Friday, August 12, 2011


I was 19 in 1977 when Mr. Cohen appeared. It was at a New Years Party at my house, and it was 12:05 and all the girls had left sometime around 11:30 because I just couldn't seem to make a commitment to any one of them, and they just all split. Good for them.

But at 12:05, Billie knocked on the door. I'd known her for some time, she was 8 or 9 years older than me. She told me to pack a bag, and she drove me at a breakneck speed to her house, running red lights and defying speed laws, and we ran inside and made love till the Rose Bowl parade started. It was all very intense for a 19 year old, and she read to me from a book called 'The Energy of Slaves" by Leonard Cohen. She had an album of his she played, but I didnt quite get it at the time. I was more interested in Billie, and they way she read the book, and those almond eyes asking to make more love. Later, when she took me back home she gave me the book. I saw her from time to time, always random, like the New Years Eve, but a few years later she called me one night and told me she was dying of cancer. She wouldn't see me, she said she looked too bad.

The strangeness of this life can't be measured. One day a few weeks later I was looking through the papers, and the obituaries fell out. I don't usually look at the obituaries, but since they landed in my lap, I had to take a glance.
Billie was in there that day.
I had the book until a few years ago. The line in the book I still carry is "The truth is tiny compared to the things you will have to do".
I always think of tea and oranges, and rags and feathers when I think of  Billie. And when I think of Cohen, I think of Billie then as well...and the first and last verses of Suzanne

"Suzanne takes you down 
To her place near the river
You can hear the boats go by
You can spend the night beside her
And you know that she's half crazy
But that's why you want to be there
And she feeds you tea and oranges
That come all the way from China
And just when you mean to tell her
That you have no love to give her
Then she gets you on her wavelength
And she lets the river answer
That you've always been her lover"

"Now Suzanne takes your hand
And she leads you to the river
She is wearing rags and feathers
From Salvation Army counters
And the sun pours down like honey
On our lady of the harbour
And she shows you where to look
Among the garbage and the flowers
There are heroes in the seaweed
There are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love
And they will lean that way forever

While Suzanne holds the mirror"

Here's to Billie.


Martijn said...

That's beautiful! I wish I knew what to say...

bulletholes said...

I been a lucky boy martijn. thats all I know to say!

Martijn said...

That's perfect too... is there a Secret, apart from luck?

bulletholes said...

The secret for me Martijn has been to be a nice guy. The bad boys would never beieve what us nice guys get to do sometimes!

red dirt girl said...

Yes, I have a sister. I even have a photograph of her. Soubry says we should sell viewing rights to you. I'm inclined to post it for free... say, aren't you involved in a hot and heavy love affair at the moment ??? or did i read that wrong.


bulletholes said...

Hahaha...pretty thinly disguised isnt it?

David Kanigan said...