Torched Lance

Torched Lance …


I stagger by your habits and addictions in disgust

Those mini monuments that hold you hostage though deceased

You treat them like the filthy things they are, and you lust,—

as though you’re an addict with aspirations for release


Ultimatums are made and threats to livelihoods are crossed

one alveolus at a time, the grave cost to pay,

One little fire burning the village, ‘til everything is lost,

And breath becomes a ravaging feat for taxing each day.


Twenty times each day this copious feat is taxed,

Convincing yourself that you felt better, more relaxed,

You wake up on the slaver’s block preparing for the axe,

And like a robot your steps were measured by syntax


The morning smoke, the breakfast puff, the way you’d plan your steps

The winter frost on your hoary tips, the smoke rings dance with ice

The warnings stirred were not enough, the mind accepts

The inhales before your coffee sips, delusional but nice.


The brain enwrapped by ties of smoke, at least the poison,

to dance with inhibition, taunted like a frantic fiend,

attacking defenses, laughing, promoting itself as enjoyment,

in the background it chokes you, no matter how hard you wean.


It tempts you like some evil cult facilitator,

And you reflect its tale, like some debilitated disciple

Each weaning process, followed with mercurial misbehavior,

The steps in your feet to fail, like God was cruel and spiteful


How long, in the microcosm of Chronos’s thought?

Stifled in the backdrop, in simple smiles to trial,

The drive, the willpower, each day, with doggedness, fought,

I know the pain you speak, the want, the desire growing viral.


Every smoker is one with the idol Prometheus

At one point or another we all believed we could harness fire

Feed the desire of unity, spark the urge of obedience,

Placate hells from the auburn ribbon at the end of the lighter


The more you stare the more and more you lose who you are

Mesmerized by that flicker, that welcoming to a new ego

With that James Dean-like ruggedness in your repertoire

You feel like a superstar, no equal, but that too is deceitful


You suck in this poison, this invisible venom

Thinking still that your social status will somehow climb

That the next expiry note will not see your name on the vellum

maybe you are above it, immune to the stock paradigm.


The steps are not failures, but insufferable to take,

Breathing with immense stridor, like an avalanche atop you

Like God has his hands girded around your trachea

Or the devil has your airways pinned beneath his shoes


Feeble excuses, always the ruse, torched lance and the noose

Analogous companions, equipment for use, the ransom

against you at your own will, if the shoe fits, use it

No truce with the dragon, your life in hellacious abandon.


One last hit, fingertips scorched, blisters emerge, singed skin splits,

The urge for more, committed to yearn, while burning another,

There’s always a burning, on the edge we live, through all the fits,

We’ve done this before, this hurting, same old way we suffer.


Addicted to this shit, media scorns, gas station posters taunt,

Like a crack fiend dreams; withdrawal sucks and ire apexes

In money schemes they sell us toys, like “Juuls” they flaunt

We feel redeemed, though now we’re stuck in a new objective—


Aggressive methods they propagate, promoting new waves,

Though at the end of the day all they sate is addiction

Conviction to another drug, another way to be a slave

Another way the mind has learned to deal with affliction


© 2019 Paul Neglia

For more works about addiction, love, life struggles, Shakesperian style, and other great topics by this author see Paul Neglia Author Page.

Paul Neglia
Latest posts by Paul Neglia (see all)

Paul Neglia

Proud father of 3. Part time writer of poetry and short stories. I want to paint the world in but a few words.

8 thoughts on “Torched Lance

    • October 2, 2019 at 7:22 AM

      Thank you so much Phyllis. This was another one of my vices. Haven’t had a cigarette for almost 6 years now. I cant believe how these companies are pushing these vaping products. They seem to be even worse than cigarettes. Thank you again

  • October 1, 2019 at 3:47 PM

    Paul quitting smoking was the hardest thing I ever did after drinking. Of course I have been able to avoid these two miserable things but the temptation is always in the back of the mind. Thank you for a great poem. I like you poems about addiction they are enlightening and might prove helpful to people in need. Jamie

    • October 2, 2019 at 7:26 AM

      Thank you so much Jamie. I did both as well. I found quitting cigarettes more difficult. It is so prominent in my everyday life. So many of my co-workers still smoke, it’s always in the back of my mind as well. I’ve been free of nicotine for almost 6 years now. Yeah I gained weight but to be able to smell and taste foods the way they were meant to smell and taste was so satisfying. Thank you again for your kind words.

  • October 3, 2019 at 5:34 PM

    Great and an important message Paul. Addictions no matter what it involves create more than enough hardship. Glad you were able to overcome yours.

    • October 21, 2019 at 2:19 PM

      Thank you so much Kurt. I’m happy I stopped smoking. It was as tough if not tougher than drinking. Separate entities but under similar circumstances. Thank you again my friend.

  • October 20, 2019 at 6:44 PM

    This is a wonderful work, Paul, and it isw evident that it was written by a former smoker as you captured the trials faced so well. It is also evident you harbour justifiable anger towards the tobacco companies, who now, with many people finally heeding the message that cigarettes kill, have turned to e-cigarettes and vaping to replenish their dwindling coffers (or should I say coughers.)

    • October 21, 2019 at 2:20 PM

      Thank you so much for your kind words John. Yeah I quit cold Turkey, never even tried the vaping. Now they are saying that vaping might be worse than smoking. Just another addiction. Thank you again my friend.


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