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Friday, November 11, 2016

The Writer's Life 11/11 - The Lost

Today we honor our veterans, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Thank you doesn't say enough.

RIP Canadian singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen, 82, a true avant garde artist. I had no knowledge of him until he was in mid-career and made an appearance on David Sanborn's Sunday Night program, which aired after midnight for about a year on NBC circa 1989. He began as a poet and had 13 collections published. He also has two novels in print: The Favorite Game and Beautiful Losers. More than 200 artists have sung his Hallelujah. Judy Collins recorded a haunting version of his Suzanne. He has won numerous awards, including a Grammy for Lifetime Achievement. He is a member of the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, although his music has nothing to do with the genre. Here's a clip of one of the songs from the aforementioned program. It runs a bit more than five minutes. If you've never seen or heard Cohen, be prepared for the unusual. He is not a singer in the way most people expect:

Many times I've mentioned Hondo, the NY Post's droll football handicapper. He ignores analysis of his picks and comments instead on the passing scene. For instance, today under Redskins over Vikings, he mentions Anthony Weiner, who was recently photographed riding a horse at a sex addiction camp, where the care of and interaction with animals is supposed to be therapeutic. Hondo writes: "Let's hope that doesn't lead A-Wad to need a session at bestiality camp."

Here's a great blurb from the Weird But True column, in my own words: Samuel Peterson was born at 1:39 AM, 31 minutes before his twin, Ronan, but the latter is listed officially as the elder. How? He came into the world as clocks were being moved back at the end of Daylight Savings Time. That's a story they likely will be telling until they shuffle off this mortal coil.

My thanks to the kind folks who made purchases under trying circumstances today at the floating book shop. Most days it's a snap. Once in a while it is a trial. The wind was stiff and a 30-year-old mentally ill drug addict parked her bag beside me and held court for three hours. She began by repeatedly calling out for "Liz!" - a 19-year-old fellow traveler whom she said was probably somewhere with "a needle in her arm." She was constantly wiping away tears. I don't know if anything she said was true or if  tit was simply the ramblings of a lost soul. Her mom, an addict, died at 53. She mentioned several other dead people. She believes the government injected a tracking chip into her while she was being administered methadone. She said her thinking was best while she was under the effects of crystal meth. A blend of Albanian and Russian, she has a surprising knack for hip hop rhyming. She is not completely frivolous in terms of health, as she was drinking a green tea Snapple and munching on what looked like seaweed out of a small cartoon that had the word "Organic" on it. Although she was annoying, I did not have the nerve to suggest she leave. She is ill and she had as much right to be there as I. She engaged several people in conversation, both in Russian and English. Even those who were initially clueless about her condition walked away shaking their heads. On the surface, she looks normal, perhaps 30 pounds overweight but face not yet showing the ravages of her plight. She revealed she is bi. One sweet woman who greets me every day, her little dog riding in a shopping cart, suggested to the woman she go to Coney Island Hospital, where she participates in group therapy on bi-polar disorder. I told her, as I tell Ol' Smoky, to seek help at the office of the local assemblyman. I neglected to mention getting help at St. Mark's. I fear the only way she will ever get better is through arrest, which might lead her to programs designed for the down and out. She is homeless. I don't know if she has any family to turn to, although she mentioned a sister and step father. I wonder if her mental state is beyond repair. There I stood, trying to seem unaffected while myriad emotions, some of them ugly, swirled in my brain. Maybe I should be grateful of being reminded that life isn't as easy as it usually is for me.
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