smoking a cigarette on Exchange Pl., 1993

Often
you remember
last times
more than
you remember first
times

you remember the last
Cigarette that
you smoked…ever
it was 1993
in July…
the day after
the loneliest poet in the world
died,
you read about it in the Post
but you
put it out of your head
for a couple of hours
then
you went outside
on 10:30 break
and you walked down Exchange
and
finally
without any remorse
at all, you walked up to
the first guy you saw
lighting up
and asked him
“hey pal, could you spare a smoke?”

he was a big guy,
he had on a paisley tie
choked up
tight against his neck
hypertension written
in stalactites across
his red cheeks

“what’s it worth to ya”
he says
Bellowing it out like a
gasbag Texas oil guy
in a Vegas whorehouse

he shakes a pack at you

…Chesterfield Kings

…you hesitate…

“Are these cancer sticks
too much for you son?”
he raises an eyebrow
his face
looks a little more red
than before…

and you tell him

“not at all”
and you say that
you are
well acquainted
with the risks
of
smoking

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