It doesn’t often happen that I meet a singer who renders me wordless with wonder and appreciation. You know making me hit the repeat button over and over. Then I go away and still when I come back, two or three months later, I still find that I want to listen to every song of his that I have. Perhaps that is why I become obsessional and worshipful because it is so rare for me. Like with Biggie, Tupac, and this list is too painfully short. Maybe Jay-Z sometimes. Eminem sometimes but not all the time-his twist can sometimes be truly disturbing and you think you’re in serial killer territory.
But when you said that you were obsessively listening over and over to Bob Marley’s ‘You Can’t Do That To Me’, I totally understood. The song that gets you, that soothes, and on its lean wire frame carries nuances and baggage you cannot bear on your shoulder just now. Want a little rest; see your face reflected in the glass of foamy Club beer. ‘Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye’ by Leonard Cohen was that song for me.
When you look at the total scheme of things, what is a breaking heart but a private matter of little consequence? Six months from now you will still occasionally remember her smile, once in a while hear a phrase she liked using coming from someone—but the wild grief that consumes you now will be more than a distant memory that is not even dignified by a scar that will never entirely be erased from that joint you used to break your fall. The Fuse on Sanyu FM, your transient favourite radio programme, religiously tuning from 8pm-9pm when the house she helped you rent is again yours alone, ghostly in its seeming emptiness, you fill it Nina’s arbitrary music loves.
But even if you know all this is temporary, the pain remains there, it remains real, unavoidable like a woman’s menstrual cycle. It is real to you and you need someone who makes it real, when your own words have faded like parched strugglers in your dry throat. Leonard Cohen was my man then. The song as beautiful and demanding as the title itself, ‘Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye’
I loved you in the morning, our kisses deep and warm,
your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm,
yes, many loved before us, I know that we are not new,
in city and in forest they smiled like me and you,
but now it's come to distances and both of us must try,
your eyes are soft with sorrow,
Hey, that's no way to say goodbye.
I'm not looking for another as I wander in my time,
walk me to the corner, our steps will always rhyme
you know my love goes with you as your love stays with me,
it's just the way it changes, like the shoreline and the sea,
but let's not talk of love or chains and things we can't untie…
Unafraid like you are afraid now asking, “But will I ever be able to love like that again?” while I tell you to stop thinking like a banker, love and your heart is not a bank account from which if you continue to give out your heart, you will one overdraw and become bankrupt. Listen to the wise ones, a heart is the last thing to burn in a fire, you will be fine.Come live in my world a little while, friend.