Running out of Age

I’m a thief I confess;

Stealing youth out of-

Cigarettes I bring to life,

And suffocate with my lips.

But I take no pleasure-

In my dreadful doing,

Death is chasing my soul,

Like a bounty hunter.

It gets closer with every breath-

Wasted on time,

And each poem composed-

Free of rhyme.

I run faster than age:

Thinking I should overpass it,

I sleep less than dreams:

Believing they would pass out.

Yet still I am afraid it is due,

The lives I have taken-

Are not that few;

The first was just a child,

Lost and confused in his being.

The second wasn’t old enough,

To understand what he was seeing.

The third was forced to grow,

When he himself needed freeing.

Then came the fourth, the fifth-

And many followed,

Every time an identity dies-

Another is borrowed,

But once he learned to love-

His heart was already hollowed.

Thus I confess – not out of guilt,

Nor even due to fear,

I do it to face my demons-

Singing my farewell;

The way ink dies on paper,

After writing the last verse of a poem.

The way night fades in the sky,

Before the very first glimpse of sunrise.

The way fire stamps out thru air,

When black flames take over a cigarette.

Catching a deep breath;

Only this time I don’t send it back out,

I save it to wash the guilt inside me,

I hold it as my final contribution-

Tribute to the biggest of all tragedies; 

Running out of age.

Seddik Jelouane