Goodbye Peter, goodbye Leonard


Peter Trower gave me this record when I was helping him close up his house in Gibsons. R.I.P. Leonard and sadly, Peter is suffering from Alzheimer’s, sequestered in an institution. I haven’t talked to him in a long time as he doesn’t know who I am. We met in 08 at a launch for ROCKsalt, the Mother Tongue Press anthology of BC poets, having beers after with Rob Taylor and Zach Wells. Peter regaled us with stories naturally including the time he got high with Cohen at a party in Kits. We became buddies. Moneyed then, I used to squire him around to various readings and events, including Leonard Cohen’s 2010 Vancouver concert. I miss Peter and will miss Cohen, whose songs and verse and constitute an integral thread in the fabric of my life. “Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is the ash.”


4 thoughts on “Goodbye Peter, goodbye Leonard

  1. It’s good to read a fellow artist’s ruminations on old age, death, and decrepitude which is what I term dementia and sickness ultimately getting us all. I too have lost friends, and have a friend in the custody of the (benevolent) ‘state’ institution called old folks home (with bracelets to set off alarms should one try to leave) for those unable to care for themselves. And this guy, a famous filmmaker, still knows my name but does’t know where he is and can’t do anything with his body or mind, except do time. ‘Poetry is the ash?’ or ‘Rage against the dying of the light’? I’ve always preferred the latter. But now that we’re swimming in it, no longer mere bystanders, my conception and language of it is changing.
    Thank you Heather and best wishes.

  2. Makes old forest industry workers like me sad to hear Trower is doing badly. And it was Cohen carrying Layton’s coffin toward its grave that got me writing poetry again.

    My grandfather, way into his 80s, drifted willy-nilly between our world and the world thrust upon him by a dementia that most often sent him back to his fatherland he had left long, long ago and its language. Yet when his wife, who he shared life with in a series of old dears’ homes (an inability to follow no smoking in their room rules forced them into many moves), was hospitalized and he was not permitted to visit her he escaped and made his way in the night to her bedside.

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