Our lady of the harbour

Sometimes, I’m a drifter. I’m not referencing the Rob Machado movie here. I move in a half-conscious meandering way, partly drifting through the depths and expanse of my fate, and occasionally attempting to steer the damn boat like a salt-blasted seahag.

Leonard Cohen. I’d heard the name a million times, been lulled by covers of “Hallelujah,” but never bothered to investigate the man’s name! My thesis advisor, Rob Sean Wilson—author of Beattitudes: On the Roads to Beatitude for Post-Beat Writers, Dharma Bums, and Cultural-Political Activists (New Pacific Press, 2010)—might be a bit disappointed to hear this.

But if it’s any consolation to my favorite Beat-natic, an equally amazing poet and musician, Nina Simone, introduced me to Cohen. And if it weren’t for my drift into the Egyptian diasporic melodies of Natacha Atlas—and a beautiful French acupuncturist by the name of Anne-Sophie—I may not have gotten to enjoy Simone’s breathtaking rendition of Cohen’s song “Suzanne” as early as I have in life.

The combination of Cohen’s lyricism and Simone’s rich, velvety voice is a soundscape of divine intervention. Drifting; dreaming unexpected territory.

Like Suzanne’s interview: “Suzanne: Well, I think the river is the river of life and that river, the St. Lawrence River that we shared, tied us together. And it was a union. It was a spirit union.

Now Suzanne takes your hand
and she leads you to the river
she is wearing rags and feathers
from Salvation Army counters
And the sun pours down like honey
on our lady of the harbour
And she shows you where to look
among the garbage and flowers

Suzanne: He was “drinking me in” more than I even recognized, if you know what I mean. I took all that moment for granted. I just would speak and I would move and I would encourage and he would just kind of like sit back and grin while soaking it all up and I wouldn’t always get feedback, but I felt his presence really being with me. We’d walk down the street for instance, and the click of our shoes, his boots and my shoes, would be like in synchronicity. It’s hard to describe. We’d almost hear each other thinking. It was very unique, very, very unique.” (Read the entire interview here: http://www.leonardcohenfiles.com/verdal.html)

“There are heroes in the seaweed.” This post is for them, the sung and unsung.