The Spike

lou-reed1943-2013summer of ‘67
sitting with a friend in a ’59 ford
beneath a bridge in new orleans
trying to grow our hair long
wishing we knew some girls
or where to get some pot
sharing a half-pint of southern comfort
listening to radio free new orleans
when I heard it the first time
white light goin’ messin’ up my mind
white light don’t you know its gonna make me go blind
that song didn’t rock didn’t roll
it rattled with clumsy raw power
like a streetcar on st. charles
junky driven headlight hot
down to a subterranean
blue velvet perdition

he practically invented punk
glitter & glam
no romantic soul yearnings in those songs but
kicks & drug scum & dirty tenement windows
the main vein behind the urban flow
the intestines and tentacles of the streets
the refuge of memory the slickness of pretension

or as in the poems of his mentor before warhol
delmore schwartz his songs were just about
“the wound of consciousness”

lou_reed-2i saw him in New Orleans in 1974
his blonde hair year
he shot up onstage or pretended to
anyway a strange concert he barely moved
i’m pretty sure he shot up that night
before he even reached the stage

literate eclectic metal-manic poet
but that spike nullified
virus-blood infected the liver
he’d had a transplant earlier this year
suddenly he’s like my older brother
leading the way & if he could make thru a transplant then so could i
from everything I heard things were looking good . . .

walking in NYC, post-transplant
walking in NYC, post-transplant (

sometime between the hot new york nights
& the cold new york mornings
somewhere between the white light madness
& the pale eyed sadness
he tripped on the wire strung along the wild side
yet remained always nothing but himself

now the transformers are silent
the glitter has fallen from all the faces
the punks have punked out
& the colored girls sing
doo do doo do doo do do doo
he’s left his heat behind, baby

i’m really fuckin pissed lou reed is dead

& real fuckin sad

© 2013 dmriley

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Some Links:

NY Times Obituary

Some Music:

“One chord is fine, two chords are pushing it, three chords and you’re into jazz.”
– Lou Reed

White Light White Heat – The Velvet Underground

Lady Day – Lou Reed live in Paris, 1974

Pale Blue Eyes – Lou Reed live 1998