Ira Cohen


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Something I've Been Thinking a Lot About

Already enlisted in the Tournament of Shadows
which no living soul has ever won,
my throat full of 9-11 which likely will
kill me before the news of hundreds of thousands
of Tsunami victims has been fully exploited
or the innocent Iraqi civilian dead are even counted.
A life lasts but an instant nor does its light
last long enough to illuminate man's way
in this dark world.
Already the beaches are being made ready
for future tourists from the blind hell
of society's maternity wards—yet the
sun shines through the window casting globes
of dancing light over the blank pages,
an invitation to the celebration of a new year,
the first day born of an ancient ignorance
conceived in brightness without which
no shadow could flicker or any harm
be done.
                                    Jan 1st, 2005

Now we come to the Test of Gold
There is a see saw battle up & down the field
Even though the feet of enlightenment
did not move, the great ocean overflowed.
The bowed head looked down from the heavens
Will it be for me then to finish the poem?
In fact there is no finishing though there
will always be continuation.
Going from one to the other the see saw battle
will be waged until time itself is done
leaving space the only winner on the akashic ground.
Now we are in overtime!
                                    Jan. 2nd, 20005


Raphael Reminds Me That I Have Always Been a Great Walker—

A New York City walker
a fast walker, that I walked over
the Himalayas, walked through the world's
medinas by night, through the Samarian Gorge,
all over Amsterdam & Paris from the
Achtuburgwal to the Champs d'Elysee—
like a locomotive barreling Broadway
from one end to the other—Now I am
just another stumblebum who doesn't
want to walk for diabetes. They say
Mandelstam would agree. It was Osip
who wondered how many pairs of sandals
Dante wore out when he wrote the Divine Comedy
I even walked with Raphael & Carolina
all the way from Xania to Falarsana
singing crazy songs I made up on the spot
"If you go to Kolimbari you'll be very very sorry"
To Falarsana you must go
When you find the Chimaera you will know
Not to forget walking from Elephantiasis
On the sea to Konarak on hot sand w/ Petra
or from eht epomegranate groves in Gabe's
to Matmatas troglodyte village near the
edge of the Sahara where everyone lives
under the ground.

I have a distinct memory of the moon
waxing in the night sky & endless
silhouettes of dromedaries at the side
of the road. From the Casbah to the
Moutnain just to throw pebbles at
the window of Paul Bowles after midnight
in Tangiers. Barefoot Blues,
I want new shoes!