Indoor Cigarette

As I was coming down the third floor stairs in the Meyer Library, I saw a guy leaving the lab wearing a leather jacket with a cigarette already in his mouth. It wasn’t lit–a lighter wasn’t even in his hands–but he was ready.

I gave him a look and he took it out of his mouth. I wasn’t really trying to give him a look, and I don’t really feel like my facial expression changed all that much. But it seems my thoughts were communicated anyways:

Quit being a poser.

Keep an eye out: I think the unlit cigarette might make a real comeback when we ban smoking.

Update:: The more I think about it, the more odd I find this whole thing. I don’t think my reaction was because of the cigarette so much as him removing it from his mouth.

Imagine James Dean averting his eyes, removing the cigarette, and looking contrite. That’s what I saw, and it caused some tingly cognitive dissonance. If he’d just kept on walking, I don’t think I’d have thought much of it.

Hourglass Eyes

As my glassy eyes reflected polished ash,
I realized that I never understood
Why the living mourn the dead.
These hypocrites who never cared
For Jones-most never knew his name-
Now standing mute, ranks of inconvenient
awkward office mates.

Mike told me that we all die.
It’s true, I thought, slipping my hand
To the breast of my coat.
The tobacco, held tight in its roll-
Just as we’re held by the sonorous
Supplications of the priest-
Came free. They heard the click of my lighter.
I did not care:
They would be dead someday too.

Thoughts of hypocrites and caskets
Left my head with the first drawn breath,
And it seemed as if all the blood
Drained from this coil to be
Replaced. That incense, holy and pleasing,
Filled me like the fluid that filled Jones,
And I exhaled our obituary,
My eyes reflecting their prison.