Marcia Cohee received her MFA from the University of Massachusetts, where she studied under James Tate. Her most recent poetry collection, Story, came out last year from Tebot Bach. She is also the author of six chapbooks as well as three previous collections: Sexual Terrain (1986), Laguna Canyon Was Once a River (1991), and Bonefire (1996). More than 250 of her poems have appeared in various literary magazines and anthologies. Active in the Southern California poetry community for many years, Marcia has taught workshops in both poetry and fiction, has read at numerous venues throughout California. With her husband Pat, Marcia co-hosted the Laguna Poets readings and edited the Laguna Poets chapbook series, known for nurturing the careers of many talented Southern California poets.


Begin
 
Begin like a wingless raven
composing the dark terrain.
Or love
with its narrow margins,
its teeth, trying to fit
the grip of language.
 
And you never
see it coming, a whisper
of cloud,
combustible as hope.
The sky emptying
its bottle of reasons.
 
You never see
this love poem
thawing
the cold
universe with its
black wings.
                                                

Sleep
 
Sleep, doubtís bright heaven.
Tea of memory, sleep, always unreasonable.
Ionic skin like mica over the water.
 
Sleep receding like a river devoid of questions.
Elegant as the dance of werewolves.
Nothing bends, nothing is saved.
 
Formless, dwindling along its axis.
All at once full of somedays and nothing
and no one but the cat scratching door jambs.
 
Build nests, tear labels from bottles, disguise
everything in your way.
Everywhere is a nest, and nowhere do we grow immune.
 
Metronomes sway and tick, freeways bridge and gap
where all our metaphors begin.
As they blow through the sleeves of nightgowns.
 
Sleep the collapsing daydream, the busted sonnet.
The one crooked tooth in this universe.
Immortal and grieving like no other.
 
Sleep banging out license plates in silence
restless as anonymity.
A fossil to the wind.
 
Nothing is ever white.
Your tiptoe, your sure step, the hemlock just a fern.
Skull in pyjamas waiting an eternity to laugh.



When
 

When we soulless dead awaken
when events mingle and overtake us
knowing ice lies ahead
 
When the danger we court is in ourselves
when life continues like shadows on the screen
when it continues long after the heart stops
 
When sleep is poison, paralyzing every muscle
when someone has cracked open our hollow bodies
when we have given away our minds
 
When the sentence ends with a comma and will not let go
when we rake the grounds at our own funeral
and sweep that dust behind the corners
 
When our hollow bodies contain nothing except space
when space has room for everything that we desire
when desire grows, slowly at first, like the reluctant seed
 
When the seed splits the world
and it falls like a feather
like the soul, heavy as a star


from Story (Tebot Bach 2009)


Marcia Cohee ~ Poet at Moonday Poetry

© 2010 Marcia Cohee


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