The hot red-orange glow of a slow-burning cigarette is
hypnotic to a particular frame of mind
it hits you somewhere between emotional exhaustion
and hopelessly lost
—locks you in a maudlin trance
and it won’t let you move a muscle.
Sat stiffly on a cold garden wall
as smoke curls away into the midnight air
before you know it
you’re holding onto a burnt-out filter
the butt of a cigarette
that despite a crazy addiction to tobacco
you have neglected to suck the death out of this one.
The smoke didn’t blacken your lungs
not this time around.
As you clasp the filter between nicotine-stained fingers
and finally, crush what remains into the ashtray
you may not have noticed
how long it took
yet there was something about watching the glow
travelling up to your fingertips
that held you captivated for a time.
Like a metaphor for life
time on our hands is wasting
we are burning time
preoccupied with the bright lights
fruitless dreams we like to chase
never get to taste—
Some say, just as well
it’d kill us quicker to know those things
they move on, and they quit smouldering
they start being.
While others say it gives them something to live for
—to focus on things that they know will never be
something to live for
and die without ever knowing
to my mind
the most precise
I ever heard.