September 21, 2009
When LEONARD COHEN (born 1934) sings, it is at once a whisper, a prayer, a confession, a chant, a lullaby, a benediction in the ear. He has misplaced a secret. He yearns to tell us, but can’t. He keeps Boogie Street and an empty room nestled deep in his pockets where he can always get to them: “The ponies run, the girls are young, the odds are there to beat.” He moves at his own linger, paced by a honeyed metronome: “Give me back my broken night; my mirrored room, my secret life.” A self-proclaimed ladies’ man (“Oh let me see your beauty when the witnesses are gone”), Cohen spent five years in a Zen monastery (“Like pebbles in a bag, the monks polish one another,” he told NPR) only to have his manager steal his worldly goods. “It’s enough to put a dent in your mood,” he said — a survivor’s humor. His spiritual booziness bridges the sacred and the street. He is a noir cowboy, lazy in the saddle; his voice deepens every year.
READ MORE about men and women born on the cusp between the Postmodernist (1924-33) and Anti-Anti-Utopian (1934-43) Generations.