Naomi Buck Palagi

Ode to the Ten Cent Cigar


                                                                                                          Plastic adirondack
chair twilight to night Kentucky Black Gold (cheapest) cigar, and homemade
beeswax candle, and here I have a living (literally) room. Low canopy of scrub
brush and insect-eaten box elder and a freight train passes through
occasionally (again—woman + cigar = penis — problem for train engineer?)
Ky Black Gold is a little sweet — like bourbon — goes well w/ my Scotch, since
I left my bourbon at home (KY).                                     Living room w/out even
glass walls — my boobs are bigger in the better bra (I’m not trying to alliterate
here it’s just the truth, I’m just trying to “literate”) Plus too many goddamn
bugs — mosquitos (but I’m lying, I don’t really mind bugs they’re homey)

                               I don’t really mind summerheat either — makes me feel alive
                                                                                                  I miss liking daddy longlegs
and naming the moths that laid eggs on my window (inside) and the amber
(burned?) lampshade and the rough knit pillow (I pulled out treasure feathers
for show and tell) and the mice I saw staring at me glowing eyes from the wall
closets and my five year old boyfriend who wouldn’t wake up when he spent
the night on my floor and I was scared, even when I pulled his eyelids open
they just showed white (well, almost white—eyeball-white with a little yellow
tint and tiny red veins) but he wasn’t dead he just wasn’t scared and was
                             I may even ask my boyfriend (love) (husband) (father of my child)
if I can have the pleasure of mowing his parents’ lawn because this city living
lacks some “doing” and I like to feel like I can, like I do, “do.”
                             and he will look at me like I’m nuts but even so he may want to
mow it himself because he’d never admit it but sometimes he likes to “do” too

                                                                diarrhea of the brain “if once a priest always a
priest but once a night is enough”—how many people are there out there who
can buy a knock-off Hormel figurine with a quote like that? Is there a whole
subculture—am I ignorant?

Is it okay to ask my father, who used to smoke pipes and cigars and who gave
it up (threw it all out, over and over, even the cool Frank Lloyd Wright pipe
from Uncle Newell, and who finally hasn’t smoked in oh, ten years, can I ask
him to pick me up some cigars from KY?)                         I told a boy one night in
the moon light he better get his facts straight, his morals straight and don’t
blame the little guys in the tobacco business—I made him kiss me in the
moonlight I told him if I ever started to stray he should take me out in the
woods, out away, out doors, to win me back but maybe he forgot or maybe he
just didn’t care because he didn’t even try. The lesbian priest said I can’t offer
counseling but one thing I ask: does he feed your soul and at least I didn’t laugh
out loud, but it did make things pretty clear — and fairy tale story — within
months I found someone who does (feed my soul) even when it is Marriage: Or,
Learning to Ride the Bucking Bronco (it shall never be tamed, I think I hope)
but we are picking up a few tricks along the way

I do wonder what my neighbors think of me, night-time armchair and candle-
light cigar (I hope they do — I hope they don’t — ah the twisted convulsions
of the rich souled extrovert)

                                                                             (I need another ten center!)

                                                                                       (I used to show off my bandaids!)

Naomi Buck Palagi has made her way to Northwest Indiana via many stops, including a "homesteader" childhood in rural Kentucky, complete with goats and lots of bare feet, some years in the Mississippi Delta as, among other things, a furniture maker and ballet teacher, and several years in Chicago doing the small theater rounds as an actor and director. She enjoys shaping tangible things—wood, fabric, sound, words.

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