Friday, July 25, 2014

In my defense...

Should I really come forward and defend myself? I have, after all, told the truth. Some who stumble upon these pages, and may have seen themselves within them, though they will never be named in this impassioned but tired tale (most of which does not appear on this blog) are bitter that I have shed some light on a life that involved other people...that involved them. Lives seem to do that. I respect both sides of the coin, of course, but I shall continue to etch the stories of heaven and hell, of hope and love and loss, without apology. This is the only landmark I may leave, as I am rather useless at most other creative ventures. This is the only way that I may truly spell my own name, and the only way I may find a flickering light as I tread back to stormy years with family, friends and lovers alike, as I confess countless regrets of self-destruction. I was always the biggest fool among the characters I've carved out in every chapter, and rightfully so.

Such was a similar case when Leonard Cohen wrote his book "Death of a Lady's Man"...a book of poetry largely focused on his broken relationship of the time. In fact, the source of his sorrow still lived with him while he penned this dark but breathtaking journey. This is what she had to say:

"Living with a writer, you feel that it's all a white page, that it's all a rehearsal, that the author has the right to pause, erase, repeat, vary and repeat again. So I let him. Leonard found solace, purpose and comfort in the deconstruction and complaint of daily woes. I wanted to be a good audience and company, not just the reactive wife, although the last was inevitable at times of course." 

Here is an excerpt from that book:

This Marriage

"I said because it is so horrible between us I will go and stop Egypt's bullet. She said, that's beautiful. Then I can commit suicide and the child falls into strangers' hands. Great, I said. Yug, yug yug she said. What you did to me, I said. The lonely, we said. The nights of hands on ourselves. Your unkindness, we said. Your greed. Your unkindness. Your bitter tongue. Give me time. You never learn. Your ancestors. My ancestors. Fuck you, I said. You shit. Stop screaming. I can't stand it. You can't stand anything. Nobody can live like this. In front of the child. Let him learn. This is no good. Yer fuckin' right it's no good. This kitchen was once beautiful. Oil lamps, order, the set table. Sabbath observed. That's what I want. You don't want it. You don't know what I want. You don't know anything about me. You never did. Not in the beginning, not now.

In the realms where this marriage was sealed, where the wedding feast goes on and on, where Adam and Eve face one another, the foundations are faultless and secure, your beast's hair flares like black fire upward and your breasts, now in maidenhood, now in motherhood, draw down my face, our hunger blessed by sun and moon, a ring of dancers round the house where within the room is hid, where within the bed is undone, whereupon the hunger's joined, where within the hunger speaks precise instructions to the chosen ones who cannot leave each other."

Leonard Cohen, "Death of a Lady's Man" published 1978

I'll add one more from the same book. Bear in mind that he still lived with one of the major subjects of this book while he wrote it-his wife-his muse...

Death To This Book

"Death to this book or fuck this book and fuck this marriage. Fuck the twenty-six letters of my cowardice. Fuck you for breaking the mirror and throwing the eyebrow tweezers out the window. Your dead bed night after night and nothing warm but baby talk. Fuck marriage and theology and the cold goodnight. Fuck the idolatry of anger and the priests who say so. How dare they. How dare they. Thanks for your judgement on me. Murder and a fast train to Paris and me thin again in my blue raincoat, and Barbara waiting at the Clancy Square Hotel. Fuck her for never turning up."

Of course, Leonard Cohen wasn't the only one to bring people close to him into printed word in a perhaps questionable fashion, and I will write a second part to this post to further underline my defense.

The burden of a memoir is heavy and not without consequence, but the truth is the truth and within the truth is a story. In my case, it is a story of a man who is like many men..who has loved, laughed, cried, died and woken again to live another day. I am not alone among you in such an experience. And you are not necessarily alien to my tangled words; it's safe to say that your own reflection, if even very faint at best, is within the pages. It is the story of a man who had the best of intentions in the worst possible circumstances, and who had the worst of intentions in the purest of situations...a man who was betrayed and one who betrayed. It is the story of a pirate, of a vampire, of a Romeo and a Juliette...of a circus freak and a cop, of a drugged-out bum and a sharp-dressed man. It is the story of a mother and a child, a devoted wife, a drunken husband, a beagle and a goldfish, a hopeless hope and a final prayer from the depths of hell. It is a story of perfect love and of bitter hatred. It is the story of many people...for without many people, there is no story. Finally, it is a story that has been published in part and will be edited in full and hopefully cut into black and white pages for all time, many times, very shortly...thus it is one I will bank my life on. I will stand among my critics with a stone face and an iron conviction. I have already faced my worst critic..myself; the broken mirror lies at my feet and I tip-toe around my own blood. I will mark my words in my subsequent posts...the stories within the story..the stories that sit on an editor's desk (while I gnaw at my nails awaiting a reply, wondering if honesty really is the best policy)...the stories I was afraid of most, but knew I had to tell once I had dragged all of the players to the stage. It may get dark in here, dear reader, but I will absorb the cost for turning out the lights. If you hit a wall of your own along the way, do not blame me...simply enjoy the view. You will find your way out if you are looking for it...or you may stay awhile.

There is no purpose in painting a broken house that it may look better from a distance. Let us not fool ourselves nor one another. Let us brave our way inside of that house and understand how it began to crumble, and how we can fix it. Let us embrace the ugly and learn how to make it beautiful. May others who have lived, or now live in broken houses, take comfort in a few simple words read from a forgotten book, as they sit behind their own weakened walls while the winter wind howls. Let a nameless name and a faceless face ensure them that the universe has not ignored them. Let us draw closer, not further apart. As Mr Cohen so famously coined: There is a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in."

Let us not paint over the cracks.


  1. You were never a sensationalistic writer...and this is proof. I've read this blog from day one. I feel ashamed to say that I want to read the darkness more...but this entire effort of yours has compelled my wife and I more than you will know! As we are linked to our various careers, we do not wish to publicly follow, for our own interests, but we surely do hope that this book of yours sees print!

    1. Agreed! The book needs to be printed. There are many who would greatly benefit from this story's telling. Jay articulates masterfully that which many would like to have shared.

    2. Thanks Jim. I've been approached by a few people who perhaps misinterpret my overall message..then again, the entire book is not on this site. I've had some pretty negative reactions, but I suppose that some people cannot understand, and that is fine.

  2. Thank you dear readers one and all. I always welcome comments and input, but lease do bear in mind that this blog cannot be a forum for negative feedback. Let us be kind in our criticisms, researched in our facts, and sincere in our every expression. For the many comments that do not show herein, I have read them all, and thank you for your thoughts. God BLess