Ode to the Man I Saw Swallow a Cigarette on Middle Path

Image result for diagram of the throat

where the cigarette went, probably

Tyler Raso

Professor Severus Snape

Magic, Mayhem, and Making Amends (but Not, Like, Urgently)

22 February 2019


In this paper I will argue that I saw a man (stature of a fully grown corn stalk, backwards baseball cap, not really in a rush, alone) swallow an entire (100% of a) cigarette (lit). The day was Thursday (February 7th), and the time, lunch. I was walking southward on Middle Path, and the subject north. Point of contact: Ransom Hall. The weather was frog degrees and sticky tack was precipitating (lightly) from the sky. This was normal because it was an Ohio winter. I don’t have a thesis because this piece is more, like, exploratory. “Can the human experience truly be captured in language, the construction site of the psyche” (CITE). Someone at the Writing Center told me this paper was “full of, uhm, ideas” and then offered me a complementary candy (but they were out of dark chocolate Hershey Kisses). Because the straw prose of analytical writing couldn’t contain all my feelings, observations, ideologies, methodologies, insecurities, fondness for sea otters, suspicions, jazz music, sobriety, or overdue library books, I’ve decided to continue my paper in poetic form instead.

Ode to the Man I Saw Swallow a Cigarette on Middle Path

O boy

are you hungry

being hungry is


the earth is hungry

for rain and

glossier products

so we are allowed

to be hungry 

for one another

but i mean like

in a community way

for the most part

i’m sorry

you swallowed

an entire cigarette

truly the entirety

of the dinky macaroni

of a cigarette

the whistling ghost

of a cigarette

do you need a tissue

i don’t know why

you would need a tissue

but i want you to know

somebody cares about you

enough to offer you a tissue

from their pocket

and it’s a little crispy

from being made so small

not that you’re small

but you just ate a cigarette

for lunch

or maybe for accident

and i’m sure if you told your

mother that you just ate

a cigarette

she would say

do you need a tissue

please take this rock

checkered with frost

and mud and symbolism

the rock is to say

sorry you swallowed 

that cigarette

the rock is a prayer

that says

better luck next time

as in the rock

is a shooting star

that reminds you

that sometimes things

just get swallowed

to be clear

i did not give

him a rock

but i hope somebody did

it was morning

and the sky

was shivering off the pink

of sleep

and nobody moved too fast

the day was a cold river

and in that river

a man swallowed a cigarette

out of the warm human urge

to keep something


kinda wet

a part of them

and in all this

the little morning blushed

into afternoon

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