The venerable old pine trees of Mt. Baldy
Photo © 1997 by Jarkko Arjatsalo


Seisen has a long body.
Her shaved head
threatens the skylight
and her feet go down
into the vegetable cellar.
When she dances for us
at one of our infrequent celebrations,
the dining hall
with it's cargo of weightless monks and nuns,
bounces around her hips
like a hula-hoop.
The venerable old pine trees
crack out of sentry duty
and get involved,
as do the San Gabriel mountains
and the flat cities
of Claremont, Upland
and the Inland Empire.
And ocean speaks to ocean
saying, What the hell,
let's go with it, rouse ourselves.
The Milky Way undoes its spokes
and cleaves to Seisen's haunches,
as do the worlds beyond,
and worlds unborn,
not to mention darkest holes
of brooding anti-matter,
and random flying mental objects
like this poem,
fucking up the atmosphere.
It's all going round her hips,
and what her hips enclose;
it's all lit up by her face,
her ownerless expression.
And then there's this aching fool
over here, no, over here
who thinks that
Seisen's still a woman,
who's trying to find a place to stand
where Seisen isn't Dancing.

Copyright © by Leonard Cohen. Mt. Baldy, 1997.
Reprinted with permission. Any other use forbidden.