He Was Just Some Joseph Looking For A Manger.

If I could bottle up the sea breeze I would take it over to your house
And pour it loose through your garden
So the hinges on your windows would rust and colour
Like the boats pulled up on the sand for the summer
And your sweet clean clothes would go stiff on the line
And there’d be sand in your pockets and nothing on your mind…

– Josh Pyke. ‘The Summer.’

So this is my last post. I did. An entire year wif my mate, ol boy Leonard Cohen.

And it’s a strange, soft, silent feeling for me, personally. I shudder to wonder if I’ve done the man any kind of justice at all.

I’ve had my old man in one ear– all year– Write about Leonard, don’t write about us– They don’t like being written about, my family– Not really. They articulate this clearly a lot of the time. Though they smile broadly and sit up straight any time they feel moved or swayed by anything I’ve ever uttered about them in print.

And here’s the trick– Writers pinch things– from all sorts of places. Every moment is a story. A hurried sketch made desperately at times with a dying pen and some sort of oily paper on a wrist exhausting slant–

That’s what we do.

And some folks get hurt along the way.

I wrote a blog, or rather, I proposed that I write a blog to my writing supervisor when I failed a subject for my MA in Creative Media. “Let me write a blog.”

I wasn’t being facetious. I’d been asked to write one at a time when I was really struggling to get my head around western media– I didn’t understand the value of a blog, at that stage, nor, to be far, was I being instructed by any great mentor. My writing professor for this particular subject was a mere shadow of a human, and not yet a professor, officially. She and I locked horns almost immediately. I filled an entire Moleskin worth of poems the semester I sat in her lectures. I attended four of her tutorials in total. Her bra strap would slip down her arm as she’d fumble with an overhead projector. It was March of 2006– by which stage– it occurred to me I’d spent more time in Tokyo (as an adult) than I had in Australia. I’d chosen Melbourne as the landscape for my post grad studies as I really needed some help (and some contacts) to finish my book– and because Melbourne is the Australian literary capital. She, this lecturer, would say things like;

“Imagine living in a world where you depended entirely on the internet for your news sources.”

“Alls you have to do to be a really good writer is…”

It never mattered what she said.


And so I never attended her tutorials. The first two I attended I was berated for being “so far behind” as she then laboured over two nervous middle aged students who didn’t have email accounts.

I tried to tell her a little about myself. Where I’d been. What I’d seen. She never even looked me in the eye, least of all, listened.

I was 23 years old.

I’d completed a BA in Journalism as a cadetship through a magazine in Tokyo.

I’d written 400,000 words of a memoir I no longer was capable of managing on my own.

I was terribly shy to read in public or talk about myself for extended periods of time.

It took me six weeks of a 12 week semester to even read in class. It’s not in my nature to put my hand up and draw attention to myself, though I’ve found, over the years, that when it is, it’s usually worth it.

We’re all so conditioned to talk over the top of one another.

Ive got my phone on manner mode as I type.

Learning what to let in and what to shut out has been one of the greatest achievements I’ve gleaned from my Year With Leonard Cohen.

Excuse me, I have to blog.

Oop. There goes my blog alarm.

No, tonight doesn’t suit. Tonight I’m busy.

Which brings me to now.

It’s 22:34 now and I’ve an hour and a half left with Leonard. Or with this. Or to say something. To tie it all up. To polish it up. Make it mean something.

I walked out of an abysmal event this evening for Sydney Festival at Town Hall. An event my friend and I paid good money to see. The specifics of which seem irrelevant to me but perhaps not to you. Perhaps you weren’t there. Perhaps you’re not familiar with the art scene in Sydney. Convicts in tailored suit pants. It leaves me embarrassed for the most part. Though not tonight. Tonight I was trying to show someone something. My mates from New York. She’s excited to be here. I learned long ago to expect a little heart break from this postcode. To cut a long story short, we went to sound event…


An event that requires sound. Only they sold more tickets then they had ear phones and you couldn’t hear without the ear phones so my mate, well she’s from Brooklyn so we made a complaint and then another and then another and then sat on a bench seat by town hall for an hour swigging whisky from a hip flask and smoking cigarettes and feeling like 12 year olds… We made a film, which I’ll upload here tomorrow.

Then we went in.

The music was average.

It didn’t feel like you could’ve been anywhere in the world.

It felt like Sydney.

Which I means I have to leave Sydney.

I’ve learned loads of things from this pursuit. Loads. Loads.

Let me write them in point form as I really must doddle. I’ve got two really important phone calls to make, I’ve got a lot on my mind and as much as I’ve enjoyed the discipline and the sense of letting things go– long before they’re perfect– there is something ultimately really sticky

It felt like another frigid, failed, bloody expensive, lame night in Sydney, to be fair.

It’s now 23:06. My blog alarm sounds. I’ve been working on a David Byrne cover as my internet has conked out again.

It’s raining.

I want my brother on glock. James on percussion. Me on guitar with a wee egg shaker. Some peeps we find on youtube to play strings. Nick to photograph it. My sister to film it. Some people to listen. A long distortion mic Timmy can design. Long enough for three people with instruments to sing in to, all in a line.

I’m excited for tomorrow.

I plan to spend a year with my music next.

And a year with my yoga. Seriously. I’d like to become a qualified teacher.

I’d like to collaborate a little more with my musical.

My heart races at the thought of more time to write. Well, to edit. I edit mainly these days. It’s work.

But this has been fun.

This has been valuable.

I’ll, as I said, have time to add and edit things to this over the coming weeks.

I’ll pitch my book.

I’ll make my bed.

I’ll go to yoga.

I’ll eat well and sleep soundly.

I’ll float about the chaos with a certain kind of grace I never, ever really anticipated.

Because I didn’t.

That particular thought had never occurred to me…

Though the more I investigate, the more I wonder.

Subconsciously, I think that was exactly what I was after.

A bit of this.

State of grace…

You know… a little less America…

So as my dear friend break down–

My lover sleeps rough–

Another goes hungry, another starves herself, another forces me to see her– have her– want her– but I don’t.

I’m over here.

I’m writing this.

I live a simple life.

A quiet life.

I go to bed early. I wake up before the sun most days.

I float above it.

It’s not perfect.

None of these blogs have been. Not in an entire year.

But that’s good for me.

I’m rubbish at imperfection.

I’m a virgo, among other things. I want it to count. To matter. To last.

This Year With Leonard has come with so many challenges.

So many ruptured ideas of romanticism.

So many.

It’s 23:25.

And it’s time to get off the island.

For you of me,

Lexicon desu.


One Response to “He Was Just Some Joseph Looking For A Manger.”
  1. Kevin Coffey says:

    Well done, and well said

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