Monday, January 24, 2005

Paper Skin

She writes poems about the dangers of addiction on the side of cigarettes.

She doesn’t use many words and the words she uses are little because there’s not a lot of room on the side of a cigarette.

Words like

I need you

I want you

I love you

I hate you

And once she’s written a poem on the paper skin of a cigarette,

she sits down and

she lights up

and she smokes it.

She inhales her poems and she feels the rush of the language of addiction seeping through her body.

Tiny words like








tumbling through her blood stream like drunken cows.

People tell her

- Why don’t you write on paper? You could say so much more.

She says

- Because then I might want to use bigger words and I can’t swallow anything bigger than a four letter word.

Yesterday she bought a new pair of boots so black and so shiny she could see her future in them.

So she wrote a poem about the future on the paper skin of a cigarette and she sat down and she smoked it and she stared into the black and shiny surface of her boots.

The future shone back at her

so before she even finished her cigarette,

before the tiny four letter words like






had a chance to reach her bloodstream

she already knew she’d write a whole packet of poems

25 poetry covered paper skins

and she already knew she’d make them a paper coffin

and symbolically set the whole thing alight

and she already knew she’d swear never to smoke again

and she’d watch her charred and blackened words disappear into the atmosphere, floating towards a sky that had been above her all along.

And she knew all this because her shiny black boots of the future told her.

The boots don’t know about the extra packet she keeps hidden in a hollowed out dictionary.

But that’s okay

she writes on her next cigarette.

Because I’m





sqoggle said...

I love this poem. You are so clever, the way you find ideas. Tell me how you do this. This is my favourite: 'Yesterday she bought a new pair of boots so black and so shiny she could see her future in them.' Ooh love it!

I emailed you quite recently, not sure if you received it.


Anonymous said...


If I had the words. But I don't.

There is no-one I kn wo who has found a better use for the English language than you.

Dan D

jane. said...

* i am as always. mi piace.

Penny said...

That was amazing. I am happy I found you. Was surfing..

Sean M Whelan said...

Hey Penny, thanks for your kind words and thanks for stopping by.

Also Dan D, thanks my friend, nice to hear from you again. We should do lunch sometime.