Thursday, June 24, 2010

Addictions, Small & Large

Poem of the Day:
Dave Smith's "Remembering Cigarettes"
Fate's Kite

In the opening lines Smith's speaker is supine: "me sprawled on the couch, feeling fey/the way more and more it happens" (lines 2-3). His spirit too is in a sense supine for he feels "fey," close to death. His sense of impending disaster is translated in hellish terms. Smith writes, "everywhere/wicked sun dripping down on finch wing, the fire/like blood's backbeat" (lines 3-5). The world seems to be self-destructing and internal flames consuming the human body. This inner fire is contextualized; it is addiction, "the hatched/spurt in his carved cheeks a man's hook, appetite/gnawing inside for and against what?" (lines6-8). And Smith's title becomes more clear; the poetic space is the speaker's moment of recollection, of remembering what it is like to ache for a cigarette.

Watching "Kirk Douglas play a sleaze" (line 1) in a matinee film is the spark of the poem. The speaker returns to the film at the close of the piece: "now smoke he's [Douglas] holding drifts out good, slow, steady" (line 13). The pacing of this last line, directed by the comma use, relays the speaker's indulgence; the act of smoking a cigarette is very pleasurable to him despite the rest of the poem which is top-heavy with revulsion, be it self-revulsion, of the act.

Today I gave in and drank a large, chocolate-y, caramel-y, iced coffee. It was certainly not healthy for me, rather bad for me, but I wanted it. So I had it.

A frappucino is no cigarette. I do not think I will die from daily/weekly consumption of iced coffee. But, it is an addiction of sorts. And with each sip, "good, slow, steady," I began to further grasp Smith's words.

A Poem A Day Audrey


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