Shared History

I saw you last year, Allen Cohen
in North Beach at the Cafe Puccini
with Pavarotti music overflowing
from the Jukebox

I tried to get your attention
but I was too-down-depressed
(not feeling equal)

You were six years older
from New York City
active during the good
community making early years
in Berkeley and the Haight
dedicated, for our generations
against all war

I remember a poetry reading
at the Noe Valley Ministry
a benefit for the Coalition for Nuclear Free Harbors
you mentioned Kenneth Patchen
as an early influence
then used a tape recording
from the Kronos Quartet
to accentuate your poem,
" No More Hiroshima Bombings,
" No More Nagasaki Bombings"

I didn't know you well, Allen,
although you and I often talked
a little at a time, many times
comparing notes on opposing Reagan's wars
and the importance of environmental justice

You often could be heard counseling a neighbor,
"It is not just our circumstances but the choices
we make about these that matter,"

I remember you worked at the Schlock Shop
and would write poetry
about the peoples' fondness for various hats,

You were like an older brother
established already in the good dissent,
one of the better names
in this City near the Bay

I will carry-on
the unfathomable resilience
of a peoples' antiwar poetry
(the growing dialectics of the social poem)
I will not give-up
to the abyss of despair
(for longer than a reflective, 50 minutes per week)

You wrote a book called "The Reagan Year Poems"
then, after 9-11-01, edited the anthology,
"An Eye For An Eye Makes the Whole World Blind"

You were right-there
across from the second table
at the Cafe Puccini in North Beach
near the Mediterranean like bay
where the fog-cool air still smells
of fresh espresso

You are a history now
an overflowing history
a vivid history carried along,
a history affirmed
by even the forgotten
histories, who were ever
enjoined and searching
along with you

"No More Hiroshima Bombings"
"No More Nagasaki Bombings,"
Allen Cohen

© Larry Ebersole

Brief BIO for Larry Ebersole:
Larry, is a longtime bay area person, who is active now in Seattle, with Amnesty International.
He works as a counselor, and is a volunteer editor with Poets Against the War. His earlier poems appear in
"Struggle," "Am Here Forum," "Zambomba," and several poetry editions of the "San Francisco Street Sheet."
His current work appears in "Poems for Madrid," by Nth-Position, and two poems of the day at the Poets
Against the War E-anthology. He may have poems appearing in the October edition of "Citizen 32."

Allen Cohen Tributes and Memories