Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Michael Lee Johnson writes

Leonard Cohen My Friend (V2)

Death is a bitch and a whore
comes with hat on or off,
Jewish, Christian or lover years ago called Nancy.
Death is a passport, a left behind baggage note.
My leverage sinks, I see you pass human.
These my fears, your fright, being broke, old-royalties stole Suzanne.
Now branches, extended limbs, point outward nowhere-
doors Montreal collapse tomb, dance with me,
end perfume love, a few dead flowers.
 Shaar Hashomayim Cemetery -- Maarten Massa

1 comment:

  1. When poet Leonard Cohen began his career as a singer/songwriter in the mid-1960s he worked with publisher Jeff Chase on a demo. In exchange for Chase's representation Cohen signed away the rights to 3 songs, "Suzanne," "Master Song," and "Dress Rehearsal Rag." After Cohen ended the relationship Chase retained the rights. Publicly, Cohen later often made light of the incident, saying, "I’m happy for that friend who put a piece of paper in front of me and said 'Sign this.' I asked: 'What is this?' He said: 'Just a standard writers’ contract.' I signed it, and it was gone!” At other times, though, he was less forgiving, saying "the rights were stolen from me.... I thought it was perfectly justified. It would be wrong for me to write [Suzanne] and get rich from it too." In 1984, Chase met with Cohen to discuss returning the rights and asked him to make an offer. Cohen told him, "One dollar, motherfucker!" In 1987 they finally reached a deal, and Cohen got the rights back. in 1991 he told Adrian Deevoy of "The Q Magazine," "Someone smarter than me got me to sign the publishing over to them.... I finally got them back ... but I lost a lot of money."

    Another early song was "Nancy":

    It seems so long ago,
    Nancy was alone,
    Looking ate the late late show
    Through a semi-precious stone.
    In the house of honesty
    Her father was on trial,
    In the house of mystery
    There was no one at all,
    There was no one at all.
    It seems so long ago,
    None of us were strong;
    Nancy wore green stockings
    And she slept with everyone.
    She never said she'd wait for us
    Although she was alone,
    I think she fell in love for us
    In nineteen sixty one,
    In nineteen sixty one.
    It seems so long ago,
    Nancy was alone,
    A forty five beside her head,
    An open telephone.
    We told her she was beautiful,
    We told her she was free
    But none of us would meet her in
    The house of mystery,
    The house of mystery.
    And now you look around you,
    See her everywhere,
    Many use her body,
    Many comb her hair.
    In the hollow of the night
    When you are cold and numb
    You hear her talking freely then,
    She's happy that you've come,
    She's happy that you've come.


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