Jan/Feb 2006 Poetry

Up in Smoke

by Jose Rivera

Up in Smoke

My wife tells me that if I don't stop
smoking up all the cash, she'll commit
me to Bellevue. I didn't tell her that I've been there

before her. Before she kissed my eyes
the first time I told her I heard voices,
the first time my fingers started doing
the thing they do when the world

is big and red and ghosts talk to me.
She came to me in a yellow sundress. She
looked like butter melting, like purple M & M's,
like Natalie Wood in This Property is Condemned.

I asked her for a cigarette and she gave it
happily, pinched my Spanish face like
old Jewish Nanas do. Now she turns her eyes
away and says, I could have paid my dues
with the money you take for smokes.

Now she wears a red dress and goes out.
Bangs the door, and says she's sick, she's lonely,
she's the one going to Bellevue. Of course I
follow her and see that's not where she's going at all.


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