now that you’ve quit

the sign at the Rite-Aid
asks, “what are you
going to do
now that you’ve quit?”

lately I’ve been feeling like
maybe I don’t want to
smoke cigarettes anymore but
that question haunts me.
what the fuck am I
going to do with myself
when the press of people
around me gets to be
too much, when I need
some air and a few
minutes to think, or
write a poem,
or when I can’t
sleep and I need a reason
to stand in the doorway
with the terrace door open
to the elements
for approximately
three minutes
and forty seconds?

what will I do
when I don’t have that
little voice in my head saying
almost out of smokes,
better get some more?

saying oh, take the subway
because then you can smoke
on the way to the station
and on the way from the station
to wherever you’re going?

but I’m getting a little tired
of being ruled by that voice.

there’s a stupid stubborn
part of me that says,
you’ve been doing it
for so long, why quit
but as the
Tracy Chapman song says,
“if not now, then when?”
the addict replies,
if you quit it’s
like admitting you
never should have
started, and you’ve
been wrong for twenty
but if I
buy into that reasoning,
the only way out of that trap
is to smoke forever
and – Jeanne Calment
notwithstanding – that
doesn’t seem like
a good look on
anyone. anyway,
even she quit
at age 117.

maybe the only way
to find out what I will do
once I’ve quit
is to try it.

Published by

R. Brookes McKenzie

what fresh hell is this

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