Cigarette Houses

Cigarette houses in concrete jungles wait patiently for 9:15,

when the caffeine surges through the dark veins of civilians

desperately searching for a pick-me-up.

Baristas brew dark roast coffee,

its texture as clear as mud,

its flavor bold and vivacious,

its taste as homey and hearty as Peet’s

served in an oversized cup in the afternoon on an Autumn day.

Citizens trudge through Ashtray Road,

their faces lined with sleepless hours,

their capillaries purple and black from withdrawal,

their hands violently shaking.

The need overcomes the inhabiters,

their stomachs twisting, acidic,

filled with rancid ingredients shoved down their digestive  tracts.

Smoke fills their lungs with a reason to stop,

a reason to breathe free air

and sing without a rasp and a constant guttural tone.

They realize their flaws.

They notice their deadly imperfections,

their own death traps,

and yet they stop not for themselves

or their cigarette houses.

Still, they trudge on down the valley of ashes,

searching for their jolt,

the one simple pleasure that makes them feel alive,

they makes them feel real.

They prick their veins with caffeine needles

and feel the rush,

feel the power,

feel the warning signs.