Poem “Eclipse” by Joan Hawkins for Before I Turn Into Gold Day

Geoffrey Wren (c)


For Kirk

Ragged as the moon,
still as the water,
this night pulls me
back and forth
crossing time 
and space 
all forgetting.
that one eclipse.

Laying in the back
of your flatbed
Flat on our backs
and lying.
half truths
and dreams
Or was it 
and truths.
Eyes half closed
One joint between us.
The slow glow
of your cigarette,
vampire tails
of smoke,
myths and mists
and occult stories
of lost
civilizations and

You were the
lover I never had.
The best
The dealer
The Stranger Song.
The one

Meth slender,
gave me 
and The Four Quartets.
Sartre and
Leonard Cohen.
The first two albums
at once
and then, later,
the poetry.
Beautiful losers-
like us, you said
and laughed.

You taught me
to release
the lowest Nico
of my voice.
I had the timbre
You taught me
Playing Marianne
on your
12-string guitar
until your
And I got
the notes

A high flying
night rider,
fueled by 
black coffee,
you would 
take me
the cliffs
to Ocean Beach
where we listened
to midnight 
and gulls
and drunken
had tea and oranges
that came
all the way from
and recited 

You gave me
my first
And that one
chasing the
dark of
the moon,
you gave
the lunar

and quiet as
the stars,
still as
your cheek,
you held my
hand, tightly,
as we looked 
at the sky.
Sing "Suzanne"
you said.
So I did.

April 16, 2021

Bio: Joan Hawkins is a writer and spoken word performer, who focuses mainly on creative memoir.  Her  poetry and prose have appeared in Avalanches of Poetry, Fevers of the Mind, the Performing Arts Journal, Plath Profiles, and Sand. Two poems are forthcoming in a special poetry issue of The Ryder Magazine. She and Kalynn Brower have co-edited an anthology called Trigger Warnings, which contains one of Joan's stories; it's currently under consideration by Indiana University Press. "My Writing Teacher"  comes from a manuscript in progress-- School and Suicide. Joan lives in Bloomington, IN with her cat Izzy Isou. She is currently the Chair of the Writers Guild at Bloomington.

A story from Joan Hawkins: My Writing Teacher

Leonard Cohen and Edie Sedgwick at the Chelsea Hotel by Joan Hawkins

Wonderful Artwork from Avalanches in Poetry Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen by artist/writer Geoffrey Wren

4 poems from Robert Frede Kenter in Avalanches in Poetry

5 poems inspired by Leonard Cohen by Robert Frede Kenter (Before I Turn Into Gold Day)

All of the poems (revised) from Avalanches in Poetry for Leonard Cohen Week by David L O’Nan

Avalanches in Poetry 2 Entry: Peter and the Sea of G by Carrie Sword

Avalanches in Poetry 2 entry: Poetry by Lisa Alletson

Avalanches in Poetry 2 entries by Peter Hague :  “I Did Not Want it Darker””Between Leonards” “Following Leonard”

3 poems by Ethan McGuire inspired by Leonard Cohen for Before I Turn Into Gold Day

(c) Geoffrey Wren

Disciple Dash

I would run free with you
just on principle

although, as you know
running is not my style

your love has simply
truly transformed me
into a disciple

even if only
for a little while

hello, so long, good-bye


I don’t want to seem like a heretic,
but your hips and lips and eyes, they hit me
like a bottle of wine.

No, I don’t want to be your lunatic,
but, by a country mile, no cheeks or chin
have ever looked so fine.

Maybe then I am just a fanatic,
but I’m trying not to be too despised;
I’d better grow a spine.

Salt   (previously posted)

A rock pillar of salt awaits those looking backward. 
As a staunch evangelical American, 
once I epitomized a top-rung Christian. 
You have asked me to discuss the future, 
yet we cannot discuss what has not been. 
Leonard saw the future, called it murder, 
the same as our own present and our past. 
My upward way is at once my downward. 
The downward path, it rises up likewise. 
God sees all time present for forever. 
I am not God; the night still spreads outside. 
I struggled long in lost worldview warfare. 
My weary back I never once unbent. 
Then one night, along the troubled pathway, 
a stranger told me he could build those walls: 
              The walls between my culture and comfort, 
              walls between the foreign and family. 
I sold my soul, crossroads, to the Stranger, 
though, true, he did not ask explicitly, 
only asked for proof of my loyalty, 
and my tired soul I volunteered in pledge. 
My upward way is at once my downward. 
The downward path, it rises up likewise. 
God sees all time present for forever. 
I am not God; the night still spreads outside. 
Once you sell your soul, lightning seals the deal. 
Even when the pendulum oscillates, 
your soul is sold. You cannot buy it back. 
I offer passers futures and my life. 
                    As I lie in the mud of dirty roads, 
                    even the Stranger mourns my fate in time. 
I lie trampled underfoot, Stranger of Gold. 
I gave myself to you, oh my paper stranger. 
I become a statue of salt as I stare backward.

Wolfpack Contributor: Ethan McGuire

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Ethan McGuire

New Poem : The King & Queen Of Neon by Ethan McGuire 
5 poems inspired by Leonard Cohen by Robert Frede Kenter (Before I Turn Into Gold Day)

Salt by Ethan McGuire poetry entry for Avalanches in Poetry 2 Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen

Wonderful Artwork from Avalanches in Poetry Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen by artist/writer Geoffrey Wren

All of the poems (revised) from Avalanches in Poetry for Leonard Cohen Week by David L O’Nan

Poem by Joe Kidd for “Before I Turn Into Gold Day” inspired by Leonard Cohen

Poetry/Writing from Attracta Fahy : “Book of Longing” from Avalanches in Poetry Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen

Poem: Rosemary by Tyler Lowery

Branch, Rosemary, Blossom, Bloom, Spices, Blue


it’s foolish to think
I could siphon
a single line
from these paint splattered street
Cormac set Suttree upon-

the best I’ll managed 
is a road map to points
I’ve dreamt of
through glasses tinted
by some approximation
of a recycled originality
that might one day save me-

the tilt of flagstones
planted on legacy grounds
well documented,
staring at art I’ll never hope to 
all part of the fabrications
no one will step forward
to verify-

I’ll circle back 
a third time before
the night’s over,
rub a sprig of rosemary
between my fingers
and dream of home,
a comfortable chair beside
a fire I can stare into,
some distant kettle warming
the broth I’ll use
to wash 
all of these dreams away,
clean and undisturbed

A Fevers of the Mind Interview with Murray Valeriano (comedian, writer, podcaster, host, surfer)

with Murray Valeriano:


Get Murray’s new album “Rusty Cow” at any of the following:




Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Murray: I guess I stumbled into writing while I was performing in the clubs. I had a weekly sketch/improv/standup show at the Ice House in Pasadena. Myself and the other guys would meet every Thursday before the weekend of shows and write bits and jokes. At the time my influences – some might even might say I was stealing from – British comedy like Monty Python and The Young Ones.  I also tried to be a lot like Woody Allen, which proved to be very difficult for an Italian raised in New Jersey. Eventually we shot a pilot for that show and like most pilots, it didn’t go anywhere. But the production company we were working with hired me to write another pilot. That did get picked up and that started my TV writing career. That sketch group dissolved and I continued on as a stand up and writer. Since then, I’ve performed in 6 different countries and I’ve written for TV, film, radio, newspapers and magazines. I feel very fortunate to have stumbled into something like writing that I love to do, but I don’t think it would’ve never happened if it wasn’t for stand up.

Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?

Murray: I feel like my biggest influences today are my friends. I have somehow surrounded myself with some of the funniest people I have ever met. Their constant output of quality material – whether it be writing, performing or podcasting, really makes me try to step up my game.

Q3: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer/comedian?

Murray: I have always wanted to be a stand up, so there was really no pivotal moment with that. But it took some time for me to really pursue it. There was one moment when I was starting out that was extremely pivotal. I was supposed to do 3 minutes on an open mic. I had maybe 2 minutes of material. None of it particularly funny. The Emcee of the show left the room during my set and I ended up being on stage for 25 minutes. I was forced to think on my feet and riff for close to a half hour… and it went great. That night I realized I can do this… and then I went on to bomb consistently for the next 2 and half to three years, before I started getting any good.

Q4: Who has helped you most with your writing & comedic career?

Murray: I feel like if it wasn’t for the Executive Producer of that first pilot, Mack Anderson, I would be a totally different writer, if even a writer at all. He gave me a shot having never written for television before and showed me the ropes. He continued to hire me on different shows throughout the years and I believe my style of writing, especially for television is a direct result of him.

Q5: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing/comedy & did any travels away from home influence your work?

Murray: I was born in Memphis, but we moved around a bit when I was young. We eventually settled in New Jersey. I feel like having lived in the South, Midwest, West and East has been extremely beneficial when it comes to writing and standup. When I’m touring through those states, I can draw on my own experiences and knowledge of having lived there. Being that I write mostly from personal experiences, anything I can absorb and take in, can be pulled out at anytime. Since this question is about travel, I’ll give you an example. When my son was 2, we lived in a suburb of Calgary called Okotokes for about 3-6 months. Not really sure how long, I tried to block it out. It was rough. I was a stay at home dad, in a small town in another country where we didn’t know anybody and the town was shut down due to the worst flood on record. Again, it was rough. Four or five years later, I’m performing in Las Vegas and on this particular night there was a table of Canadian’s from… Okotokes. I ended up doing 10 minutes on a town that only 4 of the 300 people in that room have ever heard of and it was great. All 300 loved it. I have never done that stuff on Okotokes since… and I probably won’t.

Q6: What do you consider your most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far to you?

Murray: I really feel like what I’m doing in my live show now, is probably the most meaningful work I’ve done. I had very serious health scare a couple of years ago. I ended up having emergency open heart surgery. Spoiler alert, I lived. I talk about that experience on stage now. After shows people come up to me and tell me how much they enjoyed the show and share their own experiences with me. I remember I did a fund raiser for the American Cancer Society. The room was filled with cancer survivors, people battling cancer and people who have lost loved ones. I was really nervous because I do a bit about how you will never forget the day you are told you are going to die… I know it doesn’t read funny here, you have to see the whole bit. I was debating on dropping that bit for the show. I didn’t know where these people were on their journey. I ended up doing it and it did great. But the best part, the meaningful part, was after the show at the meet and greet, people would walk up to me and say “I remember that day. May 3rd. 2007” “August 14th. 1998” “October 11, 2014. They gave me a year. I’m not even supposed to be here today!”

Q7: What are your favorite activities to relax?

Murray: My favorite activity to relax is probably surfing. It’s by far my favorite activity. Don’t get me wrong, there are days when there are double overhead waves and you are anything but relaxed, but for the most part being out on the ocean, watching dolphins swim under you and riding waves alone or with my friends not only relaxes me, but really balances out my head.

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza/joke from you or others?

Murray: I do have some favorite lines I have written in the last 20 years, but I don’t know if I feel comfortable quoting myself here. A lot of my favorite lines from others, are just that, lines. One maybe two sentences in a song, a story or a movie that tells the audience there is something more here. I especially love it in comedies. I’m reminded of one of my favorite lines from the 1981 movie “Arthur” starring Dudley Moore. Moore, one of the greatest comedic actors of all time, plays a drunken billionaire who will lose all his money if he doesn’t marry a certain wealthy heiress. Ask anybody who has seen it and they will tell you it’s one of the funniest movies of the 80’s, if not of all time. But there’s this one line. Arthur is drunk at dinner with his arranged marriage fiancé and she asks him why he drinks so much and he says “Not everybody who drinks is a poet. Some of us drink because we’re NOT poets.” With that one line you go from laughing at a loveable drunk to really feeling for this extremely sad and lonely person.

Q9: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?

Murray: I am really excited about my new music and comedy game show called “For What It’s Worth…” it started out as something to keep me occupied during the pandemic to one of my favorite projects I have ever worked on. The contestants are mostly comedians, but I have actors,  musicians and writers on as well. I write fun trivia questions and music related games for the contestants to play. Again, I am very lucky to be friends with some of the funniest and most talented people out there. They all show up and bring their A game.  I’ll be honest this show is really good, but the contestants I have on make it great.

From Murray’s Youtube:

with Greg Behrendt, Danielle Koenig & Paul Gilmartin

Interview with Paul Gilmartin of Mental Illness Happy Hour Podcast from Fevers of the Mind Issue 1 (2019)

Go subscribe to podcast that feature Murray as I have throughout the years such as Road Stories and listen to comedians/writers tell stories from ummm…the road and travelling and it’s funny. Listen!

One of my favorite podcasts for several years has been Rock Solid hosted by Pat Francis and featuring musical guests and comedians. It is a quick spin of songs usually for a particular topic or musician. Throughout the years Pat has had co-hosts such as Murray, Mike Siegel of Travel Tales, April Richardson, Christy Stratton-Mann, Kyle Dodson, Jimmy Pardo, Mike Schmidt (not that Mike Schmidt…the 40 year old Boy for 40 straight years), David Gutierrez and many more.


Rock Solid

So if you enjoy lists of songs by a theme with some great picks (usually Murray, Mike, April, guests) and some pretty good picks like the Cars (Christy), and usually something like Mike & the Mechanics, Def Leppard or whatever (Pat) maybe you love nu-metal (Kyle) this podcast is hilarious. In honor of this show here is a list below.

So here are my top 50 on my phone right now “Songs That Inspire a Sad/Anxious Poet to Write” No particular order, and oddly some are instrumental.

  1. Bruce Springsteen : The River
  2. Leonard Cohen : It Seems So Long Ago, Nancy
  3. Bob Dylan: To Ramona
  4. Simon & Garfunkel: The Sound of Silence
  5. Philip Glass: Mad Rush
  6. Harold Budd: The Room of Ancillary Dreams
  7. Prince: The Beautiful Ones
  8. Tupac Shakur: Changes
  9. Nicole Atkins: A Dream Without Pain
  10. Marissa Nadler: Said Goodbye to that Car
  11. Gene Clark: Echoes
  12. Townes Van Zandt: For the Sake of the Song
  13. Tom Waits: Martha
  14. Tom Waits: Ol’ 55
  15. The National: Pink Rabbits
  16. Brian Eno: The Big Ship
  17. Brandi Carlile: The Story
  18. Patti Smith: Kimberley
  19. Amanda Shires: Bulletproof
  20. The Band: Whispering Pines
  21. Velvet Underground: Candy Says
  22. Big Star: Thirteen
  23. Elliott Smith: Christian Brothers
  24. Bob Dylan: A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall
  25. Leonard Cohen: Famous Blue Raincoat
  26. Angel Olsen: Windows
  27. Fleetwood Mac: Rhiannon
  28. Pink Floyd: A Pillow of Winds
  29. Joni Mitchell: Black Crow
  30. Neil Young: The Needle and the Damage Done
  31. Buffalo Springfield: Expecting to Fly
  32. Amigo the Devil: Cocaine and Abel
  33. Big Thief: Not
  34. Bert Jansch: Needle of Death
  35. Chris Cornell: Seasons
  36. Alice In Chains: Heaven Beside You
  37. Pearl Jam: The End
  38. The Beatles: Across the Universe
  39. John Lennon: Imagine
  40. Marvin Gaye: Piece of Clay
  41. Belle and Sebastian: Seeing Other People
  42. Tim Buckley: Song to the Siren
  43. Wilco: Kamera
  44. Bauhaus: All We Ever Wanted was Everything
  45. Leon Bridges: Bet Ain’t Worth the Hand
  46. Valerie June: Stay
  47. Bobbie Gentry: I Wouldn’t Be Surprised
  48. Broken Social Scene: Cause=Time
  49. Chris Bell: I Am the Cosmos
  50. Jimi Hendrix Experience: Castles Made of Sand (there are thousands more but a top 50 is better to read than a top 1000)

Hearing “Hallelujah” at the Women’s March, 2017 by Lorna Wood (poetry for Leonard Cohen Week)

people holding flyers during daytime

Hearing “Hallelujah” at the Women’s March, 2017

The sea of pink was a major lift—
“You know,” I said, getting off the bus,
“I used to pace alone before I knew ya.”

Some people had been here before,
to push against the closing doors
and all the system tries to do to fool ya.

Democracy was moving too—
not a victory march, but not a crime.
In passing, even the Guard gave their thanks to ya.

Our group did our best, but it wasn’t much,
wedged away to the side by the baffled crowd,
but famous speakers always say the same things to ya.

So we sat and snacked, and thought of how 
they broke our throne and didn’t care. 
We swore our lips would be what overthrew ya.

Then next to us a circle formed,
much stronger than a marble arch,
and they were singing Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”

We joined in, though we had no proof.
We were pilgrims who had seen no light.
It was cold, and not a time for “Hallelujah.”

Still, we sang the truth we could not touch.
Our hopes were high, love was on our tongues—
a strength below from broken “Hallelujah.”

Poetry Showcase by Lorna Wood

Poetry about the Pandemic by Lorna Wood

Bio: Lorna Wood is a violinist and writer in Auburn, Alabama. Her poetry is forthcoming in 2% Milk and has appeared in Before I Turn Into Gold (David L O’Nan, editor), Angel Rust (Best of the Net nominee) and Poetry South (Pushcart nominee), among others. Her fiction has appeared in Doubleback Review (Pushcart nominee) and on the Litro [USA] Lab and NoSleep Podcasts. Her creative nonfiction recently appeared in Feed, and her most recent scholarly essay is in The Palgrave Handbook of Affect Studies and Textual Criticism. Find out more at https://www.amazon.com/author/lornawood or from her blog, Word Music, here: https://lornawoodauthor.wordpress.com