Tuesday, March 27, 2007

On Smoking

Smoking is one of those afflictions that one keeps close to one's heart. In fact, I often wonder whether it is more a reward than an evil. Cling as we do to opinions that are mostly facile and often useless, I am not writing a defense for smoking. I am not even trying to eulogize smoking. I am trying here to recapture a sunset, some snow, a swing of memories, smoke that rises from burning cigarettes, sand that falls, tears that dry.

Smoking cigarettes is nothing less than art in itself. From the moment when a cigarette adorns ones lips till it is lit up, everything that happens is as rewarding as poetry or as useless as words on sad paper. Each act of lighting a cigarette is an affirmation, an act of rebellion. It is nothing less than philosophical speculation, nothing short of asking questions, always stretching the point.

The act of smoking is an act of solitude. After midnight, near break of day, when night has just died and the sun has won, when vain attempts at sleeping have given in to a kind of dull acceptance, the act of smoking is an enactment of a primeval urge, a returning back to acts of selfishness, of Adam and Eve, of a kind of war, a kind of peace.

Certain cigarettes are symbolic acts, of revenge against the self and another. Some relieve pain and so much suffocation while some kill off silence, that unjust silence. The glowing end, the smoke that rises and rises and then fades, these are outwardly equivalents of a dew inside that has dried, a beating that is getting fast, a noise, a ridiculous attempt to express.

Since there is waiting and no end to that, since there are distances and no end to those, since at best poetry is without edge and nights are without end and long forgotten faces have started to make a comeback in dreams, that enemy, that friend, that cigarette calls.

It is thus when night has spread unjustly, when all our lights have dimmed and died down, when the snow that is falling is returning us to innocence, that a solitary cigarette lights up a familiar world. It is on these edges, outside such memories that hope lingers and burns while lips fume.
Smoking a cigarette is an act of memory, of unselfish pride, of love.

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