all poems published in scrutinizing lines ©2006 raphael cohen

folsom street snapshot
a temple on oak


brooklyn horns crew
blasts through the bay

fire of struggles unfinished

    an offering
    an indictment


summons the ancients out

    of inheritance scars
        sky hailing blood
        for the record of hate’s allure


    that silence be scolded
    as persecution’s consent
        and good intentions be damned
        unless consistent action follows

    while this culture devolves
    into ahistorical idiocy
            our daily regiment
            our dutiful pattern


    pulse and mind
    imbued on purpose
        a drive to dethrone
        prevailing deceit

for the shriek of trodden reeds
    warns of hypnosis
         in a time fraught with fraud

    you need fight
    you need dream
        lest those inculcated hunters
            devour you whole
        anything less than devotion
            seals destiny to doom


then asks if you’re fit to breathe

folsom street snapshot

    hostel toilet rattles
to the muddy bass growl
    of a nightclub below

along sidewalk
    leather bikers
        and tidy businessmen align
    while a bearded teen
        pawns brand new laptops
cops wake
    a grandmother
        shielded in cardboard


how much
to be unearthed

this week
found out
the most-known memorial
to jews murdered under nazi rule
yad vashem
was built on the lands of
deir yasin
a village palestinians
called home until they were killed
by jewish paramilitary
high on statehood’s false promises

reading so
made me remember
visiting there
as adolescent on the verge

remember not wanting
to wear a hat in the heat
it was blues
in whiteness
a flag if i recall right

remember growing irritated
at victimhood’s portrayal
tomes of total helplessness
hammered into my head
hounded me

maybe i was overwhelmed
at becoming heir
to such harrowing history

maybe i could already hear
through omissions in that arid air

a temple on oak

first kiss
    a sun stroke
    a sea storm
        woke your new apartment
        while the rest of downtown dreamt

sweet destruction
exposes safety
as death upholstered
    entices instead
    risk of self
    trust in chance
tongues new to each other
    dance tender

an orchard blooms in bursts
before morning light can make it

    our skin
    our cells

divinity here
newly defined


prayer parts my window
    in determined curls of smoke
your favorite fragrance
    protection’s promise
through a silver horizon
    its deceitful calm

prayer on my lips
prayer in my palm

you prepare to arrive
    as i to depart
        in a tube of steel
our ceaseless dance
steals imagined certainties

we skate hesitant this season
    wingless loops
    replace nourished exertion
we talk more on the phone
than we do in person

what matter to father sun
    who blossoms unhurried
        a dignified beginning
on time
all the time

    tell me again
i plead pathetic
    have you moved into mazes
    fit for my absence

fear of the answer
keeps my heart fragile
    while an aging tongue sings
        your winding path’s praises
    calls on creation
        to keep your step safe
    has so many
        simultaneous tastes

season’s daybreak
    robs sleep
    to insist
i peep ordinary brilliance

    a new sky
    a blank page

prayer parts my window
    may i learn
        to let go

© 2009 Raphael Cohen
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