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cigarette smoker

Tobacco, that is—roll your own.

A pouch was cheap, gummed papers.

Got thirty cigs from a pouch, good

enough taste—no chemicals.

Roll ‘em tight so they’d go out

when you forgot them left

in an ashtray where some head

would think they were a joint

and inhale a surprise—everyone

carried a lighter or matches.


The inside liner of the paper pouch

had silver foil on one side and

you could unfold it and smooth

it out and the white backside

made a fine piece of permanent

parchment for writing poems that

refolded could withstand all the

tribulations of life on the road

stuck in a backpack with what

was left of the rest of your life.


Only, the paper was not that big

so that after time enough

living out of that backpack

the lines of my poems grew

shorter, like this.

A Memory of Trees

black trees

Being dead, it stood out,

its bold blood-brown

against all that green


like a wrecked and rusted

Studebaker wrapped in

mile-a-minute weeds.


His last thought was

I’ll just lie here silently

till everyone is gone.


Ashes are incense’s

sole message—incense

made from the desert’s


thorniest rare briar,

which is never green.