The Sunday Poem: Mary Oishi... i will smoke again before i die

Time to turn on your printer. And you might want to locate a couple of refrigerator magnets. Seriously.

Mary Oishi's first book of poetry, Spirit Birds They Told Me, is being celebrated at a Book Release Party/Birthday Bash next Saturday at the Outpost Performance Space. $20 admission includes the book. RSVP (required) to

i will smoke again before i die

i will smoke again before i die
but it will not be tobacco in my pipe
no, it will be old hurts consumed, ascending
wisping out into the ethers
it will be all those judgments
of who and what was good for me in life
who and what was bad
it will be all those times i
clung to people places and things
all those times i wearied
and wanted to let go--but couldn't
it will be every useless worry
that never came to pass
it will be every quiet sadness
every disappointment
every insult
every shock
every hard cry

it will be all those false politenesses

all those heavy pressures to repress truths
will reduce to ash and blow away
gone all posturing and strutting just
to cover up the toxic shame infection
i will burn that shame to cinder too
my pipe will be fueled by all those barriers
that kept me so long from
loving this and that about myself
i will burn off all blaming, all projections
i will burn off all the anger and armor that came
from dreaming myself small or in danger
i will burn away excesses:
misinformation medication
illusions expectations
i will leave this life
lean and burned pure to the core
taking with me only what i brought
leaving behind a simple one syllable kiss
that the face of the world will know only as


--Mary Oishi

Poetry submissions are welcome. Email

Views: 244

Comment by Margaret Randall on January 23, 2011 at 8:26am
"Burn that shame to cinder..." You go, Girl! I wouldn't have expected less than this great poem from Mary, but it is amazing to be reading it in Cuba, sitting at the edge of Cienfuegos Bay, watching the dark roiling clouds and choppy water. Accessing The Ditchrider from far away is always a turn-on! Thanks, Mary, and thanks as always, Jon. I will be there in spirit to celebrate the book release on the 29th!
Comment by cc on January 23, 2011 at 9:17am
This so speaks to me, Mary Oishi. Thank you, Ditch Rider, for sharing it. I will be getting your book and will be relishing it. And, yes, the poem is worthy of re-reading a whole lot - refrigerator status, definitely.
Comment by cathyray on January 23, 2011 at 9:47am
Ditchrider, you are correct!! you did forget making copies to send to friends. The poem made me holler "yes!"
Comment by Zuzu Petals on January 23, 2011 at 12:07pm
Comment by Dee Cohen on January 23, 2011 at 2:30pm

Lovely and powerful Mary. Like the poet herself...

Congrats on this poem and on your book release. Dee

Comment by Amanda Sutton on January 23, 2011 at 6:46pm
love. love. love. love. love
Comment by bonnie on January 23, 2011 at 6:58pm
Wow, what a beautiful poem and sentiment.  Thanks so much for sharing!
Comment by Georgia Santa-Maria on January 25, 2011 at 5:11am
Wonderful--thank you for the great poem.
Comment by Barelas Babe on January 25, 2011 at 7:31am
Powerful and amazing words.Congratulations on your book, Mary!
Comment by bg on January 25, 2011 at 8:55am

Inspire, expire.  Smoking becomes you.


Thank you so much, Mary.  So sorry that I will not be able to attend the party.  I will get a book!


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