The butter’s melting on the cornbread

At the end of the clock where I see you

Flashing the mad bling-bling like it was that

Mexican soap opera I was supposed to be in

But never showed up to with the homeless

French astrologer in her see-through numbness

& voice like ghetto taxes in Chicago.


Somewhere, the Duke is always playing as

Trap doors kick against the heliotrope air

That connects all the rolling Corinthian suns.

From the muscle cars along the surf I only hear

The echoes of deathbed blues & transparent Calibans

In gospel shoes made of the geranium chambers

Of my own untelevised execution.


I know you’re not a mannequin because I saw you

Putting away your name tag with those soft pillow lips

& nothing to wear & dreams to remember.

You send me away, but whenever I find you

In the arms of another, I tell myself,

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the worst

You could do was make someone feel good.”


11 June 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.