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Here’s a poem I wrote the other day on my Notes app on my iPhone. I was just trying to get away from some smoke as I sat outside during my lunch.

The Loneliness of Smokers

Always on the fringe of parties,
clusters of orange stars orbiting something bigger,
I feel kinship with the smokers.
My father would drift
out of the spotlight toward the porch,
a stroll around the yard,
a tiny trail of light
camouflaged in between the constellations of fireflies.
After Quaker meeting he would walk
into the cemetary and read the names
of the dead. I never knew if he minded
when I’d follow him, playing my harmonica,
ripping a branch from a willow
and whipping green slashes
against the headstones.
Was the glow of the burning ash
a beacon calling,
or a warning.
Plagued with allergies and a fear
of halitosis, I never enjoyed a cigarette
the way people do, after dinner,
with coffee, after sex.
But I like the separatist culture,
the desire to stand outside the club
in a more intimate group,
in front of the church
while the sermon hangs thick in the air,
musty with the decaying pages
of bibles, alone on the porch
while the cicadas yell their warnings
from the humid canopy of summer,
“Your lungs are turning black,
people will miss you when you’re gone.”

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