132 words: Infamous Blue Raincoat


It’s four in the morning, the end of December.
I’m writing you now to tell you I’m better.
Edmonton is cold, but I have dreams for my life now.
It’s beautiful. I am finally proud.

When I left, you looked so much older.
The thin gypsy thief stood with you,
his famous blue raincoat still torn at the shoulder.

I’m glad you forgive him, your brother, my scandal.
The regret for me is too much to handle.
Because he never really took the trouble from my eyes
It was there for good. Neither of you tried.

You were both looking for your Lili Marlene’s
But it wasn’t me, I was just one passing train.
I wasn’t the first to be untrue.
I have my own raincoat now, untorn and blue.

Sincerely, Jane.

There’s so much to say about this. Firstly, I need to pay homage to the man, the Great Leonard Cohen. When I wrote that I wasn’t sure if epistolary form was done much (I meant past the 18th Century) in short/flash fiction, I did not take into account “Famous Blue Raincoat,” or songwriting in general. One of the greatest forms, in my opinion. And especially Leonard Cohen’s songwriting, because it is all his own stories, in various and beautiful ways (many, it seems, as tributes or letters to others).

Secondly, this is a shorter form of the longer response piece that I wrote. I’ve been wanting to write this particular piece for a while, and I wanted to do it here, in this project of mine, while I still had a decent amount of words to work with. Though I had to cut parts, I plan on putting the full version up at another time.

Thirdly, and maybe most importantly, the reason I wrote this. This song is talked about and analyzed to death, and it has quite a few response pieces from other (way more talented and famous) people. In particular, Geoff Rickly from Thursday wrote a response, “My Favorite Blue Raincoat,” from the perspective of L. Cohen’s friend (the man with whom Jane has her affair). Both Cohen’s song and the responses that I’ve seen are from the perspectives of the men in the love triangle. That’s great. And let me be clear, I love both of these songs and both of these artists. But, I have yet to read something from the perspective of Jane. So, since I haven’t yet heard her voice, I wanted to give her one.

Also, this might be poetry, I don’t really know because I don’t write it. But I wanted to keep it in the form and style of “Famous Blue Raincoat.”

Listen to the masterpieces here:

Leonard Cohen: “Famous Blue Raincoat”
Geoff Rickly: “Favorite Blue Raincoat”


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