sudden bursts of laughter

Sudden Bursts of Laughter


I wish I could doodle. Kenneth Patchen doodled. Bukowski and Henry Miller. Even Leonard Cohen. My friend Richard who (like Leonard Cohen) dabbles at being a Buddhist monk, doodles. Doodling and dabbling are aspects of Zen, which is trimmed down Buddhism. Full-blown Buddhism is too structured for doodling.

I shy away from full-blown Buddhism, even as Leonard Cohen finally did. It’s right there in his Book of Longing. Cohen is a doodler and a dabbler and a writer of songs. He’s a snake charmer and a poet, a lady’s man.

Here’s what Zen is: I went to the Leonard Cohen concert in Seattle with a woman who has one green eye and a blue one. Halfway through the show Cohen did his standard “introduce the band” routine, but in a very stylish manner. He sang their praises and then bowed (like a Buddhist monk), and the musicians bowed back. While Cohen and the bass player were bowing to each other, the bass player glanced up to see if Leonard was thru bowing yet, then looked quickly back down when he saw he wasn’t. My lady with one green eye and one blue eye laughed with delight.

No one else in that sold-out auditorium laughed.

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