Cessation vs. Sensation

1/30/2011, 12:42 PM

Well, a return to Maine has occurred, along with compounded confusion. Twelve days in an unforgivably pleasant climate does things like change minds. There will, most assuredly, be more on that in future postings, but this time (i.e., now) requires a gesture of solidarity toward an old friend now suffering the throes of the
Mediocre Life of the Non-Smoker. I'll offer some pretext first:

Even though I "quit" on the 25th of May, 2004, I remain a staunch advocate of cigarette smoking, and my reasons for quitting were fairly obvious--with my MS, smoking a cigarette would cause instant paresis on the entire left side of my body. Yeah. Expletive.

While all sorts of impossible people will go on ad nauseum about conditions like cancer and emphysema, younger people tend not to give a care about such distant consequences. And I could never blame them--smoking is fantastic. However, the alarming proximity of my particular consequence did much to extract the carefree, yet intensely intentional, joy from smoking that I had always treasured. I had attempted quitting on many prior occasions, but this time really stuck, although I sometimes do indulge socially. My sons have never seen me smoke, and I prefer it that way.

This is a poem that I wrote in 2002, during one of my first bouts with quitting.

nicotine and my mind

i’m changing my relationship to boredom–
you’d think that we were sweethearts
if you weren’t always right

something something something
words like the big forever problem
to which i’ve possibly damn-fool sentenced myself
are problems

so let’s see i can get on with it or not
are those my only options?

day one
and another
day one and
another day one and another falling like dumb damn dominoes
they should give it some better or at least more-accurate names
like day in which you sweat all of the time despite temperature or
day on which you alienate all of your friends without even trying

and ouch are those things pricey
i mean, worth it
or, rather, deadly
and mysteriously beautiful sputum ingenious cancer phlegmatic wonder
i love to stink but not necessarily to smell and that’s just plain wrong or
i mean i love to smell just not with the
nose that i had when i was born but
i mean that everything that i say is
not true i love it i love it i’ll always
always love it
taking me somewhere while
killing my friends and
funding fascists and
looking at me loving it &
bemoaning its coincidences
cussing and kicking everybody
knows i’m deteriorating anyway
but i am standing standing strong
looking and acting like i actually know better
sopping with the snot of my suppression

breathe and pretend and
remember that it hurts

1 comment:

  1. I am extremely fond of this poem. You express the messy, heaving complexity of it all very well.