Today's poem is by Julia Cohen

Practice by Fire & Doubt


Chanting novices like, where's my
tumultuous lock of hair?

A bonfire of troops drenched in pitch

I'm the girl with muscular wonder, fresh

with messengers of quivering medicine

Raised above the ground, the lonely
pile of distance binds in sleep

Girls in season? I ransack the animal?

Each hair moneyed to wheat or lentils

Bird's wings drop off& pelt the disease
personating limbs of a shrill tree

Faith coined to burn us out, survives the high
ranking field

Medicine-flames, the same species as hands

Let's worship doubt, let's make a day of it

Imbedded in cars, insects deliver
the birth of distant wars


I'm shining my burnt broom with scandal
Habitual skin, habitual fuel

To brutish pity, disease tethers a vacant
throne & success of merchants

Down falls the casket like a white bird

I'm so buff
I'm a petite freak, a veil of

living green sprung from
the poetics of doubt

You see something, you feel
something, doubt

Tender veil of the buffering field
If you're the messenger then

the message swung from where?

Across the flames, midsummer sprouts
a dark branch, a cry that jumps

the threshold in your fatal color

Genital heat? Vegetal legs?

You throw out the dead
flowers to argue with a rosebud


A body plunging into knowledge
A basket skims your table for

the faithful shoulder, a maneuver
like a barren mother

It's a particularly painful language

This, the process of majority

If you're waxy, then melt
If you like the sudden onset

of war, let me show you
the historical word for weather

Leather reigns & the plum's decay
Interference wafts like a disease

through your open window
Race like a natural death

The bird & I alternate inspecting
our mates, share dances

A girl lives in the form
of renewal, a rustic doubt

The hearth heated by a green
song, four hundred adoring words

chase the war into an idea, hair in your locket

Scales burn up, pitch forward like troops
budding across the branches of

a faithful summary


I'm cluttered with the touch
of coins & emptied by the touch of doubt

I'm bent on meeting the city
with two combustible hands

Is your clashing hungry? Can you
consolidate the animal?

Let's fatten the sacrificial thought

Are you the slanting face slicked with war?

I work out every other day
I call medicine my right hand man

Girls illustrate theories, girls sleepy
with distance, a girl the girl those girls

still devour
the throne back to this field

Copyright © 2013 Julia Cohen All rights reserved
from Collateral Light
Brooklyn Arts Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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