Mr. Norman || Ahmed Yasin

Mr. Norman || Ahmed Yasin

“Sometimes, somewhere they (poets) ruminate silently and reflect the scarlet touch of balladry.”

Did he? The question remains hushed and undead to me. I first met Mr. Norman—a pleasant melancholic Virgo gentleman—through his ‘Take this waltz’ in a gloomy twilight while the Aten was falling asleep in the western horizon; the welkin was bathing in the brushstrokes of Albert Bierstadt and the flat hanging and nearly disappearing afar off clouds were having la Cuisse de Nymphe émue; somewhere standing on a riverbank, mayhap, the while a pagan was intoning a Hellenistic hymn to the god Ra; Hindus in my neighbourhood were playing their ritualistic monophonic rhythm of mandira and ululating in harmony, the inviting melancholic sacred melody of Ezan of the Abrahamic faith from the mosques was resonating in the air, and at my next mohalla someone just lit up a votive candle inside the only Presbyterian church; the innocent jal-tarang consonances of giggling children in my alleyway, all these modes in unison in an unworldly numinous ambience played an enigmatic mystical opera in the gloaming with no crowds. Haply, somewhere in India a yogi was meditating; in the far east, very possibly, some orphans were crying in hunger; and peradventure, in a street of New York, a bacchanal was getting ready like all other evenings to have a bottle of cognac to get Brahms and Liszt, and a Jew Mr. Norman was singing some of his poetic pieces in a concert elsewhere; and perhaps, was there an evening ceasefire in a Persian peninsula. And the sad God sent the Stygian Death on a winged chariot to sprinkle his chaotic yet silent gemütlich violet fragrance!

The whole night Death had been pacing to and fro in the cosmos of my thoughts and an idea of dying fiercely in a melancholiac-euphoric state listening to this song in a frontier with a smile was burping rather ravishingly! And my nameless inglorious run-of-the-mill sepulture in a desert with no tombstone where the summer falls upon at day and the winter falls at night to pour dewdrops from her cupped hands lagoon to my sempiternal parched lips under the tenebrous starry velvet sky. One day perhaps one day at any evenfall, she ‘Jacobin’—in a fine bespoke inky suit with perfectly and symmetrically knotted tie without dimple or silky regency cravat around the neck—would appear out of the blue and stand tall there to pay a solitary sentence of a late eulogy to me as promised. Phew, quite a play! All you need is one song da’ling or one poem or that bloody one piece of art which may become an anchor flung into a churning sea of your heart. I, long afterwards, descried this song that had moved me was his translation of the poem “Pequeño vals vienés” (Little Viennese Waltz) by the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca (one of Mr. Norman’s favorite poets that he named his daughter after him). The poem was first published in Lorca’s seminal book Poeta en Nueva York (Poet in New York). As a single this song was originally released as part of the 1986 Federico García Lorca tribute album ‘Poet in New York’ and in 1986, the song reached number one in Spain. It was later included in Mr. Norman’s 1988 studio album I’m Your Man.

To write something about Mr. Norman would rather be a long monograph, a disquisition, a biography which many have already written before me. Mr. Norman is a research (actually all genders are); therefore, neither have I the courage nor the patience to do so. There is a plethora of biographies within your easy reach; from books to articles, interviews, all do exist online. Mr. Norman gives us a saga: the Judy, Jane, Sheila, the drugs, the rock ‘n’ roll, the metaphysics. Here my pen meets the paper to narrate my very idiosyncratic abstract impressions—an unabridged fatuous soporific memoir.

I shall enjoy the luxury of being as much judgmental as I can be and please let me be so; hence, there’s an orthodox erroneous expression, “I’m not judgmental or I’m not being judgmental” and I am not going to say so after all, whereas it is a lie, to Psychology which is impossible. All individuals, willy-nilly, are judgmental to less or some extent, consciously or subconsciously. So, here I am:  when I was exhausted due to the monotonous fashion of the musicians, writers, and artist of all kinds, for their long hair; unclean, unshaven, or untrimmed faces; body full of tattoos like advertising bills, like public lavatory wall, like some sort of human flesh hoardings; the same old black T-shirts with logos like cheap marketing products, election campaign, and signboards; bloody boyfriend jeans, trousers, and comical shoes; make-up, piercings, metal chains, and ornaments of all kinds as if ridiculous bally barbaric tribal community, none I found standing out from the crowd, at that very moment, Mr. Norman—the godfather of gloom—with a kind of Michael Corleone look made a mobster yet dapper appearance on the scene in a customary dark bespoke 6×2 double-breasted suit with fashionable widened pick lapels and chambray shirt with forward pointed semi spread collar,  a pair of shiny good shoes, a simple leather-belt wristwatch, and a chapeau on the head like I’m your man and voilà! Mr. Norman wrote the song “I’m Your Man” for his French photographer girlfriend—Dominique Issermann! Backing vocalist Julie Christensen recalled to Uncut magazine: “It temporary worked to get her back in his life. She was around some of the time.”  Though, it started-off as a song called “I Cried Enough for You”  in his notebook. Singing I’m your man is harder than you think, there’s a non-metrical rhythm in lyrics yet synced with music perfectly. It is neither a recitation nor a rhythmic song that’s where his talent lies in. Who knew perhaps it was a verbal letter through the song to that French girl-friend! This song was a beautiful ramification of his psychological battle between the devil and the deep blue sea. Even though, Paul Zollo’ s book, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, and even Mr. Norman the crooner himself stated more of this song and many have interpreted many ways. Need I say more? However, Mr. Norman remains a definition of elegance for both of his clothing and gracious manner. Speaking of clothing, Tagore wrote in Raktakarabee, “Mother-naked  has no identity, it is the woven clothes that makes someone king; someone poor,” so had said by poet Saadi Shirazi alias Sheikh Saadi !

“Have you ever carefully listened to a child’s Soliloquy/monologue, crib-talk?” There we see they speak and sing their thoughts in an interesting intonation pattern and rhythm, in an asymmetrical arrangement (hypothetically nothing is out of any pattern and that’s where the mathematics is beautiful) where each of them plays all roles together, they neither sing nor recite,  that’s how Mr. Norman sings and there his sonorous voice adds drama and significance. His poetic lyrics, its stanzas follow the non-metrical crib talk pattern mostly. Need not to accept my words as Gospel, gentlemen! The only difference is, children’s talk may not mean anything to people but his words mean women, sex, religion, death, experience, anger, and metaphysics to the audience, he liked to describe his songs as “investigations”. Mr. Norman had always a resonant, chummy voice; which, afterwards, became deeper due to age, excessive cigarette smoking and whiskey (now you don’t try that at home) like growl, lordly. There’s another man, who has such voice—Chris Rea, but a little sexier, it’s another story by the way. Mr. Norman was a six-chord looper that he played it shuffling many ways, of which he said, “…But now I disclose something that I’ve never spoken in public. It was those six chords — it was that guitar pattern that has been the basis of all my songs and all my music.” One thing I warmly divulge here, I’m not anyone’s fan and never was I; nonetheless, I am very much fond of his laugh and smile. Look at him when he laughs as if a child is laughing, there I find the naivety.

“Poetry comes from a place that no one commands and no one conquers”, said Mr. Norman in his finest speech at Prince of Asturias Award for Literature 2011 and I agree with it; the speech was very neat, crispy, literary, very dignified, and humble. “No! I did not read his books! But if anyone is interested may try to read his novels “Beautiful Losers” and “The Favourite Game”. At his teenage, Yeats and Lorca were his idols. At McGill, he read Tolstoy, Eliot, Proust, Joyce, and Pound, and he became friendly with a circle of poets, especially Irving Peter Layton. When Mr. Norman was nineteen, published his first poem “Satan in Westmount.” Once he said about professor Layton, “I taught him how to dress, he taught me how to live forever.” He never stopped writing poetry. Albeit, I read a few of his poems which lacked the nectar, the nectar I usually seek with a glass into the poetry; those were more jejune, flat, and similar to modern free writing, not very bedizened! Or, was it because ‘The Bard’ did not put his voice there as his songs? But his poems give you multiple perceptions, perhaps. I prefer listening to his songs to reading poems. Not that I like all his songs!

If it gets bitter squeezing lemon, I prefer avoiding to discussing much; after all, Suzanne, So long, Marianne, Halleluiah, Chelsea hotel  have already been hyped terribly! Suzanne is just a lullaby which will put any child to sleep and I always disliked this song, I observed that mothers everywhere put their infants to sleep singing cradle songs like that and the base string plays, while finger plucking, metronomic soft tap to children’s back, pardon my personal sentiment, gentlemen! And about Chelsea Hotel? Janis Joplin made her first debut to me by her song Mercedes Benz, but I did not know then that the Chelsea hotel was the result of Mr. Norman’s Chelsea hotel encounter, indeed, it was a surprise for me! Yeah! Yeah! Janis Joplin wasn’t a bad singer either! So Long, Marianne? So soon? If Hydra was the oyster in Saronic gulf, Marianne was the pearl inside and I pity her! Some love dies in tears, stubbornness, anguish…in cancer. Not the song So Long, Marianne but real Marianne the more I knew of the more I was saddened. Marianne was “a love in the Cold War” when phone calls were rara avis and handwritten letters were the only way of communication. That sweet agony of separation—unbearable yet full of poetic longing—is unimaginable in the age of what’s apps, viber and facebook. Without Marianne there would be no Mr. Norman. With a basket full of warm sunshine, I had better bid adieu to Marianne by saying ‘IN PERPETUUM ET UNUM DIEM (FOREVER AND A DAY)’. However, the songs that I like are: A Thousand Kisses Deep, Boogie Street, Closing Time, Dance Me to The End of Love, Everybody Knows, First We Take Manhattan, Happens to The Heart, I’m Your Man, If It Be Your Will, Love Itself, My Secret Life, Stories of The Street, Take This waltz, Thanks for The Dance, You Want It Darker  etc. You can ferret out whichever the song you like. I realise his songs are not for imitating but to listen.

You Want It Darker  is hard to categorise as a song or a recitation, a piece of musical lilting narrative yet it is a modern, little pop-ish, Gregorian chant in English with the combination of Ambrosian chant (also known as Milanese chant), Gregorian Chant, and Gallican chant, I think. A conversation ‘tween him and God and trying philosophically to blame God. You Want it Darker  in which he reinterpreted the Kaddish, a Jewish prayer for the dead. The verse “Hineni” refers to the Torah, Abraham’s response when God asks him to sacrifice his son.

The song ‘Dance Me to The End of Love’  makes me think of the ‘nocturnal blooming flower’ that I met who scents* me every day with her love and anguish; showers me and shackles me too with her love every day.

when Boogie Street and A thousand kisses deep play, I behold her, my long-awaited Jacobin*, in empyrean blue; the tall swarthy Ethiopian Queen of Sheba (Kingdom of Saba) resemblance, she sees through me with her beautiful razor-sharp angry hunting orbs; smoky, ripen black orange slice, perfect cupid’s bow parched solitary lips force my desire within to push her a bit roughly, unexpectedly, against a wall of the Rue Cler street (Paris) to kiss those pulchritudinous edges impulsively, passionately gazing into her razory eyes; her gummy smile with beautiful teeth eclipses the sun; alluring flamingo nape of her neck wakens my sleeping Vlad* inside; her long nor’wester curly sable hair that I yearn to ruffle; the small pair of moons on her sternum resembles the nymph from the John William Waterhouse’ s paintings and a fine pencil-thin fold on her midriff like a horizon underneath the moons; her ‘smaller than ten degree angle (bow-legged angle <10°)’ long bow legs mirror perfect anatomy, strength, sensation, and her pride, that whisper into the mariner’s ear to voyage into the unknown. Her infant-like smile; masculine demeanour, gesture, and vogue; the combination of masculine intellect and feminine stubbornness with a little self-obsession and smoking habit altogether are the most perfect things that do not make her any less of a woman. Jacobin needs not to become your Hollywood’s Cleopatra or the most gorgeous protagonist of your story in terms of beauty! Do I sound like Mr. Norman? Neh! I know! You do not need a beautiful perfect woman that you fantasize of, it is you who beautify and perfect her.

Mr. Norman, aesthetically put his all emotional impressions, humour, frustration, romance, anger, death, war, and truth of existence in his songs. The poet of winter expressed his frustration and anger in his lyrics sometimes humourously, intellectually, or in charade, the way ice melts in spring. The contribution of choristers to his songs is undeniably worthy of admiration that did not go in vain else his songs wouldn’t be such contrasting. I summarise, Mr. Norman and his poetic songs are like “Bedouin and the golden sands”.

Without cohesion here I disorderly put in a small section of David Ramnick’s interview just as it is amidst my ludicrous chronicle. Since Dylan already gave voice to the oeuvres of Mr. Norman, then who am I on earth to say more! And for the interview, I must thank Mr. David Remnick, an American Journalist and a writer, who won Pulitzer in 1994 for his book “Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire.”  However, here it goes –

…One afternoon, years later, when the two had become friendly, Dylan called him (Mr. Norman) in Los Angeles and said that he had wanted to show him a piece of property he’d bought. Dylan did the driving.

“One of his songs came on the radio,” Cohen recalled. “I think it was ‘Just Like a Woman’ or something like that. It came to the bridge of the song, and he said, ‘A lot of eighteen-wheelers crossed that bridge.’ Meaning it was a powerful bridge.”

Dylan went on driving. After a while, he told Cohen that a famous songwriter of the day had told him, “O.K., Bob, you’re Number 1, but I’m Number 2.”

Cohen smiled. “Then Dylan says to me, ‘As far as I’m concerned, Leonard, you’re Number 1. I’m Number Zero.’ Meaning, as I understood it at the time—and I was not ready to dispute it—that his work was beyond measure and my work was pretty good.”

Dylan, who is seventy-five, doesn’t often play the role of music critic, but he proved eager to discuss Leonard Cohen. I put a series of questions to him about Number 1, and he answered in a detailed, critical way—nothing cryptic or elusive.

“When people talk about Leonard, they fail to mention his melodies, which to me, along with his lyrics, are his greatest genius,” Dylan said. “Even the counterpoint lines—they give a celestial character and melodic lift to every one of his songs. As far as I know, no one else comes close to this in modern music. Even the simplest song, like ‘The Law,’ which is structured on two fundamental chords, has counterpoint lines that are essential, and anybody who even thinks about doing this song and loves the lyrics would have to build around the counterpoint lines.”

“His gift or genius is in his connection to the music of the spheres,” Dylan went on. “In the song ‘Sisters of Mercy,’ for instance, the verses are four elemental lines which change and move at predictable intervals . . . but the tune is anything but predictable. The song just comes in and states a fact. And after that anything can happen and it does, and Leonard allows it to happen. His tone is far from condescending or mocking. He is a tough-minded lover who doesn’t recognize the brush-off. Leonard’s always above it all. ‘Sisters of Mercy’ is verse after verse of four distinctive lines, in perfect meter, with no chorus, quivering with drama. The first line begins in a minor key. The second line goes from minor to major and steps up, and changes melody and variation. The third line steps up even higher than that to a different degree, and then the fourth line comes back to the beginning. This is a deceptively unusual musical theme, with or without lyrics. But it’s so subtle a listener doesn’t realize he’s been taken on a musical journey and dropped off somewhere, with or without lyrics.”

In the late eighties, Dylan performed “Hallelujah” on the road as a roughshod blues with a sly, ascending chorus. His version sounds less like the prettified Jeff Buckley version than like a work by John Lee Hooker. “That song ‘Hallelujah’ has resonance for me,” Dylan said. “There again, it’s a beautifully constructed melody that steps up, evolves, and slips back, all in quick time. But this song has a connective chorus, which when it comes in has a power all of its own. The ‘secret chord’ and the point-blank I-know-you-better-than-you-know-yourself aspect of the song has plenty of resonance for me.”

I asked Dylan whether he preferred Cohen’s later work, so colored with intimations of the end. “I like all of Leonard’s songs, early or late,” he said. “ ‘Going Home,’ ‘Show Me the Place,’ ‘The Darkness.’ These are all great songs, deep and truthful as ever and multidimensional, surprisingly melodic, and they make you think and feel. I like some of his later songs even better than his early ones. Yet there’s a simplicity to his early ones that I like, too.”

Dylan defended Cohen against the familiar critical reproach that his is music to slit your wrists by. He compared him to the Russian Jewish immigrant who wrote “Easter Parade.” “I see no disenchantment in Leonard’s lyrics at all,” Dylan said. “There’s always a direct sentiment, as if he’s holding a conversation and telling you something, him doing all the talking, but the listener keeps listening. He’s very much a descendant of Irving Berlin, maybe the only songwriter in modern history that Leonard can be directly related to. Berlin’s songs did the same thing. Berlin was also connected to some kind of celestial sphere. And, like Leonard, he probably had no classical-music training, either. Both of them just hear melodies that most of us can only strive for. Berlin’s lyrics also fell into place and consisted of half lines, full lines at surprising intervals, using simple elongated words. Both Leonard and Berlin are incredibly crafty. Leonard particularly uses chord progressions that seem classical in shape. He is a much more savvy musician than you’d think.”

After such statements by Dylan about Mr. Norman, must I say that my non-intellectual brain dares not to criticize his work! Does it?

When the mollahs (ministers of religions) from the all communities are busy in the divine trading, ticca and radical feminists (I’m not antifeminist per se) and businessmen from all corners of the globe have been playing the game of masculinity and femininity without even having detail scholarship or morals about gender, sex roles, and the psychological dimensions of masculinity and femininity and chopping genders like onions on the chopping-board to play divide et impera; to oppress; to make opportunities; to do business and they are by and by, illiterately, cunningly, or intellectually; and palpably, their only delicious food of discussion and trade is women under the egalitarian banner. Meanwhile on the other side of the world I behold healthy, unhealthy, abnormal, perverted, sadistic, masochistic, thus all kinds of sexual phenomena; the seven kinds of love—Eros, Philia, Storge, Agape, Ludus, Pragma, and Philautia; the unusual and disordered libidos—Polygamy, polyamory, swinging, quads, ménage(s) à trois, ménage(s) à quatre, orgy, pop-culture sex, paraphilia (zoophilia and bestiality, necrophilia), and so on, from which none of the beings could come out nor ever will; nevertheless, carnal knowledge is a disgustingly beautiful as well as ugly rapturous disorder amongst the human species only. I beg your pardon for such gratis information–ha ha–what can I do? Isn’t the value of Pi  infinity? Ahem! Thus, to our Mr. Norman, women were his inspirations, his muses, the pawns on his amorous chess board. At thirteen, he read a book on hypnotism; he tried out this new discipline on his family housekeeper, and she unclothed herself! Not everyone throughout the years was rather as bewitched. He was spurned by Nico (Christa Paffgen, thinking of whom he wrote’Take This Longing’ ), and Joni Mitchell (painter, singer, song writer) dismissed him as a “boudoir poet”, who had once been his lover but remained a friend afterwards; however, these were the exceptions. I shan’t emphasize on one woman but all the ladies he met were notes to his music, words to his lyrics, and moonlight to his success(?). Yes! Women loved this hypnotic wordler*! How and why I don’t know! Unwise to look for the reasons! I have watched hundreds of his videos, interviews, photographs, and so forth; I interpreted that the way he would talk to women as if he was caressing a woman’s back, rubbing his lips against hers, and nibbling the neck while making love! High courtesy and verbal fluency were his charm indeed. Ramesses II was focused on building cities and our Don Juan, to find comfort in ladies’ arms. I can’t criticize Mr. Norman as both male and female beings are polygamous or polyamorous either psychologically or physically to my assumption. Mr. Norman, the mariner, had a heart of sparrow, never could his soul be settled in one place, rather like an enthralling terpsichorean butterfly in life, art, and amongst the ladies. Sylvie Simmons calls “the paradox of intimacy and distance”. Women—I think, the other kind of signature to his life. The ladies’ man knew them a lot better yet he had been looking for the perfect woman during his life, though he had his reasons and I think, I know it. Death of a ladies’ man was a teenage emotional result of his music career, actually death did not happen to the ladies’ man–ha ha–! Although with this song I would say which I often quote my own words, “If women weren’t the best things happened to the planet earth, if they weren’t meaningful and beautiful then why Omnium Magister  put women in the heaven.” Perhaps, you know better nor me!

Et tu, Brute? The stubborn Caesar screamed silently within me as soon as I had come to know that Mr. Norman was always on drugs. Like most of the singers, poets, musicians, artists in history and statistics, even he had to take substance to make himself stand to the audience, to create those pieces! From Emperor Humayun to Fakir, from Hashashins to degenerate, vitiated street thugs and zero IQ young bullies, none was and is out of this addiction till today; so, what did make him psychologically out of the common or extraordinary then? I was and I am, of course, disappointed and that reordered my insights of him a lot. I thought of him something else! C’mon, man up! If you have really something creative within will surely come out by any means, perhaps today, tomorrow, or someday. You don’t need drugs or any substance to soothe your nerves or to become unorthodox, imaginative, blue-sky creative. ‘Drugs’ are sexy for the unwise even if it be me! (period)

An individual’s personal life is ‘not my circus, not my monkey (polish saying)’  and absolutely I’m not here to write a tell-all; yet I have to say it whatsoever that seeking rather hounding (appropriate word for him) the spirituality through continuous drugs, booze, women as well as sex addiction was really a shaggy-dog story and absurd. Praying ceaselessly along with smoking ganja, taking LSD, booze, having hashish, opium, acid including his two more favourite drugs—the sedative Mandrax (he was called ‘Captain Mandrax) and dexamphetamine—to seek spirituality was the manifestation of an immature delusional unsettled mind, a thigh-slapping melodrama and pleading such is to allow the addiction more! “Want some?” Of course, you can’t expect more from a depressional patient. Do you? Chronic euphoric drugs were also responsible for such deep depressive disorder that even antidepressants did not work on him afterwards! My bitter statement perhaps sounds as a floccinaucinihilipilification, I beg your pardon for choosing such sesquipedalian word. Mr. Norman, Rolling stone, Beatles, Deep Purple, Bloody sabbath, The Charlatans; as a matter of fact, they all helped to launch the psychedelic subculture approximately in the early or mid-60’s. Ridiculously he is depicted either as a prophet or a rabbi! Mortals are very interesting creatures, they always have got to put you in a religious bracket, either they will make you a virtuous Holy Joe or a vicious criminal orally, socially, or to put you behind the bars even to death sometimes. Superfluous craziness of fans and devotees invariably have been portraying as such for thousands of years. Mr. Norman—our Shelly, our Byron—was just an agathokakological gentleman during his life. Well, how shall I put it?—when the whole world is a little heaven of the tavern of drugs and liquor; maison close, tyrannical battlefield of death, plague, and hunger; theatre of hypocrisy, decorated melodrama, and injustice for thousands of years, there inevitably he wasn’t a prophet/Kohen Gadol nor am I a saint in this neoliberal era.

NOTE: “The Ancient Greek aphorism ‘know thyself’ , transliterated: gnōthi seauton, is one of the Delphic maxims and was the first of three maxims inscribed in the pronaos of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi according to the Greek writer Pausanias. The two maxims that followed ‘know thyself’  were ‘nothing to excess’ and ‘surety brings ruin’. In Latin the phrase, ‘know thyself,’ is nosce te ipsum or temet nosce. Most likely they were popular proverbs, which tended later to be attributed to particular sages.”

My question is, could Mr. Norman ever know himself? We know, after a lifetime of sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll, he retired to the Mt. Baldy Zen Center in Los Angeles, California in 1994, and was ordained as a monk in 1996 to Zen monastery where he went by the name Jikan. Sitting meditation, known as Za-Zen, aims to tame monkey mind, frenetic thinking, by studying the self to forget the self (unlike Delphic maxim!). It took three decades of instruction and the mellowing of old age to put the musician in a neutral, monkish state of mind. He left the monastery after five years because it was still “Boogie Street,” another place with no privacy and personal frictions. He took up music again. [taken from an article ]

No, no, Da’ling! He wasn’t the man of all faith at all, actually no one is or is there many Akber the Great! He was very Jewish by choice, by heart, by belief, and by practice. His songs, his honest confessions, portrayed it sagaciously, he was rather a bohemian from all walks who lived everybody’s life. Everyone is a Mr. Norman in his own way, without a few almost every individual has the story of Suzanne, So Long, Marianne, Chelsea Hotel and so on. Leonard Cohen is not Mr. Norman, Mr. Norman is someone who you will find everywhere, perhaps in Zahed Ahmed’s poetry, recitation, and writing; in Asim’s simple lovely music composition or in his midnight cooking; in Jafar Iqbal’s lithographs, prints, and drawings; in Jacobin’s anger; in Farhan Malique’s Guitar playing; in little Yasmin’s books; in Jasmin’s longing; in my son’s naïve shy smile, in Rafat Humayun’s courtesy; in Satil’s kind heart; in Shah’s love for food and meditating thought; in the self-proclaimed name of Promito Akash; perhaps in the poor’s generosity; and the list goes on and on. Have I been able to explain of what Mr. Norman said, “an identity card is not a man, a credit rating is not a country”? By the way, did you know Mr. Norman was into art? He made quite a few lithographic prints; sketched self-portraits, landscapes, objects and portraits of women.

An afternoon of dry winter, whilst I had been painting ‘Dhoon’ in a hiemal sombre room of an apartment building in metropolis, came Rafat Humayun who had worked with many famous visual artists before he assisted me then. I was listening to the songs by Mr. Norman and in the midst of the discussion of art, lit, and the songs ‘tween us suddenly and classically he apprised me of Mr. Norman’s quietus; that was a sharp thwack to a Parnassian lyricism, I realised then and there. After he had left, I just suspired “as death often leaves no mark within me nor saddens me if the deceased had lived a full-length of brilliant life. The sun may be a god for pagans, but a seraphic smile to the planet earth and Death comes often to fertilize its land for coming brand new days.” Another bohemian ship sailed to the unknown, now the Olivetti typewriter wouldn’t make any clickety-clack sound and the famous blue raincoat would no longer get wet under the rain, I thought. With a sigh I looked through the casement of the cold ominous building, far away the moody sun was setting in the Kingdom of Vangala. The kites were soaring and an unkindness of ravens was flapping in the dusty blue of the capital. The cold Auster (the south wind) was going somewhere perhaps to meet a swarthy maiden, to ruffle her hair.

Another weary nightfall! You want it darker?


The portrait of Leonard Cohen image glued to the lead banner of this article and inside as well is composed by the author himself. No part of this article may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written/verbal permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and review pieces. For information and communication the author profile below should navigate the readers enough. — gaanpaar

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