Saturday, December 25, 2010

More of Dumas

'Perhaps that's because I'm not obliged to marry his daughter,' Albert said laughing.

'Really, my dear sir,' said Monte Cristo, 'You are disgustingly smug.'

'I? Smug?'

'Yes, you. Have a cigar.'

'Thank you. So why am I smug?'

-Dumas, The Count-


I'd say that this quoted conversation between to cigar smokers reflects many conversations we have had ourselves. Perhaps if we had a change of topic to something like movies and replace the descriptive word "smug" with "douche". It would nearly be an exact account of our relationships.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tobacco Poem I by Creed Thie

As the long year makes quickened haste away,
As Christmastide sets in, and snow floats down
From firmaments above the frosty land,
It is a time to set oneself at rest.
I sit upon a fading patterned chair
Of yellow weave, with graven wood-carved arms,
And smoke a balmy pipe with calmest breath.
A fine tobacco simmers in its heart
Filling the winter air with wafts of grey.
The tree illuminates the peaceful room
While chill pervades the darkness out of doors.
It is a time to lay aside one's pangs:
It is a time to to end the weary year.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Evan Gunn's Tobacco Poem #5

I saw you in sorrow, sniffling alone,
And twiddling your thumbs, tense with a stare.
Though blank you'd been, clearly had shown,
Your lady had left for a man with more hair.

Approaching I noticed a pale cold face,
But more so than past thy hairless hollowed head.
A wig as a gift, it couldn't give grace,
Exaggerated features, I'd prefer to be dead.

I reached into pocket to proffer a leaf,
Eyes lit like coals for the fine Henry Clay.
Pronounced as a soldier, sword out of sheath,
My ol' buddy smoker was himself again.

"Remember, you can display more brotherly feeling in the way you proffer a cigar than in a world of nice words and small loans." -John Bain

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A quote for this blag

'So," Franz asked him, 'What do you think of the Count of Monte Cristo?'
'What do I think!' Albert said, clearly astonished that his friend should even ask such a question. 'I think he is a charming man, a wonderful host, someone who has seen a lot, studied a lot and thought a lot, who belongs like Brutus to the Stoic school, and - ' he added, allowing a voluptuous puff of smoke to escape from his lips and spiral up towards the ceiling, 'Someone, who in addition to all that, has the most excellent cigars.'

-Alexandre Dumas, from the obvious

Sunday, November 21, 2010

ATY's November Poem

Think, Nathan Explosion, or his inspiration George Corpsegrinder Curtis from Cannibal Corpse. My alternate title was "What Non-Smokers Think the Smoker's Creed Is".

+++

Murdersmoke


Death takes allegiance from all,
every last knee bows to his will,
but we will stand before the end,
while smoke still curls from pale lips grown cold,
lips clasped round phoenix poles,
thick trunk of tobacco,
birthed in hell and fed with flames,
for this hour our fire reigns.

Guillotine cleaves scalp,
flames flicker beneath feet,
breath in life and death,
ashes will cover the ground,
heavens blotted out by our clouds,
we do not wait but wander,
we do not wish but win,
for this hour our fire reigns.

Take the thick mantle,
this helm of hell once thought lost,
return to the rage of ancient days,
eviscerate body from bone,
layer the land with lifeless cadavers,
release the tempest of your soul,
fill the world with your bitter smoke,
for this hour our fire reigns.

Do not let days away,
do not hold back your face,
death shall claim his right,
and you, his servant, will win his praise,
smoke as fast as you possibly can,
spread the smog to smother the living,
cities will choke until hearts stop beating,
for this day our fire reigns.

Friday, November 19, 2010

For All to Know

"There was a moment's silence in which Sinbad was immersed in the thoughts that seemed continually to occupy him, even in the midst of conversation, and Franz abandoned himself to the silent reverie into which one almost invariably falls when smoking fine tobacco, which seems to carry away all the sufferings of the mind on its smoke and give the smoker in exchange all the dreams of the soul." -Alexander Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

Thursday, November 18, 2010

ATY's October Poem

"This Poem Probably Has You In It"

This land is your land, this land is my land, this land was made for you and me.
- Woodie Guthrie

Human is a political (social and civic) animal.
- Aristotle.

I've got a slow-burning cigar and I'm just sitting there. As it puts out a thick veil of smoke, my car takes me from one person I love to another. I'm alone, listening to Mozart as the farmland sort of slides past on either side. I'm afraid I wont leave any mark but the vanishing scent dispersing behind me. I'm afraid I'll come around a corner and see a cop car or an elk in the road. I'm afraid of too many things as I sit there, still, moving quickly, with my halo of smoke. I realize that I wont leave a mark here, no matter how hard I try, because this just isn't my land. This isn't where I stomp off the snow in winter, remove my coat, and sit in the library for a conversation of moment. This isn't where I occupy a camping chair for a dark night debating bright thoughts. This isn't where I play board games with a wolf sleeping at the feet of my opponent. This isn't where I met most of my friends, in a lounge now outlawed. This isn't where I sit on a lawn, spending summer afternoons. This is somebody else's here. My heres are elsewhere, enclosed by the walls of loved one's smoke.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Evan Gunn's Tobacco poem #4

One Lover Doubtfully Fit

The Indians grew for spiritual gain,
While Ralegh brought seen King James pain.
Then Kipling wrote for you and for Wife,
Before Winston's coin in nation's strife.
But you for me,
O, Tobakee;
You and I have little worth.
Tho' you are my Queen
My Lady Nicoteen,
Our shared silence has joy and mirth.

Did My Father force our hands in marriage,
Or had I gotten to know you well?
Regarding my rank we did disparage,
As society minded our wedding bell.

We met at fourteen, arranged by sixteen,
Treating as though I deserved you.
I did intervene, and not always clean,
For my unlovable ways I hadn't a clue.

But having grown older, while young in time,
I achieved no less than to prove you're mine.
You lovely lass, that cannot submit,
It is I that choose when you be lit.
To you I plead,
And as my creed,
May we stand by awaiting death stroke.
For you there's no heav'n;
By Me all I've giv'n
Your only virtue is that I smoke.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Evan Gunn's Tobacco Poem #3

Please excuse the first stanza (as I ask for much of my poetry). I feel it is a bit campy but I could not resist posting it up with the rest of the poem for two reasons. 1) It is my duty to admit to and reveal my bad poetry to those whose opinions I regard more than most. 2) I kind of like campy poetry. Enjoy.

Refrain from tobacco and conquer the world. Smoke the delight and conquer the mind. Both will kill a man seldom more than anything else, but no additional pain is heaped. Choose accordingly to the place God gave you.

Could Caesar been better had he smoked?
Would he have come with pipe in hand?
Should he had seen or the pipe had choked?
Why for had he conquered the Gaulish Land?

Pursuing a thought, a pleb would puff,
Firing ideals, the ugly mug in gruff.
Smoke is for that man, standing low;
Good use for his time when leaves in glow.

Greater Alexander was, having not partook,
Tho' Epictetus in mind might have increased.
Hierarchical identity has poor notions shook,
Leveled with dirt, smoking after when ceased.

Know thy worth and choose in accord,
An unhappy life is easily gained.
Smoke plenty while under your lord,
For he will not, running lives un-pained.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ken Hada's Tobacco Poem

Courtesy of the Writer's Almanac

Mormon Missionaries Pay Me a Visit
by Ken Hada

I'm sitting on my lawn
enjoying a nice blunt cigar
watching children ride scooters
up and down the street
twilight gently falling,
swallows circling,
Mississippi Kites high overhead,
tree frog, sounds of sweet shadows

Then I see them in the corner of my eye,
two bikes slow
they can not pass a lost soul –
I'm too conspicuous –
I don't want this feeling, I want them
to pass me by

Good evening sir they say
I'm Elder Hansen says the first
I'm Elder Olson the second chokes
and then they wait
but all I can think to say:
You're kind of young to be elders, aren't you?
They launch into their sales pitch
about Restoration and Heavenly Father
while I recoil in smoke, then interrupt
If I convert do I have to give up this cigar?
They are not sure
but soon get back on track
like a loose wheel wobbling
until they finally bid me good evening.
I watch them roll away
and wonder
what gives them the audacity to interrupt me
while I am at worship

+++

from Spare Parts. © Mongrel Empire Press, 2010.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Evan Gunn's Tobacco Poem #2

Stop him and tell 'em now;
He's thought too hard, but in what way.
In confidence brought this "therefore"; how,
Does he fumble and pace in evening day?

Lean back and into stupor fall,
Reach for your leaf on the table side.
Our ignorance defeats, then he foils us all,
And then again poise, we tense our hide.

Tis' forth and forth, but back and back;
This pseudo-socratic group has failed.
Though, for all we, and all we lack,
It is done by smoke; the words were hailed.

I, by faith, have learned this well,
White noise is all we'll strive to be.
But, through silence our minds did tell,
By God, this leaf makes contracts free!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

AGN's Poem #2

He says: I am not a fan of it but I sent it for the reason that I am two months behind.

+++

In the gloom of early light
To the east, north, south and right
There is a flame flickering soft and bright
With smoke seeped eternal delight.

Bright sun tells a story long
Short hours to finish so tarry on
The ash to show the burned song
While smoke seeps bright beyond

All is quiet, serene the time
Tired bones settle the stir doth die
Thus steady tendrils continually intertwine
Till smoke seeping burden unwind.

The hush that follows the affair
Will nary be broken or have a care
The people rest worn and bare
With smoke seeping into the night.

So tomorrow comes, the smoke is gone
The wind has blown it all anon
Yet do not trouble before ere long
The smoke will yet ever seep on

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Okay. Fine.

Here's my first. Please post what comments you will.

++++++

Conviviality, conversation -
Congregation in open air cathedrals,
Temples of like minds, ideas crass
And crowning, adoration
Of an amity that salves
The soul, consecrated by holy
Smoke.

But solitary, it settles in old
Scarred lungs, tethers flights
Of thought to memories, yesterdays
Played out against repeated
Mistakes until the tipping point
Is found -

Morose now? Resigned to one
More time? The good fight fought
In the face of imminent defeat?

Or lesson learned? Enlightenment
Hard won? A chance to change
Tomorrow by understanding what
Built this reality?

Cut.
Roast.
Light.
Inhale.

Wait for the tide
On a wave
Of smoke.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

AtY's September Poem

You know the pause, the one right after
something keen or inane was just said,
when the flow of words dries up, awkwardly.
Silence was made for smoke.

Even more, a time to relish the silence,
to prepare a rebuttal, to consider
an argument, it's a kindness.
Conversation was made for smoke.

To run, hunt, fish, weed, till, wash, or mend,
is to miss the complexity,
the repose possible in summer months.
The outdoors were made for smoke.

The drivers miss the details, the beauty,
the listening walkers miss the connections,
the smoker shares his pleasure with everybody.
The streets were made for smoke.

When your back gets sore, and sweaty,
and there is nothing on the radio of interest,
and this trip is just taking too long.
Driving is made for smoke.

It is a joiner of unlike people.
It is a medium of communication.
It is a calming force in a world run mad by a mob.
It is why life is made for smoke.

+++

That end line keeps me changing it. Any suggestions all?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Opening

So, not even a full two months into it and we have decided to take this blog a different direction. Our original plan was to each write a tobacco poem a month for the rest of the year. Some of us plan to continue this, or at least attempt to. However, we realized that this could be a fantastic forum for initially discussing our poetry - discussions to be flushed out on Tuesday night. This forum also allows others who stumble around these parts to critique us as well, like Jason. We are, therefore, pleased to announce that we will henceforth be a blag of poetry and critiques. But we all still smoke a lot of cigars and pipes, especially on Tuesday night, so the title stands.

-Management

Monday, August 23, 2010

Norm's August Poem

I need some serious help with it so suggestions are most welcome, no matter how vicious or mundane.

+++

My wife doesn't mind this mistress much,
some times she even tags along.
She doesn't worry when I see her nightly,
as long as I also see home.

She doesn't wonder when I smell of her,
she says it's my usual scent.
But honestly I'd like to say,
This mistress has a tempestuous bent.

While I expect most do, to an extent,
this is the only I have known.
If I do not treat her with all respect,
she brings out tears with her stench.

If I breathe too deep she brings on me
spasms of her every whim.
She always makes me take her smell home,
and sometimes her mark on my shirt.

This mistress likes it best in public,
she likes the extra exposure.
With the wife along, we get stares from most,
but it only brings us closer.

Some mumble, the best admire our trio,
but once or twice the cops have come.
And for all that, it's not that I love her,
we just like having her around.

I enjoy her spiciness, my wife her creamy side.
We both enjoy the time it takes to keep her satisfied.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Evan Gunn's Tobacco Poem #1

A savored thought, and savored breath,
In danger of addiction, and folly.
A time for it, it's time has breadth,
Not benighted my brethren we'll be.
This notoriety I'll suffice,
Good repute is it's price,
The weight of eyes wont flee.
Tho' ethics are in ground,
Of the Bible it is sound,
And those alike agree.

And shallow boys have synced their pose,
A look of wisdom, forever transparent.
But a man of age, from them he goes,
Illegitimate quit, for he's apparent.
When the foolery strays,
Closes their silly days,
Desires for higher place.
Remind the old man
(A child also can)
To reverence and give grace.

What saith Antisthenes? Hast thou never heard?— It is a kingly thing, O Cyrus, to do well and to be evil spoken of. -Epictetus

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Drew Poem #1

Show me your hospitality,
I will show you a Henry Clay.
Show me a well spent night ,
It was given through a burning light.
Show me a conversation of comrades,
I will offer emperors and serfs the same.
Show me a saintly lady,
She will proffer a bundle with the ring.

Monday, July 26, 2010

ATY Poem #1

1.
Curling smoke slowly swirls, obscures faces
hands saddled by gestures dance cigars through
air swollen thick with tobacco's phoenix.
Leather couches crouch in corners, fill with
thoughts woken only once these rites begin:
snip the cap, strike the match, toast edges, light
cigar, smoke until ash. Ideas bounce back
and forth, paced with puffs of pleasure. Ideas,
deformed by debate, tested and strengthened
through thick thunderheads of smoke, then tasted
in the pipes of everyman, the field where
friendship forms equals, where new ideas reign.
It's no wonder emperors and kings feared
smoking peasantries, they were right to then.

2.
America, built upon tobacco,
pulled itself up with proceeds from the plant,
with silky, twisting strands of smoke our own
soil supplied to us and serfs in Europe.
Debates flowed, influenced by the fluid
flux of smoke, sparkle of pull, and puffed clouds.
Disagreements between pipe-smoking friends
were but a blessing bought by tobacco.
But lately the practice is, at least here,
out of favor. Our oh so tolerant
new culture, behind their thin mask, doesn't fear
rationality, debate, rhetoric,
camaraderie, truth like they should. They
try to ban revolutionary hearts.

Evan Gunn Wilson's 15 Tobacco Rules

1. Give your last cigar away occasionally. It will make you feel better.


2. Do not light a cigar in the presence of a respected friend or acquaintance, unless you give him one. This does not apply to employees, fellow boarders or anyone with whom you come in daily contact.


3. Never refuse a light to any smoker. If you haven’t a match to give him, let him borrow some of your fire, even if it spoils your cigar.


4. Remember that smokers are equal when smoking.


5. Do keep a fresh pipe – if he is a pipe smoker – for your friend.


6. Do the nice thing once in a while. If you have more than one cigar and notice a man looking sadly out of the smoking car window, proffer him one of your smokes, with the understanding that there have been times when you were short on smokes and long on loneliness yourself.


7. Give your friend your best cigar. You’ll have lots of fine future smokes coming to you if you do.


8. Remember you can display more brotherly feeling in the way you proffer a cigar than in a world of nice words and small loans.


9. Remember that the hospitable smoker is one of nature’s choicest creations.


10. Never play a joke on a smoker. Don’t give the meanest of them a loaded cigar. It’s brutal, dangerous and a stupid thing to do.


11. Don’t be a cigar or cigarette “sponge”. It’s a low down habit. You can lose your self-respect and the respect of your friends more in this way than any other.


12. Don’t be a strutting, nose-tilting smoker. It’s tough.


13. Never smoke in the presence of ladies, unless you know it is not offensive. If you don’t know, ask them. If they object, don’t smoke. In spite of Kipling, any good woman is far finer of which any cigar has ever dreamed.


14. “Life is too short for poor food, poor company, poor clothes” and poor smokes.


15. Remember that silence and a good cigar are two of the finest things on earth. Even a hermit can be an angel under these circumstances, and a man of the world a man of the other world. Puff your smoke heavenward, and pitch your thoughts toward the clouds.

Post #1: Because There isn't Any

At least no great ones. The only one is Rudyard Kipling's "The Betrothed".

So Gunn and I got together and decided that for the rest of the year, starting in July, we would write a tobacco poem a month. We hoped we would get one good stanza. This quickly launched us into a discussion about how to write a poem, which needs tension, about relaxation. This then launched us into a philosophical discussion of relaxation, a discussion that, as it was starting to come back around to tobacco poetry, was overheard by Drew and Kelly, two cats who decided to take on the project as well. So... here we go!

+++

The Betrothed
Rudyard Kipling

"You must choose between me and your cigar."
--BREACH OF PROMISE CASE, CIRCA 1885.

Open the old cigar-box, get me a Cuba stout,
For things are running crossways, and Maggie and I are out.

We quarrelled about Havanas--we fought o'er a good cheroot,
And I knew she is exacting, and she says I am a brute.

Open the old cigar-box--let me consider a space;
In the soft blue veil of the vapour musing on Maggie's face.

Maggie is pretty to look at--Maggie's a loving lass,
But the prettiest cheeks must wrinkle, the truest of loves must pass.

There's peace in a Larranaga, there's calm in a Henry Clay;
But the best cigar in an hour is finished and thrown away--

Thrown away for another as perfect and ripe and brown--
But I could not throw away Maggie for fear o' the talk o' the town!

Maggie, my wife at fifty--grey and dour and old--
With never another Maggie to purchase for love or gold!

And the light of Days that have Been the dark of the Days that Are,
And Love's torch stinking and stale, like the butt of a dead cigar--

The butt of a dead cigar you are bound to keep in your pocket--
With never a new one to light tho' it's charred and black to the socket!

Open the old cigar-box--let me consider a while.
Here is a mild Manila--there is a wifely smile.

Which is the better portion--bondage bought with a ring,
Or a harem of dusky beauties, fifty tied in a string?

Counsellors cunning and silent--comforters true and tried,
And never a one of the fifty to sneer at a rival bride?

Thought in the early morning, solace in time of woes,
Peace in the hush of the twilight, balm ere my eyelids close,

This will the fifty give me, asking nought in return,
With only a Suttee's passion--to do their duty and burn.

This will the fifty give me. When they are spent and dead,
Five times other fifties shall be my servants instead.

The furrows of far-off Java, the isles of the Spanish Main,
When they hear my harem is empty will send me my brides again.

I will take no heed to their raiment, nor food for their mouths withal,
So long as the gulls are nesting, so long as the showers fall.

I will scent 'em with best vanilla, with tea will I temper their hides,
And the Moor and the Mormon shall envy who read of the tale of my brides.

For Maggie has written a letter to give me my choice between
The wee little whimpering Love and the great god Nick o' Teen.

And I have been servant of Love for barely a twelvemonth clear,
But I have been Priest of Cabanas a matter of seven year;

And the gloom of my bachelor days is flecked with the cheery light
Of stumps that I burned to Friendship and Pleasure and Work and Fight.

And I turn my eyes to the future that Maggie and I must prove,
But the only light on the marshes is the Will-o'-the-Wisp of Love.

Will it see me safe through my journey or leave me bogged in the mire?
Since a puff of tobacco can cloud it, shall I follow the fitful fire?

Open the old cigar-box--let me consider anew--
Old friends, and who is Maggie that I should abandon you?

A million surplus Maggies are willing to bear the yoke;
And a woman is only a woman, but a good Cigar is a Smoke.

Light me another Cuba--I hold to my first-sworn vows.
If Maggie will have no rival, I'll have no Maggie for Spouse!