The Best Cigarette Poem by Billy Collins

The Best Cigarette

Rating: 4.2

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 forward.
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.

The one 30 November 2021

niec job

0 0 Reply
Johan Gaudreau 27 January 2020

I liek this poem a lot like oh my gosh

3 1 Reply
Michael Walker 15 January 2020

As an ex-smoker, I can now see nothing good about smoking cigarettes. The comparison with a a steam train is maybe exaggerated, but exact. There is much more I could say. A poem I identify with.

0 0 Reply
Bijay Kant Dubey 25 October 2019

Is he smoking a cigar or thinking about his love? A cigar man as a poet.

1 1 Reply
Glenn Frederick Baker 13 May 2016

Magnificent some memorable and unique phrases, I must quote to savour them. 'Flame and gesture vapourous hope headlamp of my face '

1 4 Reply
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