[img_assist|nid=6|title=|desc=|link=node|align=right|width=180|height=240]The Poet-Prince of Pain’s Triumphant Return

Ring the Bells
That Still Can Ring,
Forget Your Perfect Offering,
There is a Crack, a Crack
In Everything,
That’s How the Light Gets In.

- Leonard Cohen, “Anthem”

I want those words drilled into my broken tombstone. I want his words drilled into my shattered heart. Tattooed onto my soul the words, baby, the words. Like magic he plucks them out of the ethersphere, crushes them, mixes them with blood, whiskey, and lust, smears them with dark, rotten heartache, and spews them into the world more beautiful then anything ever imagined. Wizard? Shaman? Everything…

But, you want to know about the show, right? That June 23rd show in his birthplace of Montreal? How was he after 15 years of self-induced exile and torture? Perhaps I should conjure for you an allegory, for there are things in this world that cannot be explained. Truths that have more than one meaning and more than a billion. Wonders that so shock our fragile nervous systems that we are left shattered and unable to think, let alone speak or write.

There once was a poet who lived in the wild North. From an early age he was filled with Truth. His poetry was miracles. He filled volumes with it, even turning to prose when couplets would not do. His volumes blew minds and caused mild sensations, but sold nothing, as true Art rarely does. He fled the wild North to the sunny Greek isles, where he composed Magic and Terror, an ode to all the Beautiful Losers. That volume so shocked and appalled the Establishment as to be labeled Literary and the poet was hurled into the Underground of Gotham. In the Chelsea Hotel he opened his veins and tore his Famous Blue Raincoat. He visited coffee-house folk shops and saw Dylan, knowing instantly that he could do the same. Playing guitar until his fingers bled, he set his poems to music. Traveling to the Music City he recorded an album and suddenly was famous. It was hard to understand his dark pleas for Love and Salvation set to acoustic guitar, but somehow he developed a fan base. When the kids wanted to feel good they put on the Beatles, when they wanted to dance and make love, the Stones, to smoke and pocket philosophize, Dylan, to feel Pain and Loss, our poet. More albums of heart-wrenching lyricism followed, each one Stark like bleached bones. In the 70s our poet became a sensation, a cottage industry for early morning coming downs. By the mid-80s, all but forgotten, alone again, with nothing but words. By this time his reputation as a lover was legend, beautiful women flocked to him and tore open their blouses. He shrugged them off eating a banana, wearing sunglasses and a tailored suit. With a voice lowered by whiskey and blue smoke, with an ear tuned to the angels, he once again climbed the broken stairs and took his place in the Tower of Song. Fame again embraced him; Everybody Knows the truth of his music. On a shattered night in riot busted Los Angeles, he sketched for us the Future that he had always known. Then, at the peak of his famousness, with film directors and lesser talents knocking on his door, he pulled away and took to Zen, living in a monastery, bald, wearing a robe. For years he ate only rice, spoke little, and slept on a mat, while a scorned woman who worked as his manager took his money from under his nose. But, he returned with Ten New Songs for his legions of heartbroken fans who whispered “where’s our poet?” while he searched for True Meaning. Awards followed, inductions and trophies, more young women exposing themselves for his Blessing, he chuckled and wrote Dear Heather. And now he tours the world, Blessing us all with his Agony, true Talent, his Words, his Golden Voice.

To say that the show in Montreal was Amazing is like saying the sun is somewhat warm. It was an experience tantamount to the first time a person has their mind opened by a psychedelic, or falls in love, or experiences true artistic expression for the first time. We live in a culture that is lacking in Truth or deep Meaning. It is a quagmire of soulless inanity, fake, insincere, lacking meaning, faith, or direction. Every time a person takes the time to watch American Idol and vote on which karaoke singer is the “best,” part of the soul of our species dies. This is a reality that we cannot escape. Every time someone buys a magazine to see what type of new hair style some coked-out hooker passing as an actress or singer has, part of the fabric of humanity is torn. Another crack weakening the foundation. This is happening all around us all day, every day. We must understand this reality before we can move to remedy it. Take off the blinders, folks, we are dying.

Thankfully, for us, there are artists such as Leonard Cohen who work to hold the levy upright against the flood of crap spewing from Hollywood-Disney-Corporate America. To shine their lights through the cracks in our collective psyche. They will never have hits, their work is far too important to ever be that popular, but they attempt to reach enough of us to make a difference. It is our job to open our souls and minds to what they are doing and in turn work to help stem the tide of horrible dribble that infects our daily lives. This is important, much more important than who won last night’s game, or what’s on TV tonight, or how much a gallon of gas is, or which politician said what about whom, or what’s for dinner. This is a struggle for our collective Souls, people. And right now we are losing.