ROMANCE – the Illusion of Love

The wellspring of love is not reality, but illusion.  Where does the illusion end and the love begin?  Who knows?
And who cares, when so many fall so madly in love with the illusion?



If I were blind, would you tell beautiful lies

   when describing all I could not see?

   My love, would you be kinder than my eyes?

   Would you create a lovely world for me?

(Mike Cohen – May  2002)




 Is it worth tryin’?
Am I appealin’?
If it’s worth lyin’
then say it with feelin’.
Love’s mystifyin’.
There’s no square-dealin’.
Is it worth buyin’?
Ain’t it worth stealin’?

What’s the value of my heart?
What is it to you?
Is it worth startin’
what I’ll put you through?

Love’s mystifyin’.
There’s no square-dealin’.
Is it worth buyin’?
Ain’t it worth stealin’?
Is it worth tryin’?
Am I appealin’?
If it’s worth lyin’
then say it with feelin’!

(Mike Cohen – c.1994)


 He left his search engine running.
“The secret of life” is what he had keyed in.
After pressing enter, he waited
a long while.
He was still waiting when she called.

He left his search engine running and went to her.
He was gone a long while,
so long that by the time he finally returned,
the answer was there
behind his screen saver.
All he had to do was to press any key in order to see it.
But he just turned off the computer
and retired to his bed
and to his dreams of her. 

He must have forgotten he had left his search engine running,
must have forgotten what he’d  been searching for,
or maybe he thought he had found it.

(Mike Cohen – July  2008)


“Vive la difference,”  and the difference is not limited to matters of gender.  No matter how similar they are, if two people are significantly close, significant differences are bound to emerge.   An atheist and an agnostic may be in accord at first blush, but time and proximity bring their differences to light.  Working out a relationship involves working through the differences  without either party feeling defeated. 

THE AGNOSTIC SAYS…                          

We have what we have come to call
our irreligious differences.
I am an agnostic, she an atheist,
which means that I am not as certain
about what is
as she is
about what isn’t.
The difference may seem trivial
but it is irreconcilable enough
that we have plenty of disputes.
I am never sure who wins.
She is.
But being an agnostic means that I
am willing to settle for a tie.

From the outset she was emphatic about her devout atheism,
declaring she believed in nothing but that.
Yet one night in the dark
when our passions reached across the divide to meet in an arc,
I distinctly heard her cry out, “O God!”
with a lot of sincerity in her voice.
This led me to believe I might be witnessing some sort of revelation.
But of course, being an agnostic, I couldn’t be sure. 

Afterward, when she reaffirmed her adherence to atheism,
declaring she still believed in nothing but that,
I thought, “O God!  She was only faking it!”
And I looked to the heavens,
wondering if I was alone in my disappointment
or if some great presence
that I know nothing about
could also have hearkened to her cry of “O God!”
and been put off when she later dismissed it as a meaningless ejaculation.
Did I then hear the heavens resounding with resentment
or was it just the echo of my own ego?
If only I were not an agnostic I might at least feel certain
one way or the other.    

But I am an agnostic, and she an atheist.
And we have learned to live with our irreligious differences
and with the theological disputes
that conclude always in what an atheist insists is victory
and what an agnostic accepts as a tie.
(Mike Cohen – Dec.  2010)



You cannot tell from her photograph.
You simply have to see her walk.
The old man changed glasses three times as he watched her.
Such are the effects of her multidimensional undulations
upon a man’s eyes.
No portrait or sculpture could capture it.
Her beauty is beyond height, width, and depth.
Hers is a moving beauty.
She is a creature of Einstein’s fantastic universe of curved space,
not of Newton’s ordinary linear one.
It is futile for me to try to explain.
But if you find it hard
to fathom the fourth dimension, if you find it hard
to accept the interchangeability of energy and mass, if you find it hard
to conceive that time retards itself in tribute to a body in motion,
if you find it hard
to relate to the fact that E does indeed equal mc squared,
you simply have to see her walk.

(Mike Cohen – c.1995)



  I don’t know what happiness looks like,
but if I had to guess I’d say
that willowy woman in the wide-brimmed hat
with the ribbon
is giving a pretty good impression of it
as she walks up the lane
in long wavy motions,
as if she doesn’t have to be wherever she is going,
as if she is going her way just as she pleases. 

She walks with an assurance that is not self-assurance,
but something much surer than anything to do with the self.
And she looks good
without being concerned about her looks,
without any worldly concerns at all.
It makes me smile to look at her. 

If I had to guess, I’d say
that’s what happiness looks like.
Only I can’t say whether it’s her happiness
or mine.

(Mike Cohen – Aug  2008)

Love is the happiness that belongs to no one person, but exists between people, in the space that is not a barrier but a connection.