The put-together words of a poem
are like waves that create foam
on the beach-head from the mighty ocean
plunging down with commotion.
Then the next wave will crash again,
and the surf-divers leave their pads,
swirling away like disrupted lads
falling apart at the seams,
or so it aquatically seems.
But the surf-divers recover
and each is ready for his lover
to wipe the brine from his bronzed body
and the sea slime from his athletic hobby.
They all meet at the restaurant lobby.
A failed poem in the garbage can
had ambition to be in print.
But failure of rhyme and reason
spoiled the poem’s hoped-for season
in the sun for strangers’ eyes
to deliver fame of ego size
to that poor mediocre poet . . .
to achieve only failure—wouldn’t you know it?
If he had talent, why didn’t he grow it?
Thus his poems one by one
sink in cruel darkness over the sun.
Marvin Cohen is the author of many novels, plays, and collections of essays, stories, and poems. His shorter work has appeared in over 100 magazines and books, including: Ambit, Antaeus, Assembling, Center Magazine, Cricket Addict’s Archive, Essaying Essays, Extensions, Harper’s Bazaar, Hudson Review, Monk’s Pond, The Nation, National Camp Director’s Guide, New Directions in Prose andPoetry, The New York Times, Plays from the New York Shakespeare Festival, The Pushcart Prize, Quarterly Review of Literature, Salmagundi, Sun and Moon, Transatlantic Review, The Village Voice, Vogue (UK), and Wormwood Review. His work has been performed on radio and theatres in the USA and the UK, including readings at the Poets at the Public Series, featuring, amongst others, Richard Dreyfuss and Wallace Shawn.
Born in Brooklyn in 1931, Cohen has described himself as one who has “risen from lower-class background to lower-class foreground.” He studied art at Cooper Union but left college to focus on writing, supporting himself with a series of odd jobs, from mink farmer to merchant seaman. He later taught creative writing at various New York colleges, including The New School, the City College of New York and Adelphi University.
For a long time, Marvin Cohen has lived in the Lower East Side, New York City, with his wife Candace.