I understand that I was only invited to be human

Beneath clouds stabbed by bees smelling the silence of

Crazy star war junkies never finding what it is they love

In the eerie dead quiet.


Immaterial worlds plague the closed casket of lost changes

As the lives I knew pile out of the tiny Harlem tomb of myself.

I’d not been promised that I’d clean up my self-created catastrophe

In time––who’d want to have an impact on anything anyway?


It’s the little things––the somebody stopping & everything else

Going on––even sorrow, blameless clown, isn’t mine to fear or

These jezebel last chance visions of busy streets jammed with

Millions of FBI agents leading Suffering away in chains.


There’s no rewind on my tape deck, only planet wheels

lit by rolling blackouts of sunflowers tattooed to alchemy.

Why would you want somebody to point you in any direction?

If I could, someone else could lead you into sinking sands.


I undress in front of the armed police & show them my green ashes.

In a broken corner a beaten heart makes ready to fly without a name.

I served the snow & flames of spring, but don’t belong to her.

The eyeless face of dust looks out where the road disappears.


6 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.