stainforth cigarettes








Midnight, smoke chases
lost dreams through moonlight.

3a.m., burning embers fade
while verse pushes sleep away.

5a.m., ideas reduced
to ash — nothing rises.

7a.m., caffeine replaces nicotine,
morning steam dances with lost dreams.


Written for the image prompt for the Mag using the above RA Stainforth pic.


Filed under Poetry, Poetry - Prompts

19 responses to “Sleepless

  1. Clever response. I hope you are not really a smoker!

  2. Mark this a nice little set piece. The kind of tight imagry mixed with a contemplative voice I can’t put into words right now but it would be better to show you how it can linger by making the tension tighter–just the first stanza

    ‘Lost dreams chase smoke
    through a midnight moon’

    You can use either indirect or direct atricle depending on the exact mood you want. Since the moon is passive in the poem you can take light because it isn’t needed, ‘midnight moon’ counts on the reader’s expectations by the
    rising smoke in the beginning and when ever we think of “moon” we visualize it full. You coul even make it ‘midnight’s moon’ which strentens the time element and end winice alliteration throughout. I apologize now, so you don’t need to send amd uncomfortable reply. I can’t help it. I write 8-10 hours a day–sometimes it just involves repeating a single phrase over and over again in different word orders.Strong poem–I’m beginning to think that the Japanese Haiku as been so bastardised in America that it has become impotent. The short. tight poem you’ve written I would consider our Americanisation of the Haiku. We have expanded the form, sacked the syllabics for rhythm and extended the tension.Very good.>KB

    • no apology needed. I have said many times I enjoy feedback. I never think what I post is a finished product. My original intent with this one was something along the lines of William’s “Wheelbarrow”; short, concise, to the point, plenty of meaning to be mined. Lots of room for improvement.
      I agree with your assessment of the Haiku. What we write is not what the Japanese intended.
      8-10 hours a day to write…I am truly envious.

      • I am glad you took my suggestions in the light they were ment. There is very little to be done to it, that is why I was making sure that I justified my suggestions. You didn’t mention them , they were suggestions freely given and if you didn’t agree /I have no eg where criticism is concerned , particularly with my own work. It is very hard to critically see what you’ve put down. In the absence of someone in who’s judgement you have trust in the bestnext thig is that when you think its finished give it a few day in a drawer. Then take it out again. I surprise myself many times that te piece I put in the drawer was stole and replace with someone else’s work. I have a long time friend of 45 years, diuring the week I send him my revisions from the week before and anything new, finished or not. He is 90% smack on in his observations but not infallable. You env my time to write. When I was 25 I left the cloistered life of the University and never wrote another poem until this May, 35 years of silence. /It was in many ways the best thing that could have happened. I am bi-polar and a recovering alcoholic with 10 years sobriety behind me, as well as 35 years of incubating a vision of the world. I don’t have a choice about writing so much, my brain is on full power. It doesn’t aways produce things I keep to post or publish but even though I might have spent a total of days working a poem at some point I just say, ///even if I make this perfect it won’t mean anything. Because what it might say is not interesting, but it strengthens my senses so I can better understand my craft. For meI write because at some point along the way I want what I have written to mean something to some one. They read the poem and say yes, I have been there too. It is the human condition to not want to be alone. Sorry for taking all of your space but I have been in a paradigm shift about my work, but ?i won’t bore you with that. Be well.KB

      • Windham Services

        no worries about taking up space, i enjoy hearing about other writing journeys. mine is very similar; many years without a word written then picked up again a little over a year ago. last November I started writing and posting at least once a day most days. I have had to slow down the last three months (job I hated finally ended and I have been self employed again and focusing on getting the business back up and going) and miss it terribly when I cannot find the time in a day.

        I do know the feeling about going back to previous pieces, i go back to some I have written over the last year and scratch my head. having someone to read and give that honest feedback is invaluable. as far as the suggestions, i think they are very good, just have not had time to work with them today. it as been a juggle of church, family, football and dog washing and training. I look forward to incorporating them. I will send you the revision.

        Mark Windham

  3. Tess Kincaid

    Nice write, Mark…

  4. jasmine calyx

    The third stanza is my favorite. I really like the direction in which you took the prompt.

    Hey, I posted my first real word prompt on my new blog. I’d love for you to write for me. I was thinking of you when I made the list—more verbs than I’ve been including in the last few. Single words. Not so thematic. I think you’ll like it.

  5. Ah, that morning steam at 7 am,,,

  6. A nice write on the cycle of it all

  7. hypercryptical

    Know this. Excellent write.

    Anna :o]

  8. A cigarette’s perspective… this Mark, and so glad that you quit! What is it that helped you quit?

    • It was a fiancé (now wife) that did not smoke, threw the last one out the window and did not buy another pack. Unfortunately, I was managing a restaurant at the time so cheeseburgers substituted for a while. 🙂 Still not back down to my smoking weight.

  9. smokin good indeed…thanks for sharing all your words Mark

  10. Helen Dehner

    Beautifully written …

    Happy, Happy New Year!

  11. I like the vices, and how they don’t necessarily help.

  12. I love this rendition of a sleepless night. I am not a smoker, but the words play well to set the mood and feel of this piece. Nicely penned, Mark.

Some of what I write is true, some is fiction; most is merely possibility.

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