Love Song for Lou Reed

Dead, you’re the critics’ darling. When I was a teen, you were mine. Each morning I lifted The Velvet Underground and Nico from its sleeve, watched it spin, waited for Sunday Morning’s opening notes to warm me like a junk rush. Bursting with things to say but needing someone else’s words, I wore your face to class, read Delmore Schwarz because you praised him. Your stark songs closer to Keats: “Beauty is truth, truth beauty.” We both grew up, shed skins. Left New York City. Learned Tai Chi. I still blared your records, cheered at my daughter’s concert when the third graders sang I’m Set Free. Now the slap of finding out your borrowed liver failed. Brian Eno said your first disc sold just 30,000 copies but every person who bought one started a band. He was wrong. It sold more than that. And some of us became poets.

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