The Moon Ate a Nice Chunk of the Sun

                                              Xmas 2000

This morning the moon
ate a nice chunk of the sun.
The baby Jesus was born again
and I finally after a six month quest
got a room at the inn
thanks to a Tango teacher
homeowner who likes poetry
and had a vision similar
to my image of the world
as a butterfly's wing.

We look into a future
of great duress for humanity
and the fragile butterfly earth
while Herod Bush rules
and the oil barons continue
their destruction of earth, air and water.
There is no Egypt to flee to.
Only the potent force
of concentrated unity
can bring America back
from the triumph of greed
over compassion and love.

We need a great stirring
a tremendous rumbling
of actions for the healing
of earth and its impoverished peoples.
We must create a symmetry
of mind and soul that
will reduce the gaping abyss
between the rich and poor.

We must harmonize our soaring flight
toward a destiny that we sense
in our dreams and visions,
that we can hardly verbalize.
Yet we feel it with great delight
ringing the bells and gongs
of our reverberating spiritual body
like the transformation of the caterpillar
into the graceful beauty of the butterfly.

Haight Street - September 1998

At 6PM the sun going down
hovering, searingly bright,
in the middle of Haight Street.
The street left to the homeless
sitting alone and in groups
in front of liquor stores
between buildings drinking coffee.
Old and young men and women
alcohol and drug addicted,
mad and down and out.
A few are standing on corners
selling their artwork.
One young boy holds up
psychedelic water colors.
Another with squiggly lined
pen and ink drawings
taking the shape of monsters.
A young girl with a ring
through her upper lip
reading from her hand written poems
to the almost empty street,
"I ruminate in the desolation of America."
The mural of Bob Marley
painted on a corner grocery store
at Haight and Central,
the last mural heading downtown
and the first one coming into the Haight
has written across its top,
"Respect is the only thing we have."


Instead of Selling Pretzels

The edges of my mind
were clouded over and I
had taken too much Tylenol.
Only the grim frogman
was in the locked pretzel truck.
Stewart was late as usual
so I gave up selling pretzels
at the X games and began
a day of wandering
through the streets
and Golden Gate Park.
In the Mission there
were some newly homeless couples
and a woman with a sign
asking for help for her child.
I opened my email
at a computer cafť.

Then I went to Big Jims
and got stoned in his Haight St.
pad that I could live in
if I could afford it.
He told me about his father
who committed suicide
when Jim was ten,
Then I had a falafel lunch
and headed for the park.
At hippie hill a young man
waving a cane at a group
of young longhairs yelling,
"I just want to know
what the trouble is?"
Over and over he yelled
that litany until one gentle man
got up and soothed his soul,
while others on the hill
thinking they had missed
a bloody fight booed
the successful peacemaking.

I walked past the tennis courts
and watched two black men
play doubles with two Asian men.
Just past the tennis courts
I see a short narrow tunnel
I hadnít noticed before.
I walked through it
and heard my footsteps
echo from the walls.
I explore the timbre
of the echo with my voice.
"What is the reason I am?"
I intone louder and louder
I find the place where
the echo is loudest and chant,
"Om Mani Padme Hum"
with great elongations of
the Om and the Hum.
The tunnel rings like a Tibetan bell
and the ringing reverberates
and accumulates until
I am within the ringing.
I am the bell and
The bell is my mind.

I am the troll in he tunnel.
People see me there
and walk up the side paths
to avoid the chanting troll.
A young man with his five-year-old son
comes happily into the tunnel
and walks hurriedly through,
as I say, "the tunnel rings likes a bell!"

I head off to the Botanical Garden
where there is an Algerian Fir tree
I used to meditate beneath
embraced by its low bent branches.
I looked into my mind,
and see the blue light
through the purple haze
and the country road
I often see rushing
through my imagination,
and then bursts of light.

On the way out a red faced
gray haired man with a Cheshire cat smile
and a small pack on his back
tells me there is no longer
any weeping left for him
and speaks of the woman
who brushes her hair a 100 times
to prevent herself from weeping.

I walk onto Irving St. and
have coffee at Tart ní Tart.
I recognize an old friend,
a photographer and filmmaker.
He is with his new wife
and they excitedly tell me
about the visions they are seeing
in her wedding ring.
They could see little people,
the grays and the reptilian aliens
and beings from other dimensions
in the rings lattices of light
and they saw them together
real as the lemon tarts.

They had brought $1000 worth
of 19th century occult books
to study the meaning
of their shared world.
We go into the Chelsea book store
where I look at the $500 first edition
of one of Frank Baumís Oz books
and a $60 first edition of
Kerouacís Visions of Gerard.

I walk back to the park
and when I pass Hippie Hill
there is a group of hippies
gathered around a guitar slinger
who is singing, "It breaks my back
that the world is going to end"


A Korean woman's response to Japanese reparations for brutality of army during WWII

"Give me my youth!
I don't want anything else.
You made me an abyss.
My body is a frozen waste.
Like wild grass you trampled
my hope, my future.

"You conquerors!
Whether by land or by air,
whether with your cocks
or your smart and dumb bombs,
you take our bodies, our children
spreading disease, poverty, death.

"You conquerors!
Since the beginning of time,
a woman's been a deep empty hole,
a wet swamp, a subjugated land.
Give me back my youth!
I don't want anything else.

"That I lived to speak,
as difficult as speech is,
has cost you a few dollars
and a few formal apologies,
0, gracious conqueror.

"But your body wasn't burnt
like an enemy's hut.
Your flesh pounded and torn
and wracked with disease,
love ripped from your heart
and eaten like raw meat.

"Now you talk about change
It was the past, the distant past.
For the conqueror the past has died
and the present shines in the sun.

"For the vanquished woman
the childless, the loveless,
the humiliated, the exiled.
the past is forever
and life is an empty
pockmarked moon.
Give me my youth!
I donít want anything else."


In Golden Gate Park's Botanical Gardens

I am sitting between two Sequoias
their branches forming a canopy over me.
I searched for the Redwood Log Theater
I used to read poetry in but it was gone.
The pond at the far end of the gardens
has only one duck and a few seagulls floating on it.
Ten years ago it was full of ducks, geese and even swans
and occasionally egrets would fly in for a visit.

The gardens in general disrepair
though there are signs of work underway.
Maybe it's me who needs repair
or renewal as my life dissolves around me
as if the last ten years were a dream
that I had depended on for its continuity,
on the ritual of it and the love in it.
But when Heracleitus said everything changes
he really meant everything.

The Sequoias could only have been here
about 100 years planted then on a sand dune,
and now about 10 feet in diameter
and higher than I can see.
The birds are talking,
the butterflies darting
I've got too much fear of the future.
My mind doesn't know where to land.
My passion and my will haven't kicked in yet.

Steve said I should have faith
in myself and the future.
I hover like a hummingbird
here in my past and wonder
where my youth has gone.


Come Deeper, Find Me!

Christmas, 1998

Our fig tree is bare
Its leaves have fallen
and I've raked them
and put them in black bags
to be used in the coop
for the geese and ducks.
Every few days I shovel
the leaves into a compost bin.

The children climb on
the fig trees low swooping branches.
Sometimes they pick the figs
or use the autumn leaves
for collages and tracing.

The black walnut tree
didn't produce a crop, so
the squirrels eat figs
and pine cones as they fall
from the tall pine tree.

The life of the squirrel is so fragile
as is the fig tree and the children,
and you and I hanging upside down
on this planet traveling in circles.
Can I hang with you?
Or you with me dressed
against the chill of the wind?

When our ancestors stood up
looking over the grasses
on the African plains,
something happened
that made God hide inside
the evolving mind
and grow there posing as
billions of beings yet to be born.

God had been out there before
as the beasts grew taller
and heavier eating inexhaustibly

trying to reach out
with size and muscle
for that external power.
Then the meteor
ripped into the sea.
God, the Sun and the Beasts
disappeared behind the clouds.
For millions of years
as the struggle for life unfolded
little could be heard but
the cracking of ice.

Now six billion two-legged beings
still hurl themselves outward
toward the power God.
But an awareness arises
from within the mind
where God hid
waiting to be called,
whispering hauntingly
"Come deeper, find me!
The world is a butterfly's wing.
Be gentle and come deeper."

We look into the genome
for the keys, protein by protein.
We search in the starlit night
for the mysterious beginning
but it keeps receding.
The whisperer keeps calling,
"Come deeper, find me.
The world is a butterfly's wing.
Be gentle and come deeper."

Copyright 2000 by Allen Cohen

All rights reserved.