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The Day Lou Reed Died

November 24, 2013

From the New Yorker, November 25, 2013.

Click here for Sad Song

The Day Lou Reed Died

It’s not like his songs are going to simply
evaporate,

but since the news I can’t stop
listening to him

on endless shuffle—familiar, yes, inside
me, yes, which means

I’m alive, or was, depending on when
you read this. Now

a song called “Sad
Song,” the last one on Berlin,

sung now from the other side, just talk,
really, at the beginning, then

the promise
or threat, I’m gonna stop wasting

my time, but what else
are we made of, especially now? A chorus

sings Sad song sad song sad song sad

song. I
knew him better than I knew my own

father, which means
through these songs, which means

not at all. They died on the same day, O
what a perfect day, maybe

at the same moment, maybe
both their bodies are laid out now in

the freezer, maybe side by side, maybe
holding hands, waiting

for the fire or the earthor the man
or the salt—

if I could I’d let birds devour whatever’s left
& carry them into the sky, but all I can do

it seems
is lie on the couch & shiver, pull a coat

over my body as if it were all I had, as if I
were the one sleeping outside, as if it were my

body something was leaving, rising up
from inside me

& the coat could hold it inside
maybe a little longer.

Nick Flynn

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