The Wire

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In Writing

Lou Reed 1942–2013: David Keenan: For Lou Reed 27/10/13

October 2013

Lou Reed died on 27 October, 2013. David Keenan remembers him.

Between Thought and Expression you said,
And what an idea!
The gravitas of it, the dive into
Nothing at all!
And in doing so their noses would sometimes pass before them, before they did
These swimmers, these high fliers
I read the reports, first fell in love with the reporters
But you like an athlete, a performer,
I don’t know what is more handsome than a
Shaved head, than an iron cross carved into your skull
A death wish?
They would have you believe in wishes!
Passing yourself on the way down,
High rise! tell them
And I saw myself, back then, suddenly
The diver
!
Dreaming of deep space undisturbed by the sun
Your path was inwards and outwards, I tell myself, neither up nor down, neither this way nor
Forwards
A rock ’n’ roll animal is a lonely pass through the solar system
Is a high dive
To always be a friend of death demands style, foolishness, naivety
Eternal youth
You talk of it like a headstone or an earthquake but have you ever
Woken in the night to the words of a song that felt more like
Petals on a fast moving river – no! – bright leaves in a well, bright, still,
Green leaves in the black of a well
Gravity, a thought, phrased in colour,
For the benefit of my friends, the universe
I will introduce her as
Mountaintop
Of what benefit, you say and I can only answer:
We are in a new region of space, without your body
Without the fact of your body,
The leather jaw, the
Sunglasses
I ask my mother, you’re no, she says, you’re
No
My mother is insane and impossible
Thank God
Your mother was your electrocutioner
Your father and mother and little sister, wasn’t it? Isn’t that how you put it?
Even then
Still tender, even in hate, even in muscle
We use it on the street, you said, and you were never
Less than it, never disdained
By it, by what it is, by what is it you refused to become
I say it as surpassing, I sound it like that,
You never surpassed yourself, never outlived your story
When so many insisted on boundary
And never remains cold comfort
You might say
But I doubt it
You would tell your little sister don’t call me home,
I can see you right now
Running into the sea, your right leg behind you,
Your back up against some metal
Shutter
The sky is blue in New York
That mix of morphine and
Dexedrine
The city is closed down and you have your hands on your hips
I’m deaf, you say, I’m blind,
But you say it again, a shot, you say
I wanted to give you a shot
And then you shrug and smile to yourself
There was writing behind you but I couldn’t read it
I knew it said something, was there to be read, but it didn’t matter
I took it all in
You standing there, from a high height, lies,
A lifetime

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