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Submitted on
February 10, 2004
File Size
1.8 KB


5 (who?)

Cigarette Break

I know, I know I donít look like she does
even in this puddle where I can pretend
that my hair shimmers like hers:
oil on asphalt, after the rain
I know that my face
wonít smile as straight:
teeth as even as train tracks
(once the braces were removed)

I know that my eyes are too honest
my mouth is too big
and I am still alone
echoing everything
like a new room needing
the clutter of speech confused with laughter

I know I want you
in a soft and necessary way
that I long to hold your hand
against the edge of my need
until you cannot tell the two apart
that I want to press our bellies together
and feel the ridges of your ribs
like green bananas in a paper sack

I know
with all the certainty of rain
that standing in this parking lot
in blue jeans and fading flannel
where the concrete is becoming gravel
I know, looking out over town
fingering an unlit cigarette
you cannot hear this whispering
I know, standing here consuming
ten minutes of uncluttered air
that no one is listening
to this tilted conversation
that might be mistaken for prayer

I know, I know
I have to go back inside
where the air is full of noise
and the smoke mixes with the grease
where the only words I have
are the ones they ask me to repeat
a cracked vessel leaking specials with every breath
where, between the eggs over easy
and the undercooked steak, I can forget
knowing the consolation of not being me
is not missing you
Version two. Better. Succincter. Less confusion, less splattering. More streamlined. A final version?

**************************************** ******************************

~digitalcrayons is like a god who uses a pencil instead of using whatever a god really uses.
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i know this poem has been posted for quite a while, and i included it in my favourites some time ago too, but i never had the chance to comment, since at the time i didnt feel i had much to say to writers that obviously knew what they were doing. But i just wanted to say (at the risk of gushing) that this is probably one the best poems i've ever read. it's emotional, subtly erotic, imagistic, has everything you could possibly want in a poem.
justb Feb 21, 2004   Writer
Existentialistic towards the end. Sort of set up by the scene in the parking lot. You bring the reader a lot of extricable information. You aren't just synthesizing feeling and word but creating scenes which the reader is almost there with you in. Very good work.
haunt Feb 20, 2004   Artisan Crafter
i know.

this time i seem to get the distraction inherent to the leaking specials. i think what confused me was initial tendency of the reader (me) to read leaking as an adjective in this case.

but now, the end of the work builds the distraction inside mundane gruntwork as the beginning and middle illustrate the reason why. of course there's a thread throughout.
"I know
with all the certainty of rain
that standing in this parking lot
in blue jeans and fading flannel
where the concrete is becoming gravel"
I know I want you "
in a soft and necessary way"
this one is wonderful.
amyfae Feb 12, 2004   Writer
I loved the piece first thyme around. And I love it now. The imagery, and the rhythm (rythm?), the way the piece moves so easily through itself. love love love.

epimetheus Feb 13, 2004  Professional Interface Designer
How very Joycean of you to end on Yes.

Thank you Penelope.

I don't know if you get the same impression as i do, but your previous one was much much better.
Certainly much more intimate.
Maybe it's because i adored the original, that when it's edited, what was left out now appears glaringly needed.
epimetheus Feb 13, 2004  Professional Interface Designer
While I appreciate your sentiment, I find your comment lacking in any real quality advice. If you really liked the first one, and have a real argument for it, you should point that out in your comment so I can see the value of your opinion in changing or not changing the poem. While it's important to know what you feel, it's more important to hear what you think articulated in a way that ultimately relates back to the work, otherwise none of us are ever going to get any better.

Good stuff, and certainly excellent imagery. I really get a feel for the narrator, and that's most definately the best part of all. I relate, and that makes the impact that much stronger.

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