Blesok no. 110, October-November, 2016
Ten Random Songs of Leonard Cohen
There is a song that I often hum. It is mostly about wine, women and friendship. I also have a friend. The less we see each other, the more the two of us look like the characters of this song. One of its verses goes: svako nosi u sebi nekog svog malog boga kom' se potajno moli. I don't know how it goes with the others, but I know about myself. For a long time, this god for me was the poetry of a man. The name of that man is Leonard Choen and he has shown me everything that I think I know. I will try to tell you about that, based on the commandments of a dozen of his songs. Actually, I will pretend that I try, and it is very possible that I will write about something completely different. Viva la poesia.
Hello, my love and my love, goodbye. At one point I had to move away from your storytelling and your truths which had become mine, from the road signs and illusions. I had to leave all of this and dedicate myself to my own travel, follow my own chaos, with a rose in one hand and her suicide in my other hand. I had to escape to embark on a quest for healing with poetics which was yet to be invented. So on battlefields from here to Barcelona I'm listed with the enemies of love.
Waiting for the miracle, there's nothing left to do. I haven't been this happy, since the end of World War II. My waiting has taken on holy shapes. You are growing wings. A miracle will happen, a big one like death and a scary one like a birth. You are like a candle and a lighthouse in the dark in the irresistible black which I called even when I tried to escape. Those who were never asked anything by anybody who decided for them hold hands.
If the moon has a sister it's got to be you. Your open mouth and my tongue perfectly miss each other. These processes demand their own law. Instead I dedicate you a star. And sometimes I light a candle. My stomach is in fire; I burn under my waist and you can't do anything about this. Neither can I. Nothing is to be done. Not happening is what has to happen so I could continue dreaming.
You were Marlon Brando, I was Steve McQueen. You were K.Y. Jelly, I was Vaseline. But it is all behind us. I have served my part. The colt is in the sheave and my finger on the trigger. The hunger is different. I dedicate myself to dancing. You choose the waltz, the whole world from Vienna to Tennessee is ours. You dance with Leonard first, I will with Federico Lorca, we will change later, let everybody have everybody, let it be until the two of us end in a clutch that not even the tails of death nor Havana rum will be able to separate.
I stand in ruins behind you, with your winter clothes, your broken sandal straps. Leonard, I found everything about her in your songs, just as many before me had. Why am I then convinced that I had loved better and deserved more? Her address, her name, the way in which she swirls her hair from one side to the other, you’ve guessed it all. You left instructions for reaction to each detail. I was flooded by knowledge and I have felt your holiness. May everyone live and may everyone die.
Give me back my broken night, my mirrored room, my secret life. I have been defeated and you are the past, you are greater than sex and light. Memories are dirty and my fingers will find you again. Spite will make you a saint. I choose the black and white world without hesitation, although I dream in colours. It is slippery and the neck is easily broken. I am older than the time that reaches for the memory, than the twilight in which you rode away. Leonard, be proud of me, for a small endlessness I was Jimmy Dean.
Let's sing another song, boys, this one has grown old and bitter. And that is how the circle closes. As she loves me the way I once fantasized she would, with tea and oranges coming all the way from China, I find a perfect alibi for moves not taken in his poetry, and every version of our encounter is clear. We have dreamt away in the darkness with our tired thoughts. Even when I refused to believe that she really existed and did not go to the concert to convince myself in the opposite. Leonard, you did not leave, then, or ever. You teacher of heart, have we done yet? Are my lessons done? Are your lessons done? Are your lessons done?
The tenth song is not random. It is here in the honour of the new album. October is the month of the announced eclipse, a possible start of the final phase of his master piece. October is the month of the tenth song.