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I Speak Smoke

08 January 2012


I speak
Not cloud, or other vapors
nor of incense,
tithed in poverty,
and lit in holy moments only.

But I speak the stifle
and alarm of distant fire,
about which you might wonder
before you die -
whether it’s better
to succumb to fog or flame?
To blinded eye, or burning limb?

I stand in the reign and summon
the rolling billow, and reveal
the obscuring choke.
I preach the stoking passion,
teach mystical inspiration,
and perform mid-life

Will we be burned, or languish
in fire-retardent shacks?
Will we bow to the pillar,
or bend to the stacks -
submit to the furnace or sit
with the hacks who roll their own
between phlegmatic coughing fits?

If only because we burn,
and can recall the ash
that flame left after all was made,
we’re given to wear the cloak
and speak the plume
of creation’s hidden, holy,
fragrant fume.