Thoughts on Death

The first book of poetry I ever bought for myself was Leonard Cohen’s, “Selected Poems 1956–1968”.

I was meandering through downtown Vancouver when I happened across a secondhand bookstore. I wandered in partially out of curiosity and mostly because I was trying to fulfill my own self-idealized interpretation of a manic pixie dream girl.

Yea, I don’t even.

To this day, I have no idea what the name of the store is or which street I was on. The book cost me $2.70. I found it lying on top of the sales bin — which is (I’m assuming) a pretty regular thing for a secondhand bookstore? I don’t know why I bought it.

I was pretty hyped about it as I was walking home.

I walked for a pretty long time.

The sun was shining through my windows as I set down at my desk. I flipped it open to a random page. I read about half a stanza before my phone pinged and I got distracted.

I never picked it up again.

When I left Vancouver, I packed it up into a box with a bunch of other novels, mostly John Green novels, with a couple of Philosophy books thrown in for good measure. I had a very strict idea of the person I wanted to be. Or was pretending to be.

It’s still in that box in Vancouver.

Seeing news of Leonard Cohen’s passing reminded me of the book I haven’t thought about in half a decade. I’ve listened to a couple of his songs, but they never really stuck with me. Not the way David Bowie defined my teenage years or the way Alan Rickman’s passing truly felt like the end of my childhood.

It reminded me of the time I read an article eulogizing Nora Ephron. I wanted to mourn them for words that could’ve inspired me. Could’ve defined me. I can’t.

Words on paper live on forever. Words spoken on screens live on forever. Words sung are immortal.

Someday, I’ll return to the place that was once home. I’ll open the box of old books and find his book. The first book I ever bought in a secondhand store. It’ll become a piece of my own history that’ll eventually be passed down. A legacy that will live forever, the way these people do.