JOEL, male, mid-twenties
BILLY, female, late teens to early twenties
Lights up on JOEL and BILLY, who are sitting outside on the back porch. The three or four chairs are mismatched and seem to have been salvaged from the reject pile of a Salvation Army store. A wooden coffee table hails from an indiscernible decade and holds a glass ashtray with dozens of cigarette butts sticking out of it. JOEL is smoking, trying to ignore BILLY.BILLY
You know, you really shouldn't; I heard somewhere that those things can make your teeth turn to mush and your fingers grow all bendy and twisted. One of my "friends"she used to smoke a lot, too, and now her voice is so raspy and gritty we call her "Louie." As in Armstrong. The "Beautiful World" guy? Hello, earth to Joel. Come in, Joel. Your lungs are
I said, shove off.
tar-induced lungs struggling to inflate –
struggling to make sense
of a war
where men are only equal
when they're dead.
i don't like the way it tastes,
the bitter stain on my tongue
or the telling smell that sticks to my hair
i like the way it feels
lighting one cigarette with another,
ash falling to the damp earth,
melting in to nutrient-rich soil for the plants to eat
i control how deep
the smoke buries itself in my lungs
but not how long it settles there
and i enjoy the hazy
silhouette of euphoria
that comes with each grey exhale.