Checking comments submitted to this site for legitimacy is a daily task. Some are clearly spam and others are just obnoxious; in those cases, I click them away into the ether. Occasionally, I find a comment inscribed by a Cohen-associated celebrity. Anjani Thomas, Dave Stewart, Sylvie Simmons, Marianne, and Don Was have, for example, entered comments. This exercise does not, however, prepare one (at, least if the one thus referenced is me) for the discovery that my singer-songwriter-novelist-poet-icon of choice has not only been perusing but also proofreading my posts.
The recognition that the author of a given comment is “Leonard Cohen” immediately triggers a review of my recent posts that might be somehow perceived in a negative light. As ongoing readers know, I sincerely admire Leonard, but I have also, on occasion – well, I have used him as a means to a cheap laugh. I may, for example, have once written that
The inspiration for the Leonard Cohen song, “Suzanne,” was actually Dolly Parton. Her service as Cohen’s muse was kept secret because of her personal respect for and professional dependence on her partner at that time, Porter Wagoner. Also, the line from “Suzanne” that reads “And she feeds you tea and oranges” was originally “And her breasts are big as melons.”
And, I did publish several posts featuring exchanges between Anjani, Leonard Cohen’s romantic partner, and me suggesting she join me in a three-way or four-way (the number and the selection of the other female participants were issues being negotiated) rather than stay with him. I held a Title Match For Goofiest Leonard Cohen Music Video in an early morning post the same day the title of a later entry read Report Of Leonard Cohen Collapsing On Stage In Valencia.
It goes on. I once accused him … well, you get the idea – and those charges were dropped once the authorities in Alabama finally understood it was a joke.
In any case, some folks don’t take well to such joshing.
Happily, Leonard Cohen did not inhabit that particular some folks subset.
Leonard was, however, vigilant regarding certain topics, especially his children, Adam and Lorca.
When I, for example, quoted an erroneous newspaper report identifying Lorca Cohen as the “surrogate mother” of Viva, the daughter she bore with Rufus Wainwright, Leonard soon notified me that
In many of the articles announcing the birth of Viva Katherine Wainwright Cohen, Lorca Cohen is characterized as “the surrogate.” Of course, she is no such thing. She did not carry the child for someone else. Lorca Cohen is the mother of the baby and Rufus Wainwright is the father. The child will live with Lorca, and be brought up by her. Rufus and Lorca are good friends of long standing, and he will have ample opportunity to enjoy his daughter’s company.
And, when a reader referenced I’m Your Man by Sylvie Simmons (Ecco: 2012), pointing out that Lullaby In Blue, Bette Midler’s favorite track on her 1998 Bathhouse Betty album, while listed as having been co-written by Adam Cohen and Brock Walsh, was originally created by Leonard Cohen:
Leonard [Cohen] gave his son [Adam Cohen] a song that he had been “working on for years” and knew he’d “never get around to doing,” “Lullaby In Blue.”
That’s where things stood when this entry was posted. About eight minutes after it went online, I heard from Leonard Cohen, who was then ensconced at the Regina Encampment, where a concert had been canceled because of wide-spread illness among the Unified Heart Touring Company. As Joey Carenza posted on March 10, 2013, Cohen & crew were “bunkered in Regina and on the mend.”
Well, it turns out that Leonard found time during this hiatus to check in on my online ramblings and respond to “How similar the iteration Leonard Cohen gave Adam is to the the final version Bette Midler song is unknown:”
The tune and the words are Adam’s
All I gave him were the words:
The child I never knew
My lullaby in blue
In addition, however, Leonard maintained personal predilections. The most memorable example resulted from my careless copy and pasting of one of his lesser known poems.
If There Were No Paintings
By Leonard Cohen
If There Were No Paintings
If there were no paintings in the world, Mine would be very important.
Same with my songs.
Since this is not the case, let us make haste to get in line,
Well towards the back.
Sometimes I would see a woman in a magazine Humiliated in the technicolour glare.
I would try to establish her
In happier circumstances.
Sometimes a man.
Sometimes living persons sat for me.
May I say to them again:
Thank you for coming to my room.
I also loved the objects on the table
Such as candlesticks and bowls.
From a mirror on my desk
In the very early morning
I copied down
Hundreds of self-portraits.
The Curator has called this exhibition
Leonard Cohen Artworks
I call my work
Note: As has often been the case, this poem has been republished in association with a Leonard Cohen art exhibit.
Comments from Original Posting: “If There Were No Paintings – A Poem By Leonard Cohen About His Art”
Leonard Cohen April 10, 2015 at 11:40 pm:
In the poem above, the lines “Mine would be very important” and “Humiliated in the….” should be underneath the sentences that precede them, and not run off into awkward space.
Thanks for the great new site.
DrHGuy April 11, 2015 at 1:09 am
Thanks for the correction
I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on AllanShowalter.com (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted Apr 9, 2015.
I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on AllanShowalter.com (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted Feb 23, 2018.