Oct 28, 2013 I’ll Be Your Mirror

Dear friends:

Well there’s no choice about this one, as once again a giant’s passing gives us occasion to reflect. I had a pretty happy childhood. I had friends in high school and I did OK. I was maladjusted in all the normal ways, but I don’t think I ever felt black rage boiling over my brain. I never felt like no one–nobody!–in this world understood me. And whatever pain I was feeling, I think I had some fairly sane outlets for. And yet–I can pretty safely say that my life was “saved by rock ‘n roll,” just like 5-year-old Janie listening to the radio in Lou Reed’s (1941-2013) eponymous song. Man, this guy wrote so many good lyrics, and they were all over the place, from the hardened, dirty, smelly street cadence of New York to bizarrely straight pop pieces that referenced a time when “poets studied rules of verse and ladies rolled their eyes.” He’s not a poet–he’s a songwriter–but I can hardly think of anyone better to round out a long segment on formal poems.
Here’s the weird thing: he could be so nasty. There were times where the music absolutely overwhelmed the lyrics, and times when that music was so out of my taste range (most of White Light/White Heat; all of Metal Machine Music) that the destination was not worth the trip. He’s probably unsurpassed in giving voice to debauched and debased states of mind. But then he could write the purest, the most tender, the most life-affirming (even if ironic, yes) ballads, and incredibly deft pop poetry. There’s a handful of Lou Reed songs that will always make me tear up, even when the dude was alive. Now that he’s gone, I’m not sure how I’ll react next time I put onTransformer or Loaded. Don’t worry about being a bandwagon-jumper; go out and get ahold of this music.
I’LL BE YOUR MIRROR
(lyrics by Lou Reed)
I’ll be your mirror
Reflect what you are, in case you don’t know
I’ll be the wind, the rain, and the sunset
The light on your door to show that you’re home
When you think the night has seen your mind
That inside you’re twisted and unkind
Let me stand to show that you are blind
Please put down your hands
‘Cause I see you

I find it hard to believe you don’t know
The beauty that you are
But if you don’t, let me be your eyes
A hand in your darkness, so you won’t be afraid

When you think the night has seen your mind
That inside you’re twisted and unkind
Let me stand to show that you are blind
Please put down your hands
‘Cause I see you

I’ll be your mirror

 
-1967
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