“My advice is highly valued. For instance, don’t piss on a large pine cone. It may not be a pine cone…” From The Luckiest Man In The World By Leonard Cohen

My advice is highly valued. For instance, don’t piss on a large pine cone. It may not be a pine cone. If you are not clear about which spiders are poisonous, kill them all. The daddy long legs is not a true spider, it actually belongs to the Seratonio crime family. Although insects value their lives, and even though their relentless industry is an example for all of us, they rarely have a thought about death, and when they do it is not accompanied by strong emotions, as it is with you and me. They hardly discriminate between life and death. In this sense they are much like mystics, and like mystics, many are poisonous. It would be difficult to make love to an insect, especially if you are well endowed. As for my own experience, not one single insect has ever complained. If you are not sure which mystics are poisonous, it is best to kill the one you come across with a blow to the head using a hammer, or a show, or a large old vegetable, such as a petrified beet.

Excerpted from The Luckiest Man In The World (Mt Baldy, 1997) – Book Of Longing by Leonard Cohen.

Leonard Cohen Talks About The Meaning Of “My Dick Is The Horse And My Life Is The Cart…” & Why He Rewrote Those Lines

Stina Lundberg: In the Book of Longing there is a long poem, and I probably don’t remember the lines right, but it is something like “My dick is the horse and my life is the chart…”

Leonard Cohen: Is the cart.

Stina Lundberg: Is the cart, sorry.

Leonard Cohen: Yeah, very vulgar line, I wish I hadn’t written it. In fact I changed it.

Stina Lundberg: To what?

Leonard Cohen: I don’t remember… what I changed it to now, because, er… I had a growing sense of dissatisfaction with that poem. I must remove it from the site (chuckles) or at least it needs more work. It came out of a time when I’d just come down from Mount Baldy and I was writing very, very quickly and with a great sense of, a kind of wild sense of freedom from the schedule, and I was blackening a lot of pages and sending them off to the website, and that’s one I have to look at.

Stina Lundberg: Why? It’s very direct.

Leonard Cohen: It’s very direct but I think the language – it could be… it could be as direct… a little bit more musical. Try for a different music.

Stina Lundberg: But what did it mean? What is the content?

Leonard Cohen: I think the content is that, you know, that’s where a man’s brain is. And you know, when I watch the young, as I do because I have two young – they’re not children, they’re young adults – I remember going to a party that my son invited me to, and I sat there just thanking my lucky stars that I wasn’t 25, because I saw this… the level of suffering at one of these events was overwhelming, you know, the mutual displays of attraction, the effort that had gone into each personal presentation, the expectations, the disappointments… it seemed to be one of the circles of hell that I was pleased not to be in.

From 2001 Leonard Cohen interview with Stina Lundberg. Originally posted May 12, 2010 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

DrHGuy Note:

The verse to which Stina refers follows:

I followed the course
from chaos to art
My dick was the horse
my life was the cart

Accessed at Book Of Longing – LeonardCohenFiles

In the Book Of Longing published in 2006, that verse reads

I followed the course
From chaos to art
Desire the horse
Depression the cart

From Iran: Ketabe Eshtiagh – The Farsi Translation Of Leonard Cohen’s Book of Longing

I am taken with the cover design of this translation of Book of Longing by Leonard Cohen with the Persian script of the title set against the “Bird On A Wire” graphic. Dominique BOILE has forwarded not only scans of the front and back cover of the actual book from his private collection but also information about it:

The volume is a Farsi translation by Ehsan Mohtadi of 100 Leonard Cohen poems, most of which are from Book Of Longing with a few collected from other works. The publisher, Nashri Cheshmeh Publications (Tehran),  brought out a first edition of 1500 copies in 2011.

According to the seller’s description,

This is an official publication which means it was cleared by the heavy censorship of Islamic Republic. Leonard Cohen’s music and poetry has a cult following in Iran but sadly almost all of his work have not been able to see the light in Iran. His music is available as bootleg. This is a rare book that got away!

“My little life: so loyal, so devoted to its obscure purposes – And, I hasten to report, doing fine without me.” Leonard Cohen

 

REPORT TO R.S.B.
From Book Of Longing by Leonard Cohen

Peace did not come into my life.
My life escaped
and peace was there.
Often I bump into my life,
trying to catch its breath,
pay a bill,
or tolerate the news,
tripping as usual
over the cables
of someone’s beauty –
My little life:
so loyal,
so devoted to its obscure purposes –
And, I hasten to report,
doing fine without me.

DrHGuy Note: R.S.B. is, I suspect, Ramesh S. Balsekar

“Back in Montreal. As for the past, children, Roshi, songs, Greece, Los Angeles. What was that all about?” Leonard Cohen

This portion of the dialogue from the Leonard Cohen memorial video (the above image is a screenshot from that video) shown at the Nov 6, 2017 Montreal Tower Of Song Tribute Concert is from the Book Of Longing (drawing displayed below).

leonard_cohen_back_in