Today I will smoke my last cigarette.
Smoking is the death drive; inside the act of smoking a cigarette is the desire to die. It is also, of course, a desire for life--a wish to enter the tiny flame, the white hot smolder.
I began smoking this summer because smoking seemed to me linked to desire; to a desire for life.
But, in the end, it is nothing but a death wish.
And, though my guide for this journey is a smoker, in this one practice, I will deviate.
When the desire to smoke arises, it feels like love's semblance.
But when I smoke, when I've taken it in, when I have finished smoking the cigarette, it is the taste of death that remains in my mouth.
In Lars von Trier's film Melancholia, when Kirsten Dunst's character, Justine, is deep in melancholia, unable to rise from her bed, living inside a kind of sleep death, her sister wakes her in what appears to be the middle of night. Justine sits herself at the dinner table where she is served her favorite meal, meatloaf. But when she tastes the food, her favorite childhood food, she cannot swallow it. "It tastes like ashes," she says, melancholia having absorbed itself entirely into both her mind and her body.
No nourishment in the promise of security inside the food from childhood, the white flame glowing inside the cigarette, or the sweet beckon of endless sleep inside melancholia.