Like a bird on the wire,
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.
Like a worm on a hook,
Like a knight from some old fashioned book.
I have saved all my ribbons for thee.
~Leonard Cohen (Bird on a Wire)
Just days ago I rolled my IV poll into my doctor's office for a private check up during my infusion. He told me he heard a song and thought of me instantly. He was like a kid on Christmas, fumbling for his phone. I had to hear it. It was Leonard Cohen's, Hallelujah.
I said, "Doc, there's no question, you and I are friends. You get me. That is my favorite song in the universe." When he saw me singing along, I could see he felt proud. Boy did he get it right,
If he followed me to my car, he'd find Leonard's big blue biography on the passenger seat. Leonard Cohen. How many 4 in the mornings did I listen to that song, while staring at the horizon through my office window?
How many times have I been pricked and bleeding and ran to play that song. It calms me. It explains it. It's complicated. I'd bleed. I'd feel. I'd lose sleep, but I would not shoot back. Not even for love. The line was enough to help me sing. There was someone in this world whose words were a salve for "love's" sting.
I'd be okay. SO much of that was Leonard. His words wiped the tears and specks of pain I cannot articulate...away. In my own, solitary place, he was with me. Where is he now?
I held his latest You Want it Darker on vinyl yesterday at Vintage Vinyl. BUT, It reminded me that this would be his last album, so I put it down and went with Regina's latest instead. A denial of sorts. If I let it sit there, he would remain there too. Didn't work. He died last night.
My kids were hanging on me, pulling me in different directions. I should've gotten both records. Maybe there's a set of directions in there; some sort of clue as to how to live my life like he did? Some bit of advice on how to brave the winters, cloaked in only my skin and the truth.
I knew something was going down in late August. His former lover, Marianne Jensen (pictured above in Hydra where she lived with Leonard, circa 1967), was on her death bed, passing away from cancer.
Leonard wrote a letter and sent it to her as soon as he heard:
Well Marianne, it's come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine. And you know that I've always loved you for your beauty and your wisdom, but I don't need to say anything more about that because you know all about that. But now, I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.
She died two days later.
I read something else where he said he was tired and he prayed death wasn't too uncomfortable.
So, I woke last night to find reports and spent the rest of my night awake and praying that he is at eternal peace. That Marianne was waiting. That whomever put that gentle fire inside the huge man was waiting as well. I asked him to send a THANK YOU.
So long my friend. Would you let me call you that, despite never meeting? I think you would.
2016 hasn't been my year. But of all the happenings that have poked and pushed and prodded, making it abundantly clear that we (2016 and I) are not friends, it takes you. They slayers and the armed, those who never held a pen, balk and say words are "just" wind. BUT, don't discount it. The wind can be a powerful thing.Good or bad. Depending. You were always at my back, pushing me toward some truth.
This is the first day of a world without you. But your words remain with the wind. External and within. I'm not giving up on truth, and windy days, my friend.
That, or the fact that I am convinced you would let me call you "friend".