In My Case Your Honour, I Did Inhale …

It’s no accident that when I go by the lounge—
the one near our neighbourhood restaurant
where the bikers hang out to shoot pool
and watch the Oilers lose—I sacrifice my lungs
and inhale all the smoke I can handle
Where almost everyone else is complaining about
smokers and how bad they smell or how
damned close they are to the buildings wherein
we congregate for our weekly libations,
I find I’ll risk the toll on my health just for
the chance to breathe deeply for a bit and never
ask anyone to move aside;
In fact, I happily settle in outside with the chimneys,
tell them to take their time and it’s no trouble,
I can wait – have plenty of time actually,
so please, not to worry –
They do look plenty confused and like
they think I might be from Mars
So I tend to break down, between gasps,
and confess how much I miss smoking, I do
Even though I gave up the coffin nails over thirty
years ago – I could take it up again in a New York
heartbeat … guilty as charged.



18 thoughts on “In My Case Your Honour, I Did Inhale …

  1. Thanks Amy, Cheryl and K for your additional comments to this discussion and about my poem … I think this topic will engender discourse for some time to come yet …

  2. I was a singer/pianist in nightclubs until I contracted chronic bronchitis and lost my career. I do sympathize with smokers (my mom gave up DRINKING but could not lose the cigs; I watched her detox in the hospital from nicotine withdrawal her last week on earth – no patches back then). It’s an awful addiction to kick.

    Secondhand smoke is my only issue. A smoker in his truck breathing his own smoke? That’s a ridiculous complaint, unless he carries a rider who doesn’t smoke. The idea of smokefree workplaces is for people like me – non-smokers who must breath carcinogens knowingly to hold down a job. Bartenders, waiters, musicians, busboys… all breathe that smoke long after the smoker has boogied on.

    GREAT response to the wordle, and certain to foment debate, I stand by my support for smoke-free workplaces. Peace, Amy, and here’s mine:

  3. Smokers and non-smokers – the topic stirs up so much emotion. I am one of the lucky ones who misses the mien (pseudo-sophistication of looking like Audrey Hepburn etc.) and can even have the odd social cigarette or ten and then stop immediately, so guess the hook never really took. I don’t even indulge in that odd guilty pleasure since my Dad died of lung cancer and I myself suffered a bad cough I couldn’t shake for a time (turned out to be unrelated but was enough of a scare to make me think …)

    Both my husband and I quit when I was pregnant with our first child (over 30 years ago – much harder for him as he was a 2 1/2 pack a day and addicted; I admire his fortitude enormously) – we didn’t want either of our girls to smoke and luckily neither has ever shown the slightest interest.

    Jules’ comment pretty much sums up why my poem came out the way it did … we have the same laws here that Brenda mentions in her comments and they have tried to enforce the one Jules mentions about truckers not being able to smoke in their own trucks because it’s their place of business. As with most well-intentioned things, the pendulum seems to be swinging way wide in the ridiculous direction now – smokers are becoming such pariahs I’m wondering when they themselves are going to be banned. Will we round them up and stick them all on an ice-berg and set them out to sea?

    In any case, it was a fun poem to write – I loved the words thanks Brenda – and I’m glad to see the interesting discourse that’s arising.

  4. I read a news report where a truck driver was arrested for smoking in his truck because it was considered his public work space. Yet he owned the truck and was the only one ever inside it. We each have our own ‘habits’ is one any more damaging than the other – the Government seems to think so. Never having been a smoker but living with them – I can appreciate eating my dinner in a smoke free restaurant. But I do think folks who smoke should have places where they are allowed to.

  5. I know so few people who smoke anymore, but it is said that teen agers are taking up cigarettes big time again. Truthfully, at the price of a pack, I can’t understand how they can afford it! I remember in the ‘old days’ when people could smoke in bars and restaurants. Often I didn’t even notice the smell; but now….can smell a smoker several feet away. Your poem definitely made its point well. Can’t imagine craving a cigarette after so many years; but I guess tobacco has a real HOOK. Well wordled.

  6. I am just the opposite, having loathed the smell of tobacco smoke all my life. But you described your feelings so vividly that I almost feel sorry for you!

  7. This is good writing, Sharon. I’m over the habit, but remember the feeling of wanting after I quit. You’ve captured it here. There’s an intimacy to the piece, inviting the reader in to experience the establishment with you. Details like the watching the Oilers play make it vivid. Since 2005 In Montana, there is no smoking allowed in public buildings.

  8. Brilliant. As a reformed chimney 25 years ago I cannot bear the smell of tobacco smoke, and avoid it all costs. But I appreciate the humour of your wordle poem.

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