on bleeding hands and knees in front of my master

He had no choice, he was born like this, with a golden voice – and blessed be his word, because it is without equal. Bob Dylan may polish his shoes; I refer to the towering force of majestic melancholy, the one, the only, the lonely Leonard Cohen, poet, preacher, river and mountain of true beauty.

Long ago I gave up hope of ever setting eyes and ears and all my adoration upon Leonard Cohen. When I gave up grunge and long hair for something a bit more intellectual, and contextual [as in relation to life], Master Cohen was already lost in monastery limbo, where contemplation of existence turns to mere, bare existence.
I found peace in his albums, which I gathered like a hamster, one by one, until I had all and treasured them alike. Together with Jack Kerouac, he taught me how to write. No better teachers around; blame the student.
Jack died before I was born. And Master Cohen grew older and further and further away from me, 74, the age of brandy and death. Still, I kept on carrying a little torch of hope in my chest – sometimes for no other reason than to keep me warm. Standing in the presence of a performance, I was forced to concede, was probably another one of the dreams that stay and only stay in the sphere of twilight.


But! Come Friday night! Look, tickets, crumpled by concentration alone! I dragged my Madli along to bear witness to what turned out to be the best concert of my life, of our lives. And while I have been accused of using superlatives like you get three for the price of two, I mean what I say; t’was the best concert of my life.

I’m still reeling from the experience. There were times when I was afraid to close my eyes, there were times when I could not help but close my eyes, there were times and they were all times where I was in awe, such was the power of the tower of songs of love and death and life and longing and hallelujah, it goes like this, the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall, the major lift.

Hallelujah is possibly the greatest song ever written. Strike possibly. Immediately. It is so. And I was there, to mouth the whole song in mute, never to utter a sound, because I dared not soil it. I mouthed all the other songs, too. By heart finally reaches accuracy in statement, so to silently speak.

I better get up from the position of worship now, and steer into bed. The night is dark and the morning won’t be. Besides, if it wasn’t, and if it was, there is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.

3 thoughts on “on bleeding hands and knees in front of my master”

  1. My brother in arms! I was also granted an opportunity to experience the living legend and I entirely agree with your praise. If not the best, then one of the best concerts of my humble life.

    Should have known that obviously you wouldn’t miss the gig. Would have been emotional to share a few pints afterwards.

    At risk of causing irrevocable damage to our friendship and being judged as an infidel, Jeff Buckley’s rendition of Hallelujah is even better than the real thing. No offense.

  2. Wonderful!!! I can always count on you, Kalle. You certainly have your values straight n’ proper! Shit, I almost want to hug you.

    You said it – those pints would have disappeared with furious abandon! I’m pretty sure I would have quoted Lord Cohen all night long… repent, repent, I wonder what they meant!

    And it was all going so well until you brought Boy Buckley into the equation! Hahaha! For all his considerable talent, bless his soul, Buckley was a diddly dilettante compared to the master himself. I take the original, thank you very much.

    Buckley’s version of Hallelujah is not shabby, though. Second best, I’ll give you that. And Grace is one of the finer albums out there… if he only had learned to swim a little better.

    Excepting Buckley, what bothers me is when nobodies do Hallelujah. Anyone can make that song sound good – I just wish they’d pay their dues instead of stealing them. Talk about a free ride to have Hallelujah on your debut album…

    It gives scope for thought, though. There are two people I would love to hear sing Hallelujah, but both are fat and dead:
    Elvis Presley and Luciano Pavarotti.
    “She tied you to the kitchen chair, she broke your throne and she cut your hair…” Oh snap. I hyperventilate from impossible anticipation.

    God, if you are reading my blog, you know what to play when I enter the pearly gates. Of course, you already knew, didn’t you?

  3. By the way, K, my humblest “I’m sorry” for renegading upon the promise of coming to Schweiz this fall. I have work coming out my butt, and a very special little girl is about to arrive “in a few weeks” [hehe, Madli hates it when I say that, because I throw this particular definition of time around too lightly, too liberally].

    In the meanwhile, keep the faith, as well as the world economy in functioning order.

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