Whether I Like It Or Not

in memory of Wanda Coleman


We park the truck in an orchard.


Thank you for agreeing to attend this emergency meeting.

I know what you’re thinking––that’s some finger

Inside this jewel case, and it’s got on a wedding ring...


“No,” she said. “What’s difficult is being your daughter.”

My heart was pounding. I knew before I knew.


Look around you...

This place is a ghost town.

I don’t recognize anyone here anymore,

Only the guys in custody.

That’s where I go to see a familiar face.


“Good for you––to speak so openly, so freely.

In my country, we cannot even open the windows.”


I know you are alive.

You wrote a cryptopoetics,

Delivered over centuries.

When Virgil was seventeen,

He told me it goes like this––


You gather up a few scraps,

Roll ‘em into cavernous thoughts,

Rise from thy dire depths,

Break upon light’s empty script. 



22 November 2013



[Published in The Groundless Ground: Poems 2010-2014.

© 2014 by Jim Cohn.]




The Groundless Ground: Poems 2010-2014
(MAP Publications, 2014)