Ira Cohen:
Four Recent Poems

Something I’ve Been Thinking a Lot

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. 2, 2005


Coming to the end of this little notebook
I discover a profusion of perfect petals
embedded in the paper.
Though we are out of the dog days of August,
not a sign of red or yellow is yet implied
They speak of golden years, but I don’t
really yearn for the sun to set –
Let the dew rise heavenwards in the
last exhalation of an endless summer.
So much for hallmark feelings.
Everywhere the passing stream.
If only I knew what to do would it be
alright with you if the gold & the
black broke the back of the wave,
could we, together at last, leave the
moving past?
“So so,” intones the skinny nerd as two
blondes in pink & fawn colored outfits
show their tresses passing by just as
I was thinking of Dante’s ladder to
the sky & the reluctance Phaeton teaches
in regard to the chariot of the sun.
If love’s ardor magnetizes grace, then
show me without your veil of light
the lineaments of your face.
(A meadow down in its place.)

                                   Sept. 4-6, 2004


Sitting at the Estanque de Mercurio
(Mercury’s Pool) in the Alcazar in Sevilla
with Florian & Axel Monte we listen to
the water falling on the pool –
a definite refreshment on a very warm day
We talk of the street of life & the street of Death –
Vida y Muerte – which cross at some point
perpendicular to the issue /
The Talerian Messenger stands on the pool’s
fountain with ducks swimming around waiting
for tidbits from the empty handed tourists
Now passing from the Jardin de Damas to the
Jardin de Poetas where I came by accident
to take an urgent piss and now to take a photo
of a tree full of wilted datura flowers
directed by Mercury & his caduceus with
two serpents wound around the backbone,
each one of us carrying our own staff of life within.
I remember Moses & his beloved Nechushtan
Sushumna rising above the foliage,
the unfurled leaves raising the stakes
in a final gesture of defiant love!

I love your pingala
My name is Ida
Between us the void
We can never meet
Perhaps one day in

                             Oct. 9, 2004


The only real experience
occurs when you are alone,
not when you are part of a crowd.
When you come alive it is in the
likeness of Spring
One day you will eat the blue,
then you will know –
When it is all over the word
will remain.
So it is with poetry as with prophecy.
Praise will issue from the mouths
of  strangers.
Then in the Land of Promise
the real struggle begins.

                                  Sept. 23, 2004
Photos by Ira
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