Literary Hub

The Time Lou Reed Quit Music to Become a Poet

Andrew Cifranic Lou Reed

On March 10th, 1971, Lou Reed read at the At the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery and announced to the audience that he would no longer play music; he was now a poet. He performed the following poem that night.

This is because I always wished somebody made black lipstick and then I saw a  friend of mine that wore it and I said, “Where’d you get it?” and they said, “Oh man, everybody’s wearing it.” I said, “I thought I came up with something new.” They said, “No, man.”

Lipstick

(If lipstick were black
you’d wear it
If love were straight
you’d curl it
If life were wet
you’d burn it.
If death were free
you’d earn it
If you were death
I’d hiss you
If you were life
I’d catch you
If you were here
I’d kiss you
But since you’re not
I’ll miss you)

__________________________________

do angels need haircuts lou reed poetry

“Lipstick” from Do Angels Need Haircuts? published by Anthology Editions, Copyright 2018 Canal Street Communications 

Related Interests

More from Literary Hub

Literary Hub9 min read
Oh, Where Did You Go, Patti LuPone?
I grow up in Queens in the 1970s. During this period there are tons of commercials for Broadway shows. I become obsessed, studying each one with the concentrated focus of a brain surgeon. But the commercial I was most fixated on was for Evita starrin
Literary Hub8 min read
On the Sexist Reception of Willa Cather’s World War I Novel
When Willa Cather’s fifth novel, One of Ours, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1923, it was divisive among critics. Reviewing the book in The Smart Set, H.L. Mencken wrote that the first half, which is about protagonist Claude Weaver’s young adult years on
Literary Hub9 min read
Panic is Worse Than Pain: How Fiction Failed Me After Trauma
A beginning is a cut in the onward flow of things. It is a lie too: we section out the story, slashing away what came before and after. A cut can form an opening: a hole or a door or a cave or a mine. But what kind of mine do we open? A landmine? Yes