We all have them. Or had them. Poet Billy Collins looks back fondly on his cigarette habit in "The Best Cigarette." Write about a "bad" habit you had/have, about trying to lose the habit or about how much you enjoy it. Follow the links to read or listen to Collins' poem(s)


The note scribbled on a scrap of paper.
A job at home, errand, item to buy, person to call.
Pushed in a pocket, tucked in a slot on the dashboard,
cornered on the desk blotter, posted to the calendar.
Ignored. Found too late. Laundered.

Good intentions gone bad,
in handwriting bordering on code
that even I cannot decipher a day later.

The line for a poem that came to me while driving,
written at 55 miles per hour, eyes off the road,
paper on the airbag desk-
A line worth dying for?
Not at all. Opening the paper at ten o'clock that night,
sitting on the couch with coffee and a sleeping wife,
the words: "Bad habits. Writing notes."
are another reminder of things undone.

Charles Michaels

Love and Lust in the American Novel

You're a bad habit of mine.
Turning the pages of the novel you loaned me
I cut myself on your book.
I stopped for a moment
to watch the blood soak into the page.
Blood. Fertility. New Life. Death.
This is what we needed all along.
Neither of us would bleed
or cut.

Lianna Wright


i have looked and seen
what i want
-but this could never be
so i have accepted
decided to cope

when i stare into the mirror
these thought no longer matter

convincing myself
this could never hurt me
how could i not have seen?
this is what i want
what i have come to need

i disgust myself
why should you look upon me?
i need to control and form
model this pathetic representation

knowing it can only lead to more hurt, more pain

then i see this all to be meaningless
for it has become necessary

so once again i take a deep breath
hold on tight
shove my finger down my throat
enjoying the pain of self inflicted punishment