Saturday, July 20, 2013

This Inevitable Everything

I closed my dream to face another empty bed.

Life's a cigarette burning down to its last drags. All good feelings, all that makes me happy, it's all just emotions in my head. None of the beneficial things I do help the world; they exist only to help myself and to help other people. Is the point to my existence really just to keep myself going through the smoke and the fire, through the good things and the bad, in hopes that I might make someone else's experience a little bit better? That something I do, that I as an entire being, might give someone these same good feelings that eventually fade away too?

I closed my curtains not to brace the collective instead.

These good feelings, they're nicotine highs with longer effects and less direct pain. Every one of them still leads to some negative consequence, if not for me then for someone else on this harbour. Every emotion fades, happy or sad, and as much as I try to fight it I inevitably drift back into that... indefinable state between. That default mental state, that default "emotion" or lack thereof, that default way of looking at things around me. I hate it, and everyone else does too. It's why we want to be happy so much, to try and prolong our business trip away from stagnancy. I say it's the sadness I fight, the depressions and the disorders and the symptoms thereof, but even those are better than stagnation.

I closed my door on the harbour's blue and red.

That stagnant state of being is to a human what a lapse between fags is to a smoker. The cravings for another drag of emotion come soon, except at least cigarette cravings come with less frequency. At least cigarettes put their cards on the table, at least tobacco's poker face has long been uncovered by societal conditioning. Emotions colour experience, and I let them dictate my purpose.

I closed my suitcase with intent and bled.

The end remains the X factor. Both emotions and smoke lead to the same result: To pass away from this subjective balancing act, to give up the game and leave the social club. What's out there for me? That's not my question to ask. It's my destiny to discover, but hopefully religion got it wrong. Hopefully there's no more life to lead. Hopefully there's no more plates to keep spinning.

I closed my noose and kissed the burning bride in my head.

Hopefully there's only one P.T.-branded cigarette in my deity's lips. 'Cause I don't have it in me to kill myself twice.

I closed my eyes to the benefits of smoking unsaid.

Written by DJay32

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Found my way upstairs and had a smoke, and somebody spoke

"You didn't need that job anyway," she says as she pulls on my jumper, urging me towards the bedroom.

I shrug her off. "I needed the money. This house may be mine but I still have bills to pay."

"I can cover them," accompanied with a wink.

This time, I let her pull me along. "If you say so, dear."

As we lay ourselves down to sleep, my burning bride lit two more cigarettes in our mouths. "To us." Smoke gathered in pockets of pretty grey, more being produced than an ordinary stick of tobacco should, filling the room within minutes. She found my hand and pulled it to her breast, her lungs gleefully inhaling the fumes, her lips letting out a warm whisper. "To us, and everything we stand for."

Then I went into a dream.

Brick Wall

"This is your eighth smoking break in three hours, Thornton. You can't keep putting off your responsibilities."

"That break took you half an hour? Get back to work, already. This is a busy night."

"Where's Percy? We're short on staff tonight, we need him!"
"Take a guess."
A sigh. "Killing himself."
"In such short words."

"Y'know, he's becoming a bit of a problem."
"I know."
"Maybe you should do something about it."

I return to unemployment, our separation welcome but our unity inevitable.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Developing Englishmen And Their Heat

My flaming foreigner met me again.

I had spent the week assisting Grubin. He finally chose to pack his wife's things away. That man does not find giving up to be a visit to the bakery, and how farfetched would the suggestion be that no man does?

Last night, I took pub duty. The bartender knows me, said he'd be willing to give me a try. Most of the job consisted of washing containers and keeping the peace. I appreciated the employment as a change from the.. tearstained-glass prison I call my home, though I stumble with change regardless of its necessity. In between tasks, I took a filling of breaks and downed a full packet of inferno.

Today, stress attempted to play catchup with my consciousness, so I downed another.

When my lungs had reached the bottom of the bottled-up cancer, she sat next to me on the pub's doorstep and asked how my day went.

"Action-packed. I have a job now." I felt no desire to look at her; her body's warmth nearby calmed me enough.

She giggled as a gust of wind blew my way, shivering my face, then said, "Hard workers need more breaks than anyone else. Out of cigarettes?"

I grunted as I opened my Golden Virginia to check.

Her hands reached for my mouth, sticking a fresh cigarette between my lips and lighting it with her index finger. "Have one on me, honey."

I reached to grab the stick from my mouth, but she clasped my hands in her own and told me to just relax and smoke a little.

So I took a deep breath and went back to work, my energy renewed.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ecstasy's Embrace

My wife said my name tonight, asking me to come to bed. She wanted my embrace to warm her as the evening proved colder than normal. I finished my cigarette and slipped into her nectar, leaving my shredded clothes behind.

As we lay, I asked her if she would stay.

"Oh Percy, I never left."

I believed her lie, laying waste to the doubts doubling in my head. Nowhere had I felt so comforted as in the heat between those sheets.

"Percy, tell me my name."

"Fina, your name is Fina." I pecked her neck, taking in the ecstasy.

"No," she whispered, "The name you gave me on our wedding night."

"You're my burning bride, Fina. My saving grace in this disgusting life, my beloved fortune I'm proud to make my wife."

"You're too good, you brute."

I looked up at this, curious at her choice of words. This woman was not my wife. Her face hurt to see, her arms singed every part of me to feel.

She would not let go. "I never left, and I never will."

I kicked at her, screaming with pain as my skin seemed to sizzle. She allowed me chance to roll out of bed, and I slipped a gown on, demanding she tell me who she was and what she wanted with me.

As she rose to her feet, I saw she wore a wedding dress. "You know very well who I am; don't make me raise my voice. You're having another one of your episodes, Percy. Go to the window and take some deep breaths. It'll do you good."

I did not question. With every lungful of fresh air, I could feel the cold's fingers take my mind and steady it.

When I finally felt ready to face this foreign female, I turned back to my room and saw it empty.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

I'm Already

The funeral of Sarah Grubin took place on a foggy afternoon. Our local church wouldn't take her casket, so we gave her a sea burial. Her body sailed off at 6 PM on a boat headed for a cemetery on an island nearby.

How miserable did the visitation render its patrons? You wouldn't have to look far to find a happy face, for contrasting Frederick's sullen eyes laughed the gullet of Charlie, son of the harbourmaster. He and I don't get along at the best of times, and this time I found myself tasked with escorting him off the premises.

People watched with disapproving grace as I led him off the harbour. He refused to see the "big deal" about his conduct, and he wouldn't listen to reason. There's a time and a place, see, and a corpse's greeting strikes me as the kind of situation for which you'd leave your joys at home. But stubbornness will be stubbornness, so the two of us stood just out of the area until he'd calm down.

Charlie assured me his laughter had been produced by a friend's joke, and I in return assured him I understood. "I was asked to help you out, so that's what I'm here for."

He questioned who sent me, saying he could take care of himself if people let him know of his inappropriate actions.

"I don't want this to become another feud. Just don't worry about who asked me," I said as I lit up.

He proceeded to mock me for my tobacco habits. "How is smoking at a funeral any more appropriate?"

I replied, "I'm smoking to Sarah's memory. Frederick appreciates it."

"Does he really, or are you just using it as an excuse?"

I asked him if he thought I needed one.

"Good point. You're the kind of brute who smokes more than he breathes." Charlie walked back to his house without another word.

The rest of the funeral continued without interruption. Frederick returned to his home a newly-lonely man, inviting me in for a cigar.

We savoured the taste in mourning, taking sips of cider until darkness took our vision, sleep's serenade our siren in the deafness of grief.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Public Display of Affection

She's all I dream about anymore. Perhaps this explains the seventeen-hour slumbers. This might be why people rarely see me out, why I only come out of the house for special occasions and to stock up on my smoke-filled lung masturbation fantasies. I wonder why she left no note, why the villagers stare at me with slack-jawed awe, like I'm the joke, I'm the bastard.

Is this everyday conspiracy the work of the gods, my demonic possessions who laugh in my sleep? I see them every night; I see them in her smile as she looks at me from behind tearstained glass. Is she even the reason? Do other issues cave in when the bread's no longer on the table?

They laugh outside my window now, even as I speak. The demons, the villagers, coming to watch me burn my life away one drag at a time.

"He's the man of smoke," they say. "What a brute. You know, they say he only touches water once a week, dipping his feet in during his fucking dreamboats."

The one-minded spectacle of the sea, they are, distant and forewarning. I don't care for their songs, wailing from rooftops when my ships aren't sailing. They can watch, but they can't touch.

I long for my fiery bride, for a smooch from my cigaretted sailor. Then the townspeople can have their wish and eat it too.

See the eighth wonder of the world, folks. Step right up and laugh at the brute bundled up with his burning bride. Summer's coming, and I think it'll be one blazen burden after another.

If I ever wake up, that is.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Through Fogged Up Windows

"'I don't play with fire; I merely inhale it.' Do you realize how you sound right now, Thornton? Do you even see what you're doing to yourself? You reek of smoke.

"'It won't be your life for much longer if you keep this up.

"You are, that's what I'm trying to say. You are that far gone. You're growing distant. I hardly see you; you're always in your house. You stare at us through your fogged up windows, and you think we're the  sad ones. You built your boat, but you won't sail it.

"I've heard the story. The harbour master died three years ago; you can sail now.

"You won't. You said you'd help Jimmy's boy get into college, but you never did. Fred wound up having to be the one. You don't do anything for this village.

"Now where are you going? Put that fag out! Hey!

"What happened to you?"

The jury's still out.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


I buy tobacco from the local shop. When I'd started, the woman at the counter said I shouldn't. I told her I had my reasons.

I tried to build a boat once. So many had sailed past my window over the years that I, at one point in my closed-off life, thought it might be worth a go. I spent hours every day working at it. After a few months, as it started to take shape as something resembling seaworthy, locals would ask me why I didn't just buy a boat and add to it from there. I never really had an answer.

As the months turned to years, my ship approached completion. However, it also looked a bit of an eyesore. While it had a certain appeal to it, its made-from-scratch nature gave it a distinguished aesthetic from the rest of the harbour.

The harbour master, going through a rough time and needing something to sink his teeth into, decided my work presented a target. He came to me one day, as I rested in the sun, telling me I couldn't keep that thing in the docks much longer. We argued for the duration of the afternoon, attracting the attention of other well-established members of the village, most of who agreed with him that my boat was simply too... to put it in their terms, shitty.

By the end of the day, we reached a compromise: If I moved my boat out of the water and into a shed of some kind, I could work on it and possibly sail when the project reached its completion.

After moving my ship, I visited the shop and bought my first bag of tobacco.

I go back to the shed nearly every day. The boat's finished, but I'm still waiting on the harbour master's permission to take it back to the water.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

This Internal Arson

Light the tip. Bring the filter to my mouth. Inhale.

I had a wife once.

Exhale. Let the smoke come and go.

Her face brought to mind minute brushes of oil on a bare canvas, the potential for perfection effortless and evident in her artistic eyes.

Watch the smoke spiral out my window, greeting ocean breezes as its new neighbour in the street of wind.

In her profession, she enlightened newcomers with business speeches. She asked for little but an audience. In return, patrons supported her, kept her economically afloat. In our private life, she enlightened me with passion plays and asked for little but my affection. In return, I supported her, asking for equal exchange. We balanced ourselves in this harbour, our love our lighthouse.

Inhale. Feel the smoke sting my throat. Feel the heat rush to my head. Exhale, dump the ash.

Were we to love forever, her lies could have been truth. Were that to happen, the world could have changed in not just ambition. However, there's nothing just about ambition.

Pace myself. Ride out the singe of smell.

I don't know how it happened.

Don't let the fire die. Inhale. My patronage keeps this boat ablaze in exchange for the pain of the trade.

One day, I woke up to an empty bed. A quick inspection of introspection revealed an empty house. My belongings were alone, every gathering and artificial artefact of hers gone.

Embrace the inner warmth, for in this cold climate, it's all I'm going to get.

Only two traces of her remained: Our letters sent to each other while abroad, and a revue she had been writing in private.

Inhale. Let the smoke linger inside me, clouding my thoughts with newfound relaxation. Exhale. Time stands still.

I scanned them for an answer.

Dump the ash.

No answer awaited me in those tomes.

Listen to the seagulls caw; nature's one big mating call.

No answer awaited me in town.

Enjoy the night sky, the overbearing blackness of humility. I am insignificant.

I inquired about her to her fellow salespeople of the market. Little progress awaited me there besides one man's harsh "Don't ask about her, Thornton."

Inhale. Don't let the fire die. I'm all it's got. Its kiss may be vicious, but who's to say I'm a saint?

Home did not greet me that night; it only regarded me a victim, the walls dismissing me and the doors blowing me off. Bed felt like an offensive attempt at retelling old stories. Sleep came late, passed quickly, forgave nothing.


Days passed, and I spent my evenings watching for her at our window.

Pace myself.

Weeks passed, and I found myself inquiring less, confiding to fewer acquaintances about my problem. It was none of their concern.


Months passed, and I wondered if it was any of mine.

Exhale. One more drag, let this misty friend stay a little longer.

Eventually, I stopped watching for her. I may never know what happened to her. I might not want to know. If she came back, would I even ask? I dreamed of a time she returned, and she had replied to my inquiry by disappearing once more, never to return this time. How fragile must trust be? How clear be its rules? Are they set in stone, or do they change with the sea?

Inhale. Feel the flame at my fingertips, set fire to my insides for fun. At least this internal arson has its purpose.

I had a wife once. Now I refuse to even consider myself a widow.

Exhale. Dump the ash. Extinguish the cigarette, toss it out the window. Littering's a crime unless it suits self-sustenance. Take deep breaths, I'm good now.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

How To

My good friend Frederick Grubin came by. We exchanged nods, and I gave him a package he had left at mine. In the exchange, we conversed until the subject of women came up, as it inevitably does. Frederick has recently lost his wife to the sea, where she had been stationed as a navy sailor. We're to attend the funeral in a few weeks. For now, we smoke to her memory.

Grubin did not inhale the coarse fumes until he met his wife. She, strong girl of barely twenty-three at the time, chimneyed tobacco like a human exhaust pipe, and began the trade in the navy. They had a way of packaging their thin white rizzlers on those ships, a way Grubin and I smoked earlier in commemoration: No filter, just take the smoke in rough.

The subtlety of the cigarette filter's necessity piques my interests. Smoking remains possible, sure as can be, but my throat warms with discomfort at its harsh embrace. One puts a filter in to stomach the lung-defacing practice.

Writer's Desk

I associate smoke not with heat but with chills. Sure, smoke comes with fire-- that's how it goes. But every time I put the stick in my mouth and that stack of smoke passes my lungs, my head goes soft and I can't help but shiver. It's a feeling I associate with the cold air outside my parents' cottage.

My parents, I associate with smoke as well. My mother started as a young teenager, stealing them from her parents when they didn't know. This was a time when candles were more common, so if ever my nana asked her if she smelled smoke, my mother would reply, "I just put a candle out" (I find myself turning to similar lies when asked why my clothes smell so striking). My father, ever protester of the smoking experience, still has his cigars when out with his friends.

It's a social thing, that's what it's called. While it certainly makes time with others less anxious, perhaps even more enlightening, I'm brought to recall the mornings I've spent with my fan blowing smoke out the window. That calming feeling the odd hours of the morning summons within me goes as well with the rush of lightheadedness smoke brings as coffee does with the taste of cigarettes. No, my thoughts are that smoking is less a social thing and more a.. time-stopping thing.

Don't believe me? I understand. It's not time-stopping in the science fiction sense; it's probably a personal descriptor issue. My mind is always buzzing, and nothing had ever stopped it until I first breathed in that thick mist. The feeling is an acquired taste, not one I'm too proud of having acquired, but as long as it's there I appreciate it all the same.

Smoke isn't the brute's object; I associate it with a cold boy lost in thought.