Friday, April 30, 2010


photo by Nerval, from the English Wikipedia Project

God, I’d like to take
A big drag on a cigarette –
It’s been so long.

Remembering the night
I stormed out of
The slam, sat at
The bar and filled my lungs
With burning menthol
I’d just bought
From a machine.

And the black dude
Who had read the homophobic poem
And got the huge reaction
That drove me out of the room
Came up and stood next to me
With no idea who I was,
To get a drink,
And I just answered his hello
Like it was nothing,
Thinking maybe I should even
Offer him a blowjob
Just to blow his mind.
And Randy, the slam organizer,
Sidled up to me
And said, “I didn’t think you smoked,”
And I spat out, “I don’t,”
And left, and never came again,
The damn slam

And the memory of smoke
Have teeth for me.
The word
Has more than one meaning.

Later, I’d explain
The how and why
Of my perpetual new absence.
But for now,
I’d suck the fumes
That killed my father
And march out into the night,
A private kind
Of Pride Parade.

Only the taste of smoke
Is a fond memory,
A measure of defiance,
Doing something
That is not
For me.

-- © 2010 by Jack Veasey

All rights reserved. This work may not be reproduced or duplicated in any way without the author's written permission.


  1. Did you ever confront the black guy?

  2. No, I never did. I walked out of the event. I did tell the coordinator of the event how I felt. I don't know if you belong to Facebook, but there is some discussion of the incident there at!/notes/jack-veasey/and-the-slam-goes-up-in-smoke/422852325109