Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The Cigarette Smokers

This is recent lyric and one written for The Club of Queer Trades but I'd been trying to write it for a number of years. I'd had the title "The Cigarette Smokers" since reading Richard Klein's "Cigarettes are Sublime" back when I still smoked myself. I mean when I still smoked cigarettes; I have never smoked myself. Well, yes there was that one time but I didn't inhale.

This is "Now Voyager" smoking; glamorous and sublimating. The smoke never gets in Bette Davis' eyes. It's about the glamour of the silver screen as well, though the screen at the end proves to be a surgeon's light-box and the prognosis is not so alluring.

The cigarette smokers

It’s all black and white in here,
But when that curtain falls,
You know that it’s red velvet,

The writings on the wall,
But when the credits roll,
I catch my breath – I simply cannot help it,

The orchestra tumesces,
And in under seven guesses,
I plot the plot like tacks upon a map,

That’s the point for me, you see,
I want predictability,
To surrender to the tenderest of traps,


Smudging and blurring,
In and out of focus,
Shining like a wet moon,
Those cigarette smokers,
Teeth strung like pearls,
Marcel wave curls,
And they never die,
No they never die,

Men were men and women too,
Were shaped like you’d expect them to,
Wasp-waisted, tapered, beautifully buffed,

Still visibly shaking from the war,
The men snapped like their heads were sore,
And every female sortie was rebuffed,

And when cigarettes were lit,
Each carcinogenic hit,
Referred to fires banked well down below

And each orgasmic spasm,
Signalled ectoplasm,
Pluming from lips, parted; white as snow,


A shadow on the silver screen,
As the doctor’s light-box gleams,
And you inhale, sharp and shallow breaths,
The price of glamour is death.

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