Smoke

Sometimes I peel my skin to see which parts hurt. Pull up scabs and ruin their healing; because you always thought I’d look better in scars and now, I hate to admit, so do I.

You’d balm your skin while passing torch that burned you, left hand betraying the right; crackling of its molten anger only drowned out by the volume of the lessons between your words.

You taught me to measure my masculinity in empty liquor bottles and full perscriptions; your lesson that real men only dull their pain when they pretend it’s for fun.

That service was inseperable from suffering, that goodness exists only to spite the dents in the same vessel and that as such it must be dented.

You taught of obedience through fear holding your doctrine to be as genuine as it is just; building paper walls for us to keep the world from the wood.

Your claim of course not to be mistaken, that you love me and that I am doomed. Yet fear was never a virtue, and your tradition cannot be my truth.

You taught that only love was set in stone; as if proof of rock’s mortality was not sewn across the beaches or blown in the wind.

Perhaps I kicked drugs to became addicted to tattoos when they let me feel pain, and build to something that might be permanent, or because they make my scars look like something I could love.

You think I hate you, I wish I did. Pictures are so much more complicated than paintings, and conversations so much harder than poems. Burning your flag kept it off my shoulders, yet the memory of its embers brings more remorse than thrill.

And as such, I think of you whever I smell smoke in my clothes. Nose filled with the rustic guilt of what I’ve done to keep myself warm. The loud blank memories that could fall anywhere between bonfires and funeral pyres.

Pyromanic Depressive

The first day I found comfort should have been the earliest sign of my disease. When my throat could not tell apart the crisp winter air with the stale breath of a toxic mire merely because they both stand still. The way a lantern’s lonely flame tantalized me more than the structure that housed it. Perhaps it is so simple that I could never see the difference between movement and progress, or rest and stagnation.

It’s a predictable transition from ethanol to fire, from fire to smoke, from smoke to collecting ash of the remains of everything that mattered and pushing it in desperate to make a soot castle I might live in to see if I’ve built something suitable to burn down again.

At a time if felt the urge came from divine inspiration. As if I could pull some truth from the space between dancing lights that comforts me and tells me there is a purpose to my destruction seperate the horror that I suspect. As though I could find more comfort in the cruel release of energy displayed before me than in the home it had once been.

Yet the curse of fire was never a burden of destiny. Like Midas chose to gild all that he held I questioned to see what might be flammable. Instead of satiating a desire for wealth with things that shine I meet depression with pyromania only to feed the mouth I meant to be fighting.

Last year I knew the bravest thing about me was that I  would stand in every fire I set, to walk or be pulled out would have meant failure to see through what I was there to destroy. Adding a second failure to the home that I fell short of making fire proof.

This month I gathered my tinder and gases, lighter and matches in an willow box. In rising waters I could see that there are more beautiful things than flms, fonder places than the sun, braver actions than self destruction. I threw the box down a waterfall and prayed I hadn’t forgotten any match sticks beneath my bed frame.