The Bourgeois Blues

This concerns Lee Harper's amazing first poetic outpouring, which my father sent to Leonard Cohen. Lee was, and is, beautiful, so Ted enclosed a "head shot".
    A few days later Ted said to me, "You write poetry," and then something like, "Wow! Your good. You're really good*," and he sent my poetry to Leonard.
    Leonard said he didn't think that I had transcended my bourgeois upbringing. He also pointed out that Ted hadn't sent my "head shot". So I wrote Leonard "a bourgeois blues".

The bourgeois blues have spread
way beyond Vienna.
Yesterday they rolled
under my bedroom door.
They crept up my William Morris wallpaper,
down the velvet drapes;
they stained the sheets
and ate my gladiola.

Leonard thinks I'm bathed in it.
Leonard thinks he's free,
But I know we're swimming
through the Company's dross.
This ain't the Jordan
in which we've been tossed.
It's the vomit of ages.

Babylon is a large mother.

Yesterday the bourgeois blues
rolled under my door.
Today I'll wash the curtain,
and hope there ain't no more.

Ted read the poem to Leonard over the phone and Leonard said, "Read it again."


* actually, Ted has Gerda Taro saying this about his short stories in 1937 in Madrid