Lana mentions her actual name "Elizabeth Grant". This is one of the only times she has actually aknowledged it since a long time. Lana used to go as Lizzy Grant as one of her stage names, among others.
Being a poet is also referenced in the monologue of "Ride" and the poem "Salamander".
Genesee is a community located in Plumas County, California.
Marina Del Rey is a seaside community in Los Angeles County, California.
'Ralphs' is the name of a store on Pacific Palisades, Sunset Boulevard.
by Lana Del Rey
I took a flying lesson on my 33rd birthday instead of calling you
or parking on the block where our old place used to be
Pathetic I know, but sometimes I still like to park on that street
and have lunch in the car just to feel close to you.
I was once in love with my life here
in that studio apartment with you
little yellow flowers on the tops of trees as our only view
out of the only window- big enough for me to see our future
But it turned out I was the only one who could see it.
Stupid apartment complex. Terrible you. You who i wait for
Like a broken record stuck on loop.
So that day on my birthday i thought something has to change,
it can’t always be about waiting for u
Don’t tell anyone but
part of my reasoning for taking the flight class was this idea
that if I could become my own navigator- the captain of the sky
that perhaps I could stop looking for direction- from you.
Well, what started off as an idea on a whim has turned into
something more. Too shy to explain to the owners that my first
lesson was just a one time thing. I’ve continued to go to classes
each week. At the precious little strip off of Santa Monica
And everything was going fine we were starting with dips and
loops. And then something terrible happened-
during my fourth lesson in the sky, my instructor-
younger than i but tough as you- instructed me to do a
simple maneuver. It’s not that i didn’t do it but i was
slow to lean the SportCruiser into a right hand upward turn.
Scared, scared that i would lose control of the plane
Not tactfully and not gently the instructor shook his head
and without looking at me said, “you don’t trust yourself.”
I was horrified. Feeling as though I’d somehow been found out.
Like he knew me- how weak i was
Of course he was only talking about my ability as a pilot
in the sky. But i knew it was meant for me to hear those words.
for me they held a deeper meaning.
I didn’t trust myself
not just 2500 ft above the coast of Malibu
but with anything. And i didn’t trust you.
I could’ve said something but i was quiet
because pilots aren’t like poets
they don’t make metaphors between life and the sky.
In the midst of this midlife meltdown navigational exercise
in self-examination, I also decided to do something else I
always wanted to do- take sailing lessons in the vibrant bay
of Marina del Rey. I signed up for the class as Elizabeth
Grant and nobody blinked an eye. So why was I so sure that
when I walked into the tiny shack on Bali Way someone would
say “you’re not a captain of a ship or a master of the sky”
No, the fisherman didn’t care and so neither did I.
And for a brief moment i felt more myself than ever before,
letting the self proclaimed drunkard captain’s lessons wash
over me like the foamy tops of the sea.
Midway through, my forehead burned and my hands raw from
jibing, the captain told me the most important thing i would
need to know on the sea. Never run the ship into irons.
That’s nautical terms for not sailing the boat directly into
the wind. In order to do that though you have to know where
the wind is coming from. And you might not have time to look
to the mast or up farther to the weather vane
so you have to feel where the wind is coming from-
on your cheeks, and by the tips of the white waves-
from which direction they’re rolling.
To do this, he gave me an exercise.
He told me to close my eyes and asked me to feel on my neck
which way the wind was blowing. I already knew I was going
to get it wrong.
“The wind is coming from everywhere- I feel it all over.”
I told him.
“No,” he said. “The wind is coming from the left. The port side.”
I sat waiting for him to tell me, “you don’t trust yourself.”
But he didn’t, so I said it for him.
“I don’t trust myself.”
He laughed, gentler than the pilot but still not realizing
that my failure in the exercise was hitting me at a much
“It’s not that you don’t trust yourself,” he said. “It’s simply
that you’re not a captain. It isn’t what you do.”
Then he told me he wanted me to practice everyday so I would
“Which grocery store do you go to?” he asked
“To the Ralphs and the Palisades,” I replied.
“Ok. When you’re in the Ralphas and the Palisades - I want you -
as you walking from your car to the store - to close your
eyes and feel which way the wind is blowing. Now I don’t
want you to look like a crazy person crouching in the middle
of the parking lot but everywhere you go - I want you to
try and find which way the wind is coming in from and then determine
if it’s from the port or starboard side so when you’re
back on the boat you’ll have a better sense of it.”
I thought his advice was adorable. I could already picture
myself in the parking lo squinting my eyes with perfect
housewives looking on. I could picture myself growing a
better sense of which way the wind was blowing and as I did
a tiny bit of deeper trust also began to grow within myself.
I thought of mentioning it but I didn’t.
Because captains aren’t like poets
they don’t make metaphors between sea and sky.
And as I thought that to myself
that’s why I write.
All of this circumnavigating the earth
was to get back to my life
6 trips to the moon for my poetry to arise
I’m not a captain
I’m not a pilot
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