Dear R.,

I can’t sleep. I can’t work. I don’t know what happened; suddenly you are on my mind again. Not being part of your life, and you not being part of mine, is one of my biggest hurts.

Do you know that warmth you get while in a relationship? The one where you felt so beautiful? I wonder if I’ve lost everything. I wonder if this is it for me. If there won’t be any other.

Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye
Leonard Cohen

I loved you in the morning, our kisses deep and warm,
your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm,
yes, many loved before us, I know that we are not new,
in city and in forest they smiled like me and you,
but now it’s come to distances and both of us must try,
your eyes are soft with sorrow,
Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye.

I’m not looking for another as I wander in my time,
walk me to the corner, our steps will always rhyme
you know my love goes with you as your love stays with me,
it’s just the way it changes, like the shoreline and the sea,
but let’s not talk of love or chains and things we can’t untie,
your eyes are soft with sorrow,
Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye.

“In this little space fate has allowed for ourselves, I continue to adore you…” I’m reading your old letters to remind myself that you loved me once.

Yours,
T.

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It is Sunday. Haven’t I been here before? I miss you. I’m reading old letters I sent you, asking myself what went wrong, what have I done again this time, like all the other times when I wake up the next day to find myself alone once more. I wish I could say I have gotten better at it, that it doesn’t hurt as much as the first time, and that it will be over before I know it. But who am I kidding. Here’s another truth though, no matter how ugly: I’ll live. Though knowing that doesn’t make things easier, yes?

Had We Nothing to Prove
Leonard Cohen

Had we nothing to prove
we might have leaned all night at that window,
merely beside each other,
watching Peel Street, wrought-iron gates
and weather vanes, black lace of trees
between cautious Victorian silhouettes;
but there were obligations, the formalities
of passion; so we sealed the shutters
and were expedient in the brevity of night;
reading with empty sockets moonlight in dull hair,
softness to chafed thighs;
both of us anxious and shaking the night,
with all my arm, she with fingers and gentle;
no hope for silver leaves in the morning.
And always a glance for the brightening windows,
a suspension of breath for the hearing of birds
and incantations to the sun
which stirs in dust behind stone horizons.

I really, really, really want that book.

These Heroics
Leonard Cohen

If I had a shining head
and people turned to stare at me
in the streetcars;
and I could stretch my body
through the bright water
and keep abreast of fish and water snakes;
if I could ruin my feathers
in flight before the sun;
do you think that I would remain in this room,
reciting poems to you,
and making outrageous dreams
with the smallest movements of your mouth?

From Selected Poems, 1956-1968 by Leonard Cohen, published by Bantam Books, 1971.

Leonard Cohen’s Poems and Songs (Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets) will be released on April 5, 2011. Man oh man, was my reaction a few nights ago. He’s one of my favourites. He leaves me speechless. It’s hard to find copies of his books here, and when I do it’s so damn expensive. You know the only reason why I sometimes desire to be rich someday? It’s so I can buy all the books I want and read all day and write for the rest of my life without having to worry if I have something to eat tomorrow. Then again, if I have that kind of life, what will I write about? Isn’t perfection brutal?

Anyway, here’s a poem I love:

Anthem
Leonard Cohen

The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don’t dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.
Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
We asked for signs
the signs were sent:
the birth betrayed
the marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood
of every government —
signs for all to see.
I can’t run no more
with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud.
But they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up
a thundercloud
and they’re going to hear from me.
Ring the bells that still can ring…
You can add up the parts
but you won’t have the sum
You can strike up the march,
there is no drum
Every heart, every heart
to love will come
but like a refugee.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
That’s how the light gets in.
That’s how the light gets in.

From Selected Poems, 1956-1968 by Leonard Cohen, published by Bantam Books, 1971. ()

I finally did it. I wrote you a letter. After days, nights, of thinking and trying to find the right words. That was folly. There were never the right words. Only those that will hurt us both, in the end. But I had to do it. It had to be done, because I am not strong enough. You have to leave me, because I’ll never go.

Love Itself
Leonard Cohen

The light came through the window now
straight from the sun above,
and so inside my little room
there plunged the rays of Love.

In streams of light I clearly saw
the dust you seldom see,
the dust the Nameless makes to speak
a Name for one like me.

And all mixed up with sunlight now
the flecks did float and dance
and I was tumbled up with them
in formless circumstance.

I’ll try to say a little more:
this Love went on and on
until it reached an open door –
Then Love itself was gone.

The self-same moment words were seen
from every window frame,
but there was nothing left between
the Nameless and the Name.

It is Sunday. I intend to lie all day and listen to music and let my melancholy cover me like a blanket.

I Wonder How Many People in This City
Leonard Cohen

I wonder how many people in this city
live in furnished rooms.
Late at night when I look out at the buildings
I swear I see a face in every window
looking back at me
and when I turn away
I wonder how many go back to their desks
and write this down.

From Selected Poems, 1956-1968 by Leonard Cohen, published by Bantam Books, 1971.

Still thinking of you, even if you think you are hopeless; even if you think I should be done with you. Well, to hell with all that, really. I go when I please, and never before. You should know that by now.

I Am Dying
Leonard Cohen

I am dying
because you have not
died for me
and the world
still loves you.

I write this because I know
that your kisses
are born blind
on the songs that touch you.

I don’t want a purpose
in your life
I want to be lost among
your thoughts
the way you listen to New York City
when you fall asleep.