Langley – Part 1: The Smoke Shop


Part I – The Smoke Shop

At the entrance to a one-way street
There lies a smoke shop

It stands
Like a tiny temple
Dejected and small
I cross the threshold and the bell chimes

Inside sits a wise old sage
A worn and kindly face

His wares are drawn
From the fascinations and obsessions of boyhood
Tobacco
Women
Knives
Arranged
Like wares in a toy store

He peddles in the eternal lie:
Through pleasurable experience
A man is exalted above adolescence

But the sage is wise
And he knows the limitations of his trade

On the rack
Next to his menagerie of Aphrodities
He has placed a tome of geographic nature
Like a promise of Truth
And a glimmer of Hope

I can see all of this
But for now
Apathy obscures my mind

Like a supplicant
I place an offering on the counter

The sage accepts the sacrifice
And reaches behind his shroud
Retrieving a small box

With misplaced reverence I take the gift
Expressing my gratitude as I leave

The bell chimes

In the street I invoke Prometheus
L
ike an ancient cultist
I breath life into the flame  

The smoke hangs in the air
Weighed down by the prayers I dare not speak

By: Nicholas Elbers

Langley (I wrote it in three parts) was the first poem I was ever really proud I finished. It is far more autobiographical than I am usually comfortable writing, but it take inspiration from a number of my favorite pieces of literature, including The Divine Comedy and Confessions, so it will always be something I come back to. Since, I have also developed a deeper appreciation for punctuation.

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