"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angel-headed hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night…"
“So the other morning, I’m at the refrigerator… you know, getting Billy ready for school. So I’m just in my underwear and he notices I’ve lost weight. And he comes in and pats me. He comes up to here, and he says “Daddy, you’ve really lost a lot of weight”, he looks up at me and he says “And it’s all gone to your nose.” He was so cute. You know?”
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
Lou Reed: No Epitaphs
Heaven didn’t just get another angel and heaven’s band didn’t just get another member because heaven isn’t real and Lou Reed was no angel and even if heaven was real and God was willing to overlook Lou Reed’s various and sundry transgressions, there’s no way Reed would be caught dead playing with all the squares that currently make up Heaven’s shitty jamboree.
It’s hard to write about Lou Reed without descending into a Clint Eastwood-ian jeremiad about the softness of our culture. Of course our culture isn’t soft, and things weren’t better back then; that’s the ahistorical sentimentality that Reed, willful misunderstandings of “Sweet Jane” and “Rock and Roll” aside, rarely subscribed to, but it is hard to imagine someone as contentious, disagreeable, and downright ornery as Lou Reed coming up today. Of course, without him, who knows how prissy pop culture would be right now…so maybe he would still arrive to (eventually, over the course of years and years, one influence after another) blow it all up, make degradation beautiful, pick a fight with whoever the Lester Bangs would be in this hypothetical Velvet Underground-less world, where every white chump would still have long hair and sunglasses would be worn exclusively outside, on sunny days.
I couldn’t touch you without ruining you,
so I didn’t touch you at all.
It’s when you’re on the brink of something
that you lose your balance.
You told me that once.
When I can’t bring myself to say what I need to,
my heart plays Russian Roulette with my throat.
I swear I fired that night, but, nothing.
Someday, I’ll show you the bullet I had for you,
after time has done the wash.
I’ll take it out of the jar of missed opportunities.
We’ll hold it up to the light.
You’ll roll it around your mouth like a fallen tooth.
You won’t forgive me exactly,
but we’ll laugh about how small it is.
We’ll wonder how such a little thing
could ever have meant so much