Loyal Servant

as I begin to write this

I’m down to about an inch

of an Olivia Series V cigar

I can’t recall

in my adulthood 

a time that I wasn’t

addicted to nicotine

at an early age

my mom preached

“don’t smoke”

but still sent me

to the corner store

to buy her Kools

I would also buy cigarettes

from the dollar bin by the register

and smoke them with my friends

I am not even sure if I inhaled

or smoked them properly

one time at my grandmother’s beach house

my mom found a pack of ‘Now’ cigarettes

that I purchased from the dollar bin

she gave me the same old

‘don’t smoke’ routine

while her and my dad

were blazing multiple packs daily

at the same beach house

lighting fireworks with my mom’s cigarette

she caught me attempting to take a puff 

she came unglued and said

“if I see you do that again

I’m going to make you eat one”

my young smart ass self told her

“I’ll eat one now”

and did

I puked my fucking guts out

more ‘don’t smoke’ lectures 

that maybe worked for a few years

then I found weed

the after joint or bowl cigarette

was a fucking religion unto itself

that continued for years

with mild attempts to quit

when my mom’s blood pressure

skyrocketed one night

she lost consciousness

and never regained it

at the hospital waiting on

a miracle with my dad I said

“I’m about to smoke a cigarette”

he claimed to have no clue that I smoked

I continued smoking cigarettes

(only this time not hiding it)

with a few more attempts to quit

I started smoking cigars

but spent more on premium sticks

than I did on my packs

so I switched to cheaper sticks

but eventually went back to the cigs

when my dad died

I started smoking a pipe regularly

it was cheaper

had less chemicals

and the taste and smell were exceptional

but I was still inhaling smoke

then I learned of vaping

initially it was the kind

that looked like a cigarette

but soon graduated to massive

box looking contraptions

that could produce an ungodly

amount of vapor clouds

horror stories and reports

on the dangers led me to quit

but I replaced the habit

with dipping snuff

in the past I would take a

dip with someone who had a can

but now I was doing it daily

I knew I didn’t want that to

become a hardcore habit

that’s when my research

led me to Swedish snus

(steam-pasteurized tobacco you can swallow)

the Swedes method is presumably

safer than the fire-cured

American counterpart

so here I am

lipping snus daily

enjoying approximately

five cigars a week

having the occasional dip

and after I brush my teeth at night

popping lozenges before slumber

still a goddamned slave

to demon nicotine

I should have listened to my mom