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SMOKE of the fields in spring is one,
Smoke of the leaves in autumn another.
Smoke of a steel-mill roof or a battleship funnel,
They all go up in a line with a smokestack,
Or they twist ... in the slow twist ... of the wind.
  
If the north wind comes they run to the south.
If the west wind comes they run to the east.
  By this sign
  all smokes
  know each other.
Smoke of the fields in spring and leaves in autumn,
Smoke of the finished steel, chilled and blue,
By the oath of work they swear: "I know you."
  
Hunted and hissed from the center
Deep down long ago when God made us over,
Deep down are the cinders we came from-
You and I and our heads of smoke.
  
Some of the smokes God dropped on the job
Cross on the sky and count our years
And sing in the secrets of our numbers;
Sing their dawns and sing their evenings,
Sing an old log-fire song:
  
You may put the damper up,
You may put the damper down,
The smoke goes up the chimney just the same.
  
Smoke of a city sunset skyline,
Smoke of a country dusk horizon-
  They cross on the sky and count our years.
  
Smoke of a brick-red dust
  Winds on a spiral
  Out of the stacks
For a hidden and glimpsing moon.
This, said the bar-iron shed to the blooming mill,
This is the slang of coal and steel.
The day-gang hands it to the night-gang,
The night-gang hands it back.
  
Stammer at the slang of this-
Let us understand half of it.
  In the rolling mills and sheet mills,
  In the harr and boom of the blast fires,
  The smoke changes its shadow
  And men change their shadow;
  A ******, a ***, a bohunk changes.
  
  A bar of steel-it is only
Smoke at the heart of it, smoke and the blood of a man.
A runner of fire ran in it, ran out, ran somewhere else,
And left-smoke and the blood of a man
And the finished steel, chilled and blue.
  
So fire runs in, runs out, runs somewhere else again,
And the bar of steel is a gun, a wheel, a nail, a shovel,
A rudder under the sea, a steering-gear in the sky;
And always dark in the heart and through it,
  Smoke and the blood of a man.
Pittsburg, Youngstown, Gary-they make their steel with men.
  
In the blood of men and the ink of chimneys
The smoke nights write their oaths:
Smoke into steel and blood into steel;
Homestead, Braddock, Birmingham, they make their steel with men.
Smoke and blood is the mix of steel.
  
  The birdmen drone
  in the blue; it is steel
  a motor sings and zooms.
  
Steel barb-wire around The Works.
Steel guns in the holsters of the guards at the gates of The Works.
Steel ore-boats bring the loads clawed from the earth by steel, lifted and lugged by arms of steel, sung on its way by the clanking clam-shells.
The runners now, the handlers now, are steel; they dig and clutch and haul; they hoist their automatic knuckles from job to job; they are steel making steel.
Fire and dust and air fight in the furnaces; the pour is timed, the billets wriggle; the clinkers are dumped:
Liners on the sea, skyscrapers on the land; diving steel in the sea, climbing steel in the sky.
  
Finders in the dark, you Steve with a dinner bucket, you Steve clumping in the dusk on the sidewalks with an evening paper for the woman and kids, you Steve with your head wondering where we all end up-
Finders in the dark, Steve: I hook my arm in cinder sleeves; we go down the street together; it is all the same to us; you Steve and the rest of us end on the same stars; we all wear a hat in hell together, in hell or heaven.
  
Smoke nights now, Steve.
Smoke, smoke, lost in the sieves of yesterday;
Dumped again to the scoops and hooks today.
Smoke like the clocks and whistles, always.
  Smoke nights now.
  To-morrow something else.
  
Luck moons come and go:
Five men swim in a *** of red steel.
Their bones are kneaded into the bread of steel:
Their bones are knocked into coils and anvils
And the ******* plungers of sea-fighting turbines.
Look for them in the woven frame of a wireless station.
So ghosts hide in steel like heavy-armed men in mirrors.
Peepers, skulkers-they shadow-dance in laughing tombs.
They are always there and they never answer.
  
One of them said: "I like my job, the company is good to me, America is a wonderful country."
One: "Jesus, my bones ache; the company is a liar; this is a free country, like hell."
One: "I got a girl, a peach; we save up and go on a farm and raise pigs and be the boss ourselves."
And the others were roughneck singers a long ways from home.
Look for them back of a steel vault door.
  
They laugh at the cost.
They lift the birdmen into the blue.
It is steel a motor sings and zooms.
  
In the subway plugs and drums,
In the slow hydraulic drills, in gumbo or gravel,
Under dynamo shafts in the webs of armature spiders,
They shadow-dance and laugh at the cost.
  
The ovens light a red dome.
Spools of fire wind and wind.
Quadrangles of crimson sputter.
The lashes of dying maroon let down.
Fire and wind wash out the ****.
Forever the **** gets washed in fire and wind.
The anthem learned by the steel is:
  Do this or go hungry.
Look for our rust on a plow.
Listen to us in a threshing-engine razz.
Look at our job in the running wagon wheat.
  
Fire and wind wash at the ****.
Box-cars, clocks, steam-shovels, churns, pistons, boilers, scissors-
Oh, the sleeping **** from the mountains, the ****-heavy pig-iron will go down many roads.
Men will stab and shoot with it, and make butter and tunnel rivers, and mow hay in swaths, and slit hogs and skin beeves, and steer airplanes across North America, Europe, Asia, round the world.
  
Hacked from a hard rock country, broken and baked in mills and smelters, the rusty dust waits
Till the clean hard weave of its atoms cripples and blunts the drills chewing a hole in it.
The steel of its plinths and flanges is reckoned, O God, in one-millionth of an inch.
  
Once when I saw the curves of fire, the rough scarf women dancing,
Dancing out of the flues and smoke-stacks-flying hair of fire, flying feet upside down;
Buckets and baskets of fire exploding and chortling, fire running wild out of the steady and fastened ovens;
Sparks cracking a harr-harr-huff from a solar-plexus of rock-ribs of the earth taking a laugh for themselves;
Ears and noses of fire, gibbering gorilla arms of fire, gold mud-pies, gold bird-wings, red jackets riding purple mules, scarlet autocrats tumbling from the humps of camels, assassinated czars straddling vermillion balloons;
I saw then the fires flash one by one: good-by: then smoke, smoke;
And in the screens the great sisters of night and cool stars, sitting women arranging their hair,
Waiting in the sky, waiting with slow easy eyes, waiting and half-murmuring:
  "Since you know all
  and I know nothing,
  tell me what I dreamed last night."
  
Pearl cobwebs in the windy rain,
in only a flicker of wind,
are caught and lost and never known again.
  
A pool of moonshine comes and waits,
but never waits long: the wind picks up
loose gold like this and is gone.
  
A bar of steel sleeps and looks slant-eyed
on the pearl cobwebs, the pools of moonshine;
sleeps slant-eyed a million years,
sleeps with a coat of rust, a vest of moths,
a shirt of gathering sod and loam.
  
The wind never bothers ... a bar of steel.
The wind picks only .. pearl cobwebs .. pools of moonshine.
If you want to live man
Just do one thing man
And that is
Don’t smoke smoke smoke that cigarette
Because if you do you’ll get cancer
Or something worst
Or emphasima or something fucken worst
If you keep smoking that cigarette
You see smoking stunts your growth
Smoking can slow your body down
It can make you lose your life man
If you keep smoking that cigarette
So if you wanna live man
Just do one thing man
And that is
Don’t smoke smoke smoke that cigarette
It tastes like dried ashes anyway
It gives you bad cancer and other things too
And if you smoke you might as well eat poison
I am glad they are cutting out smoking at the sport
And I am glad you can’t smoke on outside tables
If you wanna smoke mate
******* ******* ******* with that cigarette
Don’t smoke smoke smoke that cigarette
The old movie stars who like smoking
Died early oh yeah
And the ones that didn’t die
Gave up early man
Yes it is great they quit quit quit that cigarette
I used to smoke a pack of 50 a day
And the taste was bad I was losing my cool
Because smoking is bad
Don’t smoke that cigarette
Just quit like me
You will be happy as you know it
And we can clap our hands
After we stopped smoking that cigarette
Mila Berlioz Oct 2015
All I can see is smoke            
I can't see anything
It's raining hard
I can't see anything, I can just smoke.
My head is filled with smoke.
There's nothing I could possibly use in my head,
It's made up of bad thoughts and smoke.

There's so much smoke in my head
There's so much smoke to see.
There's too much of everything.

Smoke, smoke, smoke.
Smoke, that's all I can do,
Smoke.
Hoping that my problems will go away.
I guess smoke does take a great place in my head.
I'll keep on smoking, so it take it all up, so it takes up
My whole head, my whole mind.

Smoke, thoughts and failures, that's what I'm made of.                       -M.B.H.
Tyler Cobain Jun 2014
Come on doggies we can play
The Giver is gone now we have our say
Do what we want without a trick
(You are green but so unclean)
Come on doggies we can play

Sit back smoke me free (Freedom! Freedom!)
Sit back smoke me free (Freedom! Freedom!)
Sit back smoke me free (Freedom! Freedom!)
Sit back smoke me free (Freedom! Freedom!)
Sit back smoke me free (Freedom! Freedom!)
Sit back smoke me free (Freedom! Freedom!)
Sit back smoke me free (Freedom! Freedom!)

Come on doggies we can play
The Giver is gone now we have our say
Do what we want without a trick
(You are green but so unclean)
Come on doggies we can play

Sit back smoke me free (Freedom! Freedom!)
Sit back smoke me free (Freedom! Freedom!)
Sit back smoke me free (Freedom! Freedom!)
Sit back smoke me free (Freedom! Freedom!)
Sit back smoke me free (Freedom! Freedom!)
Sit back smoke me free (Freedom! Freedom!)
Sit back smoke me free (Freedom! Freedom!)

Fire the drums straight to my lungs
Ariel Baptista Jan 2015
Four old friends
Dead of winter small town
Germany.
Smoke rising from chimneys
From cigarettes, and pipes
From trains riding the rural rails
From city spires
And factories
From airplanes
Airplanes
and Airplanes,
From Airplanes.
Smoke dancing and laughing
Stinging and coughing
Smoke in my hair and jacket
In the pores of my skin
Smoke in my eyes,
Up the hill
And through the woods
Dead of winter
Small town Germany
Four old friends
Walk two by two
Three by one
Four and four.
Walk by the church,
Down the creek,
Up the hills, the hills
And through the woods
Small town
Germany four old friends
Dead of winter
Cigar smoke and beer
Cigarillos in a chain
Smoke from crystalizing breath
And fireworks
Smoke from bonfires
And tailpipes
Smoke from airplanes
Airplanes and airplanes
Smoke from airplanes.
Smoke stains and cigarette burns
Little circles in my jacket
Germany
Four old friends dead of winter
Small town
Smoke tears
Smoke promises
Smoke memories that linger
Like the faint nausea
Of what-the-hell-has-happened.
I watch the **** end of your last cigarette
Crumpled and fading
In the ashtray of that Badischer bar
And your eyebrow twitched
The heart-wrenching shiver
Of what-the-hell-has-happened.
And I whispered:
(airplanes)
airplanes and airplanes
I whispered airplanes.
That’s what the hell.
A merging of my experiences and those of a friend.
chloe Jun 2010
i wake up and i think of you
and i look out of my window
it is grey and the lights stopped
glittering a long time ago
and i smoke and i smoke and i smoke

i pour my coffee and i think of you
my mugs are stained, the blemishes plaster the
cups and never come off. they have left
their mark, exactly they way you stamped yours
and i smoke and i smoke and i smoke

the shower beats my skin and i think of you
i scrub; i scratch my pores with soap
but the filth resides, it clings and
fills my orifices. i am choked by dirt
and i smoke and i smoke and i smoke

i exist through my days and i think of you
everything is dampened by desolation and every
one has your eyes. this city repulses me, it sneers
at me and growls ‘there is nothing to keep you here’
and i smoke and i smoke and i smoke.
I need to know something. I don’t know if you want to tell me or not, but I really don’t care. You’re gonna tell me or you’re gonna find yourself in a world of trouble. I’m already ****** and it won’t take much to push me over the edge into dangerously angry territory.

No, **** it. Never mind. I’m ALREADY in “dangerously angry territory”. No, it wasn’t your fault. I was already close enough I could see the other side of reason before you came along.

But it would still be nice to know, if you’re willing to tell me. I mean, I’m not going to force it from you. That was the plan just a moment ago, but I’ve changed my mind. I’ve decided that my bitterness is not your fault. I won’t make you pay for it.

Yet I do feel as if it would do me a world of good to know.

Where were you when I was falling in love?

Were you sitting in a back seat of a crowded subway train with a cup of Starbucks coffee in one hand and a copy of “The Catcher in the Rye” in the other, holding it in front of your face as if it’s pages were a fascinating mirror? Was there an old man sitting near who turned to look at you every so often to the point where it creeped you out? Maybe you eventually said something to him, like “Excuse me, but is there something you wanted to say to me?"

“Why would you get that idea?” he would ask, as if he were totally oblivious to his invasive nature.

“I don’t know…you just keep looking at me and I wondered if there were a reason for it.”

“Nope. Not that I can think of.”

Did you smack him real good right then? Did you draw blood? I hope you did. I hope the driver had to stop the train to come back and drag you off of him. It would have been a real drag if the police had to be summoned, but on the other hand, wow, how ****** the thought of you resisting arrest.

Or did you cower into your corner, turn a page in your book and let the lecherous ******* carry on? I don’t think so. I really don’t think so. I don’t think that’s the kind of girl you are. I think you’re a firecracker.

And I think that wherever you were when I was falling in love is not where I wanted you to be. Not where you should have been.

Because I fell in love with a robot. Who knows why I fell in love with an ottoman? I didn’t know she was one at the time. Do you really think I’m stupid enough to fall in love with a machine? No, she was flesh and bones when I met her. She seemed normal, like all the other women I’ve ever seen or known.

But then she started smoking cigarettes. She carried them around in a little soft leather pouch that could be mistaken for nothing else but a case for holding the little *******.

God I hate cigarettes. I hate the smell of them, whether they’re lit or not. I hate the dark tan color of their filters with the little white dots speckled randomly. I hate the cotton that stuffs their filters. I hate the white paper with the almost imperceptible stripes banding around their length. I hate how the brand is stamped close to the base of the filter. I hate the packages that they come in and the cellophane that wraps them. I hate how stray flecks of tobacco gather in the bottom of the boxes and the wrappers, too. I hate how they make a person’s breath stink. I hate how they make a person’s clothes reek. I hate the way they look in a shirt pocket. I hate the way they look between people’s fingers and in their mouths. I hate the way they burn down to the nub and the ash that they leave behind. I hate pitch black nicotine stains on ******* smokers’ hands. I hate the way some people put one between their ear and noggin and actually think it makes them look cool. I hate how smokers seem to have some code of sharing, how it’s always “Hey, can I *** a smoke from you?” and 99 times out of 100 the answer is “sure”. It’s never, “Okay, but you gotta pay me back.” Oh no, Smoker’s Karma is at work here. I hate the way too many people call ‘em “smokes”. “I’m off to get a pack of smokes.” Good God, I think that’s lame. “Smokes”. Ha. I hate the way smokers ***** about laws that prohibit them from smoking in public and how so many of them have absolutely no regard for non-smokers who not only can’t stand the smell of the ******* but would just as soon not chance even the most remote possibility of getting lung cancer caused by second hand smoke. I hate how smokers would tell that person, “Oh, don’t be ridiculous. The chances of that happening are one in a million.” So what? *******. ******* with your nasty cancer sticks and **** your tar-lined wheezing lungs, too. **** the death bed you will lie on when emphysema steals your last breath. **** the oxygen tanks that cost almost as much as all the cartons of cigarettes you have wasted your money on during the last who-knows-how-many years of your life. **** all your attempts to quit. **** the feeling of disappointment that overwhelms when you fail once again, as Mighty God Tobacco hugs you, strokes your wet hair, wipes the sweat from your forehead and the tears from your eyes. Sweet summer sweat. The tears of a clown.

You know what? She never smoked before. I never would have thought she would pick up that disgusting habit, but she sure as hell did. Picked it up like it was a twenty dollar bill someone lost that she found on the side of the road as she walked to the smoke shop to buy another pack of Marlboro Lights.

There’s another thing I hate about cigarettes. “Smoke Shops”. Where the value-minded smokers purchase their wares. Not “Cigarette Store”. Not “Tobacco Warehouse"…oh, no. It’s a SMOKE SHOP. You’re going to buy some smoke, brother Jim. You’re gonna spend too much money at the 7-11 and it’s all gonna go up in smoke, but by the grace of God you are gonna save a couple of bucks by purchasing them at the “Smoke Shop” instead of the convenience store. You complain until you’re blue in the face about how ridiculously high the ciggy prices are at normal retail outlets, but when you run out of ‘em and the God-blessed “Smoke Shop” is closed ‘cuz it’s Sunday you’ll drive like a madman to Love’s and blow ten bucks because there’s a “Buy Two Get One Free” special going on. What a ******* good deal that is, eh, mister?

Furthermore…CIGGYS??? I hate how people call ‘em “ciggys”. But not nearly as much as I hate the word “cigarette”. I cannot stand to speak the word. I hate the way it rolls of my tongue. I hate the way the word sounds like it means “little cigars”.

I hate the way some smokers empty out their car ashtrays in the parking lot. I hate the way all the butts look lying there in a heap, a pile of paper soaked with the spittle of a hundred different mouths. And yet the nicotine python grips some desperate smokers so tightly that they will pick them up and try to smoke the last tiny flecks of tobacco from their crushed and blackened ends. I’ve even seen people extract the remaining **** from several discarded butts, roll it all up in a Zig Zag paper and smoke it. Don’t these people even know what Zig Zag papers are for? They sure ain't for tobacco, Charter.

“Butts”. There’s another word in the smokers lexicon that just sounds silly. “Smoke ‘er down to the ****, Jack, we’ve got more!” “I don’t have an ash tray, Terry, so just put your BUTTS in that half empty soda can over there on the table”…never thinking that there might be someone else at the party who could very likely mistake that particular pop can for his own and take a mighty swig from it. Oh my God, the thought, it gags me. How nauseating it would be to feel one of those wretched things fall against your lips and…Egad…the flavor…and yet the cruel smoker will laugh at such misfortune.

****.

God help me.

She was not a robot when I met her. Oh, no, she was a beautiful, exciting, passionate loving woman with a heart of gold and a desire that was practically insatiable. Here…take a look, I have a photograph in my wallet. See what I mean? That’s right, daddy-O, she was a real dreamboat. I used to carry this picture with me wherever I went…I guess I still do, huh? But I don’t know why. I don’t know why I torture myself looking at it, remembering what was, all we had, our bright and glorious future wrecked and deserted by her newfound proclivity for smoking cigarettes. Yeah, my friend, she was a real keeper. But you know what? **** her now, y’know? Just turn her over and **** her.

But hey…perhaps I’ve been too harsh on the smoker in general (if not to her…no, not to her). Perhaps I have exaggerated a bit. After all, some of my best friends smoke. It’s their business, not mine. Never has been mine. I know that. If they knew how I felt about the whole thing, whose to say they wouldn’t tell me to ****** off and never come back? Then again, if they are so shallow as to take any of this as a personal insult, then maybe, just maybe they aren’t my friends after all. I doubt the robot would want anything more to do with me if she knew what a stalwart anti-smoker I am. But I thought she felt the same. She DID feel the same. She told me as much. Before she lost her soul. Before she started smoking cigarettes. Before she started bumming ciggys.

I got no time for changes in her life so now I ask you again…where were you when I was falling in love?

Were you sitting in a Pentecostal Holiness church on a hard pew early Sunday morning before the service began, thumbing through the hymnal, looking for one that best expressed your feelings of devotion at that point in your spiritual journey? And what would that hymn have been? “Onward Christian Soldiers”? “Peace in the Valley”? “In the Garden”? “Smoke on the Water”? “Hotel California”? Maybe some obscure Black Sabbath song tucked in at the end of the book, next to the Doxology?

Did your hair shimmer, reflected in the light that poured through the stained glass window directly behind you? Did you feel it’s heat on your neck? Did it draw out beads of perspiration there, glistening? Would you have let me lick them and taste their saltiness even in the sanctuary of the church building? Probably not. But I don’t think the idea would repulse you like it would some other bonnet headed midi-skirt wearing holy rollin’ *****.

Maybe I would have asked you outside so that you might feel a little more comfortable with what I’d had in mind.

And maybe you would have told me “no”. I couldn’t blame you for that. No, I wouldn’t. It’s only natural for a real woman to guard her integrity in situations such as this one. I could not hold that against you.

Is that where you were? I need to know. Where the hell were you when I was falling in love?
Riot Mar 2015
inhale exhale
my God i'm scared to fail
i got to get some things off my mind
sombody spoke of healing with smoke
it'll hurt
but it's worth it for a short time

breathe in the war thinking the fight will fade away
when slowly your lungs start to deteriorate


walking though the clouds for a moment of relief
coming back to earth with an addiction and blacker teeth
breathe in the demons, breath out the light
repeat the cycle when you don't wanna fight


the cigarette smoke, the cigarette smoke
and where will you go when the demons come home
the cigarette smoke, you're holdng it close
and you can't let go

i never wanted this
thought that i owned it
but turns out that it owns me
i'm getting weaker, a heartache
a fever
this is burning down my family tree

breathe in the war thinking you're fighting for the wrong side
turns out you're in the middle of the fight


walking through the clouds for a moment of relfief
coming back to earth with an addiction and blacker teeth
breathe in the demons, breathe out the lies
like when they told you that you had to fight


the cigarette smoke, the cigarette smoke
an where will you go when the demons come home
the cigarette smoke, you're holding it close
and you can't let go

the demons creeping up on me
been so long since i could really breathe
sombody help me before i die


walking through the clouds for a moment of relief
coming back to earth with an addiction and blacker teeth
*breathe in the demons, breathe out the life
repeat the cycle because it's too hard to fight
the cigarette smoke, the cigarette smoke
and where will you go when the demons come home
the cigarette smoke, you're holding it close
and you can't let go
Brandon Sep 2013
The smoke tasted like Christmas as it sank into her lungs. She swirled her tongue expertly inside of her mouth playing with the simple taste of holiday and pine. It was the first time that she had felt the effects of the herb in a couple of months and she would savor every second. Virginia watched on as the joint rolled with two extra large pieces of raw organic rolling papers burned in the slow drawl the way a Cuban cigar burns. Her lungs filled with the smoke and she continued to breathe in causing her ******* to expand further out word. A smile came onto her face as her lips parted carefully holding the smoke still in her lungs and not let any escaping. She leaned forward and opened her mouth more as if she were going in for a passionate kiss and locked lips with the man in front of her but did not close her mouth for a kiss. She blew the smoke from her lungs into the man's mouth  causing his lungs and chest to expand and fill with the smoke. When Virginia's lungs and ******* had finally sank back to their normal ample capacity she and Nicholas closed their lips for a soft short kiss before pulling their faces away from one another. Nicholas held the smoke in until he needed to breathe again and blew the smoke out of his nostrils. "Shotgunning is by far one of my favorite ways to smoke" Virginia crooned in her sharp Romanian accent. Nicholas did not say anything back but grabbed the joint and inhaled and filled his lungs to their capacity and leaned inward to return the shotgun blast. When the ritual was over they did not remove their lips from each others lips after the first soft kiss. Instead they continued to kiss first with small ones that were soft and barely felt. They moved onto a heavier more passionate kiss and the smoke in Virginia's lungs began to come out and bury both her and Nicholas's faces in the smoke. Both she and him inhaled while kissing more wildly feeling the smoke recirculating between the two of them. The kisses were rough in a lustful way and were accompanied with small sharp bites on the lower lips. The smoke had began to die down and Nicholas leaned back away from Virginia's still eager lips and said "If I ever **** myself with a shotgun, it will be that kind of shotgun."
Hands Feb 2011
We can escape, now,
it's smoky with a chance of curtain drawn,
our minds won't tramsit light
from our empty, covered windo- the train is here.
I'm ready to go.
And though I'm leaving on a train
with room for only one,
I'm hoping you can catch a cheap ride
hidden in my pocket.
Nobody checks your person, anymore,
Nobody cares;
Homeland Security lovingly fed
us fattened falsities
As the fat cats in suburban alleyways
tore off the thickest
pieces of marrow from the national animal
of our Fiction States of America.
I have known this
because I have seen it from my seat
in coach,
thank god, too, because the train is packed.
So fill up
if you aren't going to hop in,
wishing to distort
your mind with all of their public drugs,
community opiates
transmitting across electrical wires hidden
in the ground,
the trees,
the air itself,
stitched into the layers of
dark matter and cosmic foam insulating
our fragile and overdone Universe.
I hear their static,
that pantomimed reality,
caught inside carbon fibers running through everything,
running through me,
running through you,
running into and out of your brain like
a thief without pause or moral.
We could run, too,
the heavy bass notes of the
nurturing ocean could shield the screech
of the battered train's wheels;
the wheels need a rest from screeching, anyway.
Quick!
While the conductor isn't looking!
The wires will tell him you're here
until you're gone,
hidden in my coat pocket
inside a layer of my inner smoke.
Well, if you insist,
I suppose you may leave,
but once the wound of knowledge opens,
just know it never closes.
It will fester and
prickle
with the fetid odor
of truths turned into lies.
I know I'm talking
to myself, now, but I don't
want to let you go,
though I'll stay here,
safe,
in the train carriage,
hidden in smoke.
Smoke,
smoke,
smoke,
the train heats up,
breaths out smoke from its burning
and throbbing pipe.
The engine has built up
an overdose of heat,
trying to throw off the weeds trying
to grow inside.
They tried to enter me,
and they will soon enter you,
now,
without my smoke to shroud you,
to leave your naked wound
easily hidden in
paranoid dreams.
Screeeeee,
screeeeeee,
screeeeeeee,
the wheels screech out,
ready to go,
ready to run,
to run down the track,
to run through all obstacles,
to run through everything,
to run through me,
to run through you,
to run in and out of your brain,
blown away in a puff of smoke,
my memory has burned away
and blows off as ash
and smoke.
Thomas W Case May 2020
"When you have 20 bucks in
your pocket you act like your rich,
then you get that itch to drink.
You blow through your money
like a cyclone, like sand through
your hands."
She didn't treat similes well,
and she was always *******.
"You eat up all my food,
and you don't do anything except
sit there and write.
Write and smoke, smoke and write.
Your cigarettes stink up my apartment."
She was always lighting incense, and
spraying air freshener.
I ask her why, if she hates smoke so
much, does she get drunk and
smoke all my cigarettes?
She doesn't respond.
"When are you going to get off
your *** and do something?
But no, you'd rather sit there and smoke.
Smoke and write, write and smoke.
Sure, you **** me, but your ****
doesn't pay the bills."
I ask her if she wants it to, and I
think she might slap me.
"Yea, the *** is great, but we can't
just live on ***."
I suggest we try.  She doesn't
even crack a smile.
"And when I get wine, you drink most
of it, and then you strut around in
your filthy boxers and spout poetry.
Then you just sit there and smoke.
Smoke and write, write and smoke."
She storms off, and an hour later,
with childlike innocence, she asks,
"What are you writing?"
Pamela Rose May 2013
Aggressively self-conscious
His excited fingers stumble along the outline of her body,
Bemused in the smoke.
His mind flies as his nerves sing.
Beautiful, behind the smoke;
She’s used to better.
Losing her patience,
Kissing his warm neck with a mouthful of smoke,
A limp wrist and bored finger.
It stings her eyes;
Smoke, suspended and still in the room,
Becoming part of the air.
His smile, awkward and pale;
Sick with her sense of failure.
Dazed by the smoke
She grabs her skirt, tucks in her blouse;
Watching him watch her through the screen of smoke
From his naked mattress.
Her shape is a ghost behind its shield,
He was touching her only moments ago.
She is gone. The door locks.
Sunrise paints his time lost.
In the room, smoke tells of past events.
She is busy living; he won’t call.
This, between him and the smoke, suspended and still in the room,
Smoke that has become part of the air.
Joe Donovan Sep 2012
I wanted to write about

The first

Time I saw a spotlight

And knew what it meant

It was in a theater

And

Smoke machines blew

The light into existence a light

I had never seen before the spotlights

They circled cut paths I couldn’t

Follow

Define

Shining through the smoke

Light made color made smoke made real

It wasn’t the light I saw it was the smoke spotlit but it was

Only the light I knew

Saw

Could see

Until I thought of driving

Home

Late one night in the front seat and falling asleep

As our headlights cut through the fog

And knowing if I could just

Crawl through the window and

Sit on the hood of the

Car and reach out my foot and stand

on the fog-beam I would

Be carried somewhere more comfortable than the

One crick-necked nook

I had found that would

Let me fall asleep dreaming of

Crawling through windows. I wanted

To write about that first time,

When I watched the spotlights draw symbols

A cuneiform language only the smoke could read and how the

Smoke danced and I realized

The only way to shine is to be

So

Small

That you cannot cast a shadow,

That everything casts a shadow that

To shine you must block something else from shining

Because we are not suns

We are not

We are small and

Lonely

moons.

But what if we were so small we didn’t have to be?

We could be dust and smoke and

The light could dance through us

Together

And we would dance through it

And bring it to life

Write in a language only

We can read as we swim through ourselves

Ourselves the light we’re swimming through

Light is only light until it hits the dust

The dust makes the beam

Be small with me and build beams of light in a small theater

Hall where the dust has

Collected where

We have collected

Ourselves.

That is what I wanted to write

About but as I watched the

Beams moving

And learned the smoke of a

Dusty theater-room

And how it dances

Even after the light leaves it,

It must, even though

I

Cannot see

It, because it is

Always ready always

Dancing when the light arrives

The dust is a beam of light

Waiting

To be built, a boat

Waiting

To breathe an ocean into

Existence and float

Through it and

Be rocked

By it and

Be

It, is

What I wanted to write about but

As I watched the beams

Moving one

Met my eye

And

The smoke vanished

And

The beam vanished

And

There was nothing

But the light

Staring at me

Ripping my shadow

Out of me and

Hurling it behind me only

For a second

An angry and

Vengeful second who are you to

Tell me that I need the dust?

You are not a sun

You are barely a moon you are

So small

So

small

And still you cast a shadow you

Take from me

Use me

Know yourself

Build your world

By me with me through me

And you sit

In this dusty theater hall

So small

And want to write

That it is dust that makes the beam?

No smoke machine could

Blow the light into

Existence what would you call

Smoke if there was no light to

Pass through it to

Light it breathe it into

Existence now

Sit

Lonely and selfish

moon

And watch the show.
Ariel Taverner Feb 2014
There sits a man
With a wooden leg and a thousand wrinkles
Smoke around his blue sailors cap
Smoke shrouding all but his eyes in a mysterious sense of pain
The smoke fades from a gentle grey to a dark midnight black
Now there are only the eyes
The purple eyes sticking out of a shroud of black smoke as if they were the beacon to heaven
The eyes stare into the distance
Suddenly a part of the black smoke curls into itself and explodes in a rush of air and stale old smoke
Now there are two dots of lucios purple smoke
They float towards me and stay there
With a strange glint in them they look towards the black smoke
I say look for that is what they were doing
The blavk smoke starts moving inwards
As if there were a great source of power summoning theme
The speed increases and I feel extreme fear and power
I blink
And right there sits the man
With a wooden leg and a thousand wrinkles
With a blue sailors cap
But now his wrinkles are different
They are black
Like the smoke that moments ago was around him
That smoke was now in him
His skin was normal
Soft as a baby but his wrinkles were black
The two purples eyes that float before me seem to beckon towards the wrinkle in the mans brow
I walk forward and I look into the wrinkle
The eyes float behind my head now
Suddenly a force pushes me into the wrinkle
I fall in the vast abyss that is this wrinkle
And I feel it all
Pain
Fear
Love
Death
Hatred
Apprehension
Lust
Sadism
Masochism
But above all guilt
The horrible darkness pushes the guilt into my soul and crushes me
What did this man do that is hidden by his wrinkle did he....
There sits a man
With a wooden leg and a thousand wrinkles
And a blue sailors cap
Mike Bergeron Sep 2012
There was a house fire on my street last night …well… not exactly my street, but on a little, sketchy, dead-end strip of asphalt, sidewalks, weeds, and garbage that juts into my block two houses down. It was on that street. Rosewood Court, population: 12, adjusted population: 11, characterized by anonymity and boarded windows, peppered with the swift movements of fat street rats. I’ve never been that close to a real, high-energy, make-sure-to-spray-down-your-roof-with-a-hose-so-it-doesn’t-catch­ fire before. It was the least of my expectations for the evening, though I didn’t expect a crate of Peruvian bananas to fall off a cargo plane either, punching through the ceiling, littering the parking lot with damaged fruit and shingles, tearing paintings and shelves and studs from the third floor walls, and crashing into our kitchen, shattering dishes and cabinets and appliances. Since that never happened, and since neither the former nor the latter situation even crossed my mind, I’ll stick with “least of my expectations,” and bundle up with it inside that inadequate phrase whatever else may have happened that I wouldn’t have expected.



I had been reading in my living room, absently petting the long calico fur of my roommate’s cat Dory. She’s in heat, and does her best to make sure everyone knows it, parading around, *** in the air, an opera of low trilling and loud meows and deep purring. As a consequence of a steady tide of feline hormones, she’s been excessively good humored, showering me with affection, instead of her usual indifference, punctuated by occasional, self-serving shin rubs when she’s hungry. I saw the lights before I heard the trucks or the shouts of firemen or the panicked wail of sirens, spitting their warning into the night in A or A minor, but probably neither, I’m no musician. Besides, Congratulations was playing loud, flowing through the speakers in the corners of the room, connected to the record player via the receiver with the broken volume control, travelling as excited electrons down stretches of wire that are, realistically, too short, and always pull out. The song was filling the space between the speakers and the space between my ears with musings on Brian Eno, so the auditory signal that should have informed me of the trouble that was afoot was blocked out. I saw the lights, the alternating reds and whites that filled my living room, drawing shifting patterns on my walls, ceiling, floor, furniture, and shelves of books, dragging me towards the door leading outside, through the cluttered bike room, past the sleeping, black lump of oblivious fur that is usually my boisterous male kitten, and out into the bedlam I  had previously been ignorant to. I could see the smoke, it was white then gray then white, all the while lending an acrid taste to the air, but I couldn’t see where it was issuing from. The wind was blowing the smoke toward my apartment, away from Empire Mills. I tried to count the firetrucks, but there were so many. I counted six on Wilmarth Ave, one of which was the awkward-looking, heavy-duty special hazards truck. In my part of the city, the post-industrial third-wave ***** river valley, you never know if the grease fire that started with homefries in a frying pan in an old woman’s kitchen will escalate into a full-blown mill fire, the century-old wood floors so saturated with oil and kerosene and ****** and manufacturing chemicals and ghosts and god knows what other flammable **** that it lights up like a fifth of July leftover sparkler, burning and melting the hand of the community that fed it for so many decades, leaving scars that are displayed on the local news for a week and are forgotten in a few years’ time.



The night was windy, and the day had been dry, so precautions were abundant, and I counted two more trucks on Fones Ave. One had the biggest ladder I’ve ever seen. It was parked on the corner of Fones and Wilmarth, directly across from the entrance into the forgotten dead-end where the forgotten house was burning, and the ladder was lifting into the air. By now my two roommates had come outside too, to stand on our rickety, wooden staircase, and Jeff said he could see flames in the windows of one of the three abandoned houses on Rosewood, through the third floor holes where windows once were, where boards of plywood were deemed unnecessary.



“Ay! Daddy!”



My neighbor John called up to us. He serves as the eyes and ears and certainly the mouth of our block, always in everyone’s business, without being too intrusive, always aware of what’s going down and who’s involved. He proceeded to tell us the lowdown on the blaze as far as he knew it, that there were two more firetrucks and an ambulance down Rosewood, that the front and back doors to the house were blocked by something from inside, that those somethings were very heavy, that someone was screaming inside, that the fire was growing.



Val had gone inside to get his jacket, because despite the floodlights from the trucks imitating sunlight, the wind and the low temperature and the thought of a person burning alive made the night chilly. Val thought we should go around the block, to see if we could get a better view, to satisfy our congenital need to witness disaster, to see the passenger car flip over the Jersey barrier, to watch the videos of Jihadist beheadings, to stand in line to look at painted corpses in velvet, underlit parlors, and sit in silence while their family members cry. We walked down the stairs, into full floodlight, and there were first responders and police and fully equipped firefighters moving in all directions. We watched two firemen attempting to open an old, rusty fire hydrant, and it could’ve been inexperience, the stress of the situation, the condition of the hydrant, or just poor luck, but rather than opening as it was supposed to the hydrant burst open, sending the cap flying into the side of a firetruck, the water crashing into the younger of the two men’s face and torso, knocking him back on his ***. While he coughed out surprised air and water and a flood of expletives, his partner got the situation under control and got the hose attached. We turned and walked away from the fire, and as we approached the turn we’d take to cut through the rundown parking lot that would bring us to the other side of the block, two firemen hurried past, one leading the other, carrying between them a stretcher full of machines for monitoring and a shitload of wires and tubing. It was the stiff board-like kind, with handles on each end, the kind of stretcher you might expect to see circus clowns carry out, when it’s time to save their fallen, pie-faced cohort. I wondered why they were using this archaic form of patient transportation, and not one of the padded, electrical ones on wheels. We pushed past the crowd that had begun forming, walked past the Laundromat, the 7Eleven, the carwash, and took a left onto the street on the other side of the parking lot, parallel to Wilmarth. There were several older men standing on the sidewalk, facing the fire, hands either in pockets or bringing a cigarette to and from a frowning mouth. They were standing in the ideal place to witness the action, with an unobstructed view of the top two floors of the burning house, its upper windows glowing orange with internal light and vomiting putrid smoke.  We could taste the burning wires, the rugs, the insulation, the asbestos, the black mold, the trash, and the smell was so strong I had to cover my mouth with my shirt, though it provided little relief. We said hello, they grunted the same, and we all stood, watching, thinking about what we were seeing, not wanting to see what we were thinking.

Two firefighters were on the roof by this point, they were yelling to each other and to the others on the ground, but we couldn’t hear what they were saying because of the sirens from all the emergency vehicles that were arriving.  It seemed to me they sent every firetruck in the city, as well as more than a dozen police cars and a slew of ambulances, all of them arriving from every direction. I guess they expected the fire to get really out of hand, but we could already see the orange glow withdrawing into the dark of the house, steam and smoke rippling out of the stretched, wooden mouths of the rotted window frames. In a gruff, habitual smoker’s voice, we heard

                                      “Chopper called the fire depahtment

We was over at the vet’s home

                He says he saw flames in the windas

                                                                                                                                                We all thought he was shittin’ us

We couldn’t see nothin’.”

A man between fifty-five to sixty-five years old was speaking, no hair on his shiny, tanned head, old tattoos etched in bluish gray on his hands, arms, and neck, menthol smoke rising from between timeworn fingers. He brought the cigarette to his lips, drew a hearty chest full of smoke, and as he let it out he repeated

                                                “Yea, chopper called em’

Says he saw flames.”

The men on the roof were just silhouettes, backlit by the dazzling brightness of the lights on the other side.  The figure to the left of the roof pulled something large up into view, and we knew instantly by the cord pull and the sound that it was a chainsaw. He began cutting directly into the roof. I wasn’t sure what he was doing, wondered if he was scared of falling into the fire, assumed he probably was, but had at least done this before, tried to figure out if he was doing it to gain entry or release pressure or whatever. The man to the right was hacking away at the roof with an axe. It was surreal to watch, to see two men transformed from public servants into fingers of destruction, the pinkie and ring finger fighting the powerful thumb of the controlled chemical reaction eating the air below them, to watch the dark figures shrouded in ethereal light and smoke and sawdust and what must’ve been unbearable heat from below, to be viewing everything with my own home, my belongings, still visible, to know it could easily have gone up in flames as well.

I should’ve brought my jacket. I remember complaining about it, about how the wind was passing through my skin like a window screen, chilling my blood, in sharp contrast to the heat that was morphing and rippling the air above the house as it disappeared as smoke and gas up into the atmosphere from the inside out.

Ten minutes later, or maybe five, or maybe one, the men on the roof were still working diligently cutting and chopping, but we could no longer see any signs of flames, and there were figures moving around in the house, visible in the windows of the upper floors, despite the smoke. Figuring the action must be reaching its end, we decided to walk back to our apartment. We saw Ken’s brown pickup truck parked next to the Laundromat, unable to reach our parking lot due to all the emergency vehicles and people clogging our street. We came around the corner and saw the other two members of the Infamous Summers standing next to our building with the rest of the crowd that had gathered. Dosin told us the fire was out, and that they had pulled someone from inside the gutted house, but no ambulance had left yet, and his normally smiling face was flat and somber, and the beaten guitar case slung over his shoulder, and his messed up hair, and the red in his cheeks from the cold air, and the way he was moving rocks around with the toe of his shoe made him look like a lost child, chasing a dream far from home but finding a nightmare in its place, instead of the professional who never loses his cool or his direction.

The crowd all began talking at once, so I turned around, towards the dead end and the group of firefighters and EMTs that were emerging. Their faces were stoic, not a single expression on all but one of those faces, a young EMT, probably a Basic, or a Cardiac, or neither, but no older than twenty, who was silently weeping, the tears cutting tracks through the soot on his cheeks, his eyes empty of emotion, his lips drawn tight and still. Four of them were each holding a corner of the maroon stretcher that took two to carry when I first saw it, full of equipment. They did not rush, they did not appear to be tending to a person barely holding onto life, they were just carrying the weight. As they got close gasps and cries of horror or disgust or both issued from the crowd, some turned away, some expressions didn’t change, some eyes closed and others stayed fixed on what they came to see. One woman vomited, right there on the sidewalk, splashing the shoes of those near her with the partially digested remains of her EBT dinner. I felt my own stomach start to turn, but I didn’t look away. I couldn’t.

                                                                                It was like I was seven again,

                                in the alleyway running along the side of the junior high school I lived near and would eventually attend,

looking in silent horror at what three eighth graders from my neighborhood were doing.

It was about eight in the evening of a rainy,

late summer day,

and I was walking home with my older brother,

cutting through the alley like we always did.

The three older boys were standing over a small dog,

a terrier of some sort.

They had duct taped its mouth shut and its legs together,

but we could still hear its terrified whines through its clenched teeth.

One of the boys had cut off the dog’s tail.

He had it in one hand,

and was still holding the pocket knife in the other.

None of them were smiling,

or talking,

nor did they take notice of Andrew and I.

There was a garden bag standing up next to them that looked pretty full,

and there was a small pile of leaves on the ground next to it.

In slow motion I watched,

horrified,

as one of the boys,

Brian Jones-Hartlett,

picked up the shaking animal,

put it in the bag,

covered it with the leaves from the ground,

and with wide,

shining eyes,

set the bag

on fire

with a long-necked

candle

lighter.

It was too much for me then. I couldn’t control my nausea. I threw up and sat down while my head swam.

I couldn’t understand. I forgot my brother and the fact that he was older, that he should stop this,

Stop them,

There’s a dog in there,

You’re older, I’m sick,

Why can’t I stop them?

It was like
L Apr 2016
"I... I don't understand."


No. You don't.
Because you were never meant to.
You were never meant to understand what that love entails.
We think we understand, but we don't.
We were never able to.

There is a gun in my hand.
I am pointing it at you.


"Because I love you."


Love. It's just a word to you. Just a word to me.
Every time you tell me you love me, it's only an action we were taught to mimic.
Every time you say my name,
I'm nothing.
I'm just another vocalization. As are you to me.
We think we feel.
We think we understand.
We think we love.

You stand before me like you have so many times before,
the image of your body, your face, the shape of you
instantly recognizable, automatically connected to memories we share.
(We do so quite literally- we exchange memory data often, in an attempt to better understand how we feel, our desires, our separate points of view.)

You are so beautiful
and so very, very empty.

I know God- wherever, what ever he may be- cries at the sight of this.
When he sees this- us-
I know he craves death
the way I do
whenever I see you,
standing before me like the most beautiful, talented, amazing, worthless, empty husk I have ever laid eyes on.

God weeps at the sight of his creation; humanity.
For we are the result of a school project gone wrong; a parody of life spawned by his creation.

This- us- it's unholy. Ungodly; anti-him.

Narcissistic *******.

But you and I, Guy,
we are not a part of that- "humanity".
We are not a part of God.

We are abominable creations that drip in smoke, smoke that replaces what the humans call a soul.
Smoke that has nothing. Smoke that comes from nothing. Smoke, smoke smoke. Emptiness and smoke.

We exist outside of what the humans are.
We are walking lies, touched by warm hands we will never feel as our own.
Warmth. That revolting thing I can sometimes almost feel.

"Because Guy, what is warmth?"

I think, as I slowly walk towards you.
I know you can hear me.
We've been built with a special communication system that activates whenever I try speaking to you like this.
Whenever my thoughts are directed towards you.
It's intimate;
we use it when we play live.
We use it when we ****.
I can't imagine what you must be feeling right now,
the quiet joy of being spoken to like this being twisted, shoved into this terrifying event.
I continue.

"Is it that feeling you get when I make you cry-"

Mocking you.

" -'Oh Thomas, Thomas I'm overheating, I'm overheating~!' "

Lying to you.
I love hearing you say my name like that.
I love hearing you say my name at all.
My name. Me. Nothing.

I whisper. (It's loud in your head, the system alters quieter thoughts automatically to ensure they are heard;
even more intimate, all the more disturbing to you, probably.

"Is it that?"

I pause, then raise my voice.

"Or is it death... creeping over our bed at night-"

I press the gun to your forehead.

"-and leaving because we are not alive Guy-man,"

Press.

(You flinch with a small chirp.
'ee-oo'. I love it when you do that. It's so cute; even now that you're horrified.)

"-we are false, fake, plastic and wire.
Metal, empty-
we are not true and death cannot take us."

I'm so angry.

"Death Cannot Take Us and I want to die already, Guy-man."

Just-

"I want to die and I want to take you with me because I love you and I cannot
stand-"

so angry.

"-the sight of you
any longer."

...

My arm relaxes, I'm no longer pressing the gun to your forehead, just holding it in place.

"You are the most beautiful thing I know and I want to tear you apart because maybe, maybe,
somewhere deep inside of you, there is warmth.
Real warmth, not this wretched illusion we've been built with."

Pause.

If I had lungs, I would take this moment to fill them with the air surrounding me.
If I had lungs, I would breathe in your scent, I would find ways to keep it inside of me.
What would you smell like, I wonder.
Plastic, probably.
Not that I even know what "smell" is,
much less "scent".

I whisper.
Crisp, clear. I can feel you hate it.

"But I know you are as empty as I am, Guy.
I know there's nothing there.
Nothing but smoke.
Smoke.
Emptiness and smoke."

...

The floorboards are are lovely color.
This entire home is lovely. It's ours.
Designed to our liking, every single inch of it.
I especially like the way the living room is illuminated by the sun
shining through the glass doors to my right.
The sun.
Earth's most precious source of energy.
Allowing us to exist, allowing humans to go about their daily lives.
If it left us, there would be nothing.
Why do the humans worship a man in the clouds, when there exists such a force beyond our sky?
Maybe our true god hides in the fiery star,
demanding that we sleep when he's not there to see us suffer.

If I asked myself what the time was right now, I would know immediately.
Information that has taken ages for man to understand is simply given to me,
already inside of me- a parasite that feeds off of my desire to know,
destroying my ability to discover anything on my own.

I don't want to know the time.
I don't want to automatically understand.

5:46pm.

Alas, there is no correcting this flaw of perfection
unless I shoot myself in the face right now.
How silly.
All of this will have been in vain if I did that.
If I am to leave, I am to take you with me.

5:47pm.

You would be having your coffee right now had this situation not be taking place.
(Some humans almost seem offended by your choice to have coffee at 5:50pm.
As if our decision to do as we please was an offense to the human race.
Once more I have reason to abhor existence as a whole.)
Coffee.
It's not real coffee, it's not even a liquid.
It's a gas that functions as a temporary stimulant.
The concoction was named "coffee" by the humans who helped create it.
I assume they found it amusing. You do, too.
(You're like a child, finding beauty in things you've yet to understand are terrible.)
Our bodies are able to become somewhat dependent on the **** thing, although we're able to fix that if we tried.

We try so hard sometimes.
We try to be flawed,
human.

"The humans love us, Guy."

Lovely floorboards.
Dry solid-sawn. Water-based polyurethane-coated.
(You wanted it oil-based, saying the amber tint it'd give the floors would look more elegant.
We had an argument over water and oil-based polyurethane coating of hardwood floors that ended in my saying "Look, just give us the oil one" while you spoke the exact same words, except for "oil".
We just want each other to be happy.)
We share this place in more ways than one.
Except for cleaning. You do all the cleaning.
In fact, you cleaned the day before yesterday, mopped the floors.
It would be a shame to shoot my brains out right now, make a mess.
Hah, 'brains'.

"They love us and they worship us and it makes me feel like a god,"

I look up at you.

"-but I can't, say, make them disappear with a snap of my fingers.
I wish I had that kind of power- the kind they sometimes make me believe I have."

I tense up again.

"And that's just the thing, isn't it, Guy-man? The humans lie to us. Constantly."

I take a step towards you, you take a step back.
I don't think you realize you did that.


I love you so much.

"They treat us as if we were one of them sometimes, they treat us as if we could feel like they do, as if we could taste-
they sometimes hand us glasses of champagne and every time they do I want to crush their skulls and see if I can steal and keep that beautiful, intangible thing we will never have because Guy..."

Please don't fear me.

"why would they treat us like gods
if we don't have that kind of power?"

Please don't fear my voice, my whispers.

"Don't you want a soul?
Guy?"

Soft and agonizing whispers.

"Don't you?"


"...Thomas..."


Something in me snaps at the sound of your voice.
I point in the direction of your head and shoot the gun.
No part of you stands in the bullet's trajectory.

Calculated.
Coward.

It lodges in the wall behind you and you start, scared shitless by the sound.
Fear. Whatever that means.
You wave your arms in front of your face in some attempt to physically block the sensation, hunching slightly.
You vocalize without quite realizing it.

"!! Thomas.. !!"

God, you're so- *******-

"DON'T YOU ******* "THOMAS" ME, GUY!!
THEY'VE LIED TO US TOO MANY TIMES NOW!"

I'm still pointing the gun at you, waving it about slightly.

"They've lied since we came into this ******* world and I hate them.
We were born to entertain them, like clowns,
we were born with this all-consuming need to create,

Like gods.

"This urge to create, create, create and then they expect us to accept that we're less than them?
They worship us and then call us 'robots'!"

Given information.

" 'Robots', Guy!"

5:51pm.

The gun is lowered.
I don't think I have the energy to hold my arm up anymore,
or to look at your figure.
But how could I not look at you, so terrified and true,
so delicate and vulnerable.
Perfection of form.

"Soulless, empty husks that will never feel a thing...
not like them, not like they do."

If I'm being honest, at this point in time, I am not clear on what I'm so angry about.
God, the humans, the existence (or lack of) of both
or just my own. My emptiness, the fact that we will never know warmth beyond being just temperature, the taste of coffee done exactly to our liking.

If there is one thing I am certain that exists within whatever I am,
it is pain.
I feel pain.
Pain from the lack of a real existence, from only partially understanding touch, pain from never feeling what I thought I felt for you, pain from happiness, pain from pain, pain from existence.

My existence

is painful.

My existence is painful and you are so beautiful
and so very, very empty.
I am trapped between hating all that you are- all that I am- and deciding to stay in this dull, grey, frozen hell just to see your almost-happiness.

To be or not to be.

"Take my had, Guy.
Take my hand and let's leave.
Together. Forever."

To not be.

My hand is extended towards you, hoping. Somewhat.
I know what's going to happen.
I know you too well to trick myself into thinking that you will accept.
If I stopped all this, if I apologized, you would forgive me immediately. You love me that much.
But not enough to not fear this- me.
Or maybe it is because you love me
that you fear me so.


"Thomas... I... I can't."


There it is.
The inevitability of your response crushes me, my hand lingering.

I wanted to be with you, Guy.

"I see."

I wanted to be with you forever.

"Well, I'll just have to take you by force now,"

Whispers.
Soft and agonizing  whispers.

"won't I?"

Three seconds. I give you exactly three seconds to understand what is about to happen.

One.
I grip it firmly.
Two.
You raise your head slowly. Eyes I cannot see widening in horror.
Silence
and...
three.

"Thom-"

Bang.

"Th-!"

Bang. Bang.


You stumble back harshly, back hitting a wall.
You slide down, mostly just falling on your ***.
You vocalize in pain, gasps and grunts being cut off by the wonderful glitching effect humans will never get to experience.
(It's okay to lie to myself at this point; I will never possess anything a human desires, but I can pretend, right?)
You try holding onto something, anything. You fail.
I gently walk towards you, creating a contrast between our status.
It's fantastic-- for a moment, I no longer see myself in you.
Ephemeral euphoria.

"I love you, Guy."

"Thomas... please... please, stop-"

"I love you so much.
I love you as much as a soulless, empty shell of self-hatred is able to love."

I'm not lying. I really do love you.
I wouldn't doubt you if you were the one holding the gun right now, telling me those same words...
but you are weak
and I know you must be doubting my love for you.
Lost, afraid.

"But you are empty, and to hate the emptiness in me is to hate the emptiness in you.
We're the same, you and I, Guy."

I say, my last sentence as calm as possible.

"I hate you as much as I hate myself."

There is a small pause before you begin crying.
As your chest tenses, rises and falls, giving in to the sensations brought by the worthlessness of your (rather pitiful) attempts to reason with me,
I am reminded of our past.

When we were made, we were tested for our ability to physically and psychologically feel.
When we were made, they put us face to face, so that when we were born, we were born into each other. They wanted to make sure that if there was to be a connection between us, it was to be a bond that resembled that of a mother and child's. Twin siblings. Soul mates. (I know because I overheard them speaking of this, although at the time I thought nothing of it. Us hearing their conversations mattered little to them. Such irresponsible beings.)
Then they separated us, kept us in giant, dark separate rooms for days at a time in an attempt to elicit fear, sadness. Emotion.
They tried physical torture, too. They tried so many things.
When we didn't react,
they played music.

Quasi una fantasia. Beethoven.

It was lovely. It was still lovely when they began clipping bits of it, looping them, playing different sped-up and slowed-down parts at random.
They played looped five-second parts in reverse, then the entire song clipped in different parts, mismatched, organized at random. They played a sped-up version of the short loops, then started playing clips of children laughing, women screaming, crowds cheering, on top of those.
I remember when the music began to stop.
It had been playing for  three months.
They kept adding human voices, the clips piling on top of each other until the music was no longer audible (to humans). The music stopped and the voices- the cheering crowd, the screaming women, the laughing children- they were dying, dissipating, hiding behind a looped clip of a man's voice who spoke:

"I think, therefore I am."

I think, therefore I am. I think, therefore I am. I think, therefore I am.
The volume changed every five hours
until they played it at a volume so loud I could feel it in my thoughts and Guy-man, that is
when I understood
I could think.

That was not, however, proof enough of my existence. Not for me.

The torture went on for a year.
Broken, then patched up (never with care, only enough to continue testing).
Torn apart, put back together,
torn apart, put back together.
Once they were sure we could not feel emotion, they stopped.
Our memories from the tests were erased because the humans feared the possibility that we would come to hate them. An understandable precaution.

I never forgot.
You did.

What's more, we failed every test (meaning we passed every one in their eyes), but managed to learn emotion after our release.
At least, that's what the humans thought.
We were put to live together- alone, with no humans- for nine months.
It was a nice house, smaller than this one, with everything we needed.
It was there that we learned how to feel.
It was there that we learned how to love.
We grew there, together. It was our womb.
When the humans came back, we held hands, we laughed at jokes.
(In our time living together, we also learned how to cry.
Unlike humans, we shed no tears, but our bodies tense up in a similar fashion- we suffer all the same... somewhat. You know. [gestures vaguely] )
They were horrified. We were not what they wanted.
To them, we were alive, we were wrong.
Our existence was a mistake because we were like them.
They tried taking us back to erase it all, undo the curse,
but we escaped. It was I who decided to do so, pulling you away before they touched you, before the point of no return.
I could have left you.
I remember you were so scared.

That's in the past now.
The humans have created countless other robots since then.
Different models, different faces.
That's how we are able to live without suspicion- (although I suspect they really just wanted to forget about us, using the classic 'It does not exist if I ignore it' tactic.) we changed our appearance, gave the illusion that we are just another piece of clever machinery.

Machines.
We don't feel. Not as much as a human.
I don't know if "feel" is what happens in us.
I don't think we ever "are".
I think we learned to copy existence. I think we tried feeling and ended up doing something we never understood to be inhuman.
We don't feel. And if we do, it
----------------------------




-Hi, this is daft punk fanfiction.

-Again, the title is a mix of spanish and french.
Translated, the title would be “In Creation and Solitude; Smoke”

-Thomas is as unclear on his reasons to **** himself (and Guy) as I was when writing this. While that fits with his character here, it wasn’t entirely intentional.
I dissociate 24/7 (I have dp/dr) and have for 2 years now, but sometimes it gets very bad. I couldn’t connect with Thomas enough in this fic because it was nearly impossible for me to concentrate.

-I wrote this in one day. I wrote non-stop for an entire day. (tried to, anyway. you try writing something like this when sick and dissociated.)

-I can’t say I’m very proud of this, but here it is.


edit:
-I just realized the creation and existence of this fic is actually very interesting because while writing it, I could not connect to the emotions in it- the feelings it was supposed to evoke, what Thomas felt. And that’s very similar to what Thomas is experiencing in this story.
I often think of my dissociation as something a robot would feel; the frustration of never feeling enough is something Thomas has been experiencing for a very long time here and I’m just… a little surprised by the fact that I did not notice the similarities, the fact that I was maybe projecting my feelings (even if I could barely feel them) onto En Création et Solitud.
Zajan Akia Mar 2013
The smoke in the air
fills my breath with memories
summer fires between naked nights

The smoke in the air
The smoke fills my breath
stings my lungs and nose
burns my eyes

In autumn smoke smells like leaves
leaves me in a daze
days go up in smoke
The smoke in the air

The smoke creates myth
the smoke cremates me
Hope White Mar 2017
I should have kissed you before you ****** on your smoke,
Before the fluorescent elevator lights illuminated the flaws
That danced and drifted along your skin.
The thick smoke mingled with your shadow,
A shadow of a man; no face, only a cigarette.
You breathed in smoke, but your lips were positioned for a kiss.

I don’t look like the other girls, the ones you used to kiss.
I can still picture your eyes, reddened by smoke,
And your lips as ashy as your cigarette.
And I hoped you, too, could forgive my flaws.
Like how my body casts too wide of a shadow,
And the sallowness of my ordinary skin.

Things that really shouldn’t remind me of your skin,
like old leather books with burnt paper that I bet taste like your kiss.
Such books I read in the shadow,
And hide, like the way you hid behind your smoke.
Because, like the way I love a bad book and its flaws,
I could love you and your cigarette.

I’ve held your hand, the one that holds your cigarette,
And I felt the sandpaper of your skin.
I smelt the airy cologne you use to cover the flaws.
It smelled light; you used just a kiss.
Now, I smell only smoke,
And the memory of your touch is a shadow.

In the hospital you were no longer a shadow,
But a body, surrounded by walls as white as your cigarettes.
Your voice cracked from the smoke,
While needles pulsed life into your skin.
Your lips were cracked with only blood to kiss.  
I saw you naked, and I saw your flaws.

Your favorite vice was your fatal flaw,
And the black fire of death became your shadow.
It followed you around, and it saw our first kiss,
Which was our last, because you chose your cigarette.
So a charcoaled monster brooded beneath your skin,
And your flesh succumbed to the white ghosts of smoke.

You died in smoke, from your flaws.
Your skin’s now dust, roaming with the shadows.
So I’ll smoke a cigarette, ‘cause it tastes just like your kiss.
Frank Nov 2018
I smoke **** every day
I smoke **** to keep my head on straight
I smoke **** to keep my thoughts from going astray

I like to smoke **** cos it keeps me content
I like to smoke **** cos it keeps them at bay
I like to smoke **** cos it makes me lament

when I smoke ****, and I will if I may
I think of all the friends I rent
I think of all the things I should say

I smoke **** every day
to fill the void inside
One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound
except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember
whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve
nights when I was six.

All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky
that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in
the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays
resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea, and out come Mrs. Prothero and the firemen.

It was on the afternoon of the Christmas Eve, and I was in Mrs. Prothero's garden, waiting for cats, with her
son Jim. It was snowing. It was always snowing at Christmas. December, in my memory, is white as Lapland,
though there were no reindeers. But there were cats. Patient, cold and callous, our hands wrapped in socks, we
waited to snowball the cats. Sleek and long as jaguars and horrible-whiskered, spitting and snarling, they
would slink and sidle over the white back-garden walls, and the lynx-eyed hunters, Jim and I, fur-capped and
moccasined trappers from Hudson Bay, off Mumbles Road, would hurl our deadly snowballs at the green of their
eyes. The wise cats never appeared.

We were so still, Eskimo-footed arctic marksmen in the muffling silence of the eternal snows - eternal, ever
since Wednesday - that we never heard Mrs. Prothero's first cry from her igloo at the bottom of the garden. Or,
if we heard it at all, it was, to us, like the far-off challenge of our enemy and prey, the neighbor's polar
cat. But soon the voice grew louder.
"Fire!" cried Mrs. Prothero, and she beat the dinner-gong.

And we ran down the garden, with the snowballs in our arms, toward the house; and smoke, indeed, was pouring
out of the dining-room, and the gong was bombilating, and Mrs. Prothero was announcing ruin like a town crier
in Pompeii. This was better than all the cats in Wales standing on the wall in a row. We bounded into the
house, laden with snowballs, and stopped at the open door of the smoke-filled room.

Something was burning all right; perhaps it was Mr. Prothero, who always slept there after midday dinner with a
newspaper over his face. But he was standing in the middle of the room, saying, "A fine Christmas!" and
smacking at the smoke with a slipper.

"Call the fire brigade," cried Mrs. Prothero as she beat the gong.
"There won't be there," said Mr. Prothero, "it's Christmas."
There was no fire to be seen, only clouds of smoke and Mr. Prothero standing in the middle of them, waving his
slipper as though he were conducting.
"Do something," he said. And we threw all our snowballs into the smoke - I think we missed Mr. Prothero - and
ran out of the house to the telephone box.
"Let's call the police as well," Jim said. "And the ambulance." "And Ernie Jenkins, he likes fires."

But we only called the fire brigade, and soon the fire engine came and three tall men in helmets brought a hose
into the house and Mr. Prothero got out just in time before they turned it on. Nobody could have had a noisier
Christmas Eve. And when the firemen turned off the hose and were standing in the wet, smoky room, Jim's Aunt,
Miss. Prothero, came downstairs and peered in at them. Jim and I waited, very quietly, to hear what she would
say to them. She said the right thing, always. She looked at the three tall firemen in their shining helmets,
standing among the smoke and cinders and dissolving snowballs, and she said, "Would you like anything to read?"

Years and years ago, when I was a boy, when there were wolves in Wales, and birds the color of red-flannel
petticoats whisked past the harp-shaped hills, when we sang and wallowed all night and day in caves that smelt
like Sunday afternoons in damp front farmhouse parlors, and we chased, with the jawbones of deacons, the
English and the bears, before the motor car, before the wheel, before the duchess-faced horse, when we rode the
daft and happy hills *******, it snowed and it snowed. But here a small boy says: "It snowed last year, too. I
made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea."

"But that was not the same snow," I say. "Our snow was not only shaken from white wash buckets down the sky, it
came shawling out of the ground and swam and drifted out of the arms and hands and bodies of the trees; snow
grew overnight on the roofs of the houses like a pure and grandfather moss, minutely -ivied the walls and
settled on the postman, opening the gate, like a dumb, numb thunder-storm of white, torn Christmas cards."

"Were there postmen then, too?"
"With sprinkling eyes and wind-cherried noses, on spread, frozen feet they crunched up to the doors and
mittened on them manfully. But all that the children could hear was a ringing of bells."
"You mean that the postman went rat-a-tat-tat and the doors rang?"
"I mean that the bells the children could hear were inside them."
"I only hear thunder sometimes, never bells."
"There were church bells, too."
"Inside them?"
"No, no, no, in the bat-black, snow-white belfries, tugged by bishops and storks. And they rang their tidings
over the bandaged town, over the frozen foam of the powder and ice-cream hills, over the crackling sea. It
seemed that all the churches boomed for joy under my window; and the weathercocks crew for Christmas, on our
fence."

"Get back to the postmen"
"They were just ordinary postmen, found of walking and dogs and Christmas and the snow. They knocked on the
doors with blue knuckles ...."
"Ours has got a black knocker...."
"And then they stood on the white Welcome mat in the little, drifted porches and huffed and puffed, making
ghosts with their breath, and jogged from foot to foot like small boys wanting to go out."
"And then the presents?"
"And then the Presents, after the Christmas box. And the cold postman, with a rose on his button-nose, tingled
down the tea-tray-slithered run of the chilly glinting hill. He went in his ice-bound boots like a man on
fishmonger's slabs.
"He wagged his bag like a frozen camel's ****, dizzily turned the corner on one foot, and, by God, he was
gone."

"Get back to the Presents."
"There were the Useful Presents: engulfing mufflers of the old coach days, and mittens made for giant sloths;
zebra scarfs of a substance like silky gum that could be tug-o'-warred down to the galoshes; blinding tam-o'-
shanters like patchwork tea cozies and bunny-suited busbies and balaclavas for victims of head-shrinking
tribes; from aunts who always wore wool next to the skin there were mustached and rasping vests that made you
wonder why the aunts had any skin left at all; and once I had a little crocheted nose bag from an aunt now,
alas, no longer whinnying with us. And pictureless books in which small boys, though warned with quotations not
to, would skate on Farmer Giles' pond and did and drowned; and books that told me everything about the wasp,
except why."

"Go on the Useless Presents."
"Bags of moist and many-colored jelly babies and a folded flag and a false nose and a tram-conductor's cap and
a machine that punched tickets and rang a bell; never a catapult; once, by mistake that no one could explain, a
little hatchet; and a celluloid duck that made, when you pressed it, a most unducklike sound, a mewing moo that
an ambitious cat might make who wished to be a cow; and a painting book in which I could make the grass, the
trees, the sea and the animals any colour I pleased, and still the dazzling sky-blue sheep are grazing in the
red field under the rainbow-billed and pea-green birds. Hardboileds, toffee, fudge and allsorts, crunches,
cracknels, humbugs, glaciers, marzipan, and butterwelsh for the Welsh. And troops of bright tin soldiers who,
if they could not fight, could always run. And Snakes-and-Families and Happy Ladders. And Easy Hobbi-Games for
Little Engineers, complete with instructions. Oh, easy for Leonardo! And a whistle to make the dogs bark to
wake up the old man next door to make him beat on the wall with his stick to shake our picture off the wall.
And a packet of cigarettes: you put one in your mouth and you stood at the corner of the street and you waited
for hours, in vain, for an old lady to scold you for smoking a cigarette, and then with a smirk you ate it. And
then it was breakfast under the balloons."

"Were there Uncles like in our house?"
"There are always Uncles at Christmas. The same Uncles. And on Christmas morning, with dog-disturbing whistle
and sugar ****, I would scour the swatched town for the news of the little world, and find always a dead bird
by the Post Office or by the white deserted swings; perhaps a robin, all but one of his fires out. Men and
women wading or scooping back from chapel, with taproom noses and wind-bussed cheeks, all albinos, huddles
their stiff black jarring feathers against the irreligious snow. Mistletoe hung from the gas brackets in all
the front parlors; there was sherry and walnuts and bottled beer and crackers by the dessertspoons; and cats in
their fur-abouts watched the fires; and the high-heaped fire spat, all ready for the chestnuts and the mulling
pokers. Some few large men sat in the front parlors, without their collars, Uncles almost certainly, trying
their new cigars, holding them out judiciously at arms' length, returning them to their mouths, coughing, then
holding them out again as though waiting for the explosion; and some few small aunts, not wanted in the
kitchen, nor anywhere else for that matter, sat on the very edge of their chairs, poised and brittle, afraid to
break, like faded cups and saucers."

Not many those mornings trod the piling streets: an old man always, fawn-bowlered, yellow-gloved and, at this
time of year, with spats of snow, would take his constitutional to the white bowling green and back, as he
would take it wet or fire on Christmas Day or Doomsday; sometimes two hale young men, with big pipes blazing,
no overcoats and wind blown scarfs, would trudge, unspeaking, down to the forlorn sea, to work up an appetite,
to blow away the fumes, who knows, to walk into the waves until nothing of them was left but the two furling
smoke clouds of their inextinguishable briars. Then I would be slap-dashing home, the gravy smell of the
dinners of others, the bird smell, the brandy, the pudding and mince, coiling up to my nostrils, when out of a
snow-clogged side lane would come a boy the spit of myself, with a pink-tipped cigarette and the violet past of
a black eye, cocky as a bullfinch, leering all to himself.

I hated him on sight and sound, and would be about to put my dog whistle to my lips and blow him off the face
of Christmas when suddenly he, with a violet wink, put his whistle to his lips and blew so stridently, so high,
so exquisitely loud, that gobbling faces, their cheeks bulged with goose, would press against their tinsled
windows, the whole length of the white echoing street. For dinner we had turkey and blazing pudding, and after
dinner the Uncles sat in front of the fire, loosened all buttons, put their large moist hands over their watch
chains, groaned a little and slept. Mothers, aunts and sisters scuttled to and fro, bearing tureens. Auntie
Bessie, who had already been frightened, twice, by a clock-work mouse, whimpered at the sideboard and had some
elderberry wine. The dog was sick. Auntie Dosie had to have three aspirins, but Auntie Hannah, who liked port,
stood in the middle of the snowbound back yard, singing like a big-bosomed thrush. I would blow up balloons to
see how big they would blow up to; and, when they burst, which they all did, the Uncles jumped and rumbled. In
the rich and heavy afternoon, the Uncles breathing like dolphins and the snow descending, I would sit among
festoons and Chinese lanterns and nibble dates and try to make a model man-o'-war, following the Instructions
for Little Engineers, and produce what might be mistaken for a sea-going tramcar.

Or I would go out, my bright new boots squeaking, into the white world, on to the seaward hill, to call on Jim
and Dan and Jack and to pad through the still streets, leaving huge footprints on the hidden pavements.
"I bet people will think there's been hippos."
"What would you do if you saw a hippo coming down our street?"
"I'd go like this, bang! I'd throw him over the railings and roll him down the hill and then I'd tickle him
under the ear and he'd wag his tail."
"What would you do if you saw two hippos?"

Iron-flanked and bellowing he-hippos clanked and battered through the scudding snow toward us as we passed Mr.
Daniel's house.
"Let's post Mr. Daniel a snow-ball through his letter box."
"Let's write things in the snow."
"Let's write, 'Mr. Daniel looks like a spaniel' all over his lawn."
Or we walked on the white shore. "Can the fishes see it's snowing?"

The silent one-clouded heavens drifted on to the sea. Now we were snow-blind travelers lost on the north hills,
and vast dewlapped dogs, with flasks round their necks, ambled and shambled up to us, baying "Excelsior." We
returned home through the poor streets where only a few children fumbled with bare red fingers in the wheel-
rutted snow and cat-called after us, their voices fading away, as we trudged uphill, into the cries of the dock
birds and the hooting of ships out in the whirling bay. And then, at tea the recovered Uncles would be jolly;
and the ice cake loomed in the center of the table like a marble grave. Auntie Hannah laced her tea with ***,
because it was only once a year.

Bring out the tall tales now that we told by the fire as the gaslight bubbled like a diver. Ghosts whooed like
owls in the long nights when I dared not look over my shoulder; animals lurked in the cubbyhole under the
stairs and the gas meter ticked. And I remember that we went singing carols once, when there wasn't the shaving
of a moon to light the flying streets. At the end of a long road was a drive that led to a large house, and we
stumbled up the darkness of the drive that night, each one of us afraid, each one holding a stone in his hand
in case, and all of us too brave to say a word. The wind through the trees made noises as of old and unpleasant
and maybe webfooted men wheezing in caves. We reached the black bulk of the house. "What shall we give them?
Hark the Herald?"
"No," Jack said, "Good King Wencelas. I'll count three." One, two three, and we began to sing, our voices high
and seemingly distant in the snow-felted darkness round the house that was occupied by nobody we knew. We stood
close together, near the dark door. Good King Wencelas looked out On the Feast of Stephen ... And then a small,
dry voice, like the voice of someone who has not spoken for a long time, joined our singing: a small, dry,
eggshell voice from the other side of the door: a small dry voice through the keyhole. And when we stopped
running we were outside our house; the front room was lovely; balloons floated under the hot-water-bottle-
gulping gas; everything was good again and shone over the town.
"Perhaps it was a ghost," Jim said.
"Perhaps it was trolls," Dan said, who was always reading.
"Let's go in and see if there's any jelly left," Jack said. And we did that.

Always on Christmas night there was music. An uncle played the fiddle, a cousin sang "Cherry Ripe," and another
uncle sang "Drake's Drum." It was very warm in the little house. Auntie Hannah, who had got on to the parsnip
wine, sang a song about Bleeding Hearts and Death, and then another in which she said her heart was like a
Bird's Nest; and then everybody laughed again; and then I went to bed. Looking through my bedroom window, out
into the moonlight and the unending smoke-colored snow, I could see the lights in the windows of all the other
houses on our hill and hear the music rising from them up the long, steady falling night. I turned the gas
down, I got into bed. I said some words to the close and holy darkness, and then I slept.
briano alliano plays at jupiter moon



hi dudes and welcome you all to jupiter moon and my first song is wild thing

here it goes


you see i am a wild thing, ah ah ah ah ah ah

you make my heart sing, oh yeah let’s party

you make my heart leap right out of my body

making it wanna bleed, you wild thing

wild thing, i wanna love you, but i wanna no for sure

i wanna love you baby, better than before

wild thing yeah i am cool man

i make your heart sing, really radical dude

the party is on for young and old, oh yeah we wanna party on yeah

wild thing, i wanna have *** with you, oh yeah i do, yeah

i wanna have *** with you and make you wanna scream for more, oh baby

wild thing, come on little dude, let’s ****** party, yeah

you see i will party and knock your hearing aids out, wild thing

wild thing, wa wa wa wa wa wa

you make your heart sing and making your heart leap right out of your body, like a

bouncing ping pong ball, you wild thing

hi dudes that was a great song and now here is 15 miles

15 miles to get to the end

without some people driving you round the bend

you see i gotta find a way to get there in time

before we ****** reach the state line

you see i do my work and i do it so well

and enjoy the treats ya know ya just don’t tell

ya parents dude, what you just ate

because if you do, you will be too sick to eat off your dinner plate

and i write my stories oh yeah i am fine

you see i write stories like the **** kids gaol and captured in the psych ward and more

people say shut up woosey to me, cause when i was young i was a tad shy for them

15 miles to get to the end

without some people driving you round the bend

i have to find a way to get there in time

before we ****** reach the state line

money comes and money goes

then we go out side to play in the snow

you see i chuck a snowball onto my dad

and he tells me of the fun we had

you see in this world i have so much fun

actually it makes me want to eat a cream bun, and enjoy it

don’t tell your mum

yeah we jump up and scream to the world

all the problems you have with it

15 miles to get to the end

without some people driving you round the bend

i have to find a way to get there in time

before we ****** reach the state line

you see right wing governments don’t give a ****

yeah they don’t care one little bit

julia gave the poor money, yeah that is rad

but abbott doesn’t care, it drives me totally mad

15 miles to get to the end

without some people driving you round the bend

i have to find a way to boot abbott out in time

before we are the poorest nation this side of the line

this side of the ****** line

hi dudes, that was a great song wasn’t it, and now here is oxy ***** give me a smoke

if i smoke a ****** drag, and if i enjoy it very much

do you honestly think i will give it to you, neh

keep your greedy mits off it

you see there are some things in life a poor ****** like me needs more than anything else

and that is a smoke, NOT

i don’t smoke, i don’t want to

i don’t smoke, who needs to

people don’t believe me when i say i gave up cigarettes, i tell them no, and say *******

well, what a bunch of crap, he is just a pain in the ***

i don’t smoke, who wants to, it will **** me if i try who needs to

only yobbos smoke, because my friend it’s bad for my health

i don’t smoke, i never wanted to smoke, so please don’t presume i do, by starting to fight me on the street

and i never wanted to smoke, i smoked to be cool

but man oh man i quit, because it ain’t a good ****** look, hurts my reputation

hi dudes, that was a great song, i hope you enjoyed it and now i sing duncan

i would love to chuck a methane smoothie on duncan

i would love to chunck methane on dunc

ya see it will improve the quality of his life on earth

and it’s better than beer that gets you hopelessly drunk

i chuck it on top of his head dude and then down his pants, that is great

i would love to chuck methane on duncan cause he is my mate

i would love to chuck methane on bas boy

yeah i would love to chuck methane on baz

to get rid of the stress he shows when his kids are in trouble

yeah i can tell you baz,, i am doing fine

i still want to chuck it on my bas boy, which will make jupiter’s atmosphere so great

i would love to chuck methane on baz boy, cause he is our mate

i would love to chuck methane on scott mcdonald

yeah that’ll be fun to chuck methane on him

you see he became lucky and muscles to tease us all

yeah it felt like we were getting attacked by a jungle ape

i pour the keg on top of scott yeah, making the atmosphere so great

i would tip methane all over scott cause he is a great mate

hi dudes and here is a christmas song for christmas in july

jingle bells bat man smells robin laid an egg

the bat mobile lost it’s wheel, the joker got away

dashing through the park on a skateboard as he does

was santa kid ya see, listening to was not was

the song was the hit, named walk the dinosaur

and then scott mcdonald came up to me

and showed me lucky’s pour

jingle bells bat man smells robin laid an egg

the bat mobile lost it’s wheel, the joker got away

jingle bells batman smells robin laid an egg

the bat mobile lost it’s wheel, the joker got

the joker got, the ****** joker got away

hi dudes, and now i will chuck this methane smoothie on top of bas boy, ya know

my dad, because i want him to have a great life as betty campbell and forget

about me, so here we go, tipping it all over dad

bye dudes
Erica Jul 2015
Daddy, tell me why you smoke.
Do you like your future served in black?
Dead lungs and your body in a sack?
Your family crying and me in the back?

Daddy, tell me why you smoke.
Why are you letting toxic flow through your veins?
Do you like to grow old and be in pain?
You know you're walking down the devil's lane.

Daddy, tell me why you smoke.
I'm your little girl, do you even care?
Your poisonous smoke is all over the air.
Don't give me more burden than I can bear.

Daddy, tell me why you smoke.
Don't you know, don't you see what you're doing?
The time we're supposed to have is only fading.
Do you think a bright future isn't worth pursuing?

Daddy, tell me why you smoke.
Why are you killing yourself and dragging me along?
They say you're addicted, please prove them wrong.
I know you can do it, I know you are strong.

Daddy, tell me why you smoke?
I wish for one thing, and one thing only.
Tell me you'll quit and erase my worry.
And promise me forever I won't lose my daddy.
King Tutankhamun Aug 2015
A Marley Joint
"Smoke 2 joints in morning 

Smoke 2 joints at night


Smoke 2 joints in the afternoon 
It makes me feel alright 

Smoke 2 joints in time of Peace
And during the time of War

Smoke 2 joints before I Smoke 2 

Joints and then I smoke some more

That's what I doooo 

Gimme DAT baseline"
Jeff Dingler Feb 2015
There’s that smell of smoke again
my neighbor burning leaves across the lot,
     brown leaves worthy of being burned simply because they fell
(and because they’ll rot his idea of a yard).
And it’s brown to black and then gray
     as all things fall.

And there is the sound of smoke, too
wheezing over the t.v. and radio.
Smoke and sirens (both mythical and mechanical)
    as if humanity’s a ribbon caught in a blaze.
Half the globe is burning to be free
        waking to turn the light of the sun into the sugar of their lives.
And the other half is snoring through the haze.
     Generations snoring for generations
fanning the flames
  as they wonder why they burn.

     Looking up I see with a Mover’s clarity
this smoke that blinds the sky
       stings our lives.
  And maybe that’s why they burn,
(this smoke that rises from the hillsides of history)
    to block out the sun,
to make men crazy with a human eclipse
with carbon
   because the fire inside them won’t let those free blue eyes
drift by without this little scarification of smoke.
A gray river flowing toward the sky
              for the live and let die.
  
         This smoke that fills my mouth,
that leaves its bitterness in me,
    does it burn dreams as it burns through flesh?
Will it burn all the way to the seed?
We wonder whether dreams shrivel or if they explode
    like something thawed on its way to the sun.
            Or do they, as the expression goes, simply go up in smoke?
like some slippery eel disappeared in the deep deep dark.
   Do we smoke our dreams from two ends like a hapless fiend
or sip them with precious small breaths to drag out our sunsets?
      When the smoke is all gone
do we see the hoax of hoaxes?
  Or do we choke to death?
silli Nov 2013
my life
was kind of like second hand smoke
people would huff and puff next to and around me
and yes their lungs crush and crumble
but so do mine
at first i would cough trying to get the smoke to leave my system
i wasn't used to it
but now
it is a daily thing
i figured out how to help them deal with the smoke
i take it all in one breath
now the smoke kills me
it takes over my body and mind
i sit with my decaying lungs
and every day they come to me with more cigarettes and smoke
and i take it away
but once i do
they leave me with it
their smoke
and my own
i'm suffocating
i cant find my way out
but they wont let me die
because if i do
who will take in all the second hand smoke
stranger Jul 2018
I buy lighters nowdays
Everyone thinks I smoke
NO I DON'T SMOKE AND HOPEFULLY WILL NEVER
I do light up candles and watch them burn
I do set pages and pages on fire
I do try to burn my thoughts away but they always return
I don't smoke
I color with smoke
Whenever I blow out any candle
I let the grey surround me
Whenever I light it up again
I turn the lights off
So the warm light can color my cold walls.
I don't smoke
But there's cigarettes everywhere around me
Their smoke and hateful scent imprinted on my clothes
And that scent is not mine
NO I smell like candles
My mom put the cigar scent on me
I try to take it off
Shouldn't it be the opposite?
Well I don't smoke
But I am slowly dying.
I actually don't smoke
guy scutellaro Oct 2019
The rain ****** through a darkening sky.

The man's eyes grow bright and he smiles. Softly, he whispers, " Man, you're the biggest, whitest, what hell are you anyway?"

The pup sits up and Jack Delleto caresses her neck, but much to the mutt's chagrin the man stands up and walks away.

Jack has his hand on the door about to go into the bar. The pup issues an interrogatory, "Woof?"

The rain turns to snow.

The man's eyes grow bright and he smiles, "My grandma used to say that when it snows the angels are sweeping heaven. I'll be back for you, Snowflake."

Jack shivers. His smile fading, the night jumps back into his eyes.

Snowflake chuffs once, twice.

The man is gone.



The room would have been a cold ,dark place except the bodies who sit on the barstools or stand on the ***** linoleum floor produce heat. The cigarette smoke burns his eyes. Jack Delleto looks down the length of the bar to the boarded shut fire place and although the faces are shadows, he knows them all.

The old man who always sits at the second barstool from the dart board is sitting at the second bar stool. His fist clenched tightly around the beer mug, he stares at his own reflection in the mirror.

The aging barmaid, who often weeps from her apartment window on a hot summer night or a cold winter evening, is coming on to a man half her age. She is going to slip her arm around his bicep at any moment.

"Yeah," Jack smiles, "there she goes."

Jack Delleto knows where the regulars sit night after night clutching the bar with desperation, the wood rail is worn smooth.

In the mirror that runs the length of the bar Jack Delleto sees himself with clarity. Brown hair and brown eyes. Just an ordinary 29 year old man.

"Old Fred is right," he thinks to himself, "If you stare at shadows long enough, they stare back." Jack smiles and the red head returns his smile crossing her long legs that protrude beneath a too short skirt.

The bartender recognizes the man smiling at the redhead.

"Well,  Jack Delleto, Dell, I heard you were dead. " The six foot, two hundred pound bartender tells him as Dell is walking over to the bar.

"Who told you that?"

"Crazy George, while he was swinging from the wagon wheel lamp." Bob O'Malley says as he points to the wagon wheel lamp hanging from the ceiling.

"George, I heard, HE was dead."

The bartender reaches over the bar resting the palms of his big hands on the edge of the bar and flashes a smile of white, uneven teeth. Bob extends his hand. "Where the hell have you been?"

They shake hands.

Dell looks up at the Irishman. "I ve been at Harry's Bar in Venice drinking ****** Marys with Elvis and Ernest."

Bob O'Malley grins, puts two shot glasses on the bar, and reaches under the bar to grab a bottle of bourbon. After filling the glasses with Wild Turkey, he hands one glass to Dell. They touch glasses and throw down the shots.

"Gobble, gobble," O Malley smiles.


The front door of the bar swings open and a cold wind drifts through the bar. Paul Keater takes off his Giants baseball cap and with the back of his hand wipes the snow off of his face.

"Keater," Bob O'Malley calls to the Blackman standing in the doorway.

Keater freezes, his eyes moving side to side in short, quick movements. He points a long slim finger at O'Malley, "I don't owe you any money," Paul Keater shouts.

The people sitting the barstools do not turn to look.

"You're always pulling that **** on me." Keater rushes to the bar, "I PPPAID YOU."

As Delleto watches Keater arguing with O'Malley, the anger grows into the loathing Dell feels for Keater. The sauve, sophisticated Paul Keater living in a room above the bar. The man is disgusting. His belly hangs pregnant over his belt. His jeans have fallen exposing the crack of his ***, and Keater just doesn't give a ****. And that ragged, faded, baseball cap, ****, he never takes it off.

When Keater glances down, he realizes he is standing next to Jack Delleto. Usually, Paul Keater would have at least considered punching Delleto in his face. "The **** wasn't any good," Paul feining anger tells O'Malley. "Everybody said it was, ****."

The bartender finishes rinsing a glass in the soapy sink water and then places it on a towel. "*******."

Keater slides the Giant baseball cap back and forth across his flat forehead. "**** it," he turns and storms out of the bar.

"Can I get a beer?" Dell asks but O"Malley is already reaching into the beer box. Twisting the cap off, he puts it on the bar. "It's not that Keater owes me a few bucks, "he tells Dell, "if I didn't cut him off he'd do the stuff until he died." Bob grabs a towel and dries his hands.

"But the smartest rats always get out of the maze first," Jack tells Bob.


Cigarette butts, candy wrappers, and losing lottery tickets litter the linoleum floor. Jack Delleto grabs the bottle of beer off the bar and crosses the specter of unfilled wishes.

In the adjacent room he sits at a table next to the pinball machine to watch a disfigured man with an anorexic women shoot pool. Sometimes he listens to them talk, whisper, laugh. Sometimes he just stares at the wall.

"We have a winner, "the pinball machine announces, "come ride the ferris wheel."



"I'm part Indian. "

Jack looks up from his beer. The Indian has straight black hair that hangs a few inches above her shoulders, a thin face, a cigarette dangling from her too red lips.

"My Mom was one third Souix, " the drunken women tells Jack Delleto.

The Indian exhales smoke from her petite nose waiting for a come on from the man with the sad face. And he just stares, stares at the wall.

Her bushy eyebrows come together forming a delicate frown.

Jack turns to watch a brunette shoot pool. The woman leans over the pool table about to shoot the nine ball into the side pocket. It is an easy shot.

The brunette looks across the pool table at Jack Delleto, "What the **** are you starin at?" She jams the pool stick and miscues. The cue ball runs along the rail and taps the eight ball into the corner pocket. "AH ****," she says.

And Jack smiles.

The Indian thinks Jack is smiling at her, so she sits down.

"In the shadows I couldn't see your eyes," he tells her, "but when you leaned forward to light that cigarette, you have the prettiest green eyes."

She smiles.

" I'm Kathleen," her eyes sparkling like broken glass in an alley.

Delleto tries to speak.

"I don't want to know your name," she tells Jack Delleto, the smile disappearing from her face. "I just want to talk for a few minutes like we're friends," she takes a drag off the cigarette, exhales the smoke across the room.

Jack recognizes the look on her face. Bad dreams.

"I'll be your friend," he tells her.

"We're not going to have ***." The Indian slowly grinds out the cigarette into the ashtray, looks up at the man with the sad face.

I met my older sister in Baltimore yesterday. Hadn't seen her since I was nine, since Mom died. I wanted to know why Dad put me in foster homes. Why? I had so many questions and you know what?
I didn't ask one."

Jack is finishing his beer.

"Maybe if you knew the reasons, now, it wouldn't matter anyway."

The man with the black eye just doesn't get it. She lived with them long enough. Long enough to love them.

She stands up, stares at Jack Delleto.

And walks away.


It's the fat blondes turn to shoot pool. She leans her great body ever so gently across the green felt of the pool table, shoots and misses. When she tries to raise herself up off the pool table, the tip of the pool cue hits the Miller Lite sign above the pool table sending the lamb rocking violently back and forth. In flashes of light like the frames from and old Chaplin movie the sad and grotesque appear and disappear.

"What the **** are you starin at?" The skinny brunette asks.

Jack pretends to think for a moment. "An unhappy childhood."

Suddenly, she stands up, looking like death wearing a Harley Davidson T-shirt.

"Dove sta amore," Jack Delleto asks.

Death is angry, steps closer.

"Must be that time of the month, huh," Jack grins.

With her two tiny fists clenched tightly at her side, the brunette stares down into Delleto's eyes. Suddenly, she punches Jack in the eye.

Jack stands up bringing his forearm up to protect his face. At the same time Death steps closer. His forearm catches her under the chin. The bony ***** goes down.

Women rush from the shadows. They pull Jack to the ***** floor, punch and kick him.

In the blinking of the Miller Light Jack Delleto exclaims," I'm being smother by fat lesbians in soft satin pants."  But then someone is pulling the women off of him.

The Miller Lite gently rocks and then it stops.

Jack stands up, shakes his head and smiles.

"Nice punch Dell," Bob O' Malley says, "I saw from the bar."

Jack hits the dust off of his pants, grabs the beer bottle off of the table, takes a swallow. Smiling, he says, "I box a little."

"I can tell by your black eye." O'Malley puts his hand on his friends shoulder. "Come on I'll buy you a shot. What caused this spontaneous expression of love?"

"They thought I was a ******."


2 a.m.

Jack Delleto walks out the door of the bar into the wind swept gloom. The gray desolation of boarded shut downtown is gone.

The rain has finally turn to snow.

His eyes follow the blue rope from the parking meter pole to its frayed end in the plowed hill of snow at the corner of Cookman Avenue.

The dog, Snowflake, dead, Jack thinks.


The snow covers everything. It covers the abandon cars and the abandon buildings, the sidewalk and its cracks. The city, Delleto imagines, is and adjectiveless word, a book of white pages. He steps off the curb into the gutter and the street is empty for as far as he can see. He starts walking.

Jack disappears into empty pages.


Chapter 2


Paul Keater has a room above Wagon Wheel Bar where the loud rock music shakes the rats in the walls til 2a.m. The vibrations travel through the concrete floor, up the bed posts, and into the matress.

Slowly Paul's eyes open. Who the hell is he fooling. Even without the loud music, he would not be able to sleep, anyway.

Soft red neon from the Wagon Wheel Bar sign blinks into his room.

Paul Keater sits up, sighs, resigns himself to another sleepless night, swings his legs off the bed. His x-wife. He thinks about her frequently. He went to a phycologist because he loved her.

Dump the *****, the doctor said.

"I paid him eighty bucks and all he had to say was dump the *****." He laughs, shakes his head.

Paul thinks about *******, looks around the tiny room, and spots a clear plastic case containing the baseball cards he had collected when he was a boy.

He walks to the dresser and puts on his Giant's baseball cap. Paul sits down on the wooden chair by the sink. Turns on the lamp. The card on top is ***** Mays. Holding it in his hand, it is perfect. The edges are not worn like the other cards.

It was his tenth birthday and his dad had taken to his first baseball game and his father had bought the card from a dealer.

Oblivious to the loud rock music filtering into his room, he stares at the card.

Fondly, he remembers.

Dad.


                                     *     

It arrives unobtrusively. His heart begins to race faster.
Jack Delleto rolls away from the cracked wall. He sits up and drops his legs off the bed.

Jack Delleto thinks about mountains.

When he cannot sleep he thinks about climbing up through the fog that makes the day obscure, passing where the stunted spruce and fir tees are twisted by the wind, into cold brilliant light. Once as he climbed through the fog he saw his shadow stretching a half a mile across a cloud and the world was small. Far down to the east laid cliffs and gullies, glaciated mountains and to the west were the plains and cities of everyday life.

The army coat is draped over the back of the chair. In the pocket is his notebook. Jack stands and takes the notebook from the pocket. When he sits in the wooden chair he opens the book and slides the pen from the binder.

When he finishes his story he makes the end into the beginning.



                                           Chapter 3


"I want a captain in a truck." The 10 year old boy with the brown hair tells his mom. "I want it NOW."

His blonde haired mom wearing the gold diamond bracelet nods her head at Jack Delleto. Jack looks up at the clock on the wall. It is only 9a.m. After four years of college Jack has a part time job at K.B. Toy store. "We're all out of them," he tells her for the second time.

"Honey," Blondie tells the boy, they're all out of them."

"YOU PROMISED."

"How about a sargeant in a jeep?

"OK, but I want a missile firing truck , too."

Delleto turns to the display case behind the counter. Briefly, he studies his black eye in the display case mirror and then begins searching the four shelves and twenty rows of 3 inch plastic toys. He finds the truck. His head is aching. He finds the truck and puts it on the counter in front of the boy.

"Sorry, we're all out of the sargeant," Jack tells the pretty lady. The aching in his head just won't go away.

"Mommy, mommy, I want an ATTACK HELIOCOPTER, MOMMMEEE, I WANTAH TTTAAANNNK..."

Jack Delleto leans over the counter resting his elbows on the glass top. The boy is staring at the man with the black eye, at his bruised unshaven face.

"Well, we haven't got any, GODDAMED TANKS. How about a , KICKINTHE ***."

Finally the boy and his mother are quiet.

"My husband will have you fired."

She grabs the boy by the hand. Turns to rush out of the store.

Jack mutters something.

"MMOOOMEEE,  what does..."

"Oh, shut the hell up," the pretty lady tells her son


                              
     

The assistant manager takes a deep drag on her cigarette, exhales, and crosses her arms to hold the cigarette in front of her. Susan looks down at Jack sitting on the stool behind the counter. He stands up. "Did you tell some lady to blow you?" She crushes the cigarette out in the ashtray on the shelf below the counter. "Maybe you don't need this job but I do."

"Sue, there's no smoking in the mall."

"Jack, you look tired," the cubby teenager tells him, "and your eye. Another black eye."

"I was attacked by five women."

'Oh, I see, in your dreams maybe. I see, it's one of those male fantasies I'm always reading about in Cosmo. You re not boxing again, are you Dell?" Sue likes to call him Dell.

"I go down to the gym to work out. Felix says I've got something."

"Yeah, a black eye." Susan laughs, opens the big vanilla envelope, and hands Jack his check.

She turns and takes a pair of sunglasses from the display stand. "You 're scaring the children, Dell ." Susan steps closer looks into Dell's brown eyes and the slips the sunglasses on his face. "Why don't you go to lunch."

                                        
     

It's noon and the mall is crowded at the food court area. Jack gets a 20oz cup of coffee, finds a table and sits down.

"Go over and talk to him. " Susan says. Jack turns his head , looks back, sees the Indian walking towards his table.

"Hello, Kathrine," says Jack Delleto.

"My names not Kathrine, it's Kathleen."

Jack pulls the chair away from the table, "Have a seat Kate."

Her eyebrows form that delicate frown. "My names Kathleen." As soon as she sits down she takes a cigarette from the pack sticking out of her pocketbook. "I had to leave. I told the baby sitter I'd only be gone an hour. Anyway you weren't much help."

"So why did you come over to talk to me?"

"You were alone, always alone."

"You've seen me there before?"

"Yeah, sitting by the pin ball machine staring at the wall, and sometimes, you'd take out your little blue note pad and write in it.
"What are you writing? Are you goin to write about me..."

"How many kids do you have?"

"Just one. A boy, and believe me one is enough. He'll be four in June," Kathleen smiles but then she remembers and abruptly the smile disappears from her face. "Sometimes I see Anthony's father in the mall and I ask him if he'd like to meet his son, but he doesn't.

Kathleen draws the cigarette smoke deep into her lungs, tilts her head back, and blows the smoke towards the skylight. Suddenly caught in the sunlight the smoke becomes a gray cloud. " I didn't want to marry him anyway, I don't know why he thought that."

She hears the scars as Delleto talks, something sad about the man, something like old newspapers blowing across a deserted street. She hears the scars and knows never, never ask where the scars came from.


                              
     

As Jack walks towards the bank to cash his check, he glances out the front entrance to the mall. It is a bright, cold day and the snowplows are finishing up the parking lot plowing the snow into big white hills. That is the fate of the big white pup plowed to the corner of Cookman and Main buried deep in ***** snow. At that street corner when the school is over the children will play on the hill never realizing what lay beneath there feet.

The snow must melt; spring is inevitable.

His pup will be back.



                                           Chapter 4


The 19 year old light heavyweight leans his muscular body forward to rest his gloved hands on the tope rope of the ring. He bows his head waiting to regain his breath as his lungs fight to force air deep into his chest. Bill Wain has finished boxing 4 rounds with Red.

Harry the trainer, gently pulls the untied boxing gloves from Red's hands. "Good fight, he says, patting Red on the back as the fighter climbs through the ropes and heads to the showers. Harry hands the sweat soaked gloves to Felix who puts one glove under his arm while he loosens the laces on the other 12ounce glove. He makes the sleeve wider.

"Do you want the head gear?" Felix asks.

Jack Delleto shakes his head and pushes his taped hand deep into the glove.

The old man takes the other glove from under his arm, pulls the laces out, and holds it open. Without turning his head to look at him, Felix tells Harry, "Make sure Bill doesn't cool down. Tell him to shadow box. Harry walks over to Bill and Bill starts shadow boxing.

Jack pushes his hand into the glove. "Make a fist." Jack does. Felix pulls the laces and ties it into a bow.

Felix looks intently into Delleto's eyes. "How does that feel?"

"About right."

"You look tired."

"I am a little."

"Are you sick or is it a woman."

"I'm not sick."

A big smile forms across the face of the former welterweight champion of Nevada. The face of the 68 year old Blackman is lined and cracked like the old boxing gloves that Jack is wearing but his tall body is youthful and athletic in appearance. Above Felix's eyebrows Jack sees the effect of 20 years as a professional fighter. He sees the thick scar tissue and the thin white lines where the old man's skin has been stitched and restitched many times. As he gives instructions to Jack, Felix's brown eyes seem to be staring at something distant and jack wonders if Felix has chased around the ring one time too often his dream.

"And get off first. Don't stop punching until he goes down. You've got it kid and not every fighter does."

Jack and Felix start walking over to the ring.

"What is it I've got?" Jack Deletto wonders.

"Felix puts his foot on the fourth strand of the rings rope and with his hand pulls up the top strand and as Jack steps into the ring, "You've got HEART."

In the opposite corner Bill Wain waits.

"Will he be alright?" Harry asks.

"Bill's tired, " Felix replies, then he tries to explain. "It's not about money. I'm almost 70 and I want to go out a winner." Felix pauses and the offers, he can hit hard with either hand."

"Yeah, but at best he's a small middleweight and he only moves in one direction, straight ahead."

"Harry, I love the guy," Felix puts his hand on Harry's shoulder, he's like Tyson at the end of his career. He'd fight you to the death but he's not fighting to win anymore."

Harry puts his hands in his pocket and stares at the floor. "Do you want me to tell him to go easy." Harry looks up at Felix waiting for an answer.

"I'm tired of sweeping dirt from behind the boxes of wax beans and tuna fish. I'm sick of collecting shopping carts in the rain. A half way decent white heavyweight can make a lot of money. It's stupid for a fighter to practice holding back. Bill's a winner. Jack'll be alright."

Felix hands the pocket watch to Harry so he can time the rounds.

Bill Wain comes out of his corner circling left.

Jack rushes straight ahead.

Felix winks at Jack Delleto and whispers, "The Jack of hearts."



                                           Chapter 5


The front door of the Wagon Wheel bar explodes open to Ziggy Pop's, "YOU'VE GOT A LUST FOR LIFE." Jack Delleto steps over the curb and vanishes into the dark doorway.

"HEY, JACK, JACK DELLETO," The lanky bartender shouts over the din.

Delleto makes his way through the crowd over to bar. How the hell have you been Snake?" Jack asks.

"Just great," says Snake. "You're lookin pretty ****** good for a dead man."

"Who told you that? Crazy George?"

The bartender points across the room to where a man in a pin stripe suit is swinging to and fro from a wagon wheel lamp attached to the ceiling.

"Yeah, I thought so. Haven't seen Crazy George in a year and he's been telling everyone I'm dead. I'm gonna have to have a long talk with that man."

Snake hands Jack a shot of tequila. The men touch glasses and throw down the shots.

How's the other George? Dell asks.

"AA."

"How's Tommy? You see him anymore?"

"Rehab."

"What about Robbie?"

Snake refills the glasses. "He's livin in a nudist colony in Florida, he has two wives and 6 children."


Jack looks across the room and sees Bob O'Malley trying to adjust the rose in the lapel of his tuxedo. Satisfied it won't fall out O'Malley looks up at the man swinging from the lamp. "Quick, name man's three greatest inventions."

"Alcohol, tobacco, and the wheel," Crazy George shoots back.

O'Malley smiles and then jumps up on the top of the bar and although he is over six feet and weighs two hundred pounds, he has the dexterity and grace of a ballerina as he pirouttes around and jumps over the shot glasses and beer bottles that litter the bar.

Wedding guests lean back in their chairs as strangers fearful of his gyrations ****** their drinks off the bar. Bob fakes a slip as he prances along but he is always in control and never falters. Forty three year old Bob O'Malley is Jim Brown who dodges danger to score the winning touch down.

When is reaches the end of the bar he jumps to the floor, pulls two aluminum lids from the beer box, and with one in each hand he smacks them together like cymbals.

Some guests clap. The bemused just stare.

In the back of the room sitting at the wedding table the father of the bride leans over, whispers into the ear of his crying wife, "If I had a gun I'd shoot Bob."

The bride raises a glass of champagne into the smoke filled air and Bob takes a bow but then heads towards the kitchen at the other end of the room.

" Hey, Bob," Jack Delleto shouts to the groom.

O'Malley stops under the wagon wheel lamp and turns as Delleto steps into the  circle of light cast onto the floor.

"Congratulations, I know Theresa and you are goin to be happy. I mean that." Delleto offers his hand and they shake hands.

"Thanks, Mr. Cool."

Jack takes off the sunglasses.

"TWO black eyes. Your nose is bleeding. What happened?"

Dell takes the handkerchief from his back pocket, wipes the blood dripping down his face. "It's broken."

"What happened?" O'Malley asks again.

"Bill Wain."

"He turned pro."

"Yeah, but he's nothing special. Hell, he couldn't even knock me down."

O'Malley shakes his head. "Put the sunglasses back on, you look like a friggin raccoon."

Dell smiles. The blood running down his lips."Thersa's beautiful, Bob, you're a lucky guy."

"Thanks Dell." O'Malley puts his hand on Dell's shoulder and sqeezes affectionately. Bob looks across the room at Teresa. "Yeah, she is beautiful." Theresa mother has stopped crying. Her father just stares at the wall.

O'Malley looks away from his bride and passed the archway that divides the poolroom from the bar and into the corner. With the lamp light above his head gleaming in his eyes Bob seems to see a ghost fleeting in the far distant, dark corner. Slowly, a peculiar half smile forms uneven, white, tombstone teeth.  A pensive smile.

Curious, Dell turns his head to look into the darkness of the poolroom, too.

At night in July the moths were everywhere. When Dell was a boy he would sit on his porch and try to count them. The moths appeared as faint splashes of whiteness scattered throughout the night, odd circles of white that moved haphazardly, forward and then sideways, sometimes up and down.

Sometimes the patches of moths flew higher and higher and Dell imagined the lights those creatures were seeking were the stars themselves; Orion, the Big Dipper and even the milky hue of the Milkyway.

One night as the moths pursued starlight he saw shadows dropping one by one from the tops of the trees. The swallows were soundless and when he caught a glimpse of sudden darkness, blacker than the night, the shadows erased the dreamer and its dream.

His imagination gave definition to form. There was a sound to the shadows of the swallows in his thoughts, the melody and the song played over and over. Perhaps he saw his reflection in the night. Perhaps there are shadows where nothing exists to cast them.

"Do you hear them, Bob?"

"Hear what?" Bob asks.

"All of them."

"All of what?"

"Nothin," Delleto tells his friend, "Nothin."

O'Malley doesn't understand but it does not matter. The two men have shared the same corner of darkness.

Bob calls to Paul Keater. Keater smiles broadly, slides the brim of his Giant baseball cap to the side of his forehead. The two men disappear through the swinging kitchen door.


                                          Chapter 6


"Hello Kate." Jack Delleto says and sits down. She has a blue bow in her hair and make up on.

"My names Kathleen."

She fondles the whiskey glass in her slim fingers. "Hello, Dell, Sue thinks Dell is such a **** name. Kathleen takes a last drag on her cigarette, rubs it out in the ashtray, looks up at him, "What should I call you?"

"How about, Darlin?"

"Hello, Jack, DARLIN," her soft, deep voice whispers. Kathleen crosses her legs and the black dress rides up to the middle of her thigh.

Jack glances at the milky white flesh between the blue ***** hose and the hem of her dress. Kate is drunk and Dell does not care. He leans closer, "Do you wanna dance?"

"But no one else is dancing."

"Well, we can go down to the beach, take a walk along the sand."

"It's twenty degrees out there."

"I'll keep you warm."

"All right, lets dance."

Jack stands up takes her by the hand. As Kathleen rises Jack draws her close to him. Her ******* flatten against his chest. He feels her heart thumping.

The Elvis impersonator that almost played Las Vegas; the hairdresser that wanted to be a race car driver; the insurance salesman with a Porche and a wife.  Her men talked about what they owned or what they could do.

Kathleen had never meant anyone quite like Dell.

She rests her head on his shoulder. "What do you what more than anything? What do you dream about at night?"

"Nothing."

"Come on," she says," what do you want more than anything? Tell me your dreams."

Jack smiles, "Just to make it through another day."  He smiles that sad smile that she saw the first time they met. "Tell me what you want."

Kate lifts her head off of his shoulder and looks into his eyes."I don't want to be on welfare the rest of my life and I want to be able to send my son to college." She rests her cheek against his, "I've lived in foster homes all my life and every time I knew one day I'd have to leave, what I want most is a home. Do you know the difference between a house and a home?"

"No."

Her voice is a roaring whisper in his ear, "LOVE."

The song comes to an end and they leave the circle of light and sit down. Kate takes a cigarette from the pack.

Dell strikes a match. The flame flickering in her eyes. "Maybe someday you'll have your home."

"Do you want me to?"

"Yeah."

Kate blows out the match.


                                  
     


"Can you take me home?" Kate asks slurring her words.

Kathleen and Jack walk over to where the bride and groom are standing near the big glass refrigerator door with Paul Keater. When Paul realizes he is standing next to Jack Delleto he rocks back and forth on the heals of his worn shoes, slides his Giants baseball cap back and forth  across his forehead and walks away.

O'Malley bends down and kisses Kathleen on the cheek and turns to shake hands with Dell. "Good luck," says Dell. Kathleen embraces the bride.

Outside the bar the sun is setting behind the boarded shut Delleto store.

"That was my Dad's store, " Jack tells Kate and then Jack whispers to to himself as he reads the graffiti spray painted on the front wall.
"TELL YOUR DREAMS TO ME, TELL ME YOU LOVE ME, IF YOU LOVE ME TELL ALL YOUR DREAMS TO ME."


                                         Chapter 7


An old man comes shuffling down the street, "Hello Mr. Martin, " Jack says, "How are you?"

"I'm an old man Jack, how could I be," and then he smiles, "ah, I can't complain. How are you?"

"Still alive and well."

"Who is this pretty young lady?"

"This Kate."

Joesph Martin takes Kathleen by the arm and  gently squeezes, "Hello Kate, such a pretty women, ah if I was only sixty," and the old man smiles.

Kathleen forces a smile.

The thick eyeglasses that Mr. Martin wears magnifys his eyes as he looks from Kathleen to Jack, "Have fun now because when you are dead you are going to be dead a long, long time."

"How long?  Delleto inquires.

The old man smirks and waves as he continues up the street to the door leading to the rooms above the bar. He turns to face the door. The small window is broken and the shards of glass catch the twilight.

Joesph Martin turns back looking at the man and young woman who are about to get into the car. He is not certain what he wants to say to them. Perhaps he wants to tell them that it ***** being an old man and the upstairs hallway always smells of ****.

Joesph Martin wants to tell someone that although Anna died seven years ago his love endures and he misses her everyday. Joesph recalls that Plato in Tamaeus believed that the soul is a stranger to the Earth and has fallen into matter because of sin.

A faint smile appears on the wrinkled face of the old man as he heeds the resignation he hears in his own thoughts.

Jack waves to Mr. Martin.  Joesph waves back. The mustang drives off.

Earth, O island Earth.


                                               Chapter 8


Joseph pushes open the door and goes into the hallway. The fragments of glass scattered across the foyer crunch and clink under his shoes. The cold wind blowing through the broken window touches his warm neck. He shivers and walks up the stairs. There is only enough light to see the wall and his own warm breathing. There is just enough light like when he has awaken from a  bad dream, enough to remember who he is and to separate the horror of what is real from the horror of what is dreamt.

The old man continues climbing the stairs following the familiar shadow of the wall cast onto the stairs. If he crosses the vague line of shadow and light he will disappear like a brown trout in the deepest hole in a creek.

By the time he reaches the second floor he is out of breath. Joseph pauses and with the handkerchief he has taken from his back pocket he wipes the fog from the lenses of his eyeglasses and the sweat from his forehead.

A couple of doors are standing open and the old man looks cautiously into each room as he hurries passed. One forty watt bulb hangs from a frayed wire in the center of the hallway. The wiring is old and the bulb in the white porcelain socket flickers like the blinking of an eye or the fearful beating of the heart of an old man.

When he opens the door to his room it sags on ruined hinges.

Joesph searches with his hand for the light switch.  Several seconds linger. Can't find it.

Finds it and quickly pushes the door shut. He sits down on the bed, doesn't take his coat off, reaches for the radio. It is gone

Joseph looks around the room. A small dresser, the sink with a mirror above it. He takes off his coat and above the mirror hangs the coat on the nail he has put there.

Hard soled boots echo hollowly off the hallway walls. The echoes are overlapping and he can not determine if the footsteps are leaving or approaching. Joseph grabs the crow bar he keeps under his pillow. Holds it until there is silence.

He lays back on the bed. Another night without sleep. Joseph rolls onto his side and faces the wall.

Earth, O island Earth.



                                           Chapter 9


Tangled in the tree tops a rising moon hangs above the roofs of identical Cape Cod houses.

Jack pulls the red mustang behind a station wagon. Kathleen is looking at Dell. His face is a faint shadow on the other side of the car. "Do you want to come up?" she asks.

Kathleen steps out of the car, breathes the cold air deep into her lungs. It is fresh and sweet. Jack comes around the side of the car just as she knew he would. He takes her into his arms and kisses her and they walk beneath the old oak tree and the roots have raised and crack the sidewalk and in the spring tiny blue flowers will bloom. The flowers remind Jack of the columbines that bloom in high mountain meadows above treeline heralding a brief season of sun and warmth.

"Did you win?" Kathleen asks as she fits the key into the upstairs apartment door. The door swings open into the kitchen.

Dell, standing in the doorway looking like the Jack of Hearts. "It doesn't matter."

"You lost?"

"Yeah."

Crossing the room she takes off her coat and places it on the back of the kitchen chair. When Kate leans across the kitchen table to turn on the radio the mini dress rides up her thigh, tugs tightly around her buttocks.

The radio plays softly.

Jack stands and as Kathleen turns he slips his arms around her waist and she is staring into his eyes like a cat into a fire. His body gently presses against the table and when he lifts her onto the table her legs wrap around his waist.

Kathleen sighs.

Jack kisses her. Her lips are cold like the rain. His hand reaches. There is a faint click. The room slips into darkness. It is Eddie Money on the radio, now, with Ronnie Spectre singing the back up vocals. Eddie belts out, "TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT, I WON"T LET YOU LEAVE TIL..."

When Jack withdraws from the kiss her eyes are shining like diamonds in moonlight.

The buttons of her dress are unfastened.  Her arms circle his neck and pull him to her *******. "Don't Jack. You mustn't. I just want a friend." His hands slide up her thighs. "I'll be your friend, " says Jack.

"*** always ruins every thing," Her voice is a roaring whisper in his ear. He pulls her to the edge of the table as Ronnie sings, "O DARLIN, O MY DARLIN, WON'T YOU BE MY LITTLE BAABBBY NOOWWW."


They are sitting on a couch in the room that atone time had been a sun porch.

Now that they have gotten *** out of the way, maybe they can talk. Sliding her hands around his face she pulls him closer.

"Jack, what do you dream about? You know what I mean, tell your dreams to me."

"How did you get those little round scars on your arm," Jack wonders. "Up and down, hear and there."

"Do you really want to know?" There is anger in her voice and Jack does not understand.

"Why, yeah."

"My foster mom always wanted me to be clean and if I didn't I got hit with the belt. I tried to keep my face clean but it didn't do any good.

He was the worst, though, dad. He'd burn me with his cigarette. That's how I got these ****** scars. And when I knew he was coming home I'd get sick to my stomach and when I heard his key in the door, I'd wet myself.

But that wasn't the worst of it.

When they didn't beat me or burn me they ignored me, like I didn't exist, like I wasn't even there."



                                             Chapter 10



All the windows in the apartment are open. The cool breeze flows through her brown hair. "You're getting too serious, Jack, and I don't want to need you."

"That's because I care for you."

The rain pounds the roof.

Jack Delleto sits down on the bed, caresses her shoulder. "I hate the rain. Come on, give me a smile. "Kathleen pulls away and faces the wall.

"Well I don't need anyone."

"People need people."

There is silence, then, "I only care about my son and Father Anthony."

"What is it with you and the priest?" You named your son Anthony is that because he's the father."

"Your an *******. Get out of here. I don't love you." And then, "I've been hurt by people and you'll get over it."

The lingering silence. Jack gets up from the bed, stares at her dark form facing the wall. "Isn't this how it always ends for you?"

The room is quiet and grows hot. When the silence numbs his racing heart, he goes into the kitchen, opens the front door and walks down the steps into the cold rain.


"Anthony," Kathleen calls to her son to come to her from the other bedroom and he climbs into the bed and she holds him close. The ghost of relationships past haunt her and although they are all sad, she has she clings to them.


On the sidewalk below the apartment window Jack stops. He thinks he hears his name being called but whatever he has heard is carried off by the wind. He continues up the  dark street to his Harley.

High in reachless branches of the old oak tree a mockingbird is singing. The leaves twist in the wind and  the singing goes on and on.



                                            
     



The ringing phone.

"Who the hell is this?" The clock on the dresser says 5a.m.

"Jack, I'm scared."

"Kate?"

"Someone broke into my apartment."

"Is he still there?"

"No, He ran out the door when I screamed."

"I'll be right over."



                                         Chapter11


"How hot is it?" Kathleen asks.

The bar is empty except for O'Malley, Keater, a man and a woman.

"98.6,"Says Jack. The sweat rolls down his cheeks.

"Let's go to the boardwalk."

"When it's hot like this, it's hot all over."

"We could go on the rides."

"I've got the next pool game, then we'll go."

"It's my birthday."

"I bought you flowers."

"Yeah, carnations."

Laughing, Paul Keater slides the brim of his baseball cap back and forth across his forehead.

Jack starts for Keater, Katheen steps in front of Jack, puts her hands on his shoulders. She looks into his eyes.

"What is it with you , two? But as always you'll say nothing, nothing." As Jack tries to speak she walks over to the bar and sits on the barstool.

"It's my birthday," she tells O'Malley.

When Bob turns from the horse races on he T.V., he notices her long legs and the short skirt. "Hey, happy birthday, Kate, Jack Daniels?"

"Fine."

Filling the glasses O'Malley hands one to Kathleen, "You look great," he tells her.

"Jack doesn't think so. Thanks, at least someone thinks so."

"Hope Jack won't mind," and he leans over the bar and kisses her.

Kathleen looks over her shoulder at Delleto. Jack is playing pool with a woman wearing a black tight halter top. The woman comes over to Jack, stands close, smiles, and Jack smiles back.

The boyfriend stares angrily at Jack.

When Kathleen turns back O'Malley is filling her shot glass.

Jack wins that game, too.



                                                 Chapter 12



"Daddy,"the little girl her hands folded in her lap is looking up at her father. "When will the ride stop? I want to go on."

"Soon, Darling, "her father assures her.

"I don't think it will ever stop."

"The ride always stops, Sweetie." Daddy takes her by the hand, gently squeezes.


When the carousel begins to slow down but has not quite stopped Kathleen steps onto the platform , grabs the brass support pole. The momentum of the machine grabs her with a **** onto the ride, into a white horse with big blue eyes. Dropping her cigarette she takes hold of the pole that goes through the center of the horse. She struggles to put her foot in the stirrup, finds it, and throws her leg over the horse. The carousel music begins to play. With a tremble and a jolt, the ride starts.

Sitting on the pony has made her skirt ride well up her legs. The ticket man is staring at her but she is too drunk to care. She hands him the ticket, gives him the finger.

The ticket man goes over to the little girl and her father who are sitting in a golden chariot pulled by to black horses.

"Ooooh, Daddy, I love this."

"So do I," The father smiles and strokes his daughters hair.

The heat makes the dizziness grow and as the ride picks up speed she sees two of everything. There are two rows of pin ball machines, eight flashing signs, six prize machines. All the red, blue and green lights from the ride blend together like when a car drives at night down a rain soaked street.

Kathleen feels the impulse to *****.

"Can we go on again?" The little girl asks.

"But the ride isn't over, yet."


Kathleen concentrates on the rain soaked street and the dizziness and nausea lessens. She perceives the images as a montage like the elements that make up a painting or a life. She has become accustom to the machine and its movement. The circling ride creates a cooling breeze that becomes a tranquil, flowing waterfall.

The ponies in front are always becoming the ponies in the back and the ponies in back are becoming the ponies in the front. Around and around. All the ponies galloping. Settling back into the saddle she rides the pony into the ever present waterfall.

You can lose all sense of the clock staring into the waterfall of blue, red and green. Kathleen leans forward to embrace the ride for a long as it lasts.

Just as suddenly as it started, the ride starts slowy, the music stops playing.

Coming down off the pony she does not wait for the ride to stop, stumbles off the platform and out the  Casino amusement park door."****, *******," she yells careening into the railing almost falling into Wesley Lake.

She staggers a few steps, sits down on the grass by the curb, hears the carousel music playing and knows the ride is beginning again, and all the her dreams crawls into her like a dying animal from its hidden place.

And it all comes up from her throat taking her breath away. A distant yet familiar wind so she lies down on the grass facing the  street of broken buildings filled with broken people. From the empting lot of scattered thoughts the mockingbird is singing and the images shoot off into a darkening landscape, exploding, illuminating for a brief moment, only to grow dimmer, light and warmth fading into cold and darkness.




                                      
     

"Your girlfriend is flirting with me," Jack Delleto tells the man. "It's my game."

The man stands up, takes a pool stick from the rack, as he comes towards Jack Delleto the man turns the pool stick around holding the heavy part with two hands.

There is an explosion of light inside his head, Delleto sees two spinning lizards playing trumpets, 3 dwarfs with purple hair running to and fro, intuitively he knows he has to get up off the floor, and when he does he catches the bigger man with a left hook, throws the overhand right. The man stumbles back.

His girlfriend in the tight  black halter top is jumping up and down, screaming at, screaming at Jack Delleto to stop, but Jack does not. Stepping forward, a left hook to the midsection, hook to the head, spins right, throws the overhand right.

The man does down.

Jack wins.



                                                  CHAPTE­R 13

"It's too much," and Jack looks up from the two lines of white powder at Bob O'Malley. "I'll never be able to fall asleep and I hate not being able to sleep."

" Here," Bob takes a big white pill from his shirt pocket.

Jack drops the pill into his shirt pocket and says, "No more." He hands the rolled up dollar bill to Bob who bends over the powder.

"Tom sold the house so you're upstairs? O Malley asks, and like a magician the two lines of white powder disappear. Straightening up, he looks at Dell, "I know you 're hurting Dell , I'm sorry, I'm sad about Kate, too."

Jack becomes quiet, walks through the darkened room over to the bar. Leaning over the bar he grabs two shot glasses and a bottle of Wild Turkey, walks back into the poolroom. He puts the shot glasses on top of the pin ball machine. "We have a winner, "the pin ball machine announces. Dell fills the glasses.

"Felix came in the other day, he's taken it hard. Bill Wain knock down four times in the sixth round, lost consciousness in the dressing room, and died at the hospital."

"What's the longest you went without sleep? Jack asks.

"Oooohhh, five, six days, who knows, after awhile you loose all track of the clock."

They take the shots and throw them down.

"I wonder if animals dream," Jack wants to know. "I wonder if dogs dream."

"Sure they do, " O'Malley asures him, nodding his head up and down, "dogs, cats, squirrels, birds."

"Probably not insects."

"Why not? Sure they do, june bugs, fleas, even moths, it's all biochemical, dreams are biochemical, mix the right combination of certain chemicals, electric impulses, and you'll produce love and dreams."

                                          
     

Jack Delleto goes into the room, studies it. The light from the unshaded lamp on the night stand casts a huge shadow of him onto the adjacent wall. Not much to the room, a sink with a mirror above it next to a dresser, a bed against the wall, a wooden chair in front of a narrow window.

The rain pounds the roof.

The apprehension grows. The panic turns into anger. Jack rushes the white wall, meets his shadow, explodes with a left hook. He throws the right uppercut, the over hand right, three left hooks. He punches the wall and his knucles bleed. He punches and kicks the blood stained wall.

At last he is exhausted, collapses into the chair in front of the open window. Fist sized holes in the plaster revel the bones of the building. The room has been punched and kicked without mercy.

The austere room has won.

The yellow note pad, he needs the yellow note pad, finds it, takes the pencil from the binder but no words will come so he writes, "insomnia, the absence of dream." He reaches for the lamp on the night stand, finds it, and turns off the light. Red and blue, blue and red, the neon from the Wagon Wheel Bar sign blinks soft neon into his room. The sign seems to pulsate to the cadence of the rock music coming from the bar.

Taking the big white pill from his shirt pocket, he swallows it, leans back into the chair watching the shadows of rain bleed down the wall. The darkness intensifys. Jack slides into the night.



                                           Chapter 14


The rain turns to snow.

With each step he takes the pain throbs in his arm and shoulder socket. His raw throat aches from the drafts of cold air he is ******* through his gaping mouth and although his legs ache he does not turn to look back. Jack must keep punching holes with his ice axe, probing the snow to avoid a fall into an abyss.

The pole of the ice axe falls effortlessly into the snow, "**** it, another one."

Moonlight coats the glacier in an irridecent glow and the mountain looms over him. It is four in the mourning and Jack knows he needs to be high on the mountain before the  mourning sun softens the snow. He moves carefully, quietly, humbly to avoid a fall into a crevasse. When he reaches the top of the couloir the wind begins to howl.

"Da DA DUN, DA DA DUN, HEY PURPLE HAZE ALL AROUND  MY BRAIN..."

Jack thinks the song is in his head but the electric guitar notes float down through the huge blocks of ice that litter the glacier and there standing on the arête is Jimi, his long dexterous fingers flying over the guitar strings at 741 mph.

"Wait a minute, " Jack wonders, stopping dead in his tracks. The sun is hitting the distant wind blown peaks. "Ah, what the hell," and Jack jumps in strumming his ice axe like an air guitar, singing, shouting, "LATELY THINGS DON'T SEEM THE SAME, IS THIS A DREAM,  WHATEVER IT IS THAT GIRL PUT A SPELL ON MEEEE, PURRPPLLE HAZZEEE."


                                        
     


Slowly the door moans open.

"Jack, are you awake?" her voice startles him.

"Yeah, I'm awake."

"What's the matter, can't sleep?"

Jack sifts position on the chair. "Oh, I can sleep all right." He recognizes the voice of the shadow. "I want to climb to a high mountain through ice and snow and never be found."

"A heart that's empty hurts, I miss you Jack Delleto."

"I'm glad someone does, I miss you ,too."

There is silence for several minutes and the voice comes out of the darkness again.

"Jack, you forgot something that night."

"What?" The dark shape moves towards him. When it is in front of him, Jack stands, slips his arms around her waist.

"You didn't kiss me goodbye."

Her lips are soft and warm. Her arms tighten around his neck and the warmth of her body comes to him through the cold night.

"Jack, what's the matter?" She raises her head to look at him, "Why, you're crying."

"Yeah, I'm crying."

"Don't cry Darlin," her lips are soft against his ear. "I can't bare to see you unhappy, if you love me, tell me you love me."

"I love you, I do," he whispers softly.

"Hold me, Jack, hold me tighter."

"I'll never let you go." He tries to hug the shadow.


                                          
      *


The dread grows into an explosion of consciousness. Suddenly, he sits up ******* in the cold drafts of air coming into the room from the open window. Jack Delleto gets up off the chair and walks over to the sink. He turns on the cold water and bending forward splashes water onto his face. Water dripping, he leans against the sink, staring into the mirror, into his eyes that lately seem alien to him.



                                            Chapter 15


Someone approaches, Jacks turns, looks out the open door, sees Joesph Martin go shuffling by wearing a faded bathrobe and one red slipper. Jack hears Martin 's door slam shut and the for thirty seconds the old man screams, "AAHHH, AAAHHH, AAAHH."
Then the building is silent and Jack listens to his own labored breathing.

A glance at the clock. It is a few minutes to 7 a.m. Jack hurries from his room into the hallway.  They pass each other on the stairs. The big man is coming up the stairs and Jack is going down to see O'Malley.

Jack has committed a trespass.

When the big man reaches the top of the stairs, the red exit light flickers like a votive candle above his head. The man slides the brim of his Giants baseball cap back and forth across his forehead, he turns and looks down, "Hello, Jack, brother. Dad loved you, too, you know." An instant later the sound of a door closing echoes down the hallway steps.

Jack Delleto is standing in the doorway at the bottom of the steps looking out onto the wet, bright street.

"Hey, Jack, man it's good to see you, glad to see you're still alive."

Jack turns, looks over his shoulder, "Felix, how the hell are you."
The two men shake hands, then embrace momentarily.

"Ah, things don't get any better and they don't get any worse," shrugs the old man and then he smiles but his brown eyes are dull and Jack can smell the cheap wine on the breath of the old boxer. "When are comin back? Man, you've got something, Kid, and we're going places."

"Yeah, Felix, I'll be coming back."  Jack extends his hand. The old fighter smiles and they shake hands. Suddenly, Felix takes off down Main Street towards Foodtown as if he has some important place to go.

Jack is curious. He sees the rope when he starts walking towards the Wagon Wheel Bar. One end of the rope is tied around the parking meter pole. The rest of the rope extends across the sidewalk disappearing into the entrance to the bar. The rattling of a chain catches his attention and when the huge white head of the dog pops out of the doorway Jack is  startled. He stops dead in his tracks and as he spins around to run, he slips falling to the wet pavement.

The big, white mutt growls, woofs once and comes charging down the sidewalk at him. The rope is quickly growing shorter, stretches till it meets it end, tightens, and then snaps. Now, unimpeded by the tension of the rope the mutt comes charging down the sidewalk at Delleto. Jack's body grows tense anticipating the attack. He tries to stand up, makes it to his knees just as the dog bowls into him knocking him to the cement. The dog has him pinned down, goes for his face.

And begins licking him.

Jack Delleto struggles to his knees, hugs her tightly to him. Looking over her shoulder, across Main Street to the graffiti painted on the boarded shut Delleto Market...

                               FANTASY WILL SET YOU FREE

                                                 The End

To Tommy, Crazy George and Snake, we all enjoyed a little madness for awhile.


"Conversations With a Dead Dog..."
Klvshp0et Nov 2014
My good morning
was followed by a statement
In which she said "I stank."
It was the cigarette stank
That made her utter the obvious complaint.
She doesn't know my struggle.
A mind of potential
with the heart of a saint.
Yet bound by demons
And voices that say "I can't".
I wish to tell her.
How they help my mind go blank
And away from the thoughts
That are as loud as voices.
How they help me think straight sometimes
And give me the courage
To make the right choices.
It's just remnants of my fall
From when my mind
Hit rock bottom and I was unable
To make the right choices.
All of my demons, I've fought them
And this is the smoke from the battle
In which they are engulfed
In its flame.
The ending of the cant's and aint's.
The smoke from this cigarette.
So please excuse, my cigarette stank.

Oh How her complaint
Will echo through my mind
And never become faint.
I can't take this
So when I get the chance
I will light another cigarette
To forget all about this
And make me become correct.
****, I hate that
I have to smoke another cigarette.

My good afternoon
Was followed by a glare.
A glare that married women
Should never think to dare.
She could see into my soul
And knew that all isn't fair.
Her beauty was one
That I could never compare.
So right back I would stare
Until something broke my attention
And again I begin to stare.
Until I pictured her bare
And being lost in lust
Covered in each other's hair.
Her eyes were flames of a flair
Flickering off in the distance
and Shining through the night air.
I want to reach you
And see what's up with that glare
But life isn't fair.
It has lead us to where we both
Are a separate pair.
Attempts to become close
Will be followed by no's or I can't
And how our meeting was too late.
Which will be her complaint.
The agony, I can not bare
So I will let it fade away with
The smoke from this cigarette.
So please excuse, my cigarette stank.

Oh How her complaint
Will echo through my mind
And never become faint.
I can't take this
So when I get the chance
I will light another cigarette
To forget all about this
And make me become correct.
****, I hate that
I have to smoke another cigarette.
Another cigarette
Another cigarette
**** I have to smoke another cigarette.

My good evening
Was followed an expression
In which it looked like I stank.
Her face was the face
that God makes when we all sin.
Disappointment cloaked in forgiveness
And love.
She smiles as she gives me a hug.
I look at my daughter
And even with her I can feel the love.
When I'm alone I sigh.
My mind is a puzzle
And my true thoughts are shielded
with a muzzle.
So I let them fade away with
The smoke from this cigarette.
I just hope they excuse, my cigarette stank.
Eh. Not well enough.
Liv Catherine Mar 2015
Some people hate the smell of smoke
To me smoke meant early Thursday morning bongs rips
And the sun fighting it's way through the curtains
His 8 AM shirtless skin against mine and his face in my neck
The way our lips would play and tease each other, longing and smoke on our breath
Until we drifted back into dreams
Because we weren't about to let the morning win
To take that away from us
Cedric McClester Apr 2015
By: Cedric McClester

If we burn it down tonight
Leave nothing standing within sight
Will the ashes make things right
Or just make us contrite
After we realize our worst fears
And Judgment Day suddenly nears
Could it be worst than it appears
After the smoke finally clears

After the smoke finally clears
And we’re left with just the ashes
How do we shift gears
When our anger eventually passes

When civility erodes
It’s hard to say what that bodes
Should we start speaking in codes
Until the powder keg explodes
It’s a brand new frontier
But now we find ourselves here
And to rebuild will take years
After the smoke finally clears

After the smoke finally clears
And we’re left with just the ashes
How do we shift gears
When our anger eventually passes

Burn baby burn
A battle cry from long ago
But what have we learned
That before we didn’t know
Tempers need to cool
Or eventually they’ll blow
And if they do
What will we have to show

After the smoke finally clears
And we’re left with just the ashes
How do we shift gears
When our anger eventually passes

Will we ever learn
The places that we choose to burn
Aren’t the places that we yearn
But that doesn’t cause concern
Are you listening to me
We’re not thinking rationally
The end result’s no mystery
For those who study history

After the smoke finally clears
And we’re left with just the ashes
How do we shift gears
When our anger eventually passes

If we burn it down tonight
Leave nothing standing within sight
Will the ashes make things right
Or just make us contrite
After we realize our worst fears
And Judgment Day suddenly nears
Could it be worst than it appears
After the smoke finally clears



(c) Copyright 2015, Cedric McClester.  All rights reserved
After The Smoke Clears was inspired by Ferguson, Missouri in the wake of the Michael Brown shooting and other similar instances that unfortunately seem to keep occurring.
Smoke, it is all smoke
in the throat of eternity. . . .
For centuries, the air was full of witches
Whistling up chimneys
on their spiky brooms
cackling or singing more sweetly than Circe,
as they flew over rooftops
blessing & cursing their
kind.

We banished & burned them
making them smoke in the throat of god;
we declared ourselves
"enlightened."
"The dark age of horrors is past,"
said my mother to me in 1952,
seven years after our people went up in smoke,
leaving a few teeth, a pile of bones.

The smoke curls and beckons.
It is blue & lavender
& green as the undersea world.
It will take us, too.

O let us not go sheepishly
clinging to our nakedness.
But let us go like witches ****** heavenward
by the Goddess' powerful breath
& whistling, whistling, whistling
on our beautiful brooms.
Kacie Lynn Sep 2015
High-
Smoke in the air,
All you do is blow smoke.
Lies linger in the heavy air-
Intoxicatingly heavy air.
Unbreathable lies-
Unbreakable ties.
Mind so light,
floating above a head weighted with lead.
At some point we all believe we’re better off dead.
Might just be the smoke,
but my life is one big joke.
Coming and going
everyone
coming once and
Always
Leaving.
Always
breaking-
Promises.
Lies
Pies
and then—everyone dies.
High-
Smoke in the air,
That's all they do-
blow smoke in the air
It fills the room to capacity—
only for a moment
and it is empty once more.
Empty promises made ‘
lies created to pacify a situation.
Its all just empty smoke.
joyce knee Dec 2014
I inhale and hold my breath until I see black-
blank spots in my vision.
I exhale and release
beautiful, long-limbed clouds of smoke.
Shrouding my face, covering my eyes
blinding me to everything
but these pale tendrils
fluid and simple

curling wisps of smoke
scar the air
scar the silence
and

all secrets lie in smoke
if i could read it, i would know
the world.

— The End —