Poetry/Songs inspired by Leonard Cohen from Benjamin Adair Murphy

Small Florida Towns


I wish I’d filled the car with gas
I wish I’d had a piss
I wish I’d grabbed some coffee
at a place that was well lit
I’m rolling through the swamplands
And there all these signs for Trump
I thank the lord my little girl’s
Too young to know what’s up
I sure don’t want no trouble
Or bad shit to go down
So I’m following the speed limits
Through these small Florida towns

I’ve got miles left to go
But I keep my speed in check
I’m coming to complete stops
When I make a right on red
My plates say New York State
You can see them from miles off
I cross my fingers and say a prayer
Every time I pass a cop
I know they think I’m just
Some sort of Northern hippie clown
So I’m following the speed limits
Through these small Florida towns

Bugs splat my windshield
And I check my mirror often
I blast Tom Petty so they know
We’ve got one thing in common
I wish I could hit the gas
I wish I could put some space
Leave behind these gun shows
And be miles from this place
I’m not sure what these people want
But it ain’t having me around
So I’m following the speed limit
Through these small Florida towns

Yes, I’m following the speed limit
Through these small Florida towns

The World’s Most Profitable Prison

In the world’s most profitable prison
The men have lost their souls
But they’ve keep their arms and legs
They’ve kept their backs and bones
And they still have all their muscles
And they’re held together by skin
And they live the length of their lives
In the world’s most profitable prison

In the world’s most profitable prison
The men are guarded by guns
And they work from dusk till dark
As they move to beat of a slave drum
Their food is mixed with sawdust
And they’re always razor thin
And there’s never an empty prison cell
In the world’s most profitable prison

Avalanches in Poetry 2 entries by Peter Hague : 3 poems about Leonard Cohen

I Did Not Want It Darker
(On the death of Leonard Cohen 2016)

When your song first idled in my head,
like something matured in careful words.
I was a student in my teens – exiled – un-said,
with no road for my drowning voice.

Your songs sang out of the influence of poems,
like a threading railway, forged in ruin –
rolling out your passion in Spanish chords
and the black brute of honest dread.

Lorca found his voice stifled by blood –
He, the designated hero of your noble campaign.
It was a blend of the stations of devotion and reason,
and all that lingers in songs and rooms.

You threw your baggage out onto the pavement –
into the anonymity of my least-walked streets.
And that day I saw a founding step –
a revolution, intertwining words and thoughts.

You sang above the abandon of amorous poets,
who closed their lips and proceeded to go blind.
While you, with your Kestrel eye
ranged the glories they vowed to overlook.

The implicit technicalities of love and being
were flicked away and left behind,
as they talked themselves naked, with the spoken word,
immersed in the self-sabotage of liberty’s dissent.

You elevated your poems on the wings of chords,
so a wider audience might comprehend
not only the unfathomed void of a broken heart
but the subtle things you had to sing to mend.

And they were each caught then, by the siren voice,
as all we disheartened sailors were.
And all soon fevered with a charming blend
of patience, love and rapturous doom.

It was the poems though, that spoke to my longing,
from the grey cities of smoke and gold –
out of an avalanche of hidden critics
who discussed your darkness in curtained rooms.

And with an inability to hear without eyes,
they made their own dark song to sing.
It rang in the certainty of eventual prose,
walking through pages of worn-out words.

In time, eased by the celibacy of your charm,
they smoothed themselves with forgiveness and love.
They found a shoe that fit better as a glove –
thus perceiving the so-called ‘Godfather of Gloom’.

It was a dagger through your triumphant heart –
a tenderly savage paper dart –
but washed off – like the crayons they used
to eventually scribble a favourable report.

Your poetry spoke into the mind and the heart –
and always with music, as it lent itself to you.
Always with a resonating chord or two,
strummed by a lost soul, reaching out.

If only for those troubling minor chords
that leave the soul vibrating on
with increased emotion and subdued doubt –
an attempt to set a few words free –

an attempt to capture truth, and smooth it out.
To push the sky beyond a pilgrim’s thoughts.
To stop the clock and make it wait –
to instigate – to celebrate –
those same words in perhaps a less apparent state.

Words we would never really need to own,
or reveal the joke inside their frown.
Or think of as correct, or right –
but simply called upon in the delicate night.

Such words once said, need never be recalled,
they move their meaning, where other’s take flight.
For they have already snapped their core, like flares –
and bathed us in a blesséd light.

Between Leonards
(On the Death of Leonard Cohen 2016)

I saw my son between Leonards –
the living and the darker one.
My son gave me a recording
of Leonard’s latest song.
He sang about leaving the table,
he sang himself out of the game.
He said if we want it darker,
he would extinguish the flame.
This was the light that lit my decades –
the light where perception first shone.
By the time I saw my son again
Leonard’s light was gone.

Following Leonard

This could be the darkness
written in your soul.
An elemental darkness,
without the element of control.
It’s been murder in the city –
there’s plague now, at the beach.
The only goal we truly have
disappoints the reach.

But there’s a crazy road to nowhere,
that branches from your heart.
And it’s a long, long way to get there –
better make a start.

Peter Hague has written and studied poetry for most of his life and apart from being published in magazines like ‘The Interpreter’s House’ he is now posting some of his work on Twitter. Two books of collected work are in production now and are expected in the coming weeks. He is also working on a new website, dedicated to his writing. He is also associated with the art name ‘e-brink’ and has a gallery of digital art at: http://www.e-brink.co.uk.

2 new poems by Samantha Terrell including Avalanches in Poetry 2 entry

Earning Grace

Mulch-covered footpaths
Laid out through
Black-green woods,
Beckon,
Demanding a penance:

Time.
Feet pad heavily –
Left, right, left, right –
Pushing forward through space,
Setting a pace

Unmatched by the mind. The path – a tether, now – is
Pulling
Out-of-sync.
Anxiety wants a breeze,
But it won’t take it. Still, music is in the trees,

Waiting for you to earn your hallelujah.

Hide and Seek

Referred Pain Occurs at a site
Other than an injury

You dreamt I was
A tattoo artist,
Inflicting my painful craft on you.

I asked what type of tattoo it was.
You could only remember the pain.
But how will we find its source?

I dreamt I was following you
Through a crowd.
You kept hiding from me

No wonder –
I would hide from
My pain, too.

From Samantha’s interview last month : My website is samanthaterrell.com and I’m on Twitter
@honestypoetry. My book “Vision, and Other Things We Hide From” is due out from Potter’s
Grove Press on March 9 th

feature photo by Casey Horner

Avalanches in Poetry 2 entry: Poetry by Lisa Alletson

To Leonard

When midnight sheds her stars
I read your poems out loud
to inhabit your beauty
the way I imagine
you would inhabit my body,
in the morning
with birdsong in our ears
and oceans on our tongues

Confession

He takes me to his lake
where our rhythms drop to quarter.

He rhymes me into autumn
loves and lulls me to the water,

removes my summer dress
which was a dedicated season

while we laugh and we confess
for we never need a reason.

Lisa Alletson of Toronto, Canada was raised on three continents. Her poetry uses imagery inspired by the political, geographic and cultural features of each landmass. Born in the Cape and raised during apartheid, Alletson’s writing often includes elements of water and darkness in her exploration of grief, mental health, inequality, special needs parenting, and relationships. Her writing has been published in the Globe and Mail and literary journals including the Bangalore Review, Dreamers, Blank Spaces, Fresh Voices, and Dodging the Rain. Her poems ‘A Passing Oryx’ and ‘Spectrum’ were each published by the League of Canadian Poets as ‘Poem-of-the-Day’ in Poetry Pause.

Lisa writes poetry and prose on Twitter as @LotusTongue.

Feature photo by my friend Geoffrey Wren

Avalanches in Poetry 2 Entry: To the End of Love by Sadie Maskery

to the end of love

music is the last memory 

                   perhaps a fragrance 

                   outlasts it      but          here

there is only 

                    ashes

                    my darling your hands

                                    seem

                                         so       cold in mine

do you remember 

dancing

                  in the small cafe

                       you were      awkward     you 

tried

so hard to please

              me but

my sweet heart                  you step

                   out of time        it is your

smile

        holding

the melody

             the love         in your eyes

                holding            the melody   melody

i remember your

                   love 

                        your eyes            closed

            your hands

hold me

i

     am so

                                 frightened

the music is

       fading

                        hold me

                 hold me

Sadie Maskery lives in Scotland by the sea with her family. 
She can be found on Twitter as @saccharinequeen  

featured photo by David Charles Schuett (unsplash)