Written in smoke
by James Coburn
Billy kept his poetry in a refrigerator
way down in New Orleans.
They aged with him as his hair
grew long, his skin ruffled.
A smoke-stained room of cigars
and journals, two lap dogs
and a few whiskey bottles.
An empty space
from the baby grand piano
he had to sell.
His mind never slept. When dreaming,
he met wind crossing telephone lines,
dipping like stitches into the distance.
“You’ll understand one day
your poetry is your friend,” he said.
He chose a solitary life,
after filling it with places,
girlfriends and wives,
until they became stories
known to paper and pen;
typewriter with faded ribbon.
One night, his brownstone flamed
bright as the sun.
Flames licked through keyholes
and drawers, claiming ashes for their own.
“If you’re ever in a fire,
get the hell out, you hear me,” he said.
His poems crashed to floor below,
locked air tight in the refrigerator
plummeting down to earth.
Only pages filled with words survived,
seared by heat, hidden away
as he had been.
(Editor’s Note: To submit poetry, prose, short stories, art or other creative writing for Sunday Funday, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Other submissions for commentaries or reporting can be sent there as well. NonDoc accepts submissions from all over the world and seeks to provide a platform for a diverse group of voices. As always, Letters to the Editors can be submitted by emailing email@example.com. )