We are ugly but we have the music

Tired and blue today, maybe just lack of sleep.  I went to bed early, but got woken at one and again at five by rampaging cats.  Some nights I would happily give them to the first taker, though who would take two eleven-year-old cats, one of them sickly, is beyond me.

I don’t like feeling this way, tears lurking just behind my eyes. I want to have energy, verve, a lust for life.  Seems like I’ve felt this way a lot of my life, it’s not simply age, though age doesn’t help.  Went out to do some errands, dragged through Trader Joe’s, where I keep promising myself I won’t shop anymore, then to one of those shoe outlet places where you pull the shoes off the shelf yourself to try them on.  Finally found some New Balance tennis shoes to replace my Pumas, whose bottoms are worn smooth.  My back was hurting by the time I finished, but decided to do one last stop at the Safeway around the corner to buy essential seltzer.  Would I start drinking wine again if I couldn’t get seltzer?  Maybe.

Drove home on the freeway through the fog, listening to Leonard Cohen sing “The Chelsea Hotel,” his version of an encounter with Janis Joplin:

I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel,
you were talking so brave and so sweet,
giving me head on the unmade bed,
while the limousines wait in the street.
Those were the reasons and that was New York,
we were running for the money and the flesh.
And that was called love for the workers in song
probably still is for those of them left.
Ah but you got away, didn’t you babe,
you just turned your back on the crowd,
you got away, I never once heard you say,
I need you, I don’t need you,
I need you, I don’t need you
and all of that jiving around.

I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel
you were famous, your heart was a legend.
You told me again you preferred handsome men
but for me you would make an exception.
And clenching your fist for the ones like us
who are oppressed by the figures of beauty,
you fixed yourself, you said, “Well never mind,
we are ugly but we have the music.”

And then you got away, didn’t you babe…

I don’t mean to suggest that I loved you the best,
I can’t keep track of each fallen robin.
I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel,
that’s all, I don’t even think of you that often.

I never saw Leonard Cohen in person, but saw Joplin a few times, and met her once in a kitchen in the Haight where the bass player lived with his wife, downstairs from my roommate and me.  The Summer of Love, such a dazzling blast of color and sound after the grayness of the fifties.  Sex, drugs and rock and roll.  Great times.

Photo from last.fm

Photo from fanpop.com

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