Up in Smoke

September 11, 2015

He smoked trabucos, mild miniatures produced by the Austrian monopoly, but preferred Don Pedros and Reina Cubanos...

Contact was established only by means of his voice and the odor of the cigars he ceaselessly smoked.
-Raymond de Saussure, describing his psychoanalysis with Freud

He smoked trabucos, mild miniatures

produced by the Austrian monopoly,

but preferred Don Pedros and Reina Cubanos

patients brought him from Berchtesgaden.

Twenty times each day he struck a match

and sucked-smoke socializing with his

mouth’s moist mucosa, teeth stained amber,

nicotine firing his neurons, analysands

hearing the soft sigh of packed leaves burn

when he puffed, waiting for his throat-clearing

cough, choking on sour saliva and muddy

phlegm before he spoke, each interpretation

blown hard on his breath’s black wind

like thunderheads patients inhaled, the master’s

molecules inside them, merged like apple

wood and salt in cured Vienna sausage,

cigar pyridines impregnating skin and hair,

the warp and weft of woolen suits, a stench

patients carried on flesh they shared with lovers.

Reclined on the couch six days each week,

their heads floated in his clouds, years

of dreams gone up in smoke.