You Want it Darker?
“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.”
– Leonard Cohen borrowed from Sufi
poet Rumi (1207-1273) for Anthem, 1992
Fretting Presidential election results coinciding
with release of the album in this homage’s title,
I relistened to a 2006 LCohen breathless podcast
—poignantly on a radio show called Fresh Air.
The Godfather of Gloom, a.k.a. Laughing Lenny,
repeats his hoarseness story about probing a doc
after vocal cord endoscopy to explore deep inside,
“So do I have it now?” to which the ENT specialist
responded, “None yet.” But such an ominous warning
drove him off cigarettes although not til 60 pack-years
probably’d sowed their destruction further down where
dormant crabs crawled from lungs to fester in vertebrae.
That is why DRemnick’s recent New Yorker profile
talked around the dapper gent of Blue Raincoat fame
reclining in a blue medical chair to ease back pain.
Though neither spokesmen nor obituaries have specified
cause of death, should you ring the bells lightly, a hunch
is metastatic cancer’s the probable cause for rush-rush
jobs to let loose concluding music as the very private man
also sought out a knowledgeable sympathetic interviewer
—same guy who had just done a brilliant piece on Dylan.
I knew in my bones when in the master’s presence at
Los Angeles’ Disney Concert Hall, tonight likely would
be our last waltz: 3 1/2 hours of spry fit-as-a-fiddle
love from the older of two Jewish brother-troubadour’s
Tower of Song. A moment’s time plus 60-70 pounds
down to concentration camp non-fighting shape later,
this gracious sane role-model, our patron saint of sorrow
and redemption, passed away into his visionary’s sleep.
Gerard Sarnat authored four collections: HOMELESS CHRONICLES from Abraham to Burning Man (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014) and Melting The Ice King (2016). Work from Ice King was accepted by over seventy magazines, including Gargoyle and Lowestoft Chronicle and The American Journal of Poetry, and featured in Songs of Eretz, Avocet, LEVELER, tNY, StepAway, Bywords, and Floor Plan. Since then new work has been featured in Dark Run and Scarlet Leaf. For Huffington Post and other reviews, reading dates, publications, interviews; visit Gerard Sarnat.com. Harvard/Stanford educated, Gerry’s worked in jails as a physician, built/staffed clinics for the marginalized, been a CEO of healthcare organizations and Stanford Medical School professor. Married since 1969, he has three children and four grandkids.