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Keep Your Filthy Hands Off of Leonard Cohen

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/08/29/keep-your-filthy-hands-leonard-cohen


Trump could always use Buffy Sainte-Marie’s “Magic is Afoot, God is Alive.”

I taught Cohen’s Beautiful Losers for years. Most students hate it, and find it filthy and revolting. I had a lot of trouble showing them the religious intention behind the novel.


Good article. The GOP should stick with Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA, as symbols are for the symbol minded, as the late great George Carlin remarked. GOP and nuance? Ha to the nth degree.


Did they also play “U.S.S.A.” by the Butthole Surfers?


Charlie Daniel’s “[America is] Walkin’ real proud and talkin’ real loud” (i.e. being a swaggering asshole) song is what mostly comes to mind to me when it comes to the Trump cult of authoritarian thuggishness…


They sure would not have played this L. Cohen song…


It’s coming through a hole in the air
From those nights in Tiananmen Square
It’s coming from the feel
That this ain’t exactly real
Or it’s real, but it ain’t exactly there
From the wars against disorder
From the sirens night and day
From the fires of the homeless
From the ashes of the gay
Democracy is coming to the USA
It’s coming through a crack in the wall
On a visionary flood of alcohol
From the staggering account
Of the Sermon on the Mount
Which I don’t pretend to understand at all
It’s coming from the silence
On the dock of the bay,
From the brave, the bold, the battered
Heart of Chevrolet
Democracy is coming to the USA
It’s coming from the sorrow in the street
The holy places where the races meet
From the homicidal bitchin’
That goes down in every kitchen
To determine who will serve and who will eat
From the wells of disappointment
Where the women kneel to pray
For the grace of God in the desert here
And the desert far away:
Democracy is coming to the USA
Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on
It’s coming to America first
The cradle of the best and of the worst
It’s here they got the range
And the machinery for change
And it’s here they got the spiritual thirst
It’s here the family’s broken
And it’s here the lonely say
That the heart has got to open
In a fundamental way
Democracy is coming to the USA
It’s coming from the women and the men
O baby, we’ll be making love again
We’ll be going down so deep
The river’s going to weep,
And the mountain’s going to shout Amen
It’s coming like the tidal flood
Beneath the lunar sway
Imperial, mysterious
In amorous array
Democracy is coming to the USA
Sail on, sail on
I’m sentimental, if you know what I mean
I love the country but I can’t stand the scene
And I’m neither left or right
I’m just staying home tonight
Getting lost in that hopeless little screen
But I’m stubborn as those garbage bags
That Time cannot decay
I’m junk but I’m still holding up
This little wild bouquet
Democracy is coming to the USA


Like this use of “Halleluia”, recall Ronnie Raygun using Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” as a campaign song - apparently clueless as to the song’s lyrics…


This beautiful article, reminded me of Cohen’s own words: “America is the cradle of the best and the worst”.

While Leonard Cohen represents the best of human kind. He was a humble, well cultivated, elegant combination of a philosopher, poet, musician, artist, healer, and a natural cosmopolitan. Trump and his cult, represent his opposite in all aspects. I feel violated in my soul, by just hearing this - although the Trump cult could not possibly comprehend a scintilla of Cohen.

Aside from his unique artistry, a revealing occasion to know the refinement of the man, is to view his Prince of Asturias speech in youtube. Exquisite.


Every time I hear that, I’m thinking: Here’s another prophet with his head up his ass. Terrific song. It just turned out to be wrong, is all: Democracy never showed up.

They keep doing this, if they’re not pissing off Springsteen, it’s Petty’s estate. These GOP are supposed to be all about respecting private property – except when it comes to musical rights, apparently.

This patriotic music is nauseating. Come on Neil, let him use some of yours again…
– Jeffrey St. Clair

Eh. Maybe it’s still coming, though I cannot say that I have seen anything on the horizon. Maybe we had better try taking Berlin first.

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The more appropriate song of Leonard Cohen is “Everybody Knows!”

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows


LOL you got that right- the only part of the lyrics Reagan heard was “Born in the USA!”

poem by Mick Stern, c. 2017-
'Night, Leonard

On Tuesday, the election

caused a worldwide plunge of hope.

Leonard Cohen did not live to see it.

He had slipped out of his body

on Monday. Was it coincidence?

Maybe he felt it coming-

a new order that has no use for him

or anybody like him.

Maybe this new regime reminded him

of the old ones that murdered Lorca and Neruda.

Maybe he just didn’t like the idea

of living through a night

so long and dire that nobody knows

where the next dawn will come from.