Dear one, you asked me how I feel.
I’m smoking imaginary cigarettes
in a cloud of imaginary smoke
with imaginary ashes in my lap.
My coffee is almost real enough
to coat the tongue and conjure
the sound of clattering cups
as dreams flash by the windows.
Pshhhh — an old man opens the door,
smiles at the bottles of ketchup
on the counter and at himself for being here.
He reads the no smoking sign
and finds a seat without noticing
I am here, beside him
in a pale universe gone mad.
My hand passes through his arm.
In the loudest voice I can,
I ask him where he’s from.
He squints in my direction,
afraid he’s hearing things again.
Songs and Letters, September 6, 2006
Smoke is memory made visible. It’s the future in sinuous shades.
Writing it down before it disappears is what keeps us uncertifiably sane.
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