Perhaps it is appropriate, with the Occupy the World movement (including Sesame Street) in full swing, that this week's selection is Lou Reed's powerful "Dirty Blvd." It is one of Lou's heavy narrative lyrics and he manages to turn Emma Lazarus "The New Colossus" on its head with a swift backhand:
The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame,
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
In addition to paraphrasing lines to deadly effect, Lou renames the famous Statue itself:
Give me your hungry, your tired,
your poor I'll piss on 'em
That's what the Statue of Bigotry says
Your poor huddled masses
Let's club 'em to death
And get it over with
and just dump 'em on the boulevard
Never one to take prisoners, Lou's perspective is every bit as relevant today in light of the recent nationwide protests as it was in 1989 when it first appeared on his dynamite New York album. We think of this as an urban problem, but obviously its universality is becoming more and more apparent.
Here is a version of "Dirty Blvd.," along with "White Light, White Heat," done as a duet with David Bowie on the occasion of the later's 50th birthday.
This week's featured poem from the archive comes from Lilliput Review, #64, December 1964, which has been featured before here and here. This is the 12th poem featured from that issue and it's a good one.
When Asked To Name The Seven
Most Beautiful Words. . .
above the butterfly too
Send a single haiku for the Wednesday Haiku feature. Here's how.
Go to the LitRock web site for a list of all 124 songs