Back to Issue Twenty-One.

without directions & with



I’m so done with God & honking; I attribute my new anxiety
To the fact there are three mutually exclusive remotes
On the coffee table. A test-tube baby is hatched with a serial

Number instead of a name & every word she utters will be recorded.
Her cloned twin—they’ll beaker every drop of moisture
She ever produces: eighty-four years’ worth—and this is the new

Conceptual art. I believe gadgets are erasing our internal
Lives—the world escaping from its straitjacket.
Automatic doors have their own agenda. If only I’d taken

The butter dish out to soften the toast would not have
Disintegrated with this morning’s aggression.
I fantasize what I’ll have time to accomplish in the time

It takes the coffee to finish percolating. I don’t percolate as much
As I once did though erections are still somewhat involuntary.
I sobbed when I carted the felines to the Humane Society

When my pregnant wife’s asthma flared up but they were
Missing from their cardboard box. Then things got even
Stranger, like a paperboy delivering the Sunday Edition

With a duct-taped mouth. Domestic equilibrium, however, seesaws:
If the cashier rings up the wrong price you get that item free
But by the time I find a good parking spot & unload I ain’t got the oomph

To trek back to the supermarket. I like web surfing Before & After
Photos of meth addicts, mug shots of unmade-up movie stars
In orange jumpsuits. I’ve seen young women stick their bare feet

Out speeding car windows; their license plates verify they originated
From another planet but I have no interest in puncturing
Their delusions. Remember, my wife says as I leave for the office,

There are cameras everywhere. (There is no place that does not
See you
—Rilke.) I accept the fact I no longer require a television
To watch television, but those taunting remotes. When the cloned

Kids were embryos I assembled toys (half-assed slapped them together
Actually) but always found myself befuddled with extra parts—
Kept them in a secret box just in case things fell apart…


Bruce Cohen’s poems have appeared in such literary periodicals as AGNI, the Georgia Review, the Harvard Review, the New Yorker, Ploughshares, Poetry, & the Southern Review as well as being featured on Poetry Daily & Verse Daily. He has published four volumes of poetry: Disloyal Yo-Yo (Dream Horse Press), which was awarded the 2007 Orphic Poetry Prize, Swerve (Black Lawrence Press), Placebo Junkies Conspiring with the Half-Asleep (Black Lawrence Press), and most recently No Soap, Radio (Black Lawrence Press). His new manuscript, Imminent Disappearances, Impossible Numbers & Panoramic X-Rays, was awarded the 2015 Green Rose Prize from New Issues Press and was published in 2016. A recipient of an individual artist grant from the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism, he joined the Creative Writing faculty at the University of Connecticut in 2012.

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