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Cooper Sy Blumenthal

Cooper Sy Blumenthal writes, makes films, and draws cartoons. She moved to Los Angeles in 1984 with her small son to attend the American Film Institute as a Directing Fellow. Standing on top of the AFI’s terrace at sunset, overlooking the lights of Hollywood, she was certain fame and fortune was within reach. Cooper surrendered to everything that had to do with making-movies. Currently she is directing a film for New Win Productions “A Life In Four Seasons,” “Wilderness House Literary Review  published a short,”1602, in the winter edition. ” This May Cooper will screen her film “The Phoenix Effect in Tel Aviv.

2:30 a.m.

Who in the middle of the night will write poetry
imagining a rainforest replacing wild flowers
in your terrace garden, a banana fish floating
past your bedroom windows, or notice the
thin stem green plant bending its neck
toward your reading lamp dropping
leaves on the novel that pleased
you so.

I am the witness so solidly framed
by my own illusions you have to
take your tongue out of its
metal lock box and swat
me down like a fly.

Flee or stay, but do
not speak of taking
me down the river
in your leaky
boat, dear.

I have sailed grand canals
when students marched
carried guns without
bullets, wrote poems
on planks of wood
falling bricks
broken glass
sharp as

And the beautiful young girl?

“Slugged shots of whiskey, tasted dry kisses
felt sharp teeth pierce my tongue.”

“Reading Lorca?”

“No, Borges.”

While strangers waited at the entrance
to your golden shore.

“I remember a beautiful boy with dark eyes
and black hair. He spotted me smoking
behind the tiny cinema on Rue Michel.”   

“Gitanes,” I said. “Were you smoking

“Gauloises, more likely,” she said.

“I let him fuck me against the wall.
I told him I loved him in French.  
My accent merged with his.
I didn’t change anything
for a week. No, I’m
lying, three days.”

She laughed, bringing it all back, lifting
her spirits off the mountain above
the sea a mile from her cottage—
once a retreat.

Turning my own memories over and over
again like a brown postcard with faded
ink, I cannot recall one as luminous
as those of a stranger.

a body is a body on a photograph

A yellow swash of paint on the doorjamb.
A key attached to a sterling silver chain lost
on a trip abroad found three years later inside
a suitcase saved from getting lost on another trip
with a lover, lost now, instead.

A blue pillowcase with one or two dark stains could be
but are not dried tears. A nappy threadbare hand towel
with fading crocheted pink roses as hard as bristles
scratch the face.

A photograph of four strangers all dead.
A photograph inside a cracked glass frame.
Two thin women smile against a sterling blue
sea, corduroy blazers, brown clogs, two scarves,
turtlenecks, pink lips, dark hair blowing away from
their cold faces.

A brown wedding photograph with the date, 1944,
etched below swirls of yellow satin.
A Bride. A Groom. Both dead.

A photograph with a date in the corner 1972
A photograph with a date in the corner 1984
A photograph with a date in the corner 1995
A photograph forgotten between the pages
of a novel; the oversized glasses, wide lapels
padded shoulders, circa 1982.

A photograph lying flat on a shelf, the boy 2-years old
4, 7, 9 fishing in Hawaii with his father. His father also
sucked his thumb until the age of 9 lying on top of a
threadbare blanket.

A guest, a lover, a friend stand at the mantle and politely ask,

“Who are these dead people inside the brown frame
holding the family together?”

“Mother, Father, three aunts, three uncles, one cousin
and a young husband still flushed from his recent honeymoon.”

I move the dust along from one photograph to the other without
noticing almost sixty years have passed.


Her body is wrapped in silk twice
tighter than a cocoon.

Some have been known to shed their
hides during the dry season when
dirt turns to dust and one must
crawl across rivulet to riverbed.

This is definitely my dry season.
There isn’t a drill bit or pinking shears
I haven’t tried and yet nothing is sharp
enough, nothing bores through, nothing
lets light spill across the great divide.

Last night the wind howled like something
wild had gotten loose. Her hair, skin, bones,
back, knee, face and toes were still and warm.

My hands on the outside of the window
slipped fast to the bottom of a steep
decline. I sat on virgin snow for days.

I thought my assignment, some would say
fate was to connect with the eye that caught
mine across a narrow table in a crowded bakery
in New York City, summer of 09’.

Yesterday I saw the same longing, desire for
capture, redemption, and lost dreams in the
eyes of a man whose face was pinned
to the wall of the Post Office.

He was wanted for some despicable crime.
They offered a bounty for his capture, need
for justice, suffering, longing, emptiness
hope and hopelessness.

I had a feeling he and I made the same mistake
trying to puncture a hole in the mask of the world
and stuff our empty pockets (in the old days I would
have said heart) with loot.

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