POEM “Marita” – Leonard Cohen GUEST POST

GUEST POST – Surly Joe

I’m looking for some simple truth or maybe at least a shared emotion. Seven years is a long time to be a friend and then decide one night to no longer be a friend. The reason can be unreasonable to me but the decision didn’t come from my head so it doesn’t really matter. So my search for the simple truth or at least the shared emotion begins in literature where thousands of writers much more creative and intuitive than me have written on millions of subjects more creatively and intuitively than I ever will. Somewhere in the vastness, there have to be words that will matter.

I could do a Google search. That would be the quick way. But melancholy seems more fitting to candlelight than cursor-light and so I scour my book shelves the old-fashioned way, looking to Rilke or Poe or Dickinson or Shakespeare. They’re genius but, for whatever reason, just not exact for this moment.

And I go back to Leonard Cohen and rediscover eight lone words in a three-line poem:



It’s childlike innocence from the mind of a hurting adult. How did I get in this situation? There’s no understanding of why he is alone. Was it a decision he made long ago now regretted? Has he admired from afar but never received reciprocity? And he feels so old, despite the number, despite not even being middle-aged. Irrationally, time is running out, I AM ALMOST 30.

This is the melancholy that fits me now, expressed so simply. I’m not asking to be found, just wondering why I was discarded. But it’s the shared emotion that suits.

It makes it all just a bit less lonely.


LCLeonard Norman Cohen is a Canadian singer-songwriter, poet and novelist. Cohen published his first book of poetry in Montreal in 1956 and his first novel in 1963.
Cohen’s earliest songs (many of which appeared on the 1968 album Songs of Leonard Cohen) were rooted in European folk music melodies and instrumentation, sung in a high baritone. The 1970s were a musically restless period in which his influences broadened to encompass pop, cabaret, and world music. Since the 1980s he has typically sung in lower registers (bass baritone, sometimes bass), with accompaniment from electronic synthesizers and female backing singers.
His work often explores the themes of religion, isolation, sexuality, and complex interpersonal relationships.



CKIn his own words – Surly Joe is a moderately nondescript Toronto-based white guy who spends too much time contemplating the nature of boredom.  His aspirations waver between wanting to be either a professional gambler or a Zen monk, with a touch of writing on the side.  After completing university with a degree in a subject that does not readily lead to any sort of viable employment, he wandered through Europe and Northern Africa for a while collecting stories and useless trivia, circumstance led to a career back in Toronto.  He now spends his money on food, friends, wine and annual trips to Las Vegas.


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