Smoked: A poem


He’d say he needed his damned cigarettes

and I’d wonder how he wasn’t dead yet,

but a daughter’s got duties–and plus it was my head

that’d be walloped if he didn’t get them. So I’d drop

my schoolwork and run to Dickies. Somewhere

in there I met my Mickey

I thought myself a fish

in the stream of Daddy’s brimstone misery

but at least I had someone keeping me.

Eventually I forgot about algebra and Daddy

blazed until he did die. By then I

was working on my own hellfire suicide,

with a baby inside my belly

and lungs the color of my late beloved

Daddy’s belt.

Charlie was born on the fourth of July

and I was fatter than Mickey. If he loved

anything, he loved my shoo fly pies.

No one paid me much attention

when I started to cry. Mickey

just told me to wipe my goddamned fish eyes

or he’d hit me blind. Charlie would forget

algebra and run to Dickies and we’d be one big happy

fucking family under the watch of my lovely

Mickey’s belt.

And that’s what it is folks.

I got old–got addicted to smoke

and I don’t blame Daddy or Mickey

because life’s a joke and the punch

line’s got a habit of clutching your throat

and squeezing like’s the devil’s finally

got his hold on Eve. She was always the one

he wanted, wasn’t she? Charlie’s got a life

I wouldn’t wish him, but the ways things are, that’s all

I could give him. I feel like a fish, just swimming

up that river, prematurely delivered by the sweet

swinging rope.


9 thoughts on “Smoked: A poem

  1. I like your poetry – but I have to say that the thing that really grabbed my attention was the quote on your banner. Having had ‘murder your darlings’ thrust down my writing student throat, I love your take on it 🙂

    1. Thanks! Yeah, I’m a writing student too and it’s always been the mantra–kill ’em dead. I’m usually alright with it, but every once in a while a resurrection is in order 🙂 It’s gratifying not having a professor or peer edit breathing down your back 🙂

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