I don't regret it, not smoking,

though times in my twenties, I couldn't sit

through a movie whole. Halfway,

at the crucial second that weird sucked-up

feeling would come over me, and I'd bolt

to the lobby, find one of those ancient

nubby couches, smoke

going clear for the interior, down every

unlit passage until I was

normal again, fit for all those strangers

on the screen. But still out there, still sunk

to that pleasure, I'd drift into the great

boredom of the popcorn boy and the ticket girl,

that languid ache

of a place when everyone's

elsewhere--if only the next room--

stalled, distracted into themselves. I'd sit

and smoke quietly, and they'd talk

to each other, flirt even. The popcorn boy

always had a trick he'd do, stacking

Dots or Milk Duds until one box, quick,

would vanish. And the ticket girl would

lean into his counter, just so,

amused, disbelieving. Sure, she'd say,

and I'm Yoko Ono. Those little dramas of pure smoke,

I miss them--two real voices in those old

wedding cake theaters of the 20s, Chicago, 1973,

before they were razed for a thing

gleaming, steel and glass, when everyone

in the next room kept looking

one way, and by the bad light above me, I was

looking in, or looking down, or looking toward

these two, the dearest nothing

suspended between them.

Marianne Boruch
was born in Chicago in 1950. Her poetry collections include View from the Gazebo and Descendant (Wesleyan University Press, 1983 and1989), Moss Burning and A Stick that Breaks and Breaks (Oberlin College Press, 1993 and 1997). Her essay collection, Poetry's Old Air, was published in Michigan University Press's "Poets on Poetry" series in 1995. She teaches in the MFA Program at Purdue University. She lives in West Lafayette, indiana with her husband and son. If you would like to order A Stick That Breaks and Break , from which this week's featured poem, "Smoking," came, please go to http://www.oberlin.edu/ocpress/.

If you would like to submit a poem of any length, style, or level of experimentation to be considered for Diptera, please send your poem/s, along with a self-addressed stamped envelope to Diptera, Attn: Lesha Hurliman, 460 Tennessee Street, Suite 200, Memphis, TN 38103. Electronic submissions should be sent to lhurliman@memphisflyer.com. Please include a short bio. Submissions are not limited to Memphis residents.

Diptera is not an online literary journal but something more like a bulletin board, and therefore the author retains all rights to the poetry published on Diptera. The poems published on this site can be submitted to any journal without our notification, and we do accept poems that have been previously published as long as we are given a means of obtaining permission to post them.

\Dip"te*ra\- An extensive order of insects having only two functional wings and two balancers, as the house fly, mosquito, etc. They have a suctorial proboscis, often including two pairs of sharp organs (mandibles and maxill[ae]) with which they pierce the skin of animals. They undergo a complete metamorphosis, their larv[ae] (called maggots) being usually with

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment



News Blog

Memphis Man Gets Eight Years for Selling Heroin

Fly On The Wall Blog

MLK50 Tapped to Join ProPublica's Local Reporting Network

News Blog

Council Resumes Business With Six Members

Fly On The Wall Blog

Comedian Benny Elbows Recovering After Shooting

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Music Video Monday: Jeff Hulett

News Blog

Gas Prices Fall Across Tennessee

Tiger Blue

Familiar Foes


Readers also liked…

© 1996-2018

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation