Nicholas Rombes at Berfrois:
The writer Delmore Schwartz was Reed’s professor at Syracuse University, where Reed, who majored in English, graduated in 1964. In 2012, Reed published a tribute to Schwartz that read, in part:
You told us to break into ______’s estate where your wife was being held
prisoner. Your wrists broken by those who were your enemies. The pills
jumbling your fine mind. I met you in the bar where you had just ordered five
drinks. You said they were so slow that by the time you had the fifth you
should have ordered again. Our scotch classes. Vermouth. The jukebox you
hated — the lyrics so pathetic.
Schwartz’s poem from 1960, “All Night, All Night,” is an impossible, reverse wind-up chronicle of the desperate, aloof preoccupations of Reed’s lyrics and sound. In another universe, closely aligned with ours, this could be the song that the Velvet Underground almost recorded:
All Night, All Night
“I have been one acquainted with the night” – Robert Frost
Rode in the train all night, in the sick light. A bird
Flew parallel with a singular will. In daydream’s moods and
The other passengers slumped, dozed, slept, read,
Waiting, and waiting for place to be displaced
On the exact track of safety or the rack of accident.