Literary Yard

Search for meaning

Lament for a future in memory of Leonard Cohen

By Ron Ridenour

I cried again this morning. Tears just burst out as I was dusting the house. I’d set Leonard Cohen “The Future” album on the record player to accompany my house chores.
Give me back the Berlin wall
Give me Stalin and St. Paul
Give me Christ or give me Hiroshima
Destroy another fetus now
We don’t like children anyhow
I’ve seen the future, baby
it is murder
I’ve been crying quite spontaneously off and on for some time now. I read and write about the horrors humans suffer one another. The ruthlessly greedy rich rulers of today are worse than those of yester year. They have greater wealth, greater power, greater weaponry to decimate or corral us.
Who are they, these billionaire oligarchs? Quenchless thirst for money—a $ for a heart, a peanut for a brain—no soul surrounds self. They rule from their golden cocoons shielded as they are from the masses they oversee, their workers and slaves whom they have intoxicated with nonsensical consumer/entertainment “culture”. More, more, they will have more of nothingness.
I told myself yesterday I would smoke even less pot—my principle medicine. I calm down a bit after puffing three hits. Just two joints a week—that must be OK for my tobacco-ill lungs.
With my increasing crisis of sensitivity—yet another reminder of how human monsters are annihilating our species and other fauna, the flora, the oceans, the air—I took my three hits.
Then my man sang “Anthem”
Yeah the wars they will
Be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
Bought and sold
And bought again
The dove is never free
(A salted tear slides down my cheek.)
Ring the bells (ring the bells) that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything (there is a crack in everything)
That’s how the light gets in
(A smile shines through the dark.)
Then the empathetic poet sang “Democracy”

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 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…

It’s coming to America first
The cradle of the best and of the worst…
It’s coming from the women and the men…
Democracy is coming to the USA
Sail on, sail on
Contemplating the horrific tragedy we homo sapiens are fomenting, I return searching for a crack in the dusted floorboard. Still I can’t get them out of my mind: the rulers and their politicians who say we human beings must war on one another to be humanitarian. Yet what my mournful eyes see and my fragile ears hear is screeching war cries, thundering bombs, asphyxiating poisons. I take another puff as I search for a humanitarian crack.


Ron Ridenour, a retired journalist, has been a life-long peace and civil rights activist. He has authored 11 books. His most recent is “The Russian Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert”.

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