I want a cigarette.
I am crouched on my deck, wrapped in blankets, admiring the night sky. And nothing sounds better than smoke in my mouth, billowing out it tepid tendrils.
Smoke is the breezy signature of contemplation. The rubber stamp of creative destruction. It’s one of those topics no one grows tired of writing about, fire, smoke, the color of the sky, the waves, sky scrapers… these things which inspire in us a feeling that so violently desires to be expressed, but refuses to take exact form. Smoke, a constantly moving, dissipating substance, cannot be pinned down in words. My desire to watch it escape hot from my lips is not like sexual desire, which is something I want to satisfy quickly, but an ache in my chest. It is like the way I feel when I look over the ocean, that the world is infinite, and I am playing with my own mortality like a god.
Cancer seems like something contrived by the puritans. Those who enjoy the devil on their lips will die, the bodies that god gave them rebelling, eating itself in spiteful, joyous sacrifice. It seems terribly unfair that there are consequences to feeling too deeply. We watch the spirals drift from the fires we built, and we want to feel it, we want it inside of us. This desire, which is ignited by smoke and the roofs of buildings and endless oceans, is best described as the desire to feel something beyond the moment.
The world is an endless expanse of potential emotions that feel so intense we search for a way to make them feel sharper, clearer, as if in this clarity we will see our purpose. Perhaps our purpose is merely to flit about our lives, trying to decipher this feeling. Some claim it is the touch of divinity, others claim it is merely the chemicals in our bodies, but these answers do not satisfy me. What experience of emotion can I have that will leave me feeling satisfied, craving no more?
We ask ourselves this question, and like good scientists, begin experimenting, process of elimination. Why do people climb mountains, spend millions, act desperately? It may be that we are all searching for rock bottom. A hard surface to scrape until there is something solid beneath us, to make us bleed. We feel that if we can find the edges that define our world we can live between them. Perhaps, there are none, and the willful plunge in one direction does nothing but give a person so much emotion that they cannot stop falling, and never finding the edge, tumble until they can’t take more. It would be so much easier if we could find the limits of our world, and yet we know in our hearts that it is both the boundlessness of our desires and the experiences that are their manifestations that makes life what we live every day. I want to smoke.