Tag Archives: Lou Reed

Three ‘How to be an American’ Poems at Underground Books

7 Nov



This has truly been a crappy week. Truly. Truly truly truly NOT outrageous and NOT like Gem.

(good luck getting that song out of your head!)

But you know what’s NOT crappy about it?

It’s that the truly awesome James from Underground Books published a few of my new poems from the How to be an American series I’ve been working on.

So without further ado, here you go.

Thanks James, for taking a bit of the crap out of craptastic.

Also – this piece from Laurie Anderson about Lou Reed’s death is amazing. If I can face my own death or the death of people that I love with one third of this bravery and passion I will consider my life a success. And it also reminded me that one time I wrote a story about a girl who started a revolution because of a Lou Reed song. You can read it here if you want.

Peace, Love and Starbursts,


Lou Reed Like a Black Bed Sheet

30 Oct

Lou Reed Like a Black Bed Sheet


Because Jet Blue

stopped flights to Pittsburgh

unless you wanted to detour

through Chicago

which, if you think about it,

from New York,

means you really overshot your goal,


we rented a car

and I had driven

maneuvering us out of the city

because my husband hates to drive

and especially hates to drive in Brooklyn


so that now as the long stretches of

highway rolls forever before us

like an endless black bed sheet,

he drives


and that means it’s my turn

to be in charge of the radio.


What do you want to hear, I ask

and he shrugs, like he always does.

Doesn’t matter.

No indierock, he says.

No chick singers.


I scroll through my songs,

knowing that takes a decent size chunk out.

I offer Bruce and Petty

Ryan and the Beatles

and he shrugs, even to the Beatles

because it’s late and we’re tired.


Whatever, he says.


Because neither of us wanted to take this drive.

It wasn’t like the one five years ago across the country where everyday

would bring us something new.

We knew exactly where we would end up.

Exactly what it would mean.


I’ll find something, I said.

And as I hit play

Lou sings


It’s so cold in Alaska

It’s so cold in Alaska

It’s so cold in Alaska


I open the window

just as we reach the tunnel

and think about how long it’s been

since I quit smoking

longer still since I started

before I left that little town

that had little to do

and how someone

usually Wyatt

would put on Lou Reed

as I laid on the hood of a car


at the lake

and Maureen danced and laughed

back when I was just a teenager

and life stretched before me like a black bed sheet


and in this car,

as we pass through the tunnel

my husband places a hand on my thigh


and says over Lou’s hard voice

this is exactly what I wanted to hear.




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