Leonard Cohen released The Future when I was six. To realize that is to realize that I have lived with that album for years and years, but mostly in the form of sitting in the backseat of the car as my parents drove through the day, the afternoon, and the night. I heard that album so often I started to confuse it with Bob Dylan and Tom Waits before I fully understood who the three of them were.
So that’s my unorthodox piece of a hastily scribbled memorium for him beneath the waves of self-seriousness that have appeared automatically on the websites of other publications across the web like a stoplight happening to change colors from green to red: my memorium is the act of listening to Leonard in the car — insofar as a car remains a car, something we can drive with our own two hands as we seek the coastal stretch of California air or disappear into the blue-green pines of Kentuckey, Oregon, or the woods of Massachusetts. My act of memorium shall be in avoiding the way in discussing how people like Maziar Bahari found great comfort in Cohen’s songs as they were trapped in Evin Prison and simply make some time for myself to at some point sing —
I saw Jesus on the cross on a hill called Calvary
“Do you hate mankind for what they done to you? “
He said, “Talk of love not hate, things to do — it’s getting late.
I’ve so little time and I’m only passing through.”
Passing through, passing through.
Sometimes happy, sometimes blue,
Glad that I ran into you.
Tell the people that you saw me passing through.
— and roll the windows down.