Broken-down Poetry: Why I hate when you smoke, a poem


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Friday, February 18, 2011

Why I hate when you smoke, a poem

How I hate when you smoke
Revised with a new title and everything. A special thanks to Mary Brown.

On the rare occasion I want to
stand outside with you
while you hold and light, inhale and exhale in puffs    puffs     puffs,
I stand close to you.
I breathe out slow, like you do.
I pretend the cold air’s my secondhand smoke,
while I inhale yours.

I’d never smoke.
D.A.R.E. taught me a thing or two about the tar, the nicotine
that addicts you,          traps you.           I wouldn’t even
dare try to light one. (You’ve seen me with one of those things.
I nearly burn my finger off letting
the butane out of its yellow, plastic trap.)
So most of the time I stay inside
while you find a friend to smoke with.

You ask me what’s wrong.
You think it’s the cigarette itself.
“I only smoke one a day, maybe less.”
I tell you I don’t care, and mean it.
Those surgeon general jokes I make are only meant for laughs.
Because the truth is             I think smoking’s hot.
You’re like Gatsby.

It’s the way you hold it,
the way your big hand handles something so small –
so delicate, so intimate.
Put to your mouth like a kiss.

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