues intertwined. She wrapped her legs around his waist and the two bodies began to writhe. With her seated on the stool, he felt as if she were floating in his arms. He knew he was romanticizing the situation entirely too much, but he had been wanting this since he first saw her.

She didn’t know what she wanted and figured she wouldn’t remember it in the morning, anyway.

As it would turn out?

No such luck.

Her hands caressed the back of his head while she buried her face in his. She was used to attention from men but there was something different about him. He understood her. Accepted her. Perhaps even scared her a little. As much as she was losing herself, she retained the idea that this would not bloom into something she couldn’t control. Something she couldn’t understand. Yet, the alcohol thinned her blood and clouded her judgment. She couldn’t stop kissing him.

The music from the shitty stereo filled his eardrums. He found himself lost in her kiss. In his eyes, she was perfect. Stubborn, fun, gorgeous, and uninhibited. Liberated. Free. He longed to know how she saw him and thought he finally had his answer. It’s always so easy to be optimistic when you think you have what you want. What you think you need. He didn’t want to believe that this was just a passing moment, as so many moments before had been. Something resembling passion but always landing on the label of ‘mistake’. Whatever was happening, he wasn’t going to question it at the moment. His right hand slid up the length of her torso to the smooth skin of her face and his fingers began to slide through her auburn hair. He tried not to get too excited. He couldn’t let on how much he was enjoying this.

He had always been a bit of an over thinker and an over feeler. A weakness, he would call it. His heart beat faster. He could feel the rhythm pounding in his temples. He had her. She was in his arms. As much joy as this brought him, his mind could not wander away from the inevitability of losing her. Visions of all the lovers before her flashed before his eyes. The eyes which, were certain, had found everything that was ever missing from them…

…in her.

Yet, there is always some luster lost when acquiring the thing one yearns for the most. A dampening of image. A loss of innocence. Like that of a theory proven false.

A let down.

This fear drove him. He longed to know everything about her that she didn’t share on the surface. He loved finding out and knowing how things worked. To him, humans were a complex equation that he would never solve. He understood this fool’s errand and, yet, still proceeded in his attempt to get as close as he possibly could.

However, it was this fear that drove her away. She made it a habit to distance herself. The mere idea that the picture that she had in her mind could change so drastically made her uneasy. Never get too close. A mantra she had been practicing for over a year now. This night, she threw caution to the wind but not without hanging onto its tether wrapped around her wrist. She could never fully let go.

The headlights from cars passing by flickered against the wall of the dimly lit living room as he carried her to the couch. There are certain signs that a fellow can interpret as positive. Going from vertical to horizontal is one of these signs. The transition was fluid and smooth. She began to get more aggressive. Her lips pressed hard against his, he was finding it more difficult to contain his enthusiasm. She began kissing his neck and, as her mouth reached his earlobe, she whispered with a smirk:

‘This was bound to happen.’

He couldn’t answer. All he could do was immerse himself in her.

She didn’t know why she was escalating the situation. Maybe it was pity or maybe it was something more. Either way, she couldn’t let it continue. Her mind kept telling her to stop before it got out of control.

Her answer came when the mood was suddenly shattered by the thud of a closing bedroom door. A shadowy figure made its way to the kitchen to open the refrigerator. The light from inside the appliance threw itself all over the kitchen, managing to still obscure the person standing in front of it. The girl stayed on top of him and waved to the figure. The figure waved back and closed the fridge. She planted a sweet and tiny kiss on his lips, smiled, and asked ‘Cigarette?’ He nodded and shifted his weight to reach his pack. She got up and, without the warmth of her body, he was immediately affected by the cold chill of the house. Making their way outside, the two lit their cigarettes and sat down next to each other in the empty garage. Following them, the shadowy figure stepped through the door way and took a seat across the room underneath a bare light bulb.

The girl and the figure commenced in small talk as the boy just took slow drags from his cigarette, fading in and out of the conversation. He kept picturing the scene that he just left. Rewinding it and playing it over and over again inside his mind’s eye. Another drag of his cigarette as the other two laughed amongst themselves. The boy’s eyes wandered around the room to the various tools and automotive accessories around the garage. He tried not to stare at her. He’d dare not display his enchantment so openly, lest he seem needy or desperate.

Oh, how he hated playing games.

Another drag.

Finishing her smoke, the girl excused herself to visit the restroom and the boy was left in the gaze of the silhouette across the room. At first, they sat in silence. The figure staring at him as he kept his gaze on the aged oil stain on the concrete floor.
Abruptly, the shadow spoke .

‘So you like her?’

The boy nodded, defeated.

The figure shook its head and stood up. The bare light bulb then illuminated the face of a young girl no older than twenty two. Her dark blue hair shimmered under the bare light bulb. Extending her hand, the figure introduced herself. ‘Destiny.’ she said, ‘My name is Destiny.’ He stood and took her smooth, caramel-skinned hand. Throwing his cigarette butt to the ground, he exhaled his name through the last cloud of smoke. Skipping the pleasantries, Destiny’s voice became stern and urgent. Her sky blue eyes became ablaze in the dim light. ‘I see this kind of thing every week with so many pairs. They strive for the unattainable. You’re different, though. You know you’re wasting your time. If I were you, I’d chalk this up to a fond memory and move on. You’re not supposed to be with her.’ Destiny, eerily, continued speaking his thoughts. Repeating aloud after the voice inside his head. The thoughts that he did not want to pay attention to. The ideas he couldn’t bring himself to believe.

Yet, he did. He knew. The boy closed his eyes, chuckled, and told her not to worry. His hand slid into his jacket pocket and jingled his car keys just as the girl, almost on cue, stepped out into the garage. ‘Time to call it a night, folks.’ she said with a sigh. The boy nodded, smiled, and bid his farewells to the beautiful ladies. Lighting another cigarette, he turned the key in the ignition and began his journey home. The late night scenery seemed grayer than usual for November. His face was starting to lose feeling from the cold wind of the driver side window. Yet, he couldn’t help but smile. Something inside him still clung to the hope that what transpired on this night meant as much to her as it did to him. Too much of him, however, knew better. He was always an emotional one and never skilled at reading people. Especially those of the fairer sex. Turning up the radio, he decided that he would be grateful for the experience and do his best to keep it at that.

The next morning, as expected, he awoke to his ringing cell phone. Before he even answered the phone he knew what was going to be said and he made his peace with it. Just as he’d done every single time before.

The boy’s skin was getting far too tough. He wondered how long it would be until he couldn’t feel or trust anything anymore. He knew he would find out soon enough. With a groggy and heavy sigh, he picked up the handset and accepted the call.


Burning Doors

I’ve come to see that living this life
Comes complete with a revolving door
For folks to come and go as they please.
It’s the ones that linger inside for a while
The ones that we don’t want to see go
They gain a sense of power and influence
The longer they stay.

They stand in the lobby
Browsing through pamphlet literature
To see if they’d like anything about
The establishment.

They build up your hopes
That they may become a permanent fixture
Only to turn their curious smile into a disgusted frown
Wad up everything they know about you
Throw it away
And walk out.

The door keeps spinning after they’re long gone
And there’s nothing you can do to stop them.

For you are just the glass:

Frozen in place and broken far too easily.


Something to Live For

*NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR*
This is a work of complete fiction and a ‘stream of consciousness’ exercise at that.
Thanks, -J

It was a Saturday evening when I decided that going to a bar would be a healthy idea for someone in my situation. I lit a cigarette, turned the ignition, and let out a sigh that would squeeze sympathy from the Devil, himself. As the traffic lights whizzed above my head, colours ceased to exist as everything blurred into white. The daze did not cease as I meandered up to the door of the bar. The knob was sticky, most likely from vomit, blood, or worse. Don’t forget to wash hands, I remember thinking to myself. It’s always funny walking into a crowded establishment. With so many eyes in one place, it’s hard to abolish the thought that none of them are on you. I sipped my whiskey, straight, and drummed my fingers on the bar. Abruptly, I felt a smooth hand graze the back of my neck. One would think that my decision to venture out of my solitude had now taken a turn for the better. Her name was Melody and I could venture a guess that it was because of her voice. Smooth and breathy with such a warm tone. It was as if she was speaking to me with a musical instrument. She approached me as if she were waiting for me. Perhaps she was, in some form or fashion. I wish I could blame my lapse of judgment on the alcohol but, truth be told, I didn’t even finish my first drink. Melody caressed my leg as I drove. The traffic lights and the world around us still but a blur of white. Our lips never touching, we indulged each other. My perpetual daze detached me from reality, but it was hard to tune Melody out. I was thankful for the chance to focus on something beautiful. I sit here now, smiling in the sunshine, as I play with my daughter and I can’t help but think of the second and last time I encountered the maiden with the musical voice. I didn’t even catch a glimpse of her the day she left that fateful and cliched basket on my front porch. It was four years to the day that Melody rang my doorbell. The angel had fallen from grace. Her once porcelain skin had turned to chalk and her luscious strawberry blonde hair was now a used mop in desperate need of being rung out. She had two black eyes and, what appeared to be, a broken nose. My heart sank a little when I saw her. She asked me how ‘she’ was. I smiled, not because I was touched for her concern, but out of amusement that Melody had no way of knowing my daughter’s name. My daughter. I tossed her my last pack of cigarettes and told her that my little girl more than made up for the two hundred bucks she stole from my dresser drawer. I could see her face collide with her cupped hands as the door swung shut. Life is funny. Not funny in a coincidental way but more like a good practical joke. It makes you reveal a part of yourself that you want to keep hidden from the rest of humanity. It makes you regret every step you take until you turn around and look at how every thing has played out. I look at my little girl and she smiles at me. She has Melody’s smile. I’m surprisingly thankful for this. In a way, I’ll always be thankful. The grass my daughter runs on is a vibrant green and the sky above us royal blue. I see colours in a way that I had never thought I could: through the eyes of a child. I ventured out that night to find something to live for and I have that now…

…I named her Harmony.


A Hero’s Chorus

A hero strives for good intent
Yet seems to make things worse.
I am not he, for I am selfish
To believe that it’s bad enough.
[help]
Meddling in affairs of those
Who’d sooner have me shot
Than offer any kind of comfort.
I feel so unaccomplished.
[alone]
Leaving the stubborn to their riches
And vaults full of sins that
They try to lock away;
“Forget you have the key” they say.
[vanish]
Ejected, I wake in a gutter
On a dimly lit street. I’m prodded
To move over and make room,
Then asked to spare some change…
[hopeless]
…all in a days work.


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