Wednesday, July 13, 2011

For Those Who Greeted Me

Image borrowed from Bing

For Those Who Greeted Me

You came to me this morning
And treated me like meat.
You'd have to live alone to know
How good this feels, how sweet.
My mirror twin, my next of kin,
I'd know you in my sleep.
And who but you would take me in
A thousand kisses deep?

I love you when you opened
Like a lily to the heat.
I'm just another snowman
Standing in the rain and sleet
Who loved you with his frozen love,
His second hand physique--
With all he is, and all he was
A thousand kisses deep.

All soaked in sex, and pressed against
The limits of the sea;
I saw there were no oceans left
For scavengers like me.
We made it to the forward deck.
I blessed our remnant fleet--
And then consented to be wrecked
A thousand kisses deep.

I know you had to lie to me,
I know you had to cheat.
But the Means no longer guarantee
The Virtue in Deceit.
That truth is bent, that beauty spent,
That style is obsolete--
Ever since the Holy Spirit went
A thousand kisses deep.

So what about the Inner Light
That's boundless and unique?
I slouching through another night
A thousand kisses deep.

I'm turning tricks; I'm getting fixed,
I'm back on Boogie Street.
I tried to quit the business,
Hey, I'm lazy and I'm weak.
But sometimes when the night is slow
The wrecked and the meek,
We gather up our hearts to go
A thousand kisses deep.

And fragrant is the thought of you,
The file on you complete--
Except what we forgot to do
A thousand kisses deep.

The ponies run, the girls are young,
The odds are there to beat.
You win a while and then it's done,
Your little winning streak.
And summoned now to deal
With your invincible defeat,
You live your life as if it's real
A thousand kisses deep.

I jammed with Diz and Dante--
I did not have their sweep,
But once or twice they let me play
A thousand kisses deep.

And I'm still working with the wine,
Still dancing cheek to cheek.
The band is playing "Old Lang Syne",
The heart will not retreat.
And maybe I had miles to drive,
And promises to keep--
You ditch it all to stay alive
A thousand kisses deep.

And now you are the Angel Death
And now the Paraclete;
And now you are the Savior's Breath,
And now the Belsen heap--
As witnessed here in time and blood
A thousand kisses deep.

Leonard Cohen

***I have been working on this song for a
long time. It seemed to come together a few
days ago. I want to dedicate it to those
very kind people who greeted me on my
birthday, and who, so generously have
embraced my work.--LC
September 24, 1998

* * * * * * * * *
As presumptuous as it seems, I love this poem
and this song so much, I wanted to recite it
myself. If you are brave enough, or curious
enough, give it a listen.--Glenn Buttkus


Tess Kincaid said...

Your reading of this iconic poem/song is beautiful, Glenn. It's late here now, but I must pop in my album and take a listen now.

Marian Haddad said...

Glenn, I just listened to your reading and was impressed by your ability and love of transcribing the poems . . . I think it is SO important for poets to enter each others' work in such a way . . . I believe when we read others' work, that's one point of entry, when we type out or write out that poet's work, at that point of entry, we begin to really feel their breath and pacing and cadence . . . and we enter the imagery, a wonderful exercise . . . takes much love of the written word and of the poet-at-hand whose work is entering us and exiting us via hand or voice . . . reading aloud offers the same or similar entry . . . good work, my friend