(for) the genius

The following is an emulation of the poem The Genius by poet, singer, and author Leonard Cohen, an incredibly talented and thought-provoking man who passed away on November 7th of this year. His music, his poems, and his words have inspired scores before me, and will continue to inspire all those privileged enough to hear said words, to heights beyond measure.

For you

I will be a poor man

and beg

and hold my palms

up to twisted limbs

of the poisoned

men above me


For you

I will be a holy man

and recite to Him above

of the sure vow

in my heart

and in my bones

forgotten by men before me


For you

I will be a wealthy man

and bring to richness

some proud and humble men

and gift them life


For you

I will be a celebrated man

and consist of greatness

storied by mothers

and passed down throughout

minds of men


For you

I will be a healing man

and give

in all of my days spent living

lesser men a purpose


For you

I will be a dying man

and lie down in acceptance

with weary limbs

and worn pain

no mind can understand

“I’ve got some work to do. Take care of business. I am ready to die. I hope it’s not too uncomfortable. That’s about it for me.”

— Leonard Cohen (The New Yorker, October 17th, 2016)

The most exceptional thing about Leonard Cohen, for me, is the honesty placed into every poem wrote, every picture created, every word that left his mouth. In a time where discussing the subject was taboo, Leonard was unafraid of bringing sexuality and human desire into his pieces. In a time where discussing the subject was feared, Leonard was unafraid of talking about death and the fragility of morality. In a time where discussing the subject was welcomed, Leonard revolutionized the way love and loss were discussed. In a lifetime, Leonard Cohen was unabashedly and unashamedly open about humanity, mortality, sexuality, and more, and for that, I am incredibly grateful to have existed in the same time as such an individual.

Claire B.

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One thought on “(for) the genius

  1. Claire,

    What I love so dearly about your emulation is how much of Leonard Cohen shines through in your own writing. You have taken what he has created and made it your own without losing the touch of the original piece. Through this, I see how deep of a connection you have with Mr. Cohen and I clearly see your heart was put into this. I feel as though you had a deep understanding with him, even without having knowing him personally. It makes your piece even more powerful.

    Your final paragraph explaining the impact this man has had on the lives of many in this world tied your whole blog together. I saw your sincerity through the words you wrote on this page, and the meaning laced into this post. This is a tribute piece to the poet, singer and author who passed away in November. It is a tribute to the man we will never forget, whose life was a legacy for so many… To the man we are so incredibly fortunate to have known, thank you.

    And thank you, Claire, for writing this beautiful piece and reminding us of the change he brought to the world. 🙂

    I look forward to more of your writing! I love your emulations and the way you have with words, it’s so inspiring! I only hope I can obtain the wisdom I see you express every day!


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