For Avital Ronell

Another cantor follows me. Leonard Cohen bows and says: “I’m your man.” Leonard knows a thing or two about bowing. He is convinced, as he repeats it three times, that “there ain’t no cure for love.” As a psychoanalyst, I am, of course, of a different opinion. But I like his dedication to all things naked that we desire to touch just for the heck of it. The heightening of emotion requires no plans, no questions à la “and how should I then presume?” You can’t condition emotion if you want to learn something about the ineffable. Adore it only. Leonard, the seducer theologian and high priest, is not waiting for any miracles, to all his ladies’ astonishment, who keep asking him: “what is all this good for?” “Nothing and everything,” Leonard says, secretly wishing that this line was his invention not Camelia Elias’s. But Camelia knows what made Leonard climb the Hubbard glacier that stands between Canada and Alaska. She knows the significance of the middle. She knows how to be in the miraculous middle. As Cohen is asking 7000 Danes gathered at the Forum whether they want to know what the meaning of life is, Elias is the only one who knows the answer before hand. The back singers sing: te dum, te dum, te dum, te dum. Leonard picks up the line and says: “too dumb.” The crowd laughs, but it has no idea what it is it is laughing at. Camelia has Paul Muldoon in her pocket. In his poem, Madoc: a Mystery, charting the history of ideas where everybody from Heraclitus through Zeno and Thales to Simone de Beauvoir, Lacan, Derrida, Tarski, Popper, and Quine meet, Muldoon pays tribute to Cantor and Gauss, (Camelia’s favorites), by joining in the choir of illuminati and singing louder than everybody else at the refrain “de dum”, thus proleptically anticipating Leonard’s: “too dumb”. Muldoon and Elias have met before, at tea with Gertrude Stein and cookies made by Gertrude’s lover. Muldoon remembers how the four of them “sat in the nude round the petit fours and repeated Eros is Eros is Eros. If he had to do it all over again he would still be taken in by her Alice B. Toklas Nameless Cookies and those new words she had him learn: hash, hashish, lo perfido assassin.


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