Memoir Poem: Ex-Smoker Nostalgia

I couldn’t go to sleep at night

If I didn’t have enough

wrapped wands of tobacco

lined up in formation like chalk soldiers

ready to be consumed in smoldering ember

bone white bleached cigarettes for the morning buzz.

I’d venture out into sometimes dangerous streets

At 1 a.m. to get my nicotine feed

to fill my sighing lungs with tarry gunk

toxic junk from the corner market

the high fructose corn syrup store.

Lit up in neon beaming advertisements

poster women in bikinis serving drinks

sucking on the thirst quenching bottle

as if it were Zeus or Apollo!

Buy my swollen drinks and cancer sticks

under humming fluorescent glow

rummage through the movies

rented from next door

at Lost Weekend on Valencia Street

before DVD and Blu-ray and on demand streaming

the video store was a dating zone

when strangers still talked to each other.

No obnoxious cell phones

Actual conversations

Answering machines

Remember call waiting?

Now no one ever calls at all

except those evil telemarketers.

Archaic things used to hold

everyday importance.

How did we get so old?

I gave up smoking when I was pregnant

and my child was more than worth it

but I miss my flat stomach

my abandoned wild side

misplaced dreams of another

version of myself.

Everything felt so clear then

even the air

despite the rings of drifting smoke.

Life felt more real.


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