Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen has left his disguise behind.

How can I possibly create an offering that will be a worthy memorial of Leonard Cohen? In any way I can imagine I’m just a beginner, a neophyte beside him. His art will stand the test of time, especially for those who are patient enough to listen.

I bring up the importance of patience, because by today’s standards you need some to listen to him. Most of his best songs stretch well beyond the norm of our radio clips and streaming services. Many are seven or eight minutes, so most are not going to get onto the radio. Bird on a Wire might be the best 3 minute song every written, but its a blip compared to The Future or Closing Time.

I can ask almost any songwriter and they will recite, in many cases, reams and reams of song by this man. He wrote so many classics we can hardly even remember them all. That is a very rare quality.

Its very rare to find someone so gifted at presenting the paradox of the modern life, so sensitive to the realities, kind and cutting at the same time. Pointing to a truth that most of us can’t hope to touch. Poignant and personal. I feel that way about Simon Rattle. I bet some people felt that way about Stockhausen, or Bach.

Cohen said “Its self respect that you are looking for in your own work. You just keep uncovering your own heart until you find something in which you can locate your self respect.” Is there anything else that can be said?

How about:

I loved you in the morning, our kisses deep and warm
your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm
many loved before us, I know that we are not you
in city and in forest they smile at me and you
but now its come to distances and both of us must try
your eyes are soft with sorrow
hey that’s no way to say goodbye.

I sat in his little park so many times, trusting that one day I would meet this legend but it never happened. Many times I would think to myself – “We’ve been so lucky to live in the time of Leonard Cohen” – and we really were. I know that his thoughts have changed me forever, and made me more thoughtful.

Here is a song I’ve yet to record which I feel was heavily influenced by him. I don’t know if anyone would agree with this, but here it is anyways.

Just living

Amid the crash, we’re not gentle, we’re not angry,                                                                      we’re just living, only living.
All of these weeds, they’re not striving, there’s no industry,                                                       just living like we’re living

All of these rocks hurt so badly if we fall but
they don’t mean it, or conceive it
And all of these hills and these leaves inside the forest
aren’t forgiving, they’re just living

Out here it really is so simple
Out here its just are you alive or dead
Here at the water you can’t hear them
Only the planes slamming overhead.

Don’t look to anything for respite or remorse
its just so simple, somewhat brutal
out here everythings envelopped and repurposed
nothing’s useless, don’t be nervous

Out here it really is so simple
Out here its just are you alive or dead
Here at the water you can’t hear them
Only the planes slamming overhead.

There are times we are distracted from our purpose
its not simple, we’re not simple
But out here we must live without distractions
get to action, get to action

All our buildings they are all so temporary
we can’t own them, we can’t hold them
We are all just a log inside the furnace
we’ll be broken and repurposed

Out here it really is so simple
Out here its just are you alive or dead
Here at the water you can’t hear them
Only the planes slamming overhead.

I’m sorry there will be no more from Leonard Cohen.

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