Extraordinary how ordinary we all are…
you, yes… and me, too…
By the stars that witness our transgressions
and the gods that listen to our confessions,
all that happens to a person seems directed at that person,
at you, yes… and me, too…
Yet it’s extraordinary how long it all goes on
before and after you, yes… and me, too…
And how do our stars and our gods make do
without you, yes… and me, too.

                            (Mike Cohen – Oct 2012)



You use I, and he and she
use I, much as I do;
Yet she is she and he is he
and you are surely you.

It certainly is fine
that there are things a person shares
but that pronoun, I, is mine
and others act as though it’s theirs.

Everyone uses I and me
(except when one’s to blame).
If we each need an identity,
why is it all the same?

He uses I.  She uses I.
Now, may I be excused?
But you all use I.  Perhaps that’s why
I feel so very used.

(Mike Cohen – 1999)


We share not only the first person pronoun, but also a melancholy that is undeniably human.

We are all I’s and all natural.


I am made of all natural materials, as is
ultimately everything else…
my foot and the shoe thereon,
and all that shines in my eyes,
from moonlight to neon
to sunsets enhanced with chemical additives –
all essentially natural materials…

Wood whittled remains wood.
Clay fashioned remains clay.
Even plastics can be traced back to their organic origin.

Man creates nothing.
Man touches, man clutches, man grasps, man rasps,
man galvanizes, man homogenizes, man synthesizes,
but man creates nothing.

Wood whittled remains wood.
Clay fashioned remains clay.
And I am, like Adam,
made of all natural materials.

                        (Mike CohenDec 2007)


Feeling extraordinarily ordinary on a moonlit night on a deserted beach…


Watching the moon’s bright beams break on the water
In a thousand flashing shards,
Here, as the tide and the breeze stir each other,
Stand I, whom the world disregards.

And I’m seized by the size of the seas and the skies
And each fragment of moonlight that glistens.
My breath blows in sighs, and my ears, nose and eyes
Sense how small this self is from a distance

Where my powers are ineffective,
My longevity is brief…
And yet here, in this broadest perspective
I discover the greatest relief.

When those damning phantoms, Guilt and Blame,
Come to serve me another citation
I’ll recall what I’ve learned about glory and shame
And the ego’s exaggeration.

For I’ve seen by the size of the seas and the skies,
And by moonbeams that fall down and shatter,
That all a man does all his life till he dies
Doesn’t nearly matter.

 (Mike Cohen – April 2003 – REVISED Aug 2008)



 In time you find yourself
amidst a worldful of whoseits and whatchamacallits
that no longer seem to be themselves
and perhaps never really were. 

Most of your life has been spent
trying to tell things apart,
categorizing animal, vegetable, and mineral,
identifying elements, homing in on
class, order, family, genus, species.
And if you are failing at this now, it is only because
you can finally see clearly
the indistinctness of it all.
The truth is not in the specifics
but in the generalities.

We live in a world that incites us
to distinguish every thing
from everything else.
But we die in a universe
that allows no enduring identity except its own,
a universe where energy and mass are interchangeable
and all the whatchamacallits and whoseits,
including our precious selves,
are nothing but…
                                                                                                      (Mike Cohen – Feb  2010)


The universe is a very big place
where lots of little things
are going on all the time.
Already you are unaware
of nearly all of these little things. In time
you will be unaware of the rest.
And you will never,
never be aware
of how little a difference that will make.

                               (Mike Cohen – Apr 2008)

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