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RELUCTANCE IS THE WORD
by Sonja Johanson

I can’t be seen weeping.
We’re talking in a world where
people are dodging bullets,
having their nails pulled out –
one is never really certain.
All I’ve got is a manual for
living with defeat, song
that operates on so many levels,
trying to beat the devil, trying
to get on top of it. We rehearsed
longer than is reasonable; we’re
coming to the end of the book –
but not quite yet.

SOURCE: Dorian Lynsky’s interview with Leonard Cohen in The Guardian (January 19, 2012).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I couldn’t think who I would choose for a celebrity, and then ran across this interview with “The Poet of Rock Music,” Leonard Cohen. Who wouldn’t be in love with L.C.? I actually knew him as a poet long before I was ever exposed to his music — “Suzanne ” [Takes You Down] was used as an example of free verse in a Norton’s Poetry Anthology (which I was reading, for fun, at age twelve). I hated it. It didn’t rhyme, I couldn’t scan it, the meaning was vague — what a piece of tripe! And I read it over, and over, and over. I have grown ever more fond of Mr. Cohen as the years have passed, and he has only become more wonderful in his current “comeback” phase. It was such a pleasure to find his essence and his voice through his interview question.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sonja Johanson attended College of the Atlantic, in Bar Harbor, Maine. She has recent work appearing in The Albatross, Off the Coast, and Out of Sequence: The Sonnets Remixed, and was a participating writer in Found Poetry Review‘s 2014 Oulipost Project. Sonja divides her time between work in Massachusetts and her home in the mountains of western Maine.