Thursday, 10 November 2016

In Memory of Leonard Cohen (1934-2016)

If I am dumb beside your body
while silence blossoms like tumors on our lips
it is because I hear a man climb stairs
and clear his throat outside our door

— Leonard Cohen, from "Poem"
in Let Us Compare Mythologies

The expenditure is worth it
you contend,
hundreds for a train
that stank of fish,
a hotel with no TV,
the cost of wine and dining
and the tip we never left,
lapping lukewarm lattes
under awnings of cafés.

Yes, I too have heard the stories
of his coming,
every so often,
to his haunts in Montréal,
the bridge that spans the river
though we argue on which one,

the kiosk in the market
where Suzanne was given birth,
amid the lemons
and yellow beans,
the singer seeing the sun
in all those tints
and tones of fruit,
how its setting were tangerines,
the moon a whitish melon
giving muse.

I dispute your speculation,
say the woman
the tune was named for
didn't cook
or squeeze a lime,
that you've confused her
with someone else,
a silent, unnamed mistress
from a stanza
of his Poem.

We can always look
for her,
her features gone to prune,
dentures getting stuck
on autumn apples,

purple veins
about her calves
and swollen feet
that scrape the ground
around her cane,

measuring up
to Marianne,
her existence
only words
without a song.

Andreas Gripp

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