Thursday, November 16, 2006

Poem for Poetry Thursday

I'm literally shrugging my shoulders wondering where this poem came from. All I can tell you is that I followed the Poetry Thursday prompt and this is what I got. However, I did wake up with the title in my head.

The Last Cigar

Smoke ’em while you got ’em!
and that’s what everyone did
until all the cigars in the world
were gone. Ropes of smoke
wafting up to heaven, creating
blankets of sweet smog. Tobacco fields
were turned into low-income housing;
the wrappers became biodegradable containers
for grape tomatoes and strawberries.

And the people went about their lives,
until a man in a town on the outskirts
found a perfectly preserved cigar
in his damp basement. He longed
to take this tightly rolled bundle
between his lips, but instead
he told a few gypsies and

not soon after, his lone discovery
was placed in a glass humidor.
It toured the country like a rock star,
complete with an entourage
and green and blue M&Ms at every stop.
Eventually, the last cigar was placed in
The Smithsonian.

True believers who missed the taste of smoke
came out in droves to see the famed torpedo,
the scent of phantom leaves still fresh
on their fingertips.

As for the man,
he was grateful that time dimmed
his recall of some things—aftertaste,
the smell of burnt air leaving traces
wherever he went. How satisfied he’d be
if he wasn’t walking through his landfill of a mind
wondering what Freud would do.


Deb R said...

Living as I do in the midst of one of the top two tobacco-producing states in the US, this tickled my fancy. :-) What a wonderful story poem!

Catherine said...

I think quite a few people ended up in surprising places with this week's prompt. I love this, you have started with the prompt but taken it much further

ren.kat said...

This is great. Thank you for a good read!

sheela said...

I've so enjoyed reading your poem. Fantastic stuff! :)

January said...

Deb: I'm a virginia native, so maybe that's tied into it this week. Maybe I was thinking about home. What would Freud say right now?

Catherine: Yes, I think we all stretched ourselves this week.

ren.kat: Thanks for your kind words.

sheela: Thanks for stopping by!

twilightspider said...

Ever since writing my lies yesterday, I've been dying to write a longer mythology, a full story of a lie. This makes me want to do that even more - what a fantastic tale!

I could almost smell the smoke, just reading it.

pepektheassassin said...

Everybody, all of us, do keep cigars of one kind or another in the landfills of our minds, keep remembering how they smelled, and tasted...and want them enshrined in some Smithsonian where they will be admired and revered...forever. An interesting thing to consider.

Chelle said...

You rocked this poem post.

jim said...

Exquisitely goofy, January--I love this legend.

Oh, btw, it's up in the air, a little, about the AWP in Atlanta for me. Will likely be definite after the holidays. Are you going?

Poet with a Day Job said...

I was walking past a tobacconist this morning with my dumb latte and they've got a humidor inside and I started thinking about that sweet, sick-sweet smell inside, how sort of tropical and awesome it is - and here's your poem! You are always one of my favorites to read and this image-thick narrative is again, a great piece.

Left-handed Trees... said...

I haven't written my lie yet...sigh. Yours was wonderful--almost like a short-story. I love when poetry surprises us!

Jane Poe (aka Deborah) said...

Wonderful twist on the prompt ... loved the narrative feel of your poem. much peace, JP

jillypoet said...

This is a great story poem...poem with a story...poem...I love it. A writing teacher once said, make your lies ring true with details. This you did!

paris parfait said...

It's a fabulous take on the prompt - I love where your imagination took you - and us! Well done, you!

desert rat said...

Really neat, great story. I love how everyone is taking this in totally different directions.
Tobacco fields
were turned into low-income housing

...wouldn't it be amazing if that came true.

Carolee said...

ah, freud. what would a good torpedo-shaped object be without him? loved this ending. :)

liz elayne said...

oh i love where this prompt is taking people this week. this is fantastic fun january. love it!

Dana said...


This is sillily* wonderful, if I may say so.

*Yes, that's what I meant to say.

R's Musings said...

What a fun read! I really enjoyed it. All the poems this week are very interesting, and so different! Very cool.

jim said...

Excellent poem January...enjoyed.

Was wondering why the inversion on this line...

until a man in a town on the outskirts

instead of
until a man on the outskirts of a town

my backyard said...

Very creative!

January said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone.

Jim, I dunno. I just wanted to phrase the line differently. I wanted to start outward and move inward. Does that make sense? I also wanted his perspective to be slightly different than everyone else’s. Does that make sense?

What I didn't do is read it out loud for the rhythm. I'll try that this weekend to see if it makes a difference.

ecm said...

What a great poem, as always...such a unique topic. I especially liked the tobacco fields turned to low-income housing


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