Abolition, Imaginary Smoke

Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

Tomorrow is Kurt Cobain’s 21st death anniversary. I have unintentionally abstained from listening to Nirvana for quite a while, as an avalanche of new hiphop albums made its way to my music library and even then I haven’t exhausted everything. I find myself winding back to Nevermind (and skipping ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, as if I would be reprimanded by the ghost of Cobain for playing the song that propelled them to rock history, the song he loathed so much). I’d go straight to the last track, ‘Something In The Way’, the most subdued – lyrically and melodically – cut from the record. 

I am typing this right now in our patio, with a glass of Jack Daniels and Coke on the side of the table. I get up every now and then to replenish ice cubes from the freezer. It’s colder here than inside the house, which feels suffocating if it weren’t for the electric fans and A/C. It’s also awfully quiet, save for the muffled sound crickets make, the tinkling of the ice, and me tapping on my laptop’s keyboard. I just took a shower (the second time today), my hair still wrapped in a towel. I put an old, ratty T-shirt on that’s two layers thinner from whenever it was bought. 

I’ve been simultaneously reading a few pages of William S. Borroughs’ Junky (the title says it all) while revisiting some of my pharmacology and neurology notes to reacquaint myself with the physiologic and psychologic effects of heroin. It seems rather cosmic that I’ve found and bought this book right after I finished reading James Gavin’s Deep In A Dream: The Long Night of Chet Baker, a biography of the highly romanticized jazz icon, whose death (believed as suicide) inevitably followed his decades of self-abuse – his life and music fed by a hypodermic needle.

Right now, for the longest time since writing my thesis five years ago, I long for a cigarette. Just this one time. Despite the smoke, which I abhor, and the trace of nicotine that latches on my fingertips, I would not care right now. I suddenly miss the soft billowing of smoke that unapologetically lingers in the air, until it is no more. I have a vague memory of my fingers flirting with each cigarette until an entire pack is smoldered. 

A phrase suddenly sprung in my head: residual withdrawal syndrome. That sounds stupid. Or maybe phantom cigarette sensation or a retrograde oral fixation episode. Either way, I’ll just finish what volume of liquor I can.

I read that there’s a blood moon tonight. Eclipses don’t fascinate me as much, but the thought makes me smile. Not only do I like how this phenomenon sounds (like a potentially good band name), it’s just significantly apt for some of the bullshit that I want to completely block not just this evening, but for days to come. Until they obliterate by themselves. Right now, I’ll just continue listening to dead men’s music and mull over how they matter more than some living, breathing entities in my life. 

And maybe, I’ll go find a cigarette.


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