You were full of answers about
what happens to the heart,
as though you’d spent a lifetime
breaking the end off a question mark
and using it to punctuate
all the sad stories you would sing,
or letting it fall on a roulette wheel
that never bounced on the black.
But can’t we at least agree on this:
that the heart is led by nothing
except itself, that it kept taking you
by the hand and setting off
to the heat of Hydra, to a home,
giving you the permission
you needed to put down your pen
and pick up your guitar, to speak
in a timbre so low you sounded
like your heart was in your throat,
yet never letting life happen to it,
beating but never bystanding?
The heart kept occurring to you,
even when you tried to forget it
those late nights in Montreal,
or amid monastery meditations.
Even if the heart was acted upon,
it was you who felt what ensued
time and again, you whose music
allowed us perceive what transpired
every time we listened, and listen
to this day, limited by the distance
between any artist and the audience
that experiences the art. Who knows
what really took place, what love
you gained and lost. What happened
is secondary to the song — so long
as we feel close to the heart of it.
Bio: : Shane Schick is the founder of a customer experience design publication called 360 Magazine, His poetry has appeared in literary journals across the U.S., Canada, The U.K. and Africa. He lives in Toronto. More: shaneschick.com/poetry. Twitter: @shaneschick Subscribe to my 360 Magazine newsletter
Famous Blue Metaphor
They came here, via Jennifer Warnes;
never breathed a Hallelujah until CJ Cregg’s
love interest took a bullet for the narrative…
presented, other person’s metaphor
vinyl pressed, missing pieces
sold, collectively unconscious, marked
as nothing ever really worked for me
tried, but it was closing
Doors or Joni Mitchell, other artists
found as empathy, except that artistry
would never leaf within, heart beating
differently to him
unable to escape
because the first that shifted, was the station one of those I am and still remain
mind will not escape his confirmation went to take Manhattan, camera holding something more than lyrical behest
poet’s ideal buried, in their chest.
Bio: S Reeson [she/they] is 54 and is a multidisciplined artist who has suffered with anxiety since childhood. Poetry has become a means by which feelings that previously could not be discussed are now explored and shared. In 2019 they were identified as a Historic Trauma survivor, and are currently pursuing a more accurate neurodivergence diagnosis. They are bisexual, married with two children, and when not writing or mucking about online can be found running, cycling or lifting increasingly heavy weights.
In My Secret Life
Where did your words go, Jikan?
First read seventeen years ago
in the basement of a second-hand bookstore in Soho,
with the damp stench of London in my nose and clothes.
I read of your life on the mountain:
4 am wake-up calls, a vow of silence
ceremonial marches to the temple of quiet,
dampening your infamous longing
beneath heavy robes, I was hungry too
walking frozen rain-drenched streets,
this was the winter of ’01,
the world trying to understand itself
still naive to how dark it could become
while you were down from the mountain
with Ten New Songs.
Commandments to a secret life,
with a voice deeper than God’s.
I listened with winter in my ears,
through blackened streets, past alleyways,
candles made halos in the steam,
faceless bodies descended like mourners
into the drafty lamplit underground,
an old man with a bouzouki
sang the music of his homeland,
a blind man moved amongst us
tapping his cane like a Zen master’s Keisaku
as if to test our honesty,
as if to strike the indolent, the sleeping,
the unconscious, to dislodge the truth.
Jikan, do you remember what followed,
what scar formed from the burned heart
of that September,
how perfect their hatred became?
Oh, come back, Jikan,
in the robes of your longing,
return us to ourselves,
our secret lives; the sweetness of failure
come back, from your mountain.
Bio: Tom Harding lives in Northampton UK. He is a writer and illustrator whose first two poetry collections, Afternoon Music and Night Work are published with Palewell Press.
He keeps a collection of his work here, www.tomharding.net
https://palewellpress.co.uk/Books-Health.html#Afternoon-Musichttp://www.tomharding.net/All of the poems (revised) from Avalanches in Poetry for Leonard Cohen Week by David L O’NanWonderful Artwork from Avalanches in Poetry Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen by artist/writer Geoffrey WrenPoem by Joe Kidd for “Before I Turn Into Gold Day” inspired by Leonard Cohen