Leonard Cohen in Mérida

Mérida, December 10, 2016

Oh, so long, Marianne
It's time that we began
To laugh and cry and cry and laugh about it
All again.
Sitting in Santa Lucia park in Mérida last night I heard that chorus again, and it hit me new. Maybe it was being in Mérida for the first time, or at Noche Blanca, or, maybe, it was the novelty of +24 on December 10 with a beguiling espresso-mezcal potion in the books. But the passageways were open. For smells and sounds and sights and breezes—and poetry.

The Cohen tribute was offered by three players on bass, keyboard, and drums, joined by a kind of beatnik cantor. An enormous tree dripped its leaves over the stage. They sang Marianne.

Maybe the bittersweet rhythm of life (farewell and starting over) came through more clearly on that, the last evening of our holiday in a foreign country. I saw some things that I will try to use to make my life better when I re-attach myself to the machinery of the clock back home. There's the rhythm: a so long at the start of the chorus and an all again restart at the end. And there it is: the word time. The melancholy of it all.

Laugh and cry and cry and laugh....

Are the verbs somehow looking at each other in a mirror? In a broken mirror?

Do the verbs represent four stages of emotional growth?

That second laugh—the laugh that gets that last word—what is its connection to the first laugh? It feels like a more knowing laugh, a laugh with more to it, more in the middle, more that it has come through.

Is it a minor laugh after a major fall of tears and sadness? A purified laugh.

I sat in the Santa Lucia park watching these thoughts fly in and out, and felt good that the poet didn't sing laugh and cry and laugh and cry. That would be a different song.

With Shelagh, I took a cab back to the hotel.


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