'...follow me the wise man said

but he walked behind...'*

are my father's favourite lines

& the reason why he likes

Leonard Cohen.

I imagine him when the record

first came out, in a dim candle-lit

bricked, late sixties living-room

his lips stained with the blood

of claret, his shadow stretching;

ghost-like, breaking around the

walls, his flamenco voice in unison

with Leonard, lamenting his

relationship with my mother

& the world, that same voice I heard

as a child whispering on the phone

late at night, thinking how much he

left out of those

'this-is-how-it-is-with-your-mother' talks

& wondering how much I'm truly like him-

searching for meaning in

what's not said

& only occasionally getting it right.

He bought me a book of Leonard's

poetry for my eighteenth birthday

and we both agreed genius

is difficult to sustain through decades

even when the critics are devout,

which was the first time we shared

an opinion-

which was a start,

of sorts, and a start merely,

the rest of the time we spent in silence,

listening for meaning

on those long, sunny

Leonard Cohen afternoons

of my upbringing.


*From the Leonard Cohen song:

'Teachers' p. 1968 CBS Records Inc.



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