Smokin’

Following on from Fern Stone’s last guest post, where misogyny was taken to task, the poem that ‘started’ it all.

On top of the sexism, there was also the by comparison minor failure to recognise someone else’s art as a finished piece and appreciate it as it should be beheld.

In The Medusa Protocol II what constitutes art is central to the conversation at Kirsty/Medusa’s apartment; ‘how alike a painting of a bowl of fruit is to a real bowl of fruit doesn’t reveal the first thing about how good the art is,’ etc. Both there and previously here (Brigitte Bardon’t: Radio Songs; a Review) I’ve quoted Martin Creed:


“My work is about fifty per cent what I make of it and fifty per cent what people make of it. Meanings are made in people’s heads. I can’t control them.”


On this score misplaced and unnecessary critique of art simply because it doesn’t meet personal expectations isn’t solely a male domain; it was, after all, Jacqueline Crofton, a woman (and so-called fellow artist), who defaced Creed’s Work 227 with eggs, saying afterwards that she didn’t consider the Turner Prize winning piece art.

It’s quite something, I think, to look at art (especially when going out of the way to) with expectancy of appeasement, not openness to being challenged, whether through the experience of others or by being shown something about the self.


Art that doesn’t challenge is a mere reflection; vanity and indulgence. That is not the end of the world; if we never checked a mirror before leaving the house, after all. But stare too long and risk never leaving home at all.


There are many things I like about the below. It speaks for loss and the human condition through one person, while also creating the potential for any reader to create their own back-story for anyone they might see smoking after reading.

On a personal level, it challenges my own thoughts that we do these things in belief the odds will be defied simply as it’s us doing them; I really like how that idea is completely turned on its head, while equally the outcome essentially still relies on the same premise.

That someone took it upon themselves to comment that this piece not only wasn’t finished, but more so had the audacity to think they could validate their narrowness by claiming to speak for all when saying other readers wouldn’t consider it poetry, is baffling at best and utterly crass at worst.

Burnt orange
Ball of light
Billowing smoke
Taking flight
Ash boulders
To a tiny spider
As you flick your cigarette
And exhale to forget
Time stands still looking into your eyes
The creases beside them, like a black star shine
You remember her kiss like it was yesterday
When her eyes were open wide
We all fall asleep
Sometimes we fall deeper
The youth in her soul
Carries on through the ether
You miss her so bad
And you love her madly
To follow her in
You would do so gladly
But you wouldn’t be weak
She would just be furious
And if she is waiting
You would rather not ruin it
So you do the little things
Like smoking an extra cigarette
Eating ice cream
Driving fast and not worrying about what could happen next
Secret steps to death
Subtle, cruising under the endless sky
To speed up the process
To be by her side
But also, you’re
Smiling with others
Like never before
There’s nothing to lose
When you’ve lost it all
“keep the change”
You say too often now
It won’t be long till money won’t matter now
Saying hello to strangers passing by
Those youthful eyes still standing in time
Feeding the ducks on your way home
Saying I love you through the telephone
Laughing out loud
In a tight fit crowd
Slowly, secretly
You enjoy life
But still don’t fear the end
Your darling in the sky
Blessed you with a second wind
To live freely like never before
To care less, ignites you more
To truly be alive once more
After your love shut the door
You never loved her more
You ponder this
As the burnt orange light revs up once again
You smile
The black star shine creases expand beside your eyes
You love her madly
You would be with her gladly
But her last gift to you was
A second wind to carry on with out restraints this time
Be wild, be free, everything you want to be
So when it’s time
You will enter the gates of the great Divine
With joy in your heart
And love in your blood
So
Live life when they can’t
Because that’s what they would want

143259894_784475865476008_7087642506613783888_nMore Fern Stone:

All content attributed to and images of Fern Stone are Copyright © Fern Stone 2021

Header image courtesy  Ander Burdain. Credits for other images can be found by selecting the image.

Verse Fern put to music:

Thanks for reading 🙂

N. P. Ryan

One thought on “Smokin’

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