In the song Perfect Day from Lou Reed's 1972 solo album Transformer, time stands uneasily still as Reed and his lover enjoy a listless day together, visiting the zoo, drinking Sangria in the park. The implication of perfection is unreliable: "You made me forget myself," Reed sings, "I thought I was someone else, someone good." Lou Reed made art from imperfection, exploring the uncomfortable no-man's-land between what is and what might have been. When he visited Taormina thirty two years later, Reed stayed in a four star hotel, nestled in the hills high above the Sicilian coast. Idyllic, perhaps, but, for Reed, one can imagine that it was not perfect.
The funicular takes us down to the rocky strand. I put down my camera to take your hand. Behind us rise the cliffs, and ahead the sea. It's no Coney Island, and that's fine by me.
Now we will reap what we've sown.
The hotel lobby's cool in the heat of noon. Someone asks for an autograph; we head to the room. The sheets are fresh and your skin is brown. You pour us some wine, I'm tired to the bone.
Now we will reap what we've sown; in fallow earth no roses will grow. But I'll take the thistle and the thorn. I'll take the thistle.
I'm looking for the man who heard the sirens, strapped himself against their magic call; who railed against the silence, and the storm.
The candles at the table tame the dark. Your eyes fill with memories, and the words to a song push themselves between us; you catch my pain. "There's only today," you say; and you're right again.
Now we will reap what we've sown; in fallow earth no roses will grow. But I'll take the thistle and the thorn. I'll take the thistle and the thorn. I'll take the thistle.
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