Literary Hub

The Time Lou Reed Quit Music to Become a Poet

Andrew Cifranic Lou Reed

On March 10th, 1971, Lou Reed read at the At the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery and announced to the audience that he would no longer play music; he was now a poet. He performed the following poem that night.

This is because I always wished somebody made black lipstick and then I saw a  friend of mine that wore it and I said, “Where’d you get it?” and they said, “Oh man, everybody’s wearing it.” I said, “I thought I came up with something new.” They said, “No, man.”


(If lipstick were black
you’d wear it
If love were straight
you’d curl it
If life were wet
you’d burn it.
If death were free
you’d earn it
If you were death
I’d hiss you
If you were life
I’d catch you
If you were here
I’d kiss you
But since you’re not
I’ll miss you)


do angels need haircuts lou reed poetry

“Lipstick” from Do Angels Need Haircuts? published by Anthology Editions, Copyright 2018 Canal Street Communications 

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