Smoking used to be cool

Poetry

Remember when smoking was the way to be seen?
Back when all our idols did it. 
From Sean Connery to James Dean.
A cigarette hanging lazy from their lip.
So cool it made me wanna fake scream. 
Or get all starry-eyed and daydream. 
Then the world changed, and our bodies became temples of health. 
Now I could live longer.
And perhaps play a different hand to the one I was dealt. 
With quinoa and wheatgrass and gluten-free bread. 
I could be better. 
But a voice inside screamed to be shot in the head. 
Cos I missed the days of whisky and decadence.
Where I twerked in clubs, my body all twisty and elegant. 
And the way I flirted had a kind of trippy intelligence.
But now I just spend my days in health stores and coffee shops.
Damn.
It wasn’t long ago when Friday night dinner was one that I double dropped.
But even back then I was burning out.
And needed a plan to stop the rot. 
Cos this lifestyle couldn’t last, and before long would have to stop. 
So I ditched the night-time narcotics for fitbits and yoga mats.
With weekends spent browsing for more wholesome hits.
Like curtains and cushions and toaster racks.
Knowing this was way worse than my youth.
But somehow, now, I was kinda trapped and loathe to act. 
Cos my joys, it seemed, were cups of tea.
I had to grow up and face that fact. 
But life is never as black and white as people say. 
Sometimes, when you clear an obstacle, you still get wet like a steeplechase. 
But this is the glory of the human existence. 
And shouldn’t be a lethal race. 
So if I’m having a good time and not hurting anyone.
Should I be punished for my ‘evil traits’?
But whatever. 
Right now, on the table, lurks that cigarette. 
Its rush of calm is in my grasp. 
So where’s the harm if I go ahead and take that bet?
Look at it, laying there all seductive.
The sunlight framing its silhouette. 
With witnesses around I try and ignore it.
And attempt to casually feign regret. 
But in reality can’t hide my dismay.
As I put it down so it’s laid to rest. 
Cos frankly, I’ve been racking up debt for decades. 
So maybe now it’s time I paid that cheque?
Cos ribbons of impurity continue to unravel in my mind. 
And get me thinking, should I save these threads? 
Cos I need both the rebel and the sensible. 
And if I don’t feed them equally.
Then I may as well be as good as dead. 

The washed-up DJ

Poetry

You’ve been left behind, you’re obsolete.
Downbeat and no longer discreet, you desperately scratch the needle in search of the beat.
You’ve let your skills slip. Now all you taste is defeat.
Hard truth is… you can’t compete.
Battling bottom tier DJs, the best you can manage is a dead heat.
Your career in a downward spiral, forever stuck on repeat.
So you switch from vinyl to CDJs, taking dead-end gigs just to make ends meet.

What the hell happened?
You were once top of your game, destined for greatness.
Now you’re aimless, contagious.
People keep their distance, not wanting to be infected by your lameness.
So you become shapeless and faceless, a ghost and a cipher.
Question is, will you bounce back?
Are you a fighter and a survivor?
Are you fierce like a tiger?
An assassin sniper… with rival DJs caught in your crosshairs.
Blinded by lights as paps snap you with their lens flare.

Or are you destined for weddings and kid’s discos?
Forced into fiscal limbo as you blast out the Thong Song by Sisqo.
Watching pensioners dance the calypso to your tired, old beats.
You do whatever it takes to bring in cash.
Whatever keeps you off those cold, dark streets.
But you yearn for your heyday where you had the crowd in your hand.
Then you’d adjourn to the melee of your villa to get rowdy with your fans.
Then fall asleep, kept warm by the heat of your groupies.
The comedown from your set hitting you harder than a bowl of roofies.

But those days are gone, you’ll never get them back.
The clubbing world has moved on.
You have to face that fact.
So either pack it all in or accept your path.
Playing tunes to pensioners ain’t that bad, it’s kind of a laugh.
So that’s where you’ll stay.
Maybe one day, with hope, you’ll get another chance.
Reliving the glory days as a DJ superstar.