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< Poetry >

THE LAST CIGARETTE ON EARTH


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A gay Latino's intimate journey through addiction, human desire and broken love. Winner of the Pen/Faulkner and Lambda Awards for Fiction (2013), this is Saenz' first book of poems in years. Eileen Myles, Poet and Novelist, says of this collection: "Benjamin Alire Saenzís poems are ballads. Theyíre stories but they also have a whiff of the life sailing by from the car just passing with the radio on. Itís music in stores selling stuff and suddenly itís inside your heart too painful to ignore. I love the honesty of this work and the sharp sweet reminder that we pick up art, our own and other peopleís (including their tattoos) same way birds hold onto something inside and out to fly forward. His tunes are wild and brave."

Product Details

10-digit ISBN1941026656
13-digit ISBN9781941026656
FormatPaperback
LanguageEnglish
Page Count144
Publication DateSeptember 13, 2017
A major Latino writerís intimate but healing journey through addiction, human desire and broken love.

From "He Leaves a Message in the Middle of the Night"

He loved beer
and crack. He loved heroin, ecstasy, the sad music
of the bars. He said he loved you too. You are
thinking of the night you met him. Late October
night, the breeze as soft as his black eyes. He was
so hungry for trouble. You were so hungry
for anything that resembled love. Your finger
tracing the tattoos on his chest, you dreamed
of living in the prison of his arms. But you refused
to live in the prison of his deadly nights. You
canít survive without the morning
light. You repeat this again and again:
Heís a man, not an illness. Tattoos and prison.
Novels and poems. A bird can love a fish but they canít
live in your apartment. He called again last night
and left a message that was meant to wound.

He said: I want to know what you meant when
you said I love you. You said: I love you. I meant I love you.
He said: I want to know what you meant when
you said goodbye. You said: Goodbye. I meant goodbye.

You whispered his name in the dark.


Benjamin Alire SŠenz in 2013 won the Pen/Faulkner Award and the Lambda Award for his book Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club. His young adult novel Dante and Aristotle in Paradise was a 2013 Printz Honoree. He lives in El Paso, Texas.
Eileen Myles, Poet and Novelist
Benjamin Alire Saenzís poems are ballads. Theyíre stories but they also have a whiff of the life sailing by from the car just passing with the radio on. Itís music in stores selling stuff and suddenly itís inside your heart too painful to ignore. I love the honesty of this work and the sharp sweet reminder that we pick up art, our own and other peopleís (including their tattoos) same way birds hold onto something inside and out to fly forward. His tunes are wild and brave.
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