a narrative on addiction, inspired by last night

Possible Titles:

i. i’m pretty sure i’m trying to say something with this piece, but even i can’t tell. the author is dead. hurrah.
ii. i can justify anything if i try hard enough
iii. smoking may not be the best euphemism in this case
iv. wink, wink; and
v. this isn’t a poem, it just wants to act like it


On the first of February, 
I wrote these words to end a list:
QUIT SMOKING (it’s bad for your health). 
And I did. 

I would walk home, fingers twitching
against the uncomfortable sensation of a phantom limb.
My face would be stone, my expression upset,
envious of others taking a slow, lazy drag
in front of me —what assholes! fuck them! fuck fuck those hipsters!
and street people, and students, and workers! 
Do they know what they’re doing?
Do they know they shouldn’t have the right?
Do they know I’m suffering? 

Envious, annoyed and angry. That was me. 
But I survived. 
And I realized; you can train your fingers to stop craving for something that can't be there.
You can tell your heart that the world is right and everything is fair.
You can force your brain to rationalize,
"This is what you want. This is what is best." 
    (All in good time.) 

And these days would go on and on,
with lessons on how to be strong.
And believe me, I was strong, because imagine. 

Friends would offer a hit, 
some flavor less or more, similar or darker.
And some fine specimen, with an offer on his tongue
    (wouldn’t I like to suck the smoke from his lungs)? 
You’d think: one offer won’t make a difference,
and it’s true. Nothing changes as long as the choice is true.
And I chose. 

But look.
Life would drag you out from your moral pedestal,
kicking and screaming or caught by surprise.
Life would tell you to go fuck yourself, with— 
    an attractive blunt?
    a stressful circumstance?
    with a really, really, really nice smile in profile?
And you’d think:
START SMOKING. (It’s the best thing you can ever do.)

"It’s a feeling I need to feel again."
And in the back of my mind, I got to defend:
What are addictions for, 
if not to come back every now and then?
(At this point, even I told my mouth to shut up.) 

Because this is what I have learned 
in the space of two months and some days:
    I can train my body to stop smoking,
    to resist the craving and unlearn the need,
    but I can’t train my body to forget the feeling.
    i.e. the feel of a vice against my lips (what a sweet kiss!),
    the burn of death and paradise in a single hit,
    the freedom of the world on fire, fire, fire. 
(How could anyone forget how to burn?)

And it’s kind of a constant high,
knowing that you’re falling down a steep incline
with the words danger in your ears
and a very attractive hand pulling you on to your worst fears. 
To think that you chose to be miserable! 
What’s good health in the face of living life? 

What do you call it?
An obsession that leaves you one minute and strangles you the next; 
the nature of addicting things
is that they actually love you
and they will never let go. 

Say something back.

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