Tuesday, November 5, 2013

My words on Lou Reed / A Tribute

It's been a week and 2 days since Lou Reeds passing and because I'm back home from my trip I'm just having the opportunity to catch up and read all the thoughtful entries online that everyone has posted. I remember waking up seeing the ocean that day and within the first 5 minutes of taking in the day my publisher told me that Lou had passed on. I had so much more work to do but the thought of pausing seemed right inside so I did and we changed the flight back home.I was having trouble thinking straight. So here I am feeling a bit shaken again as it's all sinking in. I am not the kind of person who can write the lines all the time, sometimes the words get caught up inside and come later but today I do want to say that Lou Reeds work taught me a lot about writing and also taught me about staying true to myself. I posted an entry in my Church of the Victorian Cult blog just last year on his birthday as to honor him and just really can't get past his passing. I'm sentimental like that and though I never met Lou Reed his work will continue to impact my life, he left us with some real gems and for that I will be forever thankful and touched -- It's my belief that we are here to leave things behind and the things we leave, even if they speak to only one person are precious. Lou spoke to many and he will be and is deeply missed. I know most of you have probably already read Laurie Andersons heartbreaking obituary and if not you should as it shook me deep inside as I just had the opportunity to read it. I know her grieving must go so beyond right now as I cannot imagine living without your great love by your side. I'm choosing to post this poetic and touching memorial tribute from Mother of two. Widow. Student of religious imagery. Author. Poet and performer Patti Smith. Patti knew what it was like to lose her great love Fred 'Sonic' Smith and then also be able to somehow recapture that love and magnify his strengths and gifts after a long mourning period. Thank you Patti & my condolences to Laurie Anderson during her grieving process. I too am weary, we all are. Sorrow breaks the heart open. Sorrow is a precious Spring. You have to treasure it, honor it and then move on and begin again to celebrate this thing called living... `Wendy Rose Watson WORDS FROM PATTI SMITH - MOURING FOR LOU REED On Sunday morning, I rose early. I had decided the night before to go to the ocean, so I slipped a book and a bottle of water into a sack and caught a ride to Rockaway Beach. It felt like a significant date, but I failed to conjure anything specific. The beach was empty, and, with the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy looming, the quiet sea seemed to embody the contradictory truth of nature. I stood there for a while, tracing the path of a low-flying plane, when I received a text message from my daughter, Jesse. Lou Reed was dead. I flinched and took a deep breath. I had seen him with his wife, Laurie, in the city recently, and I’d sensed that he was ill. A weariness shadowed her customary brightness. When Lou said goodbye, his dark eyes seemed to contain an infinite and benevolent sadness. I met Lou at Max’s Kansas City in 1970. The Velvet Underground played two sets a night for several weeks that summer. The critic and scholar Donald Lyons was shocked that I had never seen them, and he escorted me upstairs for the second set of their first night. I loved to dance, and you could dance for hours to the music of the Velvet Underground. A dissonant surf doo-wop drone allowing you to move very fast or very slow. It was my late and revelatory introduction to “Sister Ray.” Within a few years, in that same room upstairs at Max’s, Lenny Kaye, Richard Sohl, and I presented our own land of a thousand dances. Lou would often stop by to see what we were up to. A complicated man, he encouraged our efforts, then turned and provoked me like a Machiavellian schoolboy. I would try to steer clear of him, but, catlike, he would suddenly reappear, and disarm me with some Delmore Schwartz line about love or courage. I didn’t understand his erratic behavior or the intensity of his moods, which shifted, like his speech patterns, from speedy to laconic. But I understood his devotion to poetry and the transporting quality of his performances. He had black eyes, black T-shirt, pale skin. He was curious, sometimes suspicious, a voracious reader, and a sonic explorer. An obscure guitar pedal was for him another kind of poem. He was our connection to the infamous air of the Factory. He had made Edie Sedgwick dance. Andy Warhol whispered in his ear. Lou brought the sensibilities of art and literature into his music. He was our generation’s New York poet, championing its misfits as Whitman had championed its workingman and Lorca its persecuted. As my band evolved and covered his songs, Lou bestowed his blessings. Toward the end of the seventies, I was preparing to leave the city for Detroit when I bumped into him by the elevator in the old Gramercy Park Hotel. I was carrying a book of poems by Rupert Brooke. He took the book out of my hand and we looked at the poet’s photograph together. So beautiful, he said, so sad. It was a moment of complete peace. As news of Lou’s death spread, a rippling sensation mounted, then burst, filling the atmosphere with hyperkinetic energy. Scores of messages found their way to me. A call from Sam Shepard, driving a truck through Kentucky. A modest Japanese photographer sending a text from Tokyo—“I am crying.” As I mourned by the sea, two images came to mind, watermarking the paper- colored sky. The first was the face of his wife, Laurie. She was his mirror; in her eyes you can see his kindness, sincerity, and empathy. The second was the “great big clipper ship” that he longed to board, from the lyrics of his masterpiece, “Heroin.” I envisioned it waiting for him beneath the constellation formed by the souls of the poets he so wished to join. Before I slept, I searched for the significance of the date—October 27th—and found it to be the birthday of both Dylan Thomas and Sylvia Plath. Lou had chosen the perfect day to set sail—the day of poets, on Sunday morning, the world behind him. ♦