Life Measured in Cigarette Butts

Personal Poems

Poetry  life measured in cigarette butts

One cigarette.

That’s how long it takes Charlie to walk from the bus stop to the train stop without even thinking where he is going, because

he just knows. Sometimes

if he feels the need to smoke two cigarettes,

just because,

he walks slower on purpose, counting

one-mississippi two- mississippi



but not silently.

And people stare as if he’s screaming. Which

he’s gotten used to, of course, because sometimes, he is.



When he gets to seventy-nine-mississipi, give or take a mississipi

or two,

he is already right outside the train station building, directly in front the revolving glass doors which no one ever really uses because they take too long and people are always late for


No one even notices the little singing girl selling wilted dandelions for a dollar on the street corner, whose braids are the color of

melted copper and whose father yells to sing


from outside the liquor store next door.



When it is a two-cigarette type of day, though, Charlie stands next to the homeless man who smells of surprisingly good cologne and wears one shoe while he waits for his younger brother, Jerry Garcia, to bring him his can of whole milk from the store,

even though Charlie always reminds the man that Jerry Garcia is,

in fact,

dead, and that milk does not, to his knowledge,

come in cans. Then

Charlie and the homeless man laugh like it is their first time laughing about this, and the man asks Charlie for a cigarette through his rotting, yellow-stained teeth that smell like something that rots and becomes

stained from bad

things, and they just stand in silence, watching and


why so many people feel the need to be so busy,

all the time.

Poetry  life measured in cigarette butts Poetry-_Life_Measured_in_Cigarette_Butts.jpg