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

the battle

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