Monthly Archives: June 2010

I’m forty-one, the moon is full,
you make love very well.
You touch me like I touch myself,
I like you, Mademoiselle.
You’re so fresh and you’re so new,
I do enjoy you, Miss.
There’s nothing I would rather do
than move around just like this.

— Leonard Cohen, ‘Do I Have To Dance All Night?’

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I have stars for every night.

— Jabés

New things

‘It was as if something in me took all that was new and made it old. Or as if God lowered his lids on all I saw and withdrew. Things died before they grew. No one could live like that, so flat for so long. But here and there I saw new things.’

Here comes your bride

Here comes your bride with her veil on
Approach her, you wretch, if you dare
Approach her, you ape with your tail on

— Leonard Cohen, from ‘Don’t Go Home With Your Hard-On’

You’re going to have to learn to sing this song

Now I know you’re sitting there, deep in your velvet seats, and you’re thinking, ‘He’s up there saying something that he thinks about, but I’ll never have to sing that song’. But I promise you friends, you’re going to be singing this song. It may not be tonight, it may not be tomorrow, but one day you’ll be on your knees and I want you to know the words when the time comes. Because you’re going to have to sing it to yourself, or to another, or to your brother. You’re going to have to learn to sing this song.

— Leonard Cohen, ‘Please Don’t Pass Me By’

A ghostly part

Who am I? If this once I were to reply on a proverb, then perhaps everything would amount to knowing whom I ‘haunt’. I must admit that this last word is misleading, tending to establish between certain beings and myself relations that are stranger, more inescapable, more disturbing than I intended. Such a word means much more than it says, makes me, still alive, play a ghostly part, evidently referring to what I must have ceased to be in order to be who I am. Hardly distorted in this sense, the word suggests that what I regard as the objective, more or less deliberate manifestations of my existence are merely the premises, within the limits of this existence, of an activity whose true extent is quite unknown to me.

— André Breton, Nadja (tr. R. Howard)

Ill

‘I’d lie in bed thinking of ways to die. So this is what it comes to, I thought, I must be ill. Almost a relief, I thought, to be ill, indisputably ill. Ill. I repeated the word as I imagined ways to die. This is what it comes to, I thought, something in me is ill and it’s taken me over and when that happens this is what happens, this is what it comes to. It’s indisputable, just look. Ill in a dark room. Almost a relief, to have only one thought, one sincere wish. Ill, I must be ill. Almost easier, I thought, now that you’re cornered. Easier to be taken out of yourself, out of all fakery for once, to be ill, indisputably ill. It’s an illness, you see, I’m ill. There’s the death drive and there’s the life force and the life force is weak, the life force is dying, it’s turned into the death drive because I’m ill and now I know I wasn’t lying because all I want is to die and that’s because I’m ill, do you see, I’m ill and I’ve always been more or less ill, this is what it comes down to, it’s fitting and logical. Ill. It’s grown inside me, fed on me and now it’s come to this, now it’s ready, death has ripened in me. It’s invisible, it grows in the dark, in obscurity, but now you can see the fruit of its work, you thought I was lying, now you must see I wasn’t. It grows in the dark until it comes to this and look at me now, full of the will to death, full of the opposite of will, this is what it looks like, now do you see it? It’s an illness, there’s a name for it. Almost a relief that it’s here, that it’s taken me, indisputably, that they were wrong and I was right. See for yourself. Ill. Can you see it? Almost, you can almost see it. It’s indisputable, just look at me, lying in bed thinking of ways to die.’

Razed

‘After those days it was as if I’d been razed. I couldn’t think or talk in the same way. I couldn’t go back, but I was still in the same place, picking for new growths in the rubble. And the old mist still hung over things. What could replace all I’d known? I didn’t even know what words to use, my own seemed part of the mist, or the rubble. But I saw living things here and there, strong and brief.’

Razed

‘After those days it was as if I’d been razed. I couldn’t think or talk in the same way. I couldn’t go back, but I was still in the same place, picking for new growths in the rubble. And the old mist still hung over things. What could replace all I’d known? I didn’t even know what words to use, my own seemed part of the mist, or the rubble. But I saw living things here and there, strong and brief.’

On some of those days

‘On some of those days it came down to a basic struggle between life and death. I felt out of control, or controlled by something beyond my control. Something in me was trying to kill me, something else was trying to live. I was given over at last, taken out of all pretence, it was almost a relief.’