Smoke Break

Poem By Tori Bryl

Smoke Break

where i come from,

people are dying

on smoke breaks in

midday humidity,

coughing up old regrets,

lighting another cigarette

from muscle memory.

red and blue lights

make violet on bleached buildings

the way blood and sadness

follow a bad mix of chemistry

with drunk drivers

and roads that lead into the sea.

what i mean is,

this city is cursed.

ask the wired haired lady

who’s glued to the bench

near sea breeze.

she’ll tell you about the men

with doomed blueprints,

that the mini skyscrapers

are lighthouses searching

the waters for survivors.

across the street, kids

cannonball into chlorine.

happiness smells like sunscreen

and their mother laughing

while i load up cardboard bins.

heat stroke gave me visions,

i am a prophet envying

the joy of impermanence,

a visitor who lingered too long

and got locked up with the inmates.