2 Poems by Robert Allen

Smoking Together at the Breakfast Table

Somehow cigarettes were
part of the meal.
Bagels and Nutella and cup
after cup of coffee,
only pausing to fully drag
a smoke and breathe it out.
Smoke wafted
from our mouths, noses,
smoke in our fresh
morning nakedness.
Smoke straying into
our hair and squatting like
a brown cancerous cloud.
We didn’t last.
It ended badly.
But somehow
those cigarette mornings,
we called them love.


Sometimes things
are nearly over
but you have
to smile because
otherwise you’d
break into pieces like
an undoable puzzle.
It burns the
way hot oil burns
with a splash
of magenta and fire-purple
tossed over hands
in surrender and prayer.
So I stay far from the fire now
and smile like a painted clown.

Robert Allen lives and loves in northern California, where he writes poems, takes long walks, and looks at birds. More at:  www.robertallenpoet.com