I wrote a long note yesterday thanking ON BEING and Matthew and everybody for posting and then, describing (in a small way) what it was like to read the comments, and see the photo poem prayers on that beautiful site. The note vanished, the way some things do in this incomprehensible universe of INTERNET (what does that word even mean? INTER where? What is the net that holds us?) And now it’s Monday. And, here’s a Monday poem.

I mentioned once before that my friend Larry Bush suggested to me once that I write a guide book in poems. I called it DON’T MISS THIS. I couldn’t find an existing Guide Book in Poems (to Life maybe but not to PLACES) and I started doing that until almost everyone said TALK ABOUT UNCOMMERCIAL. Not that I ever cared at all about commercial. SO. Here’s a Don’t Miss This.

SPA 88
88 Fulton Street
New York City

We go when we can
to a sleazyish
you are almost in
a suburb of Moscow
Russian Mafia spa (imagine
the opposite of skinny spas,
BIG RUSSIAN BODIES, sexy in a way
that has more to do with vodka
than yoga spectacular
lunch many meats stuffed
into dumpling shapes
wonderful herring
even blintzes you don’t go
to this spa to deny
yourself anything
tea with cherry jam
the same tea my grandmother drank
my first time there
I went because I was
in the neighborhood
I actually sat in the jacuzzi
with two very overweight
religious twin brothers they were
both accountants they offered
to do my taxes at a discount
if I was willing
to travel to where they were
in Brooklyn SPA 88
has people and food
and rooms as hot
as Russia I wish I could
go there every day.

Esther Cohen
Let me tell you why I'm here, and why I hope you'll join me. I am here to poem, to play with words, to tell stories when I can, and to ask you for yours. Words are what I love, how I see, and what I say. Words are how I know my life, and how I find my friends. I'm here to ask you to join me. Right here. To send me your stories, and your poems. And to read mine when you can.


  1. I would buy a guidebook in poems. Your Spa 88 poem made me want to go. That’s what a good guidebook does. It makes the reader want to go. I’d say you can’t get more commercial than that.

  2. Spa 88 may not quite be Plato’s Retreat, but it definitely sounds inviting. If I were in Manhattan, and not Jerusalem at this moment, I might go. I assume the background music is Ike Turner’s “Rocket 88”, considered by some to be the first rock song. Where do I sign up to get the first Guidebook in Poems?

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