Words & Music: i testi dello spettacolo



Blue Lagoon

I got your letter. Thanks a lot.
I’ve been getting lots of sun and lots of rest
It’s really hot.
Days I dive by the wreck
Nights I swim in the blue lagoon
I always used to wonder who I’d bring to a desert island.
Days I remember cities.
Nights I dream about a perfect place
Days I dive by the wreck
Nights I swim in the blue lagoon.
Full fathom five thy father lies
Of his bones are coral made
Those are pearls that were his eyes.
Nothing of him but doth fade
But that suffers a sea change
Into something rich and strange
And I alone am left to tell the tale
Call me Ishmael
I got your letter. Thanks a lot.
I’ve been getting lots of sun
It’s really hot
Always used to wonder who I’d bring to a desert island.
Days I remember rooms
Nights I swim in the blue lagoon.
I saw a plane today. Flying low over the island
But my mind was somewhere else\And if you ever get this letter
Thinking of you love and kisses
Blue Pacific signing off.

The Questions

So here are the questions:
Is time long or is it wide?
And the answers?
Sometimes the answers just come in the mail
and you get a letter that says all the things you were waiting to hear
The things you suspected, the things you knew were true
And then in the last line it says:
Burn this.

Dark Angel

A dark angel parachutes down into an abandoned town
He says: Oh, I’ve been looking for a certain white clown
Doesn’t look like you’re it
But you’re the only one around
So I guess you’ll have to do, He says
So anyway… how are you doin’?
I say, Actually I can’t stand all the new machines
It’s supposed to be all brand new but it all looks the same
He says: Oh, it looks like you’re bored
It sounds like you’re bored. So try this he says to me:
Why don’t you get an old beret
And why don’t you find an old café?
And sit at a table and write something new
That’s never been heard before
Or write your own manifesto. That would do
Just make sure you use a pencil
So you can always. get it…you know…right

Look at all the things I’ve bought
I can’t believe what they cost
Just a lot of plastic and numbers on my credit card
I’m feeling kind of lost
The world that used to seem so small
I could wrap my arms around it
Now it seems really big. And he says: Oh
From your pictures I guessed that you were tall
But actually… I gotta go now
It’s a small world full of Iight
It’s a small world full of light
But I wouldn’t want to have to paint it


Hansel and Gretel are alive and well
and they’re living in Berlin
She is a cocktail waitress
He had a part in a Fassbinder film
And they sit alone at night now
drinking schnapps and gin
And she said Hansel you’re really bringing me down
And he said Gretel you can really be a bitch
He said I’ve wasted my life on our stupid legend
When my one and only love was the wicked witch
She said what is history?
And he said History is an angel being blown
Backwards into the future
He said History is a pile of debris
And the angel wants to go back and fix things
To repair the things that have been broken
But there is a storm blowing from Paradise
And the storm keeps blowing the angel
Backwards into the future
And this storm this storm
Is called progress.

White Lily

What Fassbinder film is it?
A one armed man comes into a flower shop and he says
What flower expresses days go by and thye just keep going by
Endlessly pulling you into the future
Days go by endlessly endlessly pulling you into the future.
And the florist says
White Lily,
You’re walking and you don’t always realize it but you’re always falling. With each step you fall forwards slightly and then catch yourself from falling. Over and over you’re falling and then catching yourself from falling. And this is how you can be walking and falling at the same time.
Some things are just pictures- they’re scenes before your eyes. Don’t look now I’m right behind you.
Love Among the Sailors
There is a hot wind blowing
It moves across the ocean and into every port
A plague a black plague
There’s danger everywhere
And you’ve been sailing.
And you’re alone on an island now tuning in
Did you think that this was the way your world would end?
Hombres. Sailors. Comrades.
There is no pure land now No safe place
And we stand here on the pier watching you drown.
Love among the sailors.
Love among the sailors.
There is a hot wind blowing
Plague drifts across the ocean
And if this is the work of an angry god
I want to look into his angry face
There is no pure land now
No safe place.
Come with us into the mountains.
Hombres. Sailors. Comrades.

Someone Else’s Dream

You know the reason why on some nights you don’t dream?
When there’s just blackness?
And total silence?
Well, this is the reason.
It’s because on that night
You’re in someone else’s dream.
You’re busy in someone else’s dream.


It was one of those black cat nights
The moon had gone out and the air was thin
It was the kind of night that the cat would drag in.
I’ll never forget it we had a fight
Then you turned around turned out the light
You left our bed then you moved downstairs
to live with her instead
Yeah just one floor and a shout away
I guess I should have moved but I decided to stay
Did I drink some poison that I don’t remember now?
Did I drink some poison that I just don’t remember now?
And every night I open all the windows
I let a cold dark wind blow through
I play loud organ music and I talk to myself and dream of you
Uh I hear voices coming up through the pipes
Through all the springs in my bed and up through the lights
The volume goes up then drops back down
I can hear the two of you playing records moving furniture and fooling around
Did I drink some poison that I don’t remember now?
Did I drink some poison that I just don’t remember now?
Is there blood on my hands. No my hands are clean.
Did I do something in another lifetime that was really really mean?
Yeah I’m hearing voices think I’m losing my mind
I think I’m going crazy Gotta get out
I run into the street start to shout
Get out of my way Get out get out
Did I drink some poison that I don’t remember now?
Did I drink some poison that I just don’t remember now?
Is there blood on my hands?
Did I do something in another lifetime that was really really mean?
A small bullet a piece of glass
And your heart just grows around it
A small bullet a piece of glass
And your heart just grows around it

The Wildebeests

1) Tonight I’m thinking about the survivors, Like the wildebeest. You know those animals, they’ve got those faces like Abraham Lincoln and they’re the ones galloping in all the prehistoric cave paintings and there are millions of them and they’re running, running, oh yeah, they’re survivors.
2) And out in the wild west- you’ve seen this movie before. Four lone cowboys on their skinny ponies ride the range And suddenly up over the ridge a thousand Indians rise up around the edge of the plateau like they came out of nowhere. And there are only four cowboys but the cowboys look at the Indians and they say: “Let’s go get em.” Oh beauty in all its forms and hopefulness too.
And John Wayne begat Clint Eastwood begat Bruce Willis begat Brad Pitt and so on. OK. Cut. Action.
3) And you know when people try to help me at the airport I say, “Hey! Does it look like I need your help?” I’m a crocodile floating down the river. I’m a tree catching my own oranges as they fall from my head. Got a light? Got a cigarette? A world where we fulfill all our illusions.
4) And hello to all the people who sent me on the way- a pat on the back have fun it’s your moment now. It’s your turn to walk along the runway road. .And me? I sent my better self on ahead. Your attention please.
5) And let’s not forget the people who need additional time for boarding. The glacial family – the ones who are just slow always dropping their sweaters and other stuff on their way down the aisle. Or Noah counting his animals secure in the knowledge that everybody except for him was about to drown. Yeah…forces came and ground him down into a fine powder. Seen as an act of God. As in a contract. Something completely unforeseeable, capricious, unthought of, abominable. To be God’s lover.
6) The state of the empire, the little smile I wore all day, I don’t need it anymore, the vampires, the umpires, the experts with their skyscraper depressions and their curious gods, Why wow them now with yet another lovely sunset? The empire looks like this my former friends.
We’re singin hey hey nonny nay we’re singing hey hey nonny nay
I’m a little teapot short and stout tip me over and pour me out.
7) It’s like at the end of the play and all the actors come out and they line up and look at you and horrible things have happened to them during the play and they stand there while you clap and now what? What happens next? And the fire dies and there were furious winds where we went.
We’re singin hey hey nonny nay we’re singing hey hey nonny nay
I’m a little teapot short and stout tip me over and pour me out.
Oh beauty in all its forms. Funny how hatred can also be a beautiful thing. When it’s as sharp as a knife. As hard as a diamond. Perfect.

The Highway

I live on the West Side Highway in New York City and all last fall and winter trucks were traveling every night carrying away the debris from the Trade Center. They drove by all night with their lights on- big flatbeds carrying chunks of metal and concrete, part of a pillar, a twisted fire truck.
For months the first few minutes of every day were the worst depressions of my life, nightmares of falling- of birds on fire. And every morning was like waking up in a parallel universe- where it was suddenly possible that buildings and people could turn to dust before our eyes-
And then every evening at 7 the monument of light appeared- enormous twin beams that swept up into the sky like there was a movie premier somewhere and then these lights went out too and there is nothing but a hole and digging machines and when we look again we see the dream-like impermanence of the world.
I keep thinking about the report on the net of the recent fire in California. It was a huge fire that burned for days and after it was finally put out the rangers went in to check on the damage and they walked around the ruined forest of and they found a man lying on the ground. He was wearing a scuba outfit and fins and a mask hung from his neck and they stood there staring at this until they thought “Oh my god, the fire was put out by a helicopter that had scooped up water from the ocean in a big sling and along with the water they’d scooped up the diver. So there he was swimming in the kelp and suddenly he’s up in the air and then he falls out of the blue into the fire.
The only words that make any sense to me now are the words of the Dalai Lama who said, “Your worst enemies are your best friends because they teach you things.” It’s true but it makes me really wonder who the enemy actually is
and I’m thinking about Paul Revere who comes galloping on his horse through all the little towns yelling “The British are coming the British are coming!” and the citizens of New England are sitting around in their smokey little cottages and thinking “Wait a second- I’m British, you’re British- pretty much we’re all British here- so who exactly is coming?” And when?”
And then there’s Andy Warhol’s fifteen minutes – his time limit for fame, for the spotlight. And so why was it fifteen minutes? And not ten or three or a New York minute? And then I remembered: fifteen was a famous number- it was in all the papers at the time. Fifteen minutes was the time it took for an ICBM to reach New York from Moscow. You remember Moscow.
Take my days and scatter them around and they will be like leaves…A million thoughts take shape in the dust and messages from another time and place… voices and cries… leaps of faith ….sparkling cities,,, and I am trying to remember.

The Egyptians

When I was 26, I decided to stay in bed until I could think of a really good reason to get up. I stayed in bed for months and I would just lie there and look at the sky and sort of drift.
At the time I could afford to do this because I taught at night school mostly accountants and secretaries who were on the slow track, going to school two nights a week for about 10 years…so I didn’t have to get to work until around 6 in the evening and mostly the people in the class were really late anyway or too tired to concentrate.
I was teaching Egyptian architecture and Assyrian sculpture but I wasn’t keeping up with the Egyptological journals so a slide would come up in class I would look at it and draw a complete blank…I couldn’t remember a single thing about it. So I would just make things up about this or that Pharaoh and the students would write it down and I would test them on it.
I figured that so much of history is speculation that it was maybe important to design theories for certain unexplainable things- like in some of the pyramids there were these holes on the exterior the shape of mail box slots and they were connected by a long shaft that ran at an odd angle into the core of the pyramid down into the mummy’s chamber-and nobody knew why the shafts were there and so what I told the students was that the slots and shafts were oriented to the sun so that on only one day a year – let’s say for the sake of argument the mummy’s birthday-
the sun would stream down the shaft into the inner chamber and shine into the mummy’s eyes. Now eventually I did feel a bit of guilt about this…since this was supposedly a history course and not free- form fiction so I quit- not before I was fired but it was very very close.
During the Civil War in the United States there was a serious paper shortage because at the time paper was made from rags- and all the rags were being used as bandages for the war.
So there was a printer in Gardiner Maine who had the idea of importing mummy rags from Egypt which were about three cents a pound at the time. So they shipped the rags to Maine in big bales and the printer washed and pulped them and made them into brown butcher paper for wrapping chops and steaks.

But the trouble was the mummy rags contained other things as well – preservatives like ancient ambergris and spices. The mummy rags also contained strains of cholera so a huge cholera epidemic broke out in Maine starting from the butcher shops. Meanwhile the Egyptians had built a long train track along the Nile River and they quickly discovered that they had run out of fuel- river rushes and marsh wood didn’t burn very well so they began to use the mummy rags as fuel for their trains- yeah they burned their ancestors for fuel.


I’d like to say something about computers and that’s that I think they are incredibly stupid and that people give them a lot more credit than they deserve. I mean there’s just so much hype about how they will connect you to the world and remember things for you and sort things and link you up and actually I think technology is the most sophisticated marketing campaign of the last century-mainly because it works on fear- that if you don’t have the smallest cell phone and the biggest hard drive and the quickest most colorful web site that you won’t be able to compete and you’ll just fall farther and farther behind. So people have to keep scrambling to get more and more stuff and it’s like exhausting.
But in a lot of ways compared to us computers hardly work at all. The best example I can think of is silence- what happens in silence. So let’s say in the real world something like this happens…
(20 seconds of silence)
I mean if this happens on TV it’s a disaster. Dead air is the worst possible thing that could happen…it never lasts for more than a couple of seconds before they cut away ..
Or at a dinner party when people suddenly stop talking and there’s this long silence and people are clearing their throats and then looking around- they’re really suddenly very aware of each other- there’s a lot going on until someone finally says “Uh gee I saw a really great movie the other day…”
But if something like this happens when you’re working on a computer- it just shuts down. I mean there’s no such thing as digital silence, it’s either on and there’s something –or off and there’s nothing.

The Smile

I spent a lot of my childhood smiling but not because I was having a good time. The reason I was smiling was that my pony-tail was tied back so tightly that it pulled my whole face into this weird grin.
And people would say, “What are you smiling about?” and I could never answer them maybe because it’s impossible to talk when you’re smiling. It just sounds like you’re snarling or choking on something.
Now I have to say that one of the problems with using your own life as material in your art work is that sooner or later you run out of stories.
It’s like any relationship with a partner. Eventually they’ve heard all your stories and you’ve heard all their’s- at least the really framed stories- the life stories- and when one of you starts to tell one of these stories again your partner’s eyes start to glaze over- in that I’ve heard this one before- lots of times- kind of expression.
But of course these are the stories we start out with- the ones we tell ourselves about who we are.
Lately I’ve been thinking about this as a kind of design problem. A personality design problem. For example, let’s say something happens to you and you really want to just scream you want to go ahh!!! but you don’t because you say
“I’m just not the kind of person who would scream..” But you still want to scream anyway. And so maybe there’s a design problem here- when you designed your personality maybe you just made the design too small, not enough room to move around or to be totally out of character.
When I was a child I used to go out into the woods and build forts out of leaves and twigs and then sit around in them and smoke oak leaf cigarettes and try to think of things that had absolutely never happened in the world to this point. Different scenarios, odd unlikely dreams. And this could be something like : a man is walking down a road and suddenly a Canadian goose falls on his head and just at that moment a triple rainbow appears and he has a heart attack. For some reason thinking of things that had never happened seemed like important work that should be done by someone and since I was the only one around, like, in the fort..I decided to take it on.

The Parrot

You know my brother has a parrot named Uncle Bob- and Uncle Bob has a vocabulary of about five hundred words and it’s very uncanny to listen to him. You’re never sure where the line is between repetitive babble and actual communication. But his tone is so exact- he sounds precisely like my brother and this bird will carry on one-way phone conversations that go like:
“This is Chris…uh huh…Friday would be OK…gee I don’t know. …yes…I don’t think so…I could try…..No problem.. you too..take care…see you then…”And he’ll do a pretty good impression of “tkk”- the phone’s disconnect sound. Now I’m really not sure what this bird is actually doing.
Recently my brother went out of town and he left the parrot with some friends along with a small condenser microphone and tape deck attached to Uncle Bob’s cage- just to see if while he was away Bob would add any extra words to his vocabulary.
This didn’t work out because every time the tape recorder was turned on Uncle Bob would stop talking. Then as soon as it was turned off he started muttering to himself non stop. So my brother’s friends began to eavesdrop on the muttering and what Uncle Bob kept saying was “I guess that I’m a parrot. I guess that I’m a parrot.” Over and over
As if it’s slowing dawning on him what he might be ,,,as opposed to – you know- a dinner plate or a towel or an old hollow tree.

The Safari

A couple of years ago Lou and I went to Africa on a safari and we had to really rush to get out of town and so at the last minute we went shopping for clothes at an all purpose safari store- We just went running through the store grabbing things off the racks and when we got home we realized we’d picked completely matching outfits- matching khaki slacks, matching tan vests matching pith helmets.
But when we got to Africa we found that we’d picked the same camouflage colors of all the other predators-the tans and browns of the lions and tigers and eagles and hyenas.
But Africa is so well organized this way. All the prey are stupendously colorful- they’ve got stripes and checks and purple feathers and plumes hanging from their heads and they’re galloping and prancing around out in the open making no attempt at all to hide. So it’s really easy to spot them.
But in Africa it was the eyes I noticed most- the way our eyes were so much like the other predators- right in the front of our head for aim and precision and focus—to find the targets…and all the prey- the antelopes and rabbits and wildebeasts had eyes that were way out on the sides and they’re always turning their heads around…scanning…scanning …looking for us…

The Spider

It’s amazing also how quickly evolution works sometimes
There’s a certain male spider that has actually evolved from victim to survivor in just a few years…
So the way it works is- the female spider constructs a very complex web made up of many different threads which have various functions- one of them is the weather line and she can tell if it’s raining and another one is very sticky -this is the food line so she can tell if she’s trapped something and another one is sort of slicker and it’s what’s known as the mating line…she can tell when a male is approaching it’s a kind of doorbell…
And so the male comes walking along this line and they get together and mate and then she eats him…And that’s how it usually works.
But recently certain male spiders seem to have invented a new strategy— which is that they bring along a package – which is a bug wrapped up in this kind of cruddy stuff and after they mate he sort of tosses her the package- And the female gets a little distracted just for a minute – just enough time for him to make his escape …
And then even this strategy was improved and the males began to do something really remarkable. They arrived with the package all wrapped up just like before – but now there was actually nothing inside…The package was completely empty They’d figured out that they didn’t have to bring anything at all
And it wasn’t like a disappointment for the females it was just one of those odd moments when everything suddenly changes and you don’t know yet whether it’s for better or for worse.

The Green River

Last spring I learned about a trip organized by a Buddhist group in New York and the idea was to canoe down the Green River in Utah for two weeks in total silence and then every evening we would study the work of Dogan a 13th century Japanese Zen master who believed among other things that mountains are aware. I thought this sounded great so I decided to go
Before we left I read a book about Dogan called “Enlightenment Unfolds”
In this book he tells several stories that are hundreds of years old and one was about a meeting of a teacher who came from India to visit an emperor in China- Emperor Wu-
And so the two meet and the emperor says You know I’ve done so many things built temples, copied sutras, and supported the monks and I’d like to know what all this is worth.
And the teacher said “There is no worth.”
The Emperor said: “So why is that ?”
The teacher said: These things are not real but shadows.”
“So What is worth?” said the emperor.
The teacher said: “Worth is empty and is not in things.”
The Emperor said: What have you come to teach?”
The teacher said: “Emptiness. Vast emptiness..”
The Emperor said: “Who is it that faces me?”
The teacher said: “I don’t know.”

I really admire people who have no idea who they are or even that they are anyone at all so I kept on reading and in the rest of the book there were koans and poems and lots of lists of things to look out for when you’re on a pilgrimage
And one list was 1) Don’t pay attention to loud noises and shouting.
2) Don’t watch herds of pigs. 3) Don’t stare at big fish, the ocean, bad pictures, hunchbacks or puppets. 4) Don’t pretend you have something in your closed fist if you don’t. Some of the book made sense but most of it didn’t really seem to apply to Utah at all but I tried to memorize some of the book so I’d have something to think about in the long weeks of silence.
There were ten of us and when we got to the Green River we were joined by another group that we had assumed were also students of the Dogan.
As it turned they were more like an outward bound nature group and they had a lot of rituals and songs and ways of doing things that had been sort of cobbled together from Indian lore and various self help programs … and we quickly realized that from here on out the trip was going to have very little to do with silence.

They would start each morning greeting the dawn with a piercing wordless atonal song. Every evening there was a ritual called the Wooden Spoon which was you all sit around a campfire and pass a spoon around and talk into it like a microphone. Telling stories
about your life- which was probably the ritual we hated the most.
One of the reasons we’d gone on the trip was to escape stories- our own and other people’s. But by this point we’d realized we had to do things their way since they were the ones with the maps and the food and the canoes.
Our group was always making mistakes like stepping on a certain rare moss or shitting too near the campsite or spilling dishwater near the river and every time we did something like that they would jump up and down and scream “We don’t want to be nature nazis but you’re poisoning the river! You’re poisoning nature. You’re poisoning her.” And they’d round us up for another nature lecture and then the
camp Cook would take her shirt off and throw herself on the ground and start pounding it and yelling things about mother earth.
We never really talked about why we didn’t assert ourselves. Maybe it had something to do with a Buddhist approach of going with the flow. I don’t really know but every day it got worse. They talked constantly and I heard them whispering together sometimes about being survivors.
They didn’t seem at all the type to have been on “Survivors”
the TV show – so I couldn’t figure it out ….but as it turned out this group was also an incest support group so they all told their stories over and over again about what had happened and then one night during the wooden spoon two of them said they were dying- that they had only a few months to live…but by this time I had no feelings left for any of them- there were just too many rules, too many sad stories and I was full of resentment. They were martyrs and control freaks and sad people and losers, everything I saw in myself and hated.
I no longer felt I could look at the mountains – to try to see if they were aware….It just didn’t seem to matter anymore.
The trip went on. It hardly ever rained but giant clouds flew over and sometimes rain poured out of them- but it was so dry that the rain evaporated before it hit the ground.
One day I climbed up the bluffs to the top and up there was another world of mesas stretching as far as you could see- huge formations of red rock that looked like mammoth rabbits and run-down old barns the size of cathedrals…It didn’t seem like they were thinking at all. When you climbed them the rock would crumble in your hands like a cheap stage set.
And then I noticed that everything there looked like it was caught in mid action…like stills from a disaster film. Rocks teetered on the edge of the cliffs. Boulders looked like they were right in the middle of rolling down a steep precipice. Caught in time. Caught in a moment. Like I was.

New York

Last year I wrote the entry about New York for the Encyclopedia Britannica and I was really surprised that they asked me because the people writing about other cities really knew what they were talking about.
And so I did a lot of research and one of the things I found was that New York has always – from the very beginning when the town was just a crummy little Dutch fort- been a place where people who really didn’t fit in very well in other places could come and feel sort of at home.
So for example the first Rosh Hashanah service in the western world was in New York City and the city has always attracted a lot of genuine characters. One of my favorites was a guy named Lord Cornbury and he was the colonial governor in the time of Queen Anne and Cornbury was a cross-dresser – at the time of course a lot of men wore wigs and powder and satin and big lace collars but Lord Cornbury went all the way- he wore these enormous wigs with bows and décolleté satin gowns and capes and make up-
and the surprising thing was that nobody really said anything- he just kind of blended in. And Lord Cornbury himself explained it this way he said “I represent Queen Anne and I choose to represent her as faithfully
as possible.” And New Yorkers said. That’s out! That’s cool.”
I also wrote about a lot of the big icons the Statue of Liberty and the Chrysler building and the World Trade Center. I lived 2 blocks from the Trade Center when it was being built and I watched it go up and it was built in this very odd way- you never really saw the grid because as they built, they kept covering the grid with the façade so you could hear all this pounding going on inside but you couldn’t see the machines or the workers. It just seemed to rise up automatically.
It reminded me of my favorite piece of Minimal sculpture a huge cube by Robert Morris- called “Box With the Sound of it’s Own Making” and inside the box there was a recording of all the sounds that had been produced as the cube was being made, the hammering and the sawing. And the wrenching and it was a record of the construction that looped over and over.

And when the World Trade Center fell we watched it on television and the odd thing was that it seemed like it fell in silence. They almost never played the sound maybe because whatever mics were close enough got covered with dust or maybe because the sound pinned the record meters into distortion.
So what we saw was a picture with no sound. Shot from a distance.
When things disappear they supposedly leave what’s called a void but I’ve never understood what that means. It seems more like they leave a faint picture of themselves -an imprint – and that it takes a long time for things to become nothing again.

A Story About A Story

I want to tell you a story about a story. And it’s about the time I discovered that most adults had no idea what they were talking about and also that they had no problem saying whatever came to mind whether it was even vaguely true or not.
It was the middle of the summer when I was twelve-
and I was the kind of kid who was always showing off.
I had 7 brothers and sisters – I was always getting lost in the crowd and so I would do practically anything for attention. So one day I was at the public swimming pool and I decided to do a flip from the high board- the kind of dive when you’re temporarily magically suspended mid-air and everyone around the pool goes “Wow! That’s incredible! That’s amazing!”
I ‘d never done a flip before. But I thought how hard could it be? You just somersault and straighten out right before you hit the water. So I did but I … missed the pool. I landed on the concrete edge and broke my back.
I spent the next few months in traction in the children’s ward at the hospital For quite a while I couldn’t move or talk I was just sort of floating. I was in the same unit with the kids who’d been burned and they were hanging in these rotating slings- sort of like rotisseries or spits- that would turn you around and around so that the burns could be bathed in these liquids.
Then one day one of the doctors came to see me and told me that I wouldn’t be able to walk again. And I remember thinking: This guy is crazy – I mean is he even a doctor? Who knows? Although I couldn’t say that or anything else since I couldn’t talk but I was sure he had no idea what he was saying- of course I was going to walk.. I just had to concentrate, keep trying to make contact with my feet and convince them- will them- to move.
The worst thing about this was the volunteers who came every afternoon to read to me. They’d lean over the bed and say, “Hello Laurie…” really enunciating each word as if I’d gone deaf –
And they’d open the book “So…where were we? Oh yes the gray rabbit was hopping down the road and guess where he went? Well… nobody knows! The farmer doesn’t know. The farmer’s wife doesn’t know. The farmer’s son doesn’t know” and so on and on. Nobody knew where the rabbit had gone but just about everybody seemed to care.
Now before this happened I’d been reading books like “Tale of Two Cities” and “Crime and Punishment” so the gray rabbit stories were a kind of slow torture.
Anyway eventually I did get on my feet and then for 2 years I wore a huge metal brace that was a sort of Frankenstein design- I was basically a freak- and I got very obsessed with John F. Kennedy because he had back problems too and he was the president.
Much later in my life when someone would ask what my childhood was like sometimes I would tell them this story about the hospital and it was a short way of telling them certain things about myself- how I had learned not to trust certain people and how horrible it was to listen to long pointless stories like the one about the gray rabbit.
But there was always something weird about telling this story that made me very uneasy- like something was missing.
Then one day when I was in the middle of it telling it –
I was describing the little rotisseries that the kids were hanging in…. and suddenly it was like I was back in the hospital just exactly the way it had been and I remembered the missing part. It was the way the ward sounded at night. It was the sounds of all the children crying and screaming. It was the sounds that children make when they’re dying.
And then I remembered the rest of it- the heavy smell of medicine, the smell of burned skin. How afraid I was. And the way some of the beds would be empty in the morning and the way the nurses would never talk about what had happened to these kids, they’d just go on making the beds and cleaning up around the ward.
And so the thing about this story- was that actually I had only told the part about myself- and I’d forgotten the rest of it -I’d cleaned it up just like the nurses had.
And that’s what I think is the creepiest thing about stories. You try to get to the point you’re making- usually about yourself or something you learned …You get your story and you hold onto it and every time you tell it you forget it more.





Teacher: Death by a visitation from god. (Points with pointer) Death by a visitation from god!
Boy: I am shadow
Teacher: Things material and spiritual
Boy: Maternal
Teacher: Can be heavy
Boy: Suffocating
Teacher: There are seven iron lamps which illumine our senses
Boy: Seven knives
Teacher: Seven iron lamps to illumine our senses and seven bells to celebrate the resurrection.
Boy: Two marble balls in a sack. One long and slender candle. One mouth two reckonings. Consternation and treachery.
Teacher: Are you listening?! Are you listening to me?! (Grabs boy by cheeks and pinches) Are you paying attention? To me!
Boy: I am shadow.
Teacher: Seven iron lamps, seven oboes, two small balls and one tiny candle
Boy: Tiny candle
Teacher: One pathetic flame, embers dying
Boy: Dying
Teacher: Five creatures from the monolith, seven whispers from the catacombs, five and seven numbing mumbling speeches – are you listening?!
Boy (bows head): I am drawn to do what I should not!
Teacher: Guilty guilty guilty guilty no no never never no; seven mornings thirteen moons, five wolves, one silk spread morning, seven bells for seven senses each one lusting lusting
Boy: Guiltily…
Teacher (touching herself): Two milk fed glands ripe and red tipped are you listening my little mouse. Each sense ripped from its bodice – each gland primed to its overflow – each flower, each petal each stamen
Boy: Stainman!
Teacher: Do you hear me my little mouse man? – do you hear me little cock?!
Boy (looking at hand): Semen!
Teacher (grabbing him again by the face – sticking him with her pointer): Brother are you listening?! my little tumescence smear!
Boy screaming: Ligeia! (he holds large knife). I stand on the edge and am drawn to it! Guilt! (He stabs her. He runs to the back of the stage where there is a painting of an upside down tree. He jumps with celebration and steps forward spreading his hands upward).
Boy: I am shadow!
(The tree falls straight down, piercing him).


My love. The king by any other name a pissoir. You my love tower over them all- they are but vermin beneath your heels. They are monkeys. Suit them- frame them to your own vision- but do not let one false word of mockery seep through to your vast heart. I have seen you from close and afar and your worth far exceeds your height- your width- the depth of your sorrow. Oh willful outcast doth thou not see the light of our love- our linked fortunes- our hearts melded together into one fine golden braided finery. They listen to the music of idiots and amuse themselves with the sordid
Miseries of their businesses. They are not the things of angels nor of any higher outpost that humanity might aspire to. Your loathsome vomitous businessman King is of the lowest order- his advisors crumbling mockeries of education driven by avarice. My love, dress them in the suits of mockery and in their advanced state of stupidity and senility burn and destroy them so their ashes might join the compost which they so much deserve. If justice on this earth be fleeting let us for once hear the weeping and the braying of the businessman king. Let them be the the orangutans they are and set them blazing from the chandelier for all to see- hanging from the ceiling by their ridiculous chains and petticoats which you will have them wear under the guise of costumic buffoonery. He who underestimates in time is bound to find the truth sublime and hollow lie upon the grates of systemic disorder.
Businessmen- you’re not worth shitting on.


Sometimes I wonder who am I
The world seeming to pass me by
A younger man now getting old
I have to wonder what the rest of life will hold
I hold a mirror to my face
There are some lines that I could trace
To memories of loving you
A passion that breaks reason in two
I have to think and stop me now
If reminisces make you frown
One thinks of what one hoped to be
And then faces reality
I wonder who started all this
Was god in love and
Gave a kiss
To someone who later betrayed
And godless love sent us away
Sometimes I wonder who am I
Who made the trees
Who made the sky
Who made the storms
Who made heartbreak
I wonder how much life I can take
I see at last a future self
Were you alive I’d ask your help
But thinking puts me a daze
And thinking never helped me anyway
You always were so negative
You never saw the positive
You always stand upon the edge
And dream of what it must be to be dead
I know I like to dream a lot
And think of other worlds that are not
I hate that I need air to breathe
I’d like to leave this body and be free
You’d like to float like a mystic child
You’d like to kiss an angel on the brow
You’d love to solve the mystery of life
By cutting someone’s throat or removing their heart
You’d like to see it beat
You’d like to hold your eyes
And though you know I’m dead
You’d like to hold my thighs
If it’s wrong to think on this
To hold the dead past in your fist
Why were we given memories
Let us lose our minds and be set free
Sometimes I wonder who am I
The world seeming to pass me by
A younger man now getting old
I have to wonder what the rest of life will hold
I wonder who started all this
Was god in love and
Gave a kiss
To someone who later betrayed
Godless love sent us away
To someone who later betrayed
Godless love sent us away

Nota di Lou Reed ai traduttori: The language of this text is a bit anachronistic. It was, of course, based on Edgar Alan Poe’s “The Raven” written mid 19th century. So feel free to translate with that in mind.


1. Once upon a midnight dreary
as I pondered weak and weary
over many a quaint and curious
volume of forgotten lore
while i nodded nearly napping
suddenly there came a tapping
as of someone gently rapping
rapping at my chamber door
tis some visitor I muttered
tapping at my chamber door
only this and nothing more
2. Muttering I got up weakly
always I’ve had trouble sleeping
stumbling upright my mind racing
furtive thoughts flowing once more
I, there hoping for some sunrise
happiness would be a surprise
loneliness no longer a prize
rapping at my chamber door
seeking out the clever bore
lost in dreams forever more
only this and nothing more
3. Hovering my pulse was racing
stale tobacco my lips tasting
scotch sitting upon my basin
remnants of the night before
came again infernal tapping
on the door, in my mind jabbing
is it in or outside rapping
calling out to me once more
the fit and fury of lenore
nameless here forever more
4. And the silken sad uncertain
rustling of the purple curtain
thrilled me- filled me
with fantastic terrors never
felt before
so that now ( oh wind!!!)I stood still breathing
hoping yet to calm my breathing
tis some visitor entreating
entrance at my chamber door
some lost visitor entreating
entrance at my chamber door
this it is and nothing more
5. Deep into the darkness peering, long I stood there
wondering fearing
doubting dreaming fantasies no mortal dared to dream before
but the silence was unbroken and the stillness gave no token,
and the only word there spoken was the whispered name, “lenore?”
this I thought and out loud whispered from my lips the foul name festered- echoing itself
merely this and nothing more
6. Back into my chamber turning- every nerve within me burning
when once again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before
surely said I surely that is something at my iron staircase
open the door to see what “threat” is- open the window
free the shutters- let us this mystery explore
oh bursting heart be still this once! and let this mystery explore
it is the wind and nothing more
7. Just one epithet I muttered as inside i gagged and shuddered
when with manly flirt and flutter
in there flew a stately raven
sleek and ravenous as any foe
not the least obeisance made he; not a minutes gesture towards me
of recognition or politeness – but perched above my chamber door
this fowl and salivating visage insinuating with it’s knowledge- perched above my chamber door
silent sat and staring nothing more
8. Askance! askew!! the self’s sad fancy smiles at you.
I swear-at this savage viscous countenance it wears.
Though you show here shorn and shaven
and I admit myself forlorn and craven
ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the
opiate shores
tell me what thy* lordly name is
that you are not nightmare sewage
some dire powder drink or inhalation
framed from flames of downtown lore
quotes the raven “nevermore.”
9. And the raven, sitting lonely, staring sickly at my male sex only
that one word as if his soul in that one word he did outpour—–pathetic!!!!
nothing farther than he uttered- not a feather then he fluttered
till finally was i that muttered as i stared dully at the floor
“other friends have flown and left me
flown as each and every hope has flown before
as you no doubt will fore the morrow”
but the bird said “never. more.”
(Rowena- we go home)
10. Then I felt the air grow denser perfumed from some unseen incense
as though accepting angelic intrusion
when in fact I felt collusion
before the guise of false memories respite!
Respite through the haze of cocaine’s glory
I smoke and smoke the blue vial’s glory
to forget – at once!!!! the base lenore
quoth** the raven nevermore
11 “Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!- prophet still- if bird or devil!
by that heaven that bend above us- by that god we both ignore
tell this soul with sorrow laden- willful and destructive intent
how had lapsed a pure heart lady to the greediest of needs
sweaty arrogant dickless liar- who ascribed to nothing higher- than a jab from prick to needle straight to betrayal and disgrace
the conscience showing not a trace-
quoth the raven “nevermore.”
12. “Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend,” I yelled upstarting
get thee back into the tempest into the smoke filled bottle’s shore
leave no black plume as a token
of the slime thy soul has spoken
leave my loneliness unbroken
quit as those have quit before
take the talon from my heart and see that i can care no more
whatever mattered came before
I vanish with the dead lenore
quoth the raven “nevermore.”
13. But the raven never flitting still is sitting
silent sitting
above a painting silent painting of the forever silenced whore
and his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming
and the lamp light over him streaming throws his shadow to the floor
I love she who hates me more!
I love she who hates me more!
and my soul shall not be lifted from that shadow- nevermore!

*thy: your
**quoth: said

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