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…you’ve got to come to peace with the fact there are those who won’t understand, in order to find that there are those who do…



9 of 30


I wish I’d paid more attention in history class

To the stories life was telling

In between the facts and dates

And names and places


I wish I’d paid attention just a little bit harder

To the dreams and journeys and the loves and lives lived


I fell in love with history in Arrowhead, California in late 2002

3 years out of high school

She was a humanities teacher and a writer of historical novels

And would fly me to Italy with her son, who I was sleeping with

He photographed art and food and cobblestones

And everything but me

And I had my affair with the city


A writer and a teacher and fluent in culture, food and art

She painted scenes in every Florentine corridor and alcove

And the world burst forth with vibrancy


Vasari Corridor – Medici’s safe passage for exodus in event of rebellion

The Sabine sculpture in the square – women clawing and agonizing, writhing in the bronze arms of lascivious and merciless barbarisms

Rusting keyless locks love-cast, myriad, across the shallow archings of Ponte Vecchio

Full-form rabbits skinned and slabbed, front-toothed and all eyes gazing crystal clearly in the butcher’s display boasting freshness

Ancient floodlines slicing a horizon across frescoed plaster walls, bisecting into water-warped obscurity/godly immortality

Michaelango’s last surviving, Doni Tondo, painting his sexuality across its wood

Cast later then into the servitude of Pope Julius II to craft one of the finest tourist attractions of all time – and a sculptor cast nearly sightless in the heat and dark of another’s high-flighted aspirations


All these stories painted here and

I wish I could take back time

Devour the words squandered on textbook pages

In high school classrooms

Pop-quizing our ways through,

Eyes closed to the passion, the heart

Ambition, deceit and scandal


As with all things, both mother and son are my history

High school learning is my history

Italy's a decade past


But the stories will leave marks ever after


-       C. R. Cohen




8 of 30


I believe in the cult of badassery

Positive thinking as a kick in the teeth

And if drugs kill brain cells

Then complacency is the deadliest

I’m not taking what you’re pushing


I believe in expecting nothing unearned

And in taking what you’re wanting

Life plans you if you don’t get there first

I live by my design


I believe that you are a reflection of you

The mirror shineth back your worth


I believe in knocking down walls, not doors

And in full force execution, not words

And most of all and first of all

I believe in the religion of me


-       C. R. Cohen



7 of 30


Happiness is a misery to my pen


Toss me up a tree; throw dirty rocks

Ravage my body with electric charges

Rattle my brain in its cage

Beat me bloody

Crack me open

Make me feel it raw


Let sticky musings melt and pool

in drips

like ice cream

on hot pavement



Just don’t let this silence persist



-       C.R. Cohen


I Never Decided To Leave 

6 of 30


I never decided to leave

Because when I did all the reasons

came flooding back

in vignettes and moments

memories and snapshots

Failure felt the like the pressure of

concrete brick-bound books a weight upon the chest


the shower was the last shower I would ever take in our home

which was now no longer a home

and the I love yous spattered in puddles

pooling at my toes

I saw every smile and laugh in the showerhead tears that slid down sides of tile

and I came sobbing from the bathroom


your arms were there and they felt right

no difference how wrong they were

the embrace was our last

and then maybe it wasn’t

and we both wanted it not to be


in moments of loss

don’t forget to remember

the empty bed, the hollowness

the thoughtless, careless words you said

that made I love yous false


So I never decided to leave

I decided not to stay


- C.R. Cohen


when you drew the curtains 

5 of 30


when you drew the curtains

it was no surprise

—every few years your vertex

got to itching,

i understood better than most

—we twitchy twitched with the best of them

and pens quivered just as fast


you were swallowed


raw and pinkish skin

you hid so well as armored


bohemian basement

blood orange martini mellow

and screaming ricochet across skull


bashing into walls

you resurfaced


breach then back again


seeking comfort

in chaos


and if i smoked cigarettes then

i could have taste it on your mouth


with purple flaring halo aura


Dali and porcelain mask

lights on dimly

under lounge soft-scarfed drapings

candles burning underground

living above Navajo face painter

traveling back and forth to Santa Fe

while two barreling Shepherds misbehaved


once again

but passing


flicker, whisper, hush


now the world falls silent


and i wonder at the sound


- C.R. Cohen