LEONARD COHEN: HE’S MY MAN……..

LEONARD COHEN……He’s My Man

………Gentleman Genius, Poet, Composer, Lover, Student and Professor of Life that any of us should be so lucky to know it as did he ———-
Every time my thoughts would turn to him during the past year or so, I told myself we’d be losing him before too long. There’s a group of KnuckleHeads out of Los Angeles, at the greatest Talk Radio Station I’ve had the good taste to listen to for years – the Talk Show Hosts & Sidekicks of KFI AM640™, whom, in concert, are a band of the brightest and most brilliant broadcasters, lightning fast on their feet once they’ve waltzed on air, greet their audience with an arabesque, perhaps then opening with a tour jete or two, bridge a bit of Shuffle into what may sound at first like a Tap Dance but those among the listeners who are awake, will recognize the Paso Doble. And your Hosts would be the well-spoken guys blessed with the silken voices, whose vocabularies do not include any allusion to the word “reverence” in the context of its application to regard for human dignity. They crack me up.
So anyway, this band of bad breaking blowhards, as a staple of their time-honored tradition in welcoming an upcoming New Year, {I never said they were without sentiment}, compile a list, with the aid and abetting of their self-esteemed listeners, of The Ten Most Likely Celebrities to Die at Some Point During the Coming Year. Correct me if I’m wrong, if you know, and I’m sure They will, should they catch wind of the mention – but I believe this may be the brainchild of John and Ken {weekday afternoons guaranteed to raise your blood pressure on your drive home from work}. I would have thrown Leonard Cohen’s name in the ring last year at this time – it was just a feeling. And for those who find themselves wincing at this reference, I’m confident that Mr. Cohen’s reaction would have begun with that certain little flash of a twinkle in his eyes, transforming itself into the subtle smile of that guy who has way too much class to point out in your presence that he’s learned far more in any given moment of his life than you have in the entirety of yours. Then, no doubt, he would have uttered something charmingly ironic – but apropos, amusing, and that no other mind on the planet could’ve come up with. And so goes the nature of the Man that was Leonard Cohen in the flesh.
And in my humiliatingly disregarded opinion, the flesh is all that IS gone of the Man, and I think I can live with that. His poetry has rightfully earned its place forever in the singular upper echelon of the masterful class in which it has lain for decades. The body of his music – generally on the simple side, no Beethoven he, never on ‘The Charts’ –with or without a bullet, but none of us who listened to the hundreds of melodies he composed, sitting right there on the bench alongside “Suzanne”, and “Hallelujah” {that for my money, the truest version of which was performed by Rupert Wainwright}, could have cared a bit about its appeal to the mainstream. I don’t wonder that there is an owl-like echo among the whispers of the FB crowds and the letter-labeled generations hearing the reports of his passing……”Who? Who?” “WHOOOOOOO?????” Neverherdahim. Pity. Don’t know what you’re missing. Or missed. I do wonder if you know he wrote fiction. Made drawings and painted a few as well. Was the subject of a few memorable films……which I treasure and never tire of watching.
I’m not a Music Critic, or Reviewer. I wouldn’t begin to try. {How in the hell can you accurately, let alone objectively, use words to describe sound, or a type of sound ? Or, put stock in how some other individual ‘perceives’ the enjoyment of that sound? And who can seriously form a subjective opinion based on the taste of a complete stranger, according to the sort of description he presents; and further, make a judgment call about whether or not you would find the price of a recording, or ticket to a live performance of same, worth the precious hard-earned dollars you have crumpled in your sweaty fist ? Unless, of course, to you money is no object, and you can afford to be bored. Or moored in discord.} Sorry folks, no magic button that relieves you of having to actively participate in order to effectively experience something.
Well∙yeah∙sure∙of∙course∙you∙can∙push∙a∙goddam∙button∙to∙turn∙on∙the∙device∙that∙does∙you∙the∙extreme∙favor∙of∙acting∙as∙conduit∙to∙put∙the∙music∙into∙your∙ears. But to h-e-a-r it, you gotta listen. To know that the heart beneath your ribs sends your blood volume coursing through your body, you gotta f-e-e-l it. To begin to comprehend that your body and mind are nothing without your soul, you must feed on worthy ideas, which in this world, are primarily expressed and communicated through personally digesting words of another.
Anyway, I only stopped by to share with you a little story of an experience I had, a very very long time ago. And yes, it has to do with that most eloquent, and ever so gentlemanly, Mr. Cohen. And me. And you. And that little voice we all have inside, a gift I liken to a seed, yet uncultivated when received, tendered at the time of our birthing in lieu of an Instruction Manual, and which, if we are fortunate, we come to learn is a mistake to ignore. Me – I, myself, am still working on it.
No more than a critic or a reviewer, was I ever remotely an “autograph hound” or – God forbid – a groupie. {Well, OK, I did ask Mohammed Ali to sign the back cover of my little black book, when, as a Client, he had occasion to come through the Accounting Department of the Law Firm in downtown Chicago where I worked a lifetime ago. O-O-O-O-H……..THAT was before he had a mark on his face. And what a pretty face it was. Some handshake as well. But who on this planet would have passed that up? And besides, my L.B.B. got stolen, so I’m quite sure it doesn’t even count.}
So, there I was, a little further back before the Ali incident, a still sweet lass of 16 or 17, living in Miami before it had a skyline, and when the growth surrounding Orlando was picked seasonally and didn’t cause congestion. I’d read that Leonard Cohen would be coming to perform at a Coffee House in Coconut Grove. It was quite a distance south from where I lived, but I had my own car, and shows at the Coffee Houses didn’t cost a lot of money. Back then, life was less structured and largely informal. A lot of people – people who weren’t anybody, yet – could manage to collect a small audience – hoping that eventually they would even gather a following – and so were usually happy to simply pass the hat when they played a small room. Exposure. Performance for the love of the Art. In any event, it far surpassed practicing in front of their mothers or a mirror propped up in the living room of some flat. It was a great time for the looseness of life and the lack of laid down law that nobody needed then, and nobody needs now neither.
So, came the day of the performance at the Coffee House in Coconut Grove. I showered, did my make-up, and dressed, which in those days, in Florida, did not include any time spent for the choosing or on-putting of shoes – I always kept a pair of leather sandals in my car on the driver’s floor. Slip, slip, away we go. Clothes, if not in part a bikini, were always jeans, and usually a peasant blouse. No Unders, no Bra. Slip, slip, out the door, mother cannot yell some more…. I planned to get down to Coconut Grove early so I could figure out where to park, then walk around a while, check out all the Head Shops, and find myself a sweet spot – front and center…..three feet from the stage and the crowd behind me so I could forget they were even there. Greta Garbo had nothin’ on me.
Poet Cohen had already achieved recognition. And anyway, he never was a Starving Artist. By my count, at that time, so far he had six volumes of his work in print. And I possessed one of them. It was his Selected Poems 1956 – 1968. I wondered if I should take it with me. How silly, I then told myself. What am I going to do with it? Hold it in my lap the entire time like some doe-eyed star-struck wannabe writer who will most likely never again string three sentences together worth reading? Read along with him like I was in Sunday School at church? Ridiculous! Or worst of all, lose the damn book, and then what? I really knew that I was way too shy to approach him and ask him to write something in it. Even so, on this point, I vacillated, I think, for a couple of hours, picking it up, putting it back. Taking the book out to my car, then returning it to my room. I was embarrassing myself with my indecision. Rule of thumb: Above all else – Look COOL – at any cost.
That was that, and I took off. The entire evening I felt like I had died while smack in the center of Heaven. My table had me sitting directly in front him, eyeball to eyeball. The way he spoke, he might well have been a guest seated in our parlor, easily chatting with us, a cup of tea on his lap. He sang to us with passion, without accompaniment beyond his acoustic guitar. I was thrilled and the evening was flawless….. Then he paused momentarily to say he was breaking briefly. He began to rise, but thought better about it for some reason. Sitting back down again, he said that he would like to read a passage from his most recent volume of poetry, but he’d neglected to bring it along. Did anyone happen to have a copy of “Selected Poems” with them.
No one in the audience did. Especially me.

¥ ¥ ¥ ¥

The Story Behind the Story:

OK – To get down to it now – why in my mind this even became a story at all:
I think quite possibly, that in order to truly appreciate the enormity of the impact the outcome that this story had upon my then early shattering psychasthenia, one would need to be properly acquainted with me, or be familiar with the once upon a time little known disorder that can cause a significantly severe deficit in a person’s attention span and ability to focus on the here and now. One of the two would be required to have become familiar with the very squirrelly side of one of my overtly distinct personalities. The specific behavior to which I refer, would probably qualify as a somewhat mysterious side of this “creature”- the part within, that without offering verbal justification, finds the otherwise simple act of walking out the front door in a ready state, fully prepared to advance to an intended destination, for an express purpose -or not, to be a task of near impossible proportions. Time after time after time, this being – who looks just like me, by the way, but beleaguered and bewildered, is habitually, unexpectedly, and unreasonably detained, for any number of reasons – real or imagined, which in turn appear to cause this sudden, out of nowhere, mimicking of squirrel-like behavior. The routine consists, in part, of approaching a door to exit, hand on door knob, maybe followed by actually opening the door, even passing through it now and again, including the locking thereof, and so forth. Then, at whichever point that progression ends, our subject will abruptly turn around, scurry quickly back through the door, inside, apparently engaged on a mission of some sort. Which is true. And like any instant replay worth its weight in Advertising revenues, the course of action will be repeated ad infinitum, until there is no longer any need to do so. Sometimes, at the surface, it would seem to be triggered by simply confronting the door through which exit is anticipated. Other times, there almost appears to be an aversion to really leaving home base and going somewhere. There is also much truth in this assumption. However, being privy only to what visible changes occur on the surface, i.e. the facial expressions and body language conveying various levels of stress, does not provide enough information to understand this phenomenon.
Watching said behavior is certainly disconcerting. Being held up by it is maddening. Being the one who is darting to and from the door, ostensibly for some reason – at the core of which is either forgetfulness or the onset of a new thought, so intriguing or pressing, that to dismiss it without acting upon it immediately, would be unthinkable. This, inadvertently, nearly always results in the presumed utter lack of preparedness to reach one’s destination and/or to meet their responsibilities. In my own case, what was actually going on inside that pretty little head, is not far afield from the impressions observers have been given. Triple the hours to prepare for any type of outing, and it will still not be enough 99% of the time. That is because normal thought processes which bring about the focus to plan is typically disrupted. Along the continuum, if you will, of a normal series of thoughts in such situations, frequent breaks will occur, which may be pictured as potholes, filled either not at all, or with a foreign substance that does not congeal well with what the brain can produce. It’s something like trying to take a written test when every few questions are obliterated by redaction..
Maybe you have an ADD’er of your own…….. If so, you probably require little more explanation on this portion of the evidence.
So, while moving through the particular afternoon I share with you, the day of the performance at the Coffee House in Coconut Grove that I shall never forget, while I showered and dressed, merrily looking forward to the culmination of my evening, all was right as rain. Slip, slip, let it rip. {I wasn’t in full rigor yet, back in the day.} I was never one to obsess about my clothes, and to this day, I still don’t. To the reasonable and acceptable end of wanting to look good when I go out, I think I’ve always taken the ordinary, fairly minimal steps, and amount of time to do so. Grooming has never consumed a major portion of my time to prep for my day. I’m pretty sure, that like most busy, responsible individuals who like to be in control, manage their activities properly, including showing up on time, the closer I get to the time I must leave home, the faster I move, rushing around to finish the last minute whatevers. That was the Me of a lifetime or two ago, as is still, to a point, today.
But things are very different these days. I now have a silent killer that took up residence within me and lives inside my head without permission. What begins to happen when I plan to leave the house for any reason, is that this entity that screams without sound, rears its own ugly head that typically, and voraciously, eats up my day like a Pac Man starved. It will start with a thought of something I’d better have with me, otherwise I shall surely find I’m in need of it; without it my day will be disrupted. Inconvenienced. Soured. Completely ruined. The feeling is that of dread, and it becomes my master. Most of the time, since this object I suddenly must have, was not given so much as a fleeting thought beforehand, I don’t know its whereabouts for sure, and I can expect to have a search on my hands. And, naturally, I do. It takes up time. My anxiety kicks in, quickly followed by frustration. Then comes thought Number 2 about needed object Number 2, so more searching, more lost time. And so it goes. And goes. And goes. And goes.
It snowballs until I’ve easily lost 4 hours. Recently, more often closer to 8 or 10. Amazing, isn’t it? Most people, I think, cannot even fathom losing time like that. The tragedy is that the time isn’t something I’ve misplaced. Or that I have forgotten what I did with it. I can never recover it, nor can I recover the relationships I destroyed in the process of succumbing to my insanity. Few people have the patience to tolerate many do-overs. And I can’t blame them. They can walk away and be done with the aggravation. However, I cannot. It builds to a crescendo that is entirely absent of harmony. In its place, there is only embarrassment, humiliation, and shame. And all the time I can waste with nowhere to go, no one waiting to see me, and no once interested in what I might have to say.
Such is but one small example of the wake of havoc wreaked in the lives of those afflicted with just this one, benign sounding mental malfunction. Attention Deficit Disorder. I candidly disclose the discomfort that accompanies the label to give insight to those still unfamiliar with its characteristics. I say to others who carry the burden daily, you are not alone in the soup. If you are lonely, please keep swimming.

¦¦ —— Thank you, Dear Readers, for your time and interest in my writing. I hope that your attention has been satisfactorily captured, and that you have been entertained and/or enlightened during your visit.

BLOG POST©: Sunday 13 November 2016 @ 03:10
Catherine Wylde

PUBLISHED: 18 June 2018