Photography by Jody Waardenburg

Light me up fast baby,
You know just what to do
I’m all yours, baby
For a minute, maybe two

Burn me down slow, baby
Show me how you care
Blow hard, baby
You can love me anywhere

Every place we ever visit in life leaves its souvenir on us somehow. We take with us the environments we inhabit and forget every day that we are nothing more than a product of where we were born.

For a little while in youth, we have the luxury of discontentment, boredom, and ignorance toward things we can’t yet imagine. It is only then that we take with us only what we choose—we are pretty and squishy and don’t matter to the world nearly as much as we want. Or as much as we are willing to work for. We have no pockmarks or scars or tired contented eyes.
We exist then to grow and whine and spend, and fall flat on our faces.

Then, there is the afterward. Soon our faces can’t stay as firm. Our legs aren’t as strong and our spirits can no longer be fueled by sweet denial. You’ve looked up from Utopia one too many times and have finally been allowed to fail and maybe– just maybe– you might start to get it.

I don’t know what ‘it’ is because I’m not there yet; I share in this in-between with like-minded bodies; we orbit each other out of loneliness. We sit around and pretend to aspire when we’re all really doing the same thing. We fill ourselves with sweet chemicals to make apathy go away and wait for something to happen. Sometimes, the high is all that happens.

To melt, to sway and giggle and stare and daze off; it’s a sickening privilege we’ll all either regret or die for.

Still, we smoke our cigarettes, watching days fly away.
We sit and drink our beer and feel the love swim through our veins.
We hit the bong, pass it around, and hope the high will stay.
We hit the pretty colored tab, and pray that we’ll stay sane.

We sit around in discontentment and burn our bodies away.

So take your life’s souvenirs proudly, bear them with the witness of your dignity and try to get past the pain of looking up. You are nothing but another cigarette in the pack, full of poison and barely moving. You light fast and burn but short. You’re everything to someone for the short time you have and, most of all, you will always, eventually, burn out.
So just sit back, take in life,
And blow.