“Everybody makes a continuing negotiation for a changing deal with love, because we need it so much. A deal with our children, mates, lovers, parents.” Leonard Cohen

 

Have women lost the need for love (romantic or otherwise) from men?

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The evidence is that it hasn’t worked out well between men and women, but nobody can penetrate the need. That’s why I write ‘There Ain’t No Cure For Love.’ Nobody can tolerate the ache of separation, nobody can tolerate the vertigo of surrender. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to abandon the whole deal. We’re not going to. Everybody makes a continuing negotiation for a changing deal with love, because we need it so much. A deal with our children, mates, lovers, parents. As men and women.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Read Leonard Cohen’s exclusive interview with Hot Press from 1988 by Joe Jackson (Hot Press: 11 Nov 2016)

“In the case of Eminem and some of the other rappers, the lyrics are impressive. I think it’s great. I studied and was formed in this tradition that honored the ancient idea of music being declaimed or chanted… to a rhythmic background.” Leonard Cohen

From Cohen on Wry by Michael Krugman (Flaunt: Oct 2001). Photo by DoD News Features141111-D-DB155-046, Public Domain, Link

“Kill Cool” Leonard Cohen

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I remember going to the Village because I’d heard that was where the action was. I went to a coffeehouse. There were people sitting around in black sweaters. After about 3 or 4 days of walking around looking for someone to fall in love with and finally looking for just someone to say hello to, I remember finally in desperation writing on my placemat ‘Kill Cool,’ and I held it up in the coffee shop. That’s the way I feel now.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From No Line Before Its Time It Takes Leonard Cohen A While To Find The Right Words – Five Years Of Writing And Revising For Some Of The Songs On His Latest Album by Tom Moon, Philadelphia Inquirer: Nov 26, 1992. Originally posted Sep 10, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Also see: “The notion of cool has been destroying the heart for years…” Leonard Cohen

“Let judges secretly despair of justice: their verdicts will be more acute. Let generals secretly despair of triumph; killing will be defamed. Let priests secretly despair of faith: their compassion will be true.” Leonard Cohen

 

Excerpted from “Lines from My Grandfather’s Journal” – Published in The Spice-Box of Earth (1961). Image atop post is the back cover of The Spice Box Of Earth by Leonard Cohen (1973 edition). Originally posted January 10, 2009 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“Phil [Spector] had a lot of guns all over the place. You’d always be tripping over bullets that had fallen out of guns.” Leonard Cohen

Embed from Getty Images

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Phil [Spector] had a lot of guns all over the place. You’d always be tripping over bullets that had fallen out of guns. Once I challenged one of Phil’s bodyguards to draw on me. It got that tense. My state of mind was only slightly less demented that Spector’s at the time.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Having Lunch With Leonard Cohen by Jon Wilde, Sabotage Times. Dec 3, 2015 (the quote itself is taken from a 1988 interview).

A Fresh, Cogent Take On Leonard Cohen’s Currently Trending “Kanye West Is Not Picasso” Poem

If you’re weary of reading Twitter-sized appraisals of Leonard Cohen’s currently trending “Kanye West Is Not Picasso” poem (e.g., “Leonard Cohen is right,” “Leonard Cohen sucks,” “Who’s Leonard Cohen?”), take a look at  Leonard Cohen’s Kanye West Poem Wasn’t an Insult; It was a tribute by Carl Wilson (Slate: Oct 12, 2018), which offers a more comprehensive, nuanced, and coherent take on the issue. I’ve excerpted a bit below, but the entire article, available at the link, is worthwhile reading.

But that’s getting the poem exactly wrong. It’s not an insult to Kanye West (nor to Jay-Z, who’s also mentioned). It’s a tribute. Cohen isn’t around to confirm this, but remember that the poem is dated March 2015, when West’s right turn off the rails was still in the distant future. Clearly, it was inspired by several occasions when West compared himself with Picasso, including earlier that month in a speech at Oxford University. But its language is closer to the “rants” of the Yeezus tour, during which Ye (the name he now prefers) regularly issued such direct declarations as “I am Henry Ford. I am Michelangelo. I am Picasso.” Thus Cohen’s poem begins, “Kanye West is not Picasso/ I am Picasso.”

He continues, “Kanye West is not Edison/ I am Edison/ I am Tesla”—bringing up two other self-comparisons West made during that same period. (For someone who supposedly had no use for West, Cohen certainly seemed to keep up on his Ye news.) And then comes perhaps my favorite couplet in the whole poem, a response to Jay-Z calling himself “the Bob Dylan of rap music” in the 2013 track “Open Letter”: “Jay-Z is not the Dylan of anything/ I am the Dylan of anything.” (By Cohen’s own account, Dylan once told him, “As far as I’m concerned, Leonard, you’re No. 1. I’m No. 0,” meaning, “that his work was beyond measure and my work was pretty good.” In other words, Cohen knew artist rivalries.)

Kanye West photo by the_mlKanye West concert, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

“I had no conscious desire to have offspring. I didn’t really want to have children. Their mother, Suzanne, wanted children, I obliged.” Leonard Cohen

Did you want to leave something behind you, a descendant?

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Oh no, not at all. I had no conscious desire to have offspring. I didn’t really want to have children. Their mother, Suzanne, wanted children, I obliged.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Comme Un Guerrier by Christian Fevret (Les Inrocks: Aug 21, 1991). Via Google Translate.

Note: Although he hadn’t wanted children, they became a focus of his life: see Lessons From Leonard Cohen: Your Children Are Your First Priority.

“When I went to record the vocal for [I Can’t Forget] I found I couldn’t get the words out of my throat. I couldn’t sing the words because I wasn’t entitled to speak of the emancipation of the spirit.” Leonard Cohen

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I Can’t Forget began as a song about the exodus of the Hebrew children from Egypt, which was intended as a metaphor for the freeing of the soul from bondage. When I went to record the vocal for the track, however, I found I couldn’t get the words out of my throat. I couldn’t sing the words because I wasn’t entitled to speak of the emancipation of the spirit. I was at the point of breaking downquotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Interview by Kristine McKenna (L.A. Weekly: May 6, 1988). The Leonard Cohen I Can’t Forget single depicted atop this post is from the private collection of Dominique BOILE.

More About I Can’t Forget: A comprehensive examination of this song can be found at I Can’t Forget By Leonard Cohen: A Dossier.