The knee plays
Dizzyhead Chrita has a nice post about the Velvet Underground and The Velvet Underground.
At the Believer event yesterday (good to see folks come out! glad the weather held!), I mistakenly introduced the title of Brandon Stosuy's upcoming anthology as Down Is Down, But So Is Up. (The real title: Up is Up, But So Is Down.) We had discussed the inspiration for the title earlier in the day — he'd mentioned Richard Fariña's novel, Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me. I was reminded me of that line in the Velvets' "Pale Blue Eyes": "Down for you is up."
Which called to mind the entire verse:
Skip a life completely
Stuff it in a cup
She says my knee is like us in time
It lies but can't stand up
Down for you is up
Then I wondered—"my knee"? All these years, I've thought he was singing "my knee," but suddenly this seemed way too gnomic. Surely the word is "money"?
But I don't understand that, either—how does money "lie"? As in, it tells falsehoods? Well, I suppose so . . .
Maybe I prefer the overly anatomical image of the singer spacily looking at his patella while prostrate, then bending his leg a little and observing that, though the knee can lie down along the same plane as the rest of the body, it can never really stand up on its own.