The mind readers on the corner usually always guess wrong,

But they knew your man gave you a shotgun on Valentine’s Day.

So we drive that firebird around these mountain curves at 120

On an empty tank of gas, talking nonstop about those flowers

That never arrived, chased by fortune’s worthless sleeping pills

& the naked leaves of all we have abandoned.


I don’t know why she keeps her dresses in the refrigerator––

Little spring outfits for running around in transcendental February.

There are seven gates & danger tape around her mango tree

& the moonlight falling across her neck shines over the icy river

That benefits a hundredfold anyone who sees her

Putting on the luminous.


Upon the waves that lick the black mouth of love

Her cinnamon shadow lingers in a vacuous grotto of dragon tracks,

Remembering a long ago purple sky at the treacherous pass

Of merit & transgression––where no thought conquers nonexistence

Within the snakeskin tent as we dance till three

Between fearsome bodies & the dying of the night.


17 February 2001


Spoken word version from Emergency Juke Joint.

Copyright © 2000 by Jim Cohn.

Text from Quien Sabe Mountain (Museum of American Poetics Publications).

Copyright © 2004 by Jim Cohn.