Bruce Cohen

May 19, 2016 Cohen Bruce



At the soiree, a hot ticket zooms off with a hot potato into the toy

Evening composed of toy conversations. A hot tamale chitchats

With a cold shoulder till he turns into a buzz kill. Some hot shit,

After a couple of stiff belts, cozies up to a limp fish. Lampshade-man

Is toast who is short on dough. People are edible tidbits but also


Bowls of ornamental apples so lifelike the blabbermouth takes a bite

& there will be dental bills & an awkward Novocain-slurred phone

Conversation. Sometimes the phone inside your head rings. Let

The damn machine get it! We have caller ID for a reason: we know

The gender of babies before they’re born; the photo of the blind date


Is Photo Shopped. The longer you procrastinate to call back the easier

It is to never but this is only a modified version of yourself you procreated

We’re speaking of. Think metaphorically of the corner convenience store

As the end of civilization. If the delivery-guy drove beyond that horizon

He’d fall off this flat world or discover an undiscovered continent within.


You feel bad when you make people feel bad but you make people feel bad.

It’s like a washing machine world clunking with coins left in pockets.

It never gets spotless no matter how many times you cycle it through or switch

To the new improved detergent & the sound drives you bananas. Try living

Outside the toy-years. Adult-ish children homestead-squat in unfinished playrooms


Rehearsing non-talking. They scrunch their beady eyes to make you feel bad;

They really want you to feel really bad & all they want is a hot-ass-time & not be

In hot water. Blacker hair is dyed blacker, eye shadow promotes eye shadows.

Convenience store windows are bulletproof, but the creepy drunks in checkout

Lines flirt like a twin brother & sister who apply lipstick to each other in the dark.

Bruce Cohen has published five volumes of poetry. His most recent, Imminent Disappearances, Impossible Numbers & Panoramic X-Rays, was awarded the 2015 Green Rose Prize (New Issues Press). His poems have appeared in many literary periodicals including AGNI, The Gettysburg Review, The Harvard Review, The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Poetry & The Southern Review.