In My Secret Life

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Leigh
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In My Secret Life

Post by Leigh » Mon Sep 19, 2005 1:03 pm

Does anyone know the interpretation of the lyrics "In My Secret Life"?
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icecreamtruck
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Post by icecreamtruck » Tue Sep 20, 2005 7:39 pm

I have translated it completely:

I saw you this morning.
You were moving so fast.
Can’t seem to loosen my grip
On the past.
And I miss you so much.
There’s no one in sight.
And we’re still making love
In My Secret Life.

I smile when I’m angry.
I cheat and I lie.
I do what I have to do
To get by.
But I know what is wrong.
And I know what is right.
And I’d die for the truth
In My Secret Life.

Hold on, hold on, my brother.
My sister, hold on tight.
I finally got my orders.
I’ll be marching through the morning,
Marching through the night,
Moving cross the borders
Of My Secret Life.

Looked through the paper.
Makes you want to cry.
Nobody cares if the people Live or die.
And the dealer wants you thinking
That it’s either black or white.
Thank G-d it’s not that simple
In My Secret Life.

I bite my lip.
I buy what I’m told:
From the latest hit,
To the wisdom of old.
But I’m always alone.
And my heart is like ice.
And it’s crowded and cold
In My Secret Life.
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tomsakic
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Post by tomsakic » Wed Sep 21, 2005 11:32 am

:shock:


Dear Leigh, I read it both on biographical and metaphorical background. Secret Life is obviously Leonard's life, and the song was started back in 1988. Title line was even used in The Future: "Give me back my broken night, my mirrored room, my secret life, it's lonely here, there's no one left to torture".

But the song is, I think, metaphorical, as whole Ten New Songs is; it is about spiritual life or religious existance or living life "a thousand kisses deep". I think icecreamtruck was right in some way; you oughta read it literary, what it says (the literal way is leveled with metaphorical, I'd say).

I.e. first verse: he can't losen his grip on the past. We're still making love in our secret life.
Second verse: even more clear, literal. You can read it as both individual statement (he summarizes the way life is) and political statement.
Third verse: even more clear. He calls us to hold on etc.
Fourth verse is directly politically conscious and announces theme of The Land of Plenty i.e. As you see, I think the song can be pretty literary understood.
Last verse is fall into Cohen's pessimism about state of life or world, as in recent poem Sit Still. "I buy what I’m told: From the latest hit, To the wisdom of old.", that's the best description of today's society and popular music and culture i ever saw in a piece of art. Last four lines are maybe Leonard's known pessimism or loneliness, or even better, the song stays positive, but he says that on even deeper level eveyrone of us is always alone in own "secret life". In retrospective it could seem that hope from the chorus verse is forgotten and that it makes circle (he does miss "you" in first verse and cannot forget their past; now he stays alone), but I'd say it's alegory about our secret, inner lives in which we - despite the call for revolutionary march in chorus verses and following the orders from divine authorities - always must be alone, although it is crowded and we will always make love. Life is good. :wink: Think positive.
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lizzytysh
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Post by lizzytysh » Wed Sep 21, 2005 12:43 pm

Excellent job, Tom. No one could have asked for a better answer to a complex question.

~ Lizzy
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tomsakic
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Post by tomsakic » Wed Sep 21, 2005 1:24 pm

Thanks. You probably refer to "Life is good. Think positive." :wink:
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lizzytysh
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Post by lizzytysh » Wed Sep 21, 2005 2:17 pm

Uh, yeah, now that you mention it :lol: ! Ignore all that other stuff :wink: .
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Shane
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Post by Shane » Wed Sep 21, 2005 3:10 pm

The dealer wants you thinking
That it's either black or white


I really like this line, but I'm not quite clear on it. What you guys make of it?
never could stand that dog...
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lightning
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Post by lightning » Wed Sep 21, 2005 4:26 pm

How secret is this "secret" life if it's out on CD, revealed to the entire world? Does this say something about the need to break out of the solitary confinement of one's self and confess to others? What are we to say in reply? Nice song, Leonard?
re: the dealer-- In the Stranger Song "dealer" refers to a card dealer which may be a cover for dope dealer. Here I think it mean salesman/advertiser, like a used- car dealer trying to sell his product and presenting only part of the picture to convince, concealing the rest. Leonard is talking about reading a newspaper printed in black and white, which usually runs quite a few ads.
Steven
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Post by Steven » Wed Sep 21, 2005 5:58 pm

Shane,

It's often easier for people to be controlled by "dealers" (powers that
be) when there is an unquestioning mindset (absent of grey areas).
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Shane
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Post by Shane » Wed Sep 21, 2005 6:25 pm

Steven wrote:Shane,

It's often easier for people to be controlled by "dealers" (powers that
be) when there is an unquestioning mindset (absent of grey areas).
Thanks, that's what I was thinking as well... :wink:
never could stand that dog...
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linda_lakeside
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Post by linda_lakeside » Thu Sep 22, 2005 12:00 am

I liked ICT's interpretation! :D
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tomsakic
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Post by tomsakic » Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:34 am

At least he opened the discussion :roll:
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linda_lakeside
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Post by linda_lakeside » Thu Sep 22, 2005 1:37 pm

Yes, he did, and Tom, I too found your post to be very illuminating. I'm always reluctant to try and 'analyse' LCs lyrics, for myself or anyone else, as they can mean different things on different days (for me, at least). But, as usual, you did a fine job. You are a true 'Cohenite'. I know how hard you've worked to gain that status.

In the end, though, it's always Leonard that has the last word, isn't it? His lyrics speak for themselves and they speak to us. Sometimes they can speak 'for' us.

I'm glad there are those on the board that can look at his lyrics and immediately draw meaning from them, then put their thoughts on the page. I love to read other peoples' take on LC lyrics. We don't all read his thoughts the same way, but that makes it all the better.

Linda.
jurica
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Post by jurica » Thu Sep 22, 2005 1:38 pm

i think "secret life" refers to inner thoughts. i think the song juxtaposes what he does on the outside and what he thinks he should do inside.

Tom made a good point in comparing "secret life" and "a life lived a thousand kisses deep". he also writes:
"Secret Life is obviously Leonard's life, and the song was started back in 1988. Title line was even used in The Future: 'Give me back my broken night, my mirrored room, my secret life, it's lonely here, there's no one left to torture'."
"mirrored room" could mean "intorspection". the room observes itself, but it's not possible to observe it from outside. that's why life inside it is "seceret". in The Future, he asks us to give it back to him, i suppose he felt that he sang so much of his inner states, that they were no longer secret.

but in this song, i'd like to emphasize the dual nature. or, you could say, two different rooms in which the song happenes:

"I saw you this morning.
You were moving so fast.
Can’t seem to loosen my grip
On the past.
And I miss you so much.
There’s no one in sight."

---all of this is in "public life". even what happenes in the mind itself, like "missing" or loneliness.

"And we’re still making love
In My Secret Life."

---this is in "secret life". in imagination. in a place where everything is as it is supposed to be. where everything is right.

"I smile when I’m angry.
I cheat and I lie.
I do what I have to do
To get by."

---"manifesting life"

"But I know what is wrong.
And I know what is right.
And I’d die for the truth
In My Secret Life."

---"secret life"

...etc...

interesting part is that in my mind this:

"But I know what is wrong.
And I know what is right.
And I’d die for the truth
In My Secret Life."

contradicts this:

"And the dealer wants you thinking
That it’s either black or white.
Thank G-d it’s not that simple
In My Secret Life."

...in other words: "if he knows exactly what is wrong and what is right in his secret life, how come it's not that simple in it?"

i think the point here may be that secret life is like that: it changes from day to day. one day everything may be fine, and he feels great, another he may be depressed, and have little faith.
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linda_lakeside
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Post by linda_lakeside » Thu Sep 22, 2005 1:48 pm

And those last lines of yours, jurica, would hold true for all of us. Thank G~d we have Leonard to put those feelings of doubt/faith into words for us.

Linda.
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