A poem about growing close with someone over winter in New York via sharing cigarettes.
|No regular smoker am I, but I have partaken
(I remember younger days with friends from one of my favorite pasts,
walking down cobbled streets in Dallas,
full of confidence,
confident in each other,
wonderful cigarettes in hand;
our East End wanderings were such careless fun!)
Truly, I have always loved cigarettes with friends.
Time has passed since that past - years! - and I found / find myself in New York
(these days no smoker's heaven).
I found myself with you and new friends - at odd times and in odd places
- the various odd nooks and cramped crannies of New York
- the various odd bars and quirky cafes of New York
- the various odd restaurants and loud(!) eateries of New York
- wonderful places.
You and I were rarely alone with each other in those early days of our growing friendship.
We were full of confidence in ourselves,
growing confidence in each other.
We, and our gang of growing friends - would talk at a bar.
Talk about our colleagues.
Talk about our business.
Talk about our friends.
Talk about our hopes.
Talk about our dreams.
Not all of that at first - it grew from simple talks
to big talks
to emotional talks
to spacious, wide open talks.
Sometimes even silly talks.
We all continue to talk these days.
We never stop talking.
We are such clever talkers.
One of those times, you slipped a napkin over your wine
and explained to me its vital significance - "we'll be back soon, bartender!"
(you are always teaching me interesting things)
and invited me to join you.
So we left the others inside
so that we could go outside
to share a cigarette
We would bundle up against February's harsh, harsh cold
And stand on the sidewalk
near frozen cars and briskly walking New York strangers
our many frantic cab-thrown shadows running round us
And fumble for our cigarettes.
We'd light each other up
shielding flame against bitter wind
(I was never good at that; I'm still not good at that!)
until it caught
and enjoy the cigarettes.
You would laugh at my childish glee
the simple, unaffected, guileless joy I felt
(in truth, I felt I was floating! I still feel that way!)
and we would laugh
(you are so good at laughing!)
and enjoy our cigarettes together.
And eventually, through small incremental steps,
(because it could be terribly, terribly cold)
we would huddle together
to stay warm
and I would put my arm around you.
We created of this a wonderful ritual -
leaving friends behind (for a short while),
leaving napkin-covered wine glasses behind
So that we could smoke cigarettes
Over winter's many weeks,
we grew closer.
You would rest your head against my shoulder
and we would stand silently
(or not - we're such clever talkers)
and stay that way
long past when
we'd finished our cigarettes.
I miss those winter nights
On summer days like these.
We still share cigarettes
(with napkin-covered wine glasses left behind among bartenders and [snickering, non-smoking] friends)
but there is no cold
to push us together.
And so I wait
these summer months
for winter's bitter cold and sweet return
so that we may be pushed together
I hope we renew our ritual - smoking cigarettes together, in winter.