Remembering Lou Reed, Poet~Musician~Pioneer

Lou Reed

 

PLAYING MUSIC lS NOT LIKE ATHLETICS

Playing music is not like athletics:
One may improve with age.
The untrained mind with natural talents
reflects the part and never the whole
it is too narrow to perceive itself.
Its goals erase themselves.

May I have your ear, that
curlicued receptor of sound?
(If this were Rome we could be so grand).

The movement from instinct to calculation is quite profound
You’ve listened and been more than a tape recorder.
Talent carries its own weight;
the intellect it weds determines greatness.
Our age is such that we must fight off fat.
One hopes the mind outlasts the skin.

If this is true,
I’II say goodbye to me,
and say hello to
yet another you.

Hooky Wooky CD single, 1996

Lou Reed, 1996
Photo: Renaud Monfourny, Les Inrockuptibles, no. 45

WASTE

Sometimes when I’m all alone
I feel a type of fear
dawn’s descending, dusk is breaking
creep my darling near.
I see my life before me
as a seamstress sees her pins
fulland linedwithfailure
and coated then with sin.
An education gone to waste
talent left ignored
imagination rent with drugs
someone who’s always bored
scared to death of life itself
but even more by death
not fit company for anyone
let alone a wife
no example for a child
therefore no sun for me
I am told never to think these thoughts
for they make me unhappy.

The sin was craziness you see
don’t blame yourself for that –
a strange childhood, wel1 that is true
but nothing can be done about that.
The future is the same for all
we face it as we can
and there is nothing wrong with fear
it proves that you’re a man.

Then other times I feel so good
the opposite you see
I think I’m full of talent
good old intuitive me.
I write all hours of the night
terrible poetry.
Others say that it is good
but they are lying to me.
Why would they lie, you might ask
and to this I would reply
encouraging me encourages them,
to cut me shows their lie.
For mine was illusion of life well spent,
everyone thought so.
I was courted as a rake
wherever I did go.
But I know warts, you can’t fool me
with flattering and praise.
You sing my songs to prove to yourselves
that you are not a waste.

THOUGHTS TURN TO MURDER LATE AT NIGHT

We can learn to murder in the early hours
mulling over dour fate
technology offering its endless alternatives:
poisons, boxes spewing chemicals.
And yet
in murder
we return to the odious spectacle of physical expression –
I’ll break you neck;
I’ll break your back
thinking unacquired savagery.

Karate is a special kind of dance.
Who pulverizes someone else’s bones
has lifted violence to the level of
an art,
which, unlike ballet,
does not require the total man.

Magic And Loss, Metal Memorial Edition CD, 1992