Leonard Cohen is in Toronto


In 2008, when Leonard Cohen arrived in Toronto, I wrote a celebratory poem. Before I share it here, I wanted to say a few words about Mr. Cohen’s return last night to the city of my dreams.

In ’08 I said, “I need to be at that concert. This may be his last tour!” I could still be right. Turns out he’s been touring ever since. He was a young man in ’08…a mere 74-years old. Now, at 78, Mr. Cohen is still delivering. This iconic legend of the Canadian stage can do no wrong!

Near the beginning of last night’s performance L. Cohen said, “I didn’t sing for fifteen years and now you can’t get rid of me.” The dear man has no idea how many loyal and prayerfully devoted fans he has. Nobody would ever in a million years want to get rid of him! He followed this with, “We might not see each other ever again. Tonight we’ll give you everything we’ve got!”

Then, he proceeded to do just that. He skipped, he danced, he swayed, he celebrated each and every person on the stage, behind the stage and in front of the stage…he did it all. His recital of the lyrics to A THOUSAND KISSES DEEP hushed the audience to the pin-drop point…and his leathery, yet beautifully charming voice went up like a prayer as he let the words drop like aves to the spellbound masses assembled at his feet.

Once again, his show was beautiful…from beginning to end. Leonard Cohen is a man who appreciates what he has. He values his words and his adorers. He values those who assemble with him to deliver his evening masses…from the technicians to the beautiful Sharon Robinson and the Webb sisters. I came home from last night’s concert LIFTED. Being in his soulful presence is an experience one can’t imagine until they’ve been there. The man who was born with the gift of a golden voice has new worshippers this morning. Well done, L. Cohen…well done!

And now…the poem I wrote upon Mr. Cohen’s last arrival to Toronto:


There’s a monster poet in town,
a laureate linguist, circus clown.
You can hear his heartbeat
in the city’s newfound heat,
the strum of bellows
in his liquid lungs, in flex.
I’ll take communion
within the milky thighs
of his every waking word,
take refuge in the spring
he calls to life
with his fervent golden voice.
There’s a God of light in town,
an ancient thread to beauty gone.
You can see his glow
above the night,
lift your hands into the bright,
and with nothing on your tongue
but a cold and broken hallelujah.

Last night’s SET LIST:

First Set

Dance Me to the End of Love

The Future

Bird on the Wire

Everybody Knows

Who by Fire


Ain’t No Cure for Love


Come Healing

In My Secret Life

A Thousand Kisses Deep (a recitation)

Different Sides


Second Set

Tower of Song


Waiting for the Miracle


I Can’t Forget

The Partisan

Feels So Good

Alexandra Leaving (Sharon Robinson)

I’m Your Man


Take This Waltz


So Long, Marianne

Going Home

First We Take Manhattan

If It Be Your Will (the Webb Sisters)

Closing Time

Stay well, Leonard. (-:

By Kevin Craig

Author, Poet, Playwright. Author of The Camino Club, Billions of Beautiful Hearts, and Book of Dreams, all from Duet Books, the LGBTQ Young Adult imprint of Chicago Review Press. Other books: Pride Must Be A Place, Half Dead & Fully Broken, Burn Baby Burn Baby, The Reasons, Sebastian's Poet, and Summer on Fire.

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