Cigarette

I take this cigarette in my fingers; move it.

The scent of Turkish tobacco seduces my nostrils

Or is it Egyptian? Oval stick of dissolute pleasure.

An errant loop of smoke escapes and coils

Around my hand then dissipates into the heavy air.

Undulating spirals wrapped within a filament of haze;

In water blue and pearl grey whirls; gossamer lotus shapes,

Substantial and elusive as my thoughts.

I set pure thought about it, the coils of smoke

Ensnare my brain. Till I feel there is the splendour

Of an oriental room behind me.

Couches; tiled floors; ancient ceramics;

Jewel coloured cushions, soft leather lined with silk;

Crumbling facades; moist stucco;

Water stains describing sepia maps of antique lands.

North Africa invades my room insidiously.

A gecko near the cornice slowly turns his eye towards me;

Green, grey, yellow, velvet skin; silent; still.

Turns his amethyst eye in my direction,

Slowly lifts one foot; leaves it suspended in midair.

Caught in his reverie. He turns away from me.

Mists of thought surround me and into dim light comes sherbet.

And coffee. A burnished tray; a steaming pot, pistache; sweetmeats;

A dark eyed youth with lustrous lids; kohl lined eyes

Bends near; a brazen steaming pot no larger than a dove’s breast.

The boy bends near to pour dark liquid in a tiny cup;

His hair, his slender, dark and supple fingers

Exude a musk transporting me beyond my familiar state.

The pungent smell of coffee and his pervading scent

Conflict and harmonise in dissolute argument.

My shoulder feels the fleeting pressure of his sleeve;

A houri’s breath; the shadow of a touch.

My shoulder feels the momentary pressure of his hand;

His eyes lift not a second from his task;

The skin beside his full red lips creases momentarily

Yet not a word; nor glance. He moves away.

I feel my temples throb; a bird flies in my throat.

With not a word, he moved away; no glance; no word.

The slightest rasp of fine sugar from rahat loukhoum;

The rattle of a hookah; hot mint tea; honeyed almonds.

A cornucopia of decadent delights gently assail my senses.

Crepuscular pleasures in a silent room.

Softly blended with the ancient symbols

Of this religion of the Star and of the Crescent.

More by this Author


Comments 47 comments

Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 5 years ago from Minnesota

Your writing is beautiful and flows so naturally. I loved the pictures too but your words created all that was needed. Lovely and uplifting hub.


Matt in Jax profile image

Matt in Jax 5 years ago from Jacksonville, FL

Great flow and movement from line to line. I really enjoyed it.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thank you Twin, for coming to read, Your support is enjoyed and your visits are looked forward to. The pictures are great aren't they. I added one as I thought it would complete the feel.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Greetings Matt. Thank you for coming to visit. Please have a look around and feel welcome to call in whenever you are passing.


What Is Q profile image

What Is Q 5 years ago from Tennessee

You had me at cigarette. Great imagery. I haven't had the Turkish blend in a while. Might have to buy a pack now.


acaetnna profile image

acaetnna 5 years ago from Guildford

Twilight Lawns you always paint a magnificent picture with your words, fantastic imagery.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Q, you will never regret Turkish of Egyptian cigarettes. Make sure they are oval rolled, rather than round. I seem to remember Abdullahs or Sobranie Egyptian

Glad the imagery worked for you... I am always in some trepidation when I have seen that you have left a comment. You are not, I would imagine, likely to take prisoners.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Acaetna, thank you again. I would love to just leave it to the words, but the temptation to insert a picture is so overwhelming at times.

Thanks for your lovely comments. You are just so lovely.

Hope your day has been pleasant in Guildford... it's been so beautiful today in SW16.


Sunnie Day 5 years ago

Ian This is full of scents and colorful descriptions, I felt as if I was in the room. Really fantastic Ian.

Hugs,

Sunnie


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

I don't know whether my Muse, Erato, was playing games with me when I wrote that, but it certainly worked well. Thank you for your visit, and I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Steve has left you a URL which might be right up your street; it's on the Steve and George hub


Sunnie Day 5 years ago

Thanks Ian..will take a peak. Have a good night..

Sunnie


Lady Wordsmith profile image

Lady Wordsmith 5 years ago from Lancaster, UK

I was worried that I was going to be craving a cigarette if I read this one Ian, but thankfully, your poem was more than satisfying enough to curb that urge (thank goodness, I've been trying to quit properly for years!)

This was beautiful, so vivid and alive, and smokey and sensual, evocative and colourful, full of whispering sound and texture and colour. Very visual. Loved it :)

Linda


steve of ian fame profile image

steve of ian fame 5 years ago from Essex

Well you highlight the fact that cigarettes have so much character.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Linda, I was aiming for sensual(obviously) but it just got the bit between its teeth and made off. Mind you, I didn't make much effort to rein it in. Poems are like that, with me!

Thanks for the comment; the support; the visit.

Maybe I should change the title, but it's a bit late now.


donna bamford profile image

donna bamford 5 years ago from Canada

HiIan - really enjoyed this one. So well written with brilliant imagery. Let's go to Turkey shall we!


Shil1978 profile image

Shil1978 5 years ago

Wonderful - such magical writing, as always. Beautifully composed and the pictures are fantastic. Well done. Sherbet and hookah - ah, those rekindled some memories! I've missed you!! Am glad I am back to read more of Sir Ian's works :)


kallini2010 profile image

kallini2010 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Oh, indulgence, how seductive! Could you have enjoyed it even more?


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Your tent or mine, Donna? Oh! right, I'm thinking more North Africa than the casbah... Thank you for joining me in the Soukh, I enjoyed your company.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thank you, and welcome back. I have missed your visits, Shil. Where have you been. I was planning to organise a search party, but they said you could take care of yourself.

Thanks for the comments, and please don't leave it so long next time.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

I could have, Svetlana, but there were whisperings in the other rooms, and I was a little worried that the riot police were going to be called in; riot police or that eunuch with the big scimitar, and I'm too young to meet an early death.

But there's nothing nicer than a bit of self indulgence, is there?


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Soif, there's nothing like a bit of experimentation, and if one were to push out the boat a little further from shore, nicotine stained or opium hazed or not, there are more pleasures in that than a packet of roll-ups.


kallini2010 profile image

kallini2010 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

I don't know, Ian, whisperings and fear of riot police would have ruined it for me, but if those things were not in my mind, self-indulgence feels more seductive and tantalizing when I don't quite give in or am not allowed to give in. Then it haunts me more. But now I am beginning to think that my dance with forbidden pleasures might border on depravity. Controlled or otherwise.


HattieMattieMae profile image

HattieMattieMae 5 years ago from Limburg, Netherlands

Very excellent twilight! Loved it! :)


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

A phrase borrowed from Daddy's Little Butterfly Bowed Girl, perhaps.

I like the idea of depravity being full throated. Let's have baying at the moon, or shrieking at arcane gods; not whimperings in grubby corners and private mortifications of the flesh.

Full stage stuff, this, even if in darkened rooms at daybreak.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thank you HMM, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Please feel free to visit as much and as often as you like. You are always welcome.


kallini2010 profile image

kallini2010 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Frankly, Ian, this "controlled depravity" is haunting me now. I might even write about it. Now I have uploaded one hub - war again.

And I am trying to write a story about a song and the connections. I might as well agree that my niche is search for connections. I don't know why it is so difficult, but I am unable to let it go. It is such a torture. Writing this article that I have in mind, that is.

So, my indulgence now is old Russian songs, feel free to call me insane.

But depravity? You are right, once innocence is gone, then we can go all the way - in a very Russian way.

There is an expression that literally reads "wide soul" or "width of the soul", but what it means - with all the open heart, to the full extent, with all the width that is possible. There is width to the soul and depth to the soul. It does not mean depravity, it means the ability to enjoy the moment fully without reservations and letting others do so without imposing restrictions that spoil the fun.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

I can't imagine what naughtiness you will get into when you spout phrases like, "War again". Poor little black butterfly. A story would be interesting. Pure fiction or something completely describing some incident? Fyodor

Dostoevsky eat your heart out.


kallini2010 profile image

kallini2010 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Ian, what are you talking about?

I was referring to my article

Film and Literature. The Novel "All Quiet on the Western Front" and its Film Adaptation --

my latest hub. Obviously, it is about a war.

The story about a song is not too militant. I had to leave it for a while, it just does not go as smoothly as I want. I came back to my old idea "Men are Buses". Because the act of writing regardless what about removes the block and allows me to come back to something more substantial (than men). Oh,...


Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 5 years ago

Ditto to all the wonderful comments. I feel I have been transported to another place in time . . . and I want to stay there. All of the senses are heightened in your lovey poem. Amazing!


Randy Behavior profile image

Randy Behavior 5 years ago from Near the Ocean

Oh TL what a delight to my senses! I find scent to be the hardest to write and yet you do it masterfully. How is it to one who shrinks from them, that you made cigarettes alluring? I enjoyed this and was sad that it ended. My whole body is saying yum.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa

Shades of the Alexandria Quartet! Wonderful writing, thank you. Even though I hate cigarettes I could almost wish I could smoke one of those oval rolled ones now!

Love and peace

Tony


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

Istanbul is at the top of my, and my families' hit list. This beautifully conjured image placed me at a table just opposite to you, as this delectable scene unfolded. I could smell it, taste it, desire it and immerse myself in its aromas. Lovely!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Sally. Wow! I love you comments. It was a poem that really took on a life of its own, and seemed to delve and luxuriate more than I had imagined... "and I wanted to stay there" was a lovely comment.

Thank you for your visit and for your support.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Unfortunate choice of a title, perhaps, Randy but I think it draws one in, and goes for the senses. I'm glad you enjoyed those senses being invaded. Not too rapaciously, I hope.

"Yum" is complement enough; thank you.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Positive criticism, indeed, Tony. Gratefully and humbly accepted. I love the colours, textures and aromas of that which I was trying to convey. Thank you for making me realise that it worked for you as well as for the selfish poet, himself.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Keith, I am there with you. You call the serving boy and make sure the coffee is thick and dark and gritty to the tongue and teeth. Make it as sweet as the bee's throat. I've just seen a box of rahat loukhoum, wrapped in thinnest silver sheets, and a dish bitter almonds. We'll sit and smoke a shisha together and ask those hubbers here surrounding us to join us at out table and on cushions on the carpets and discuss mysteries of the whispering reeds.


Doug Turner Jr. 5 years ago

Well this one simply comes off the page and starts walking around the living room, rummaging through the reader's cabinets.

Hands down my favorite poem of yours thus far.

This could have been plucked right from the pages of a fantastic novel, something very rich and harboring the effects of an opium dream. Reminded me of Poe in that regard.

Just damn good work here. That's all. Hell, you even used crepuscular in a suitable fashion; that alone deserves credit.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Doug, there are comments, and there are comments, and yours falls very nicely into the latter group!!

I am completely happy with your response. and really feel as if I have pleased someone who would not be happy with less than the best... or my possible best.

When I write poetry, I tend to go on and on, at times, but on the whole haven't felt like putting a lot of it (Lot? Ha! I don't have much output) on HP, but your kind words have encouraged me somewhat.

Thank you, sincerely.


Becky 5 years ago

Oh my, Take me to the casbah. Lovely, sensual, opulent , and decadent. Beautiful poem Ian.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Thank you, Becky.

Sensual?

Opulent?

Decadent?

Talk to me baby, I love it.

It is a poem that I loved writing and still like reading, and now it is that bit more special because you have seen what I like in it.


Becky 5 years ago

You just like that I have a vocabulary and know how to use it.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

And that can very well be!

Thanks for using it positively in my direction.


Becky 5 years ago

LOL, very funny.


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

If you like this one, Becky, you might like: http://hubpages.com/literature/The_Last_Day_Poem...


Jangaplanet profile image

Jangaplanet 5 years ago

Twilight, It would have soon been my 5th year without a cigarette, till I read this. Now I'm about to lightup! Kidding! This was so well written and brilliant!

Amazing Photos ! voted up and beautiful!


Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 4 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. Author

Jangaplanet, I have just seen your comment, I wasn't notified.

Beat me! Throw buckets of cold water over me. Admonish me,

I apologise for not replying to your comment any sooner.

Don't worry, my talented friend, every time I read this I feel I want to eat rahat loukhoum, drink Turkish coffee and smoke an Egyptian cigarette... and that's just for starters.


nemanjaboskov profile image

nemanjaboskov 4 years ago from Serbia

It will soon be a year since I quit, but over the last month or so, I'm beginning to think about cigarettes more often and with more intensity... I like the idea of lighting a cigarette and having an espresso, but I don't like the idea of the actual cigarette in my mouth and my fingers - so I am not going to light one any time soon :)

Again, even though this is not exactly my cup of tea, I can say that I loved the way you pictured the entire atmosphere of hedonism here, but I also expected much more about that darn cigarette :)

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