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the best cigarette
poetry [ ]

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by [Billy_Collins ]

2009-08-03  |     |  Submited by gena gurau

there are many that I miss
having sent my last one out
a car window sparking along the road one night,
years ago.
the heralded one, of course:
after sex,
the two glowing tips now the lights of a single ship;
at the end of a long dinner with more wine to come
and a smoke ring coasting into the chandelier;
or on a white beach, holding one with fingers
still wet from a swim.
how bittersweet these punctuations of flame and gesture;
but the best were on those mornings
when I would have a little something going in the typewriter,
the sun bright in the windows,
maybe some Berlioz on in the background.
I would go into the kitchen for coffee and
on the way back to the page, curled in its roller,
I would light one up and feel its dry rush mix with the dark taste of coffee.
then I would be my own locomotive,
trailing behind me
as I returned to work little puffs of smoke,
indicators of progress,
signs of industry and thought,
the signal that told the nineteenth century it was moving
that was the best cigarette,
when I would steam into the study
full of vaporous hope and stand there,
the big headlamp of my face pointed down
at all the words in parallel lines.

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