For an American Touristby MuinBeiseole no. 51 (Spring 1971)Pardon me, my lady,but since you have come to uson the very day when the poet’s hands were cut offwhat is there in the Orient left for sale?We have already sold to an old lady tourist before youthe Tomb of Saladin, the Battle of the Hittites,and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.We sold them in the markets of the worldblossom and bud,the finger and the ring, we sold.Nothing is left but the pyramids.How heavy the stones of the pyramids are!The Sphinx is stabbedand it will dieif taken away from this land,even if out of its forehead the knife is drawn.Pardon me, my lady,we sold the last sarcophagus,we threw the last inkpots into the Nileand we slit the throat of the last cock that crowed.All that remains is Godrunning like a green gazellepursued by every hunting dogpursued by the lie which rides on a pure Arabian steed.For you we will chase that steed.For you, we will hunt down God.My lady,those who sold the poet will sell God.—Translated from the Arabic by Rose Styron

Out On The Town

The tic tock

The drip drop

The click clack of your walk

The hum of the light twitching

The sound of my heart beating

The croak of frogs mating

The tic tock

The hiccups happening

The people laughing

The flicker and hum of the light twitching

The tic tock

The buzz of flys flying

The flame sizzling

The glasses clinking

The tic tock

Eyelashes batting

Teeth nashing

The beat of the drumming

The sound of you humming

The glare your giving

The tic tock

The conversation stopping

The alcohol working

The tic tock

Us on a night outing

Joann Cohen august 2021

Circadian insights


My plants thirst

And bathe in the tungsten light

Noon: My senses reassured

All that is exposed is truth


Reflection takes hold as the day ends

All is still


I’m covered with stars

Hopes and dreams follow


The Owl calls

Seeps in my brain

Filling me up with wisdom

Sepia Days

How I tried I tried to be good

the light turned a sepia tone

And Stone was her face Stone cold were her eyes

Hey stop yelling we can hear you

Can you see us?

Can you taste our salt running down our faces

I’d do my best for you

I long to be safe in your heart and arms

Let me comfort you from the storm in your heart

Hurricanes in your mind

Calm the waters

although I’m little

I comfort you

He won’t be back

But you need to stand tall for me

I’m your reflection

Any day now we will be a happy family

Not Alone as I Sleep


Sticky legs

Brown shell wing

I hear your crinkle crackle

Through my things

It is dark

That’s when you strike

Crawling with speed to fill up

The night

I jump up in haste

And turn on the light

You have disturbed my sleep

You are in for a fight

And I see you on the wall

You have entered the death zone

One swing with my broom

And you fall

That is not enough to stop you

You run and I quiver

You are running right toward

Me and I shiver

I spray you with raid

I hope it delivers

Still you run faster

Right by

My shoe

Take that you


And now

I will squish you


You are dead

I won this fight

Still there are more of you

Hiding somewhere

In the night


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Before it’s too late

Hurry write now and

quickly before all the words in the world are thought of

written down and


Whatever is in that precious brain of yours…. spit it out.

What’s in your heart…..Roll it out of your tongue.

Give yourself permission to live

write and explore

Joann Cohen