Ralph Poetry

Matt Cohen Not Leonard Cohen

I've pretty well given up searching used
book stores in Canada for Leonard Cohen
You never find any
But there are lots of books by Matt Cohen
I have no idea who he is, but
I really do feel for him, poor guy
passed over time and time again by
frustrated browsers
His books dog-eared by
the constant pushing and
prodding and pulling
only to be slammed back into the shelf
in frustration
"Matt" Cohen
Who is this guy?

Man, he's got a lot of books
Is he a cousin or something?
There isn't a used book store in Canada
that doesn't have books by Matt Cohen
Who sold them? Why?
I asked myself these questions many times
Did Matt Cohen know about this?
Did anyone ever bring it up at a party?
I pictured Matt Cohen, livid,
smashing a wine bottle against a wall
"Shut Up! SHUT UP!
Quit bugging me. They finally give me
decent covers on my books
and I still have to hear about
Leonard Cohen..."
I actually did buy a Matt Cohen book once,
a collection of short stories
by Montreal writers that he had edited
Curiously, it got sold when
I moved to Vancouver
"Why, Ralph, why?"
Last night I dreamt Matt Cohen was at my window,
his sad eyes peering into my bedroom
"Why did you sell it? Why?"
"I don't know! I don't know!" I yelled,
the desperate whine of a culprit
caught in the spotlight

Matt Cohen wiped a tear from his eye and was gone
Back into the eternal night of Canadian winter

© 1998, Ralph Alfonso

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