Dominique Issermann’s Exes Featured In Leonard Cohen’s I’m Your Man Lyrics

If you want a boxer
I will step into the ring for you
And if you want a doctor
I’ll examine every inch of you

From I’m Your Man
By Leonard Cohen

It turns out that not only is Leonard Cohen’s I’m Your Man album dedicated to Dominique Issermann but the title song is also populated by men from Dominique’s life.

Don’t tell me that saying ‘I’m Your Man’ is a complicated thing, but who said it before and like [Leonard Cohen]? I can tell an anecdote that will make him laugh if he reads it. In this song, all the men who are mentioned are friends of mine, maybe exes more or less… ‘If I wanna be a boxer:’ I had a boyfriend boxer; ‘If I wanna be a doctor:’ another was a doctor… We laughed a lot at that.quotedown2

Dominique Issermann

From Ma vie avec Leonard Cohen : “Je l’ai entendu travailler deux ans sur ‘Hallelujah'” par François Armanet et Bernard Loupias (L’Obs: Nov 11, 2016). Interview originally published in “Le Nouvel Observateur” of January 26, 2012. Thanks to Coco Éclair for the French to English translation.

Thanks go to Cohencentric viewer, Uli, who, accompanied by her Swiss sidekick, attended the 2009 Leonard Cohen Colmar Concert where she shot the stellar photo of Leonard Cohen wearing boxing gloves and a stethoscope that were flung onto the stage during his performance of I’m Your Man.

“‘An overseas relationship,’ That’s what I called our life then.” Dominique Issermann Talks About Her 7 Years As Leonard Cohen’s Lover And About Marianne & Suzanne Elrod

When did you meet Leonard for the first time?

At Hydra, in 1982. Carole Laure and Lewis Furey introduced me to him. They knew each other well since their years of “Bohemian” Montreal.

When you lived together, what was your biggest common denominator?

Work. I did not stop working, nor did he… He wrote all the time. When I met him, he had just finished Various Positions, and then he wrote I’m Your Man. We lived at one or the other in Los Angeles, in Montreal, in New York at the hotel, in Paris, a little in Trouville or Hydra. “An overseas relationship,” that’s what I called our life then …


You had other men before him, he had other women before you, that he evokes in his songs, Suzanne, Janis Joplin for whom he wrote “Chelsea Hotel” or Joni Mitchell, the “Winter Lady” …

You forget Marianne. Suzanne, Marianne, Issermann, it rhymes …

Did you know them?

I met Marianne once, in Hydra, I think. A very beautiful woman, a bit more buxom than the photos. I think he had a beautiful relationship with her. I knew Suzanne, of course, since she was the mother of their children, whom she raised in Paris. Leonard took them on weekends, on vacation. When I met him, his daughter was 10 years old and his son 8 years old. It was a kind of gift to me, who did not have children. They were very charming; they still are: Adam is now a singer, and Lorca a wonderful young woman who lives half the time in Paris.

Leonard also spoke a lot about Marianne, whose son he raised. He lived on Hydra with her for years that were quite dazzling for him. He had just left Canada, the snow, McGill University. He had earned some money, and he went to the sun. He bought a house there. He went to the beach to soak up the sun and returned to the terrace. And then Marianne came with her blond hair, her sarong. It was an easy life, they were young, it was quiet, no cars, donkeys going up and down the hill, cats …

I have the impression that he was quite happy in Greece. He has never been unhappy anywhere. Of course, he goes through terrible ups and downs, but there is still in the depths of him a creativity so beautiful. Besides, among all the singers, who claims his happiness? Charles Trenet, maybe … and then again I’m not sure. But, for the most part, it’s “I can’t get no satisfaction,” as the Stones would say.

From Ma vie avec Leonard Cohen : “Je l’ai entendu travailler deux ans sur ‘Hallelujah’” par François Armanet et Bernard Loupias (L’Obs: Nov 11, 2016). Interview originally published in “Le Nouvel Observateur” of January 26, 2012. Excerpt via computer translation.

Photo by Dominique BOILE

Leonard Cohen Identifies Himself As “One Of The First Punks,” Tells Bovine Sex Joke, Talks About Roshi, Nick Cave, Jennifer Warnes, Dominique Issermann, & More – 1988 Video Interview

Topics Covered In Interview With Christian Eckert (Munich 1988):

  • Leonard Cohen’s I’m Your Man album
  • Post-Modernist Disco
  • Leonard as one of earliest Punk Rockers
  • His young bull/old bull joke
  • Book of Mercy
  • “I don’t have time to think about politics”
  • How Jennifer Warnes’ Famous Blue Raincoat rehabilitated him
  • Leonard’s attitude covers of his work
  • Nick Cave rescuing his song “to let it fall apart again”
  • His computer
  • Living in a Portuguese section of Montreal\
  • Roshi
  • Gap between public and private life
  • Critics being on trial
  • Concerns about next tour
  • Dominique Issermann’s direction of First We Take Manhattan video

View video on YouTube

“All These Songs Are For You, D.I.” Leonard Cohen Dedicates I’m Your Man Album To Dominique Issermann


Yes, I was the woman from I’m Your Man, which I would have never thought to mention publicly if some biographies weren’t out. I learned that he [Leonard Cohen] was very depressed when we met on Hydra. I wasn’t at all aware of it, we laughed so much. [Interviewer: How does the story end?] In one fell swoop. Like water flowing from a basin.1quotedown2

Dominique Issermann

The Dancing Couple Dedication image was contributed by Dominique BOILE, who also took the photo of Dominique Issermann in Paris on January 16, 2012


  1. from Champ Libre by Anne Diatkine (Le Temps, 25 June 2012). The French to English translation was made possible by Coco Éclair. []

Dominique Issermann On Leonard Cohen As A Photographer’s Model

Is Leonard is a good model for a photographer?

He is a very good model. I’ve always wanted to photograph him. I find him very elegant, and he is quiet enough for the camera. He is there. It does not require seductive maneuvers to reach the goal.quotedown2

Dominique Issermann

Original French:

Est-ce que Leonard est un bon modèle pour une photographe?

Je le trouve très élégant, et il est assez calme devant l’appareil photo. Il est là. Il n’entreprend pas des manoeuvres de séduction par rapport à l’objectif.

Excerpt from “Leonard par Dominique” (Le Nouvel Observateur: January 26, 2012). Contributed by Dominique BOILE with translation by his friend, Denis Losier. Originally posted November 14, 2014 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric