Saturday, July 26, 2008

artificial tears (smoke 2)

when was the first time you snitched some cigarettes and smoked them (or tried)?

i was five or six, i think. a friend stole a pack of lucky strike from his mother and we lit up in the furnace room of the church basement. somehow i kept getting a dribble of saliva down the length of the cigarette and the fire kept going out.

first year in college i started smoking a pipe. i loved the smell and thought it was so cool. eventually, in my second year, i repeated the mantra, 'you're killing yourself. you're killing yourself.' that got me to stop.

yesterday i looked through a book on the human body with graphic illustrations of health and illness. the number of diseases attributed to smoking is as long as your arm. (so i was right.) alcohol comes second. (good thing i quite drinking when kahlua took over my life sixteen years ago.)

now, they didn't talk about smoke from forest fires. yes, sitting in it still. some days better than others but today i can only see three miles. and my eyes have been suffering (hmm, how are you doing, lungs?) as a last resort i asked the patrolman to pick me up some artificial tears at rite aid. he said a vast shelf of them almost empy. many of us must be in need of them.

never occured to me to resort to artificial tears. basically, i haven't cried freely since i was twelve when i watched my tears drop into the milk, frustrated with my mother's support of my brother over my protests. (a couple of years earlier i had merely looked at her when she whipped me with a belt. she never did it again.)

smoke, tears, alcohol, wildfire. my life passes before my eyes (since i can't see anything else.) strange how i'm now consoled by having so many memories. that's what i think i was looking for all along.

summer photos posted at

the best way to view them is to click the slideshow button up in the right corner. for some reason they load much faster than clicking on one at a time.