James Wolcott – “Tarantula Meets Mustang: Dylan Calls on Patti Smith” (1975)

July 6, 2011 at 7:25 pm (Bob Dylan, Music, Patti Smith, Reviews & Articles)

Taken from The Village Voice, July 7, 1975…

Her Passion Was a Planet Wave

A copy of Witt was slid across the table to Patti Smith. “Would you sign this for me, please?” “Sure,” said Patti, “what’s your first name?” He told her. “Like in New Jersey?” Patti asked, and he said no — with a z. “Well, I’ll draw you a map of Jersey,” and so on the inside page Patti scratched its intestinal boundaries, in the middle labeled it Neo Jersey, signed her name, and passed the copy of Wittback to Jerzy Kosinski.The night before, after the second set at the Other End, the greenroom door opened and the remark hanging in the air was Bob Dylan asking a member of Patti’s band, “You’ve never been to New Jersey?” So, all hail Jersey. And in honor of Dylan’s own flair for geographical salutation (“So long New York, hello East Orange”), all hail the Rock and Roll Republic of New York. With the Rolling Stones holding out at Madison Square Garden, Patti Smith and her band at the Other End, and Bob Dylan making visitations to both events, New York was once again the world’s Rock and Roll Republic. Read the rest of this entry »

Permalink Leave a Comment

Patti Smith – “ladies and gentlemen blaise cendrars is not dead” (1971)

April 30, 2009 at 4:10 pm (Patti Smith, Poetry & Literature)

ladies and gentleman
blaise cendrars is not dead

     by patti smith

Ladies and gentlemen
Blaise Cendrars is not dead
that rummy you buried in such
grave ceremony was his own enemy
true the right arm gone
Blaise slashed it himself
that little puff box run
run at the mouth
was jack rolling our hero
with a wicked pack of cards
But Blaise a jack dandy himself
noted the error
(all the chips were on puff boxes’ side)
and like the great Hammurabi
Blaise cut him down
right hand for that bad hand of poker

He is alive in every marked deck
every poker chip
he has a pair of slick dice
and he’ll wheel you straight to hell
and when you dial round the black market
you deal with him
yes it’s our man who drops that cigar ash
on the receiving end
yes it’s him crooning liquid music
and sonorous tin pan
through every cable line
linking every slob sister swindler
little snakesman two bit gambler
even slightly illegal and angel
has an ash in their vest pocket
and a kodak of that scoundrel
vainer now one armed crack face
than this mock hardy youth
he drags me in and out
of every photo booth
and praises in bad poetry
the polaroid sixty second snap

A fool hearty documentarian
his choppers have spun the globe
and for want of a straw hat we were trapped
knee deep in the swamps of Panama
we suffered malaria
and as a result
slaughtered 2/3 the mosquito population
of that hot hole
Christ it was a lusty battle
we were sick with laughter
and sick ourselves
runny assed and cunt with clap
hair red with crabs and lice
in our boots we rolled our own smokes
twisted up a few panama reds
and plotted the destruction of that wily insect
we danced to Vulcan our private god of flame
and sacrificed a few of those blood suckers
snapping their heads with our nails
which turned our hero slightly pale

Some years I bragged the beauty of my hands
I cried,
“I have music neath these fingernails”
and true these fists never failed
to spiel whole logs full of
literatures Roman a clef
and now it’s come to this
mosquito in fire
mosquito death hiss

Christ then it began again
the old fever and thirst
for raging fire
with torches we ran whole lengths
of those Panama fields
and as the brush caught up
I cried out in my most disgusting French
Blaze on Blaise
and that bastard burnt me with a cigarette

Like a great epic movie
we’ve reeled the world
why only six months ago
I assisted that cur in the most marvelous
hoax of the gentle midwest
Our wagon rolling in a dry bone state
Blaise posed as Louis Saucer
humble rainmaker prophet in rain boots
but when the clouds cracked
the white rain was liquor
and all of Iowa was soused with tequila
every pour sap that poured to the scene
of the great rain left drenched
to the teeth
and drunk to the teeth

Blaise curled that famous lip
and we laughed and laughed
and caused more mischief since
It was his ticklish fingers
that caused Mick the jagger
to dance like a fish
he shot lightning from the theatres
robbed the actors of their shadows
and backstage mirrors
it was his sassy diseased kiss
that laid miss universe out with the mumps
the recession? our man’s been pinballing
with the Jewish jewel thieves
feeding opium into IBM
and sparing no one the bugger
robs school children

The dirty shit still spits poetry
between his clicking spaced teeth
tracing aerial views of Greenland
land of the treacherous iceage
and fanatic hun
gold mine dreams in goat canyon
charting the gold where the moon slaps
then drunk with that special glitter
running lyrics in gold dust inks.

Permalink 3 Comments

Nick Tosches – “Patti Smith: A Baby Wolf with Neon Blues” (1976)

March 9, 2009 at 8:16 am (Music, Patti Smith, Reviews & Articles)

This article comes from Penthouse magazine, April 1976…


Patricia Lee Smith hit the linen on December 30, 1946, in Chicago, and was raised, the eldest of four children, in Deptford Township, New Jersey.

She had been slapped about by tuberculosis; she was a frail-seeming punkling, skinny and daydreamy. She attended Glassboro State College, briefly, and tried doing piecework at a toy factory. Both made her carsick. In 1967 she came to New York. From there she went to Paris with her sister Linda. She wanted to be an artist, but her drawing became poems. She returned to New Jersey, then to New York, where she slowly but steadily became arch moll of rhythm’d word.

Patti co-authored a book with playwright Sam Shepard, “Mad Dog Blues & Other Plays.” She appeared in a film, Robert Mapplethorpe Gets His Nipple Pierced. Late in 1971, Telegraph Books published her first volume of poems, “Seventh Heaven,” which she dedicated to Mickey Spillane and Anita Pallenberg. She began to publish prose-poem essays about rock ‘n’ roll in such magazines as Rolling Stone and Creem. A second book of poems, “Kodak,” appeared in 1972. By the time Gotham Book Mart published her “Witt” in 1973, Patti had become a legend on the New York poetry circuit. She was feared, revered, and her public readings elicited the sort of gut response that had been alien to poetry for more than a few decades. Word spread, and people who avoided poetry as the stuff of four-eyed pedants found themselves oohing and howling at what came out of Patti’s mouth. Established poets feared for their credence. Many well-known poets refused to go on after Patti at a reading, she was that awesome.

The music, too. It had started with just Lenny Kaye on guitar, intuitively the two reinvented melic poetry. The band grew; piano, another guitar, then later drums. Finally, after all those years, rock ‘n’ roll had a poet.


In early spring on 1974, financed by her friend, artist Robert Mapplethorpe, Patti issued two thousand copies of a record, “Piss Factory” coupled with “Hey, Joe,” on the Mer label. The rhythmics were coarse and truculent, the images were alternately raw and aflash with hallucination. In “Hey, Joe” she transmuted a sixties rock classic into an Iliad of subliminal violence that culminated with a fantasy image of Patty Hearst worshipping black revolutionaries in a world ruled by phantom guitars and confused girl-things.

Poetry readings became concerts, audiences grew. Patti spewed forth a mix of sheer rock ‘n’ roll power and delicately wrought poetry. She sang a Marvelettes song, “The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game,” or sometimes Van Morrison’s “Gloria,” and then, somehow, she was in some ineffable dream-closet:


yum yum the stars are out. I’ll never forget you how you smelled that night. like cheddar cheese melting under fluorescent light. like a day old rainbow fish. what a dish. gotta lick my lips. gotta dream I daydream. thorozine brain cloud. rain rain comes coming down.


The music ebbed to feedback sounds and low piano:


I’m gonna peep in bo’s bodice. lay down darling don’t be modest let me slip my hand in. ohhh that’s soft that’s nice that’s not used up. ohh don’t cry. wet whats wet? oh that. heh heh. that’s just the rain lambie pie. now don’t squirm. let me put my rubber on…


The record companies came to sniff and hedge. Finally, she signed with Arista, and her debut album, Horses, was released late in 1975. Everyone from Rolling Stone to the New York Times showered it with petals. Still, some said, Patti was too weird to sweep the masses. The ever underestimated masses, however, proved otherwise, and Patti and her album rose to the top of the national charts.

Nick Tosches

Permalink 2 Comments

Patti Smith – “star fever” (1973)

February 17, 2009 at 9:43 pm (Patti Smith, Poetry & Literature, Todd Rundgren)

From a copy of Todd Rundgren’s 1973 album A Wizard, A True Star, which included a Patti “Band-Aid” poem. It’s 3-1/4″ by 12-1/2″, the background was a pinkish bandaid, and the poem was printed in green ink, in her handwriting…

star fever

     by patti smith

They can not harm me
They can not harm me
They can only
burn out my eyes
beat my limbs
black and blue
legs cant run
hands cant play
face cant sing
cant sing cant say
They can not harm me
They can only
turn in my eyes
rip out my teeth
spit pure ivory
carve my face like a clock
alarm me clock clock me
bleed me scape goat me
chain me to a rock me
rock me rock me
clever as a fox me
brand a star on/my left shoulder
a star on my left
clever as a fox
my spirit lights
behind the boulder
holding to my name forever
Knowing I’ll go on forever
Spirit laughing free as water
in a ring of fire
with its hair aflame

Notes on the actual print of this poem…

Looking at the pink “bandaid” print, there is a drawing in it of a woman,
hair aflame, behind a boulder. There is writing above her that says:


revenge is golden. silence is shit.
His wing

On the boulder is written:


His wing
his lightning



Then down below it says:



Permalink Leave a Comment

Patti Smith – “a useless death” (1972)

January 29, 2009 at 3:49 pm (Patti Smith, Poetry & Literature)

a useless death

     by patti smith

I am on the scaffold. What excitement!
What glitter! What is going on?
I know so little of this country.
I suspect its the coronation of the queen.
NO. Oh god. I’m wrong.
Its the execution of the queen!
and I’m trapped.
there’s no way I can help.
there’s no way I can avoid watching.
perched on this scaffold.
I gotta bird’s eye view.

The king calls for action. like the
director of some blown out passion play.
He makes a weary gesture.
its clear he hasn’t slept in ages.
first come the ladies in waiting.
there they are. thirty of them.
dressed alike. high-waisted
green taffeta gowns.

moving alike. medieval majorettes.
that flemish air. nose in air.
thirty pairs of tiny hands folded
over protruding bellies.

why are condemned women affecting
a pregnant woman’s gesture?

and how comical it is. thirty sentenced
women swaying. some very pretty indeed.
many on the brink of collapse.

The king is muttering. what is he saying?
seems my hearing has become as acute as my view.

“god damn ladies-in-waiting. get rid
of them. how I’ve despised them. always
clutter up the castle. cluck cluck.”


He seems to object to them more than
the queen. but as the saying goes:
kill me ya kill my dogs. and vice versa.
its a package deal. its the rules of
the game. and a king sticks to them.

the ladies are in tears. tearing tissues.
they approach a sizeable block of land.
its roped off and seasoned with fresh
topsoil. 3l shovels are lined up face

The king decrees that they are to dig
their own grave. Jesus what a rucas.
The women lose what composure they
had in the procession. They sob openly.
they wring their hands and cling to
one another. several fall prostrate.
those more distraught tear their hair
and rip their gowns.

This is getting ridiculous. The prince
is embarrassed. I throw a quick glance
toward the castle. Backdrop. There
is the queen. No one has noticed her.
She moves as if a dream. listless.
weightless. she seems to have little
to do with the proceedings. does she
understand that death is near?
she seems completely unaware.

How I admire her! She is a true heroine.
Oblivious of her power. how power, love
and death revolve around her! as though
she had never stood before a mirror.
The king is exasperated. her lack of
recognition. does his word mean nothing?
The ladies-in-waiting make up for it.
they weep harder at the sight of their
gentle queen. they beat their breasts in
unison. a few onlookers swoon. The
cook has to be carried off.


The queen is handed a spade. Was that a
smile that crossed her face? its impossible
to tell now.

Suddenly she shivers and says, “I’m cold”.
Instantly I feel the intense cold.
everyone does. god, its below zero.
I’m confused. wasn’t it just spring?
everyone has on thin wraps.
Even the king has but a simple velvet cloak
and not his usual ermine.

The ladies’ teeth chatter. the only way
to keep warm is to move. they begin to
dig like the devil. thirty women working
hard in the soil creates great warmth.
if they stop to rest they’ll freeze
to death.

The queen can’t seem to get in the swing
of things. she helps a bit. loosens a
chunk of hard clay or helps excavate a
huge rock. occasionally a smooth stone
or a pretty piece of crystal will attract
her. she handles it. examines it. turns
it over. drops it in her train which she
has gathered up smiling.
her childish delight in serving herself.

Frost is making it harder to dig. yet
the women are working like madmen to
keep warm.

The king has lost interest. the queen is
wandering off. everyone is going home.

I lose my footing
fall off the scaffold
everything in slow motion.


crime without passion

Permalink Leave a Comment

Todd Rundgren – “Runt: The Ballad of Todd Rundgren” (1971)

December 19, 2008 at 11:45 am (Patti Smith, Reviews & Articles, Todd Rundgren)

Written for Rolling Stone (issue #89) by Patti Smith (pre-recording career), Aug. 19, 1971…


The runt in any good litter or legend always manages to rise up and above the limits imposed on him. Like Mozart, Todd Rundgren never wanted to be born; his mother labored hard to put him here and he’s fought hard to singe his musical autograph in the progressive pages of rock & roll.

Now after a couple of years of rock plodding in sleazy Wildwood, N.J., dives, a flashy fizz called Nazz and an underrated streaming rockin’ autobiography called Runt, Todd is at last enforcing his position as a producer-composer with the ballad.

A ballad is a story set to music; usually a tale of woe–a horse thief, a hanging and a weeping girl. Todd’s music is layered and intricate but his lyrics are easy; containing all the tragic ballad elements only the subjects are real contemporary. He has the ability to devour and juggle the best of what has passed and shoot it into future perfect.

“Long Flowing Robe” is an elegantly arranged cinderella story, only much dirtier. It also has the great 1958 school-dance cruising overtones Bobby Day voiced in his “… I said over and over and over again, this dance is gonna be a drag.” “Range War” is reminiscent of the notorious Hatfield and McCoy feud, only again, much dirtier.

“The Ballad of Denny and Jean” and “Wailing Wall” are more personal and float in more tears than all the children in the world. The “Ballad” drifts through real beautiful music, further saddened by Waldo the singing guitar and the pain of corruption in original love.

A ballad is a song to dance to. There’s a lot of good music, rock & roll slow dance music. About a quarter of the album consists of good grind songs. Especially fine is “Hope I’m Around,” which hit me as hard as any of the great grinders of the late Fifties. Critics tend to question Todd’s commercial value and have labeled him as too esoteric but in truth he is one of the few people around who are still writing and singing songs like they used to, along with Smokey Robinson and Ronnie Spector. His voice too is both unique and nostalgic; sometimes as slick as a Las Vegas choir boy, and often strained and honest as back street acappella.

“Parole” is the most bitchin’ track, bringing back memories of Bobby Fuller’s “I Fought the Law.” “Parole” hits out with hot prison jargon: “If they catch me out of line .. I’ll be down in the slammer” escaping with “.. guitars, guitars, guitars, electric clavinette and plenty of sweat.”

As “Parole” testifies, as well as “Devil’s Bite” and “Who’s that Man” on Runt, Todd pulses rock & roll, though it’s evident from tracks like “Boat on the Charles” and “Chain Letter” he’s a composer at heart, a sort of rock & roll Ravel. “Boat on the Charles” has a cinematic feel a real motion media cut. It has the most atmosphere produced around it: fog, despair and a truck going south on New Year’s Eve. Listening to it is like going through a little movie .. plunging into the Charles with the anti-hero as the ferry passes by.

Though he has always created from the best of a pre-formed world, he is slowly enveloping these sources with his personal vision. “Chain Letter” is the cut which most seems to reflect this vision. The lyrics have his typical left-handed optimism and just when they get jaded the track opens up; and multiplies, as Hey Jude did. But “Chain Letter” has more balls and goes through several changes while “Hey Jude” never went past spirited repetition.

If the album seems unbalanced it is after all the ballad album, yet not without comic relief. Todd releases a little protest through some good ole sick ‘n’ sleazy satire in “Bleeding”; with the aid of some beer can percussion from that noted satanic drummer N.D. Smart: “Be a big man Take up that gun If you lose your hand. You got another one …”

Todd Rundgren has a fine hand in everything. For the Ballad he mixes his hard-edge comic book humor with the various musical colors of the putney; produced in a sort of warped rock space that most people have still failed to enter.
About a hundred years ago the runt of a Sioux tribe breathed his visions on his people. They dropped that runt crap and crowned him Crazy Horse. I think it’s time “runt” be dropped from Todd Rundgren.

Patti Smith

Permalink 1 Comment

Patti Smith – “Pain and Ink” (1993)

December 16, 2008 at 10:48 am (Patti Smith, Reviews & Articles)

Patti Smith wrote this article on Jean Genet and the book written about him (“Genet”) by Edmund White for Details magazine, November 1993… 


In the ’50s it was said that those who aspired to be Beat read Kerouac, but that the real Beats read Genet. Genet, the superior bum of art, seduced their imaginations with his purity and corruption, and tore apart literary convention with work that ennobled every marginal being. The Beats passed around a smuggled translation of the forbidden Miracle of the Rose and declared Genet their pulp poet. His exquisite beauty, his affirmation of betrayal, crime, and homosexuality filled the guts of Ginsberg, Burroughs, and Kerouac. It helped spawn Jackson Pollock, John Coltrane, and eventually rock ‘n’ roll.
The adoration of the Beats was but one of the many laurels pressed upon Jean Genet. His major works are now considered masterpieces. His revolutionary plays, The Screens and The Blacks, are performed worldwide. During his life he received the Grand Prix des Arts et Lettres, and he is remembered by the oppressed for championing their causes. Yet astoundingly, no biography of Genet had been attempted. Perhaps writers were intimidated by Jean-Paul Sartre’s mammoth psychological study, St. Genet, published in 1952. Perhaps it was the elusiveness of Genet himself or fear of his complex morality.
In 1987, writer Edmund White began the journey of tracking Genet’s life and devoted the next six years to the task. The resulting biography, Genet (Knopf), is a shining, enduring work in the spirit of Enid Starkie’s Arthur Rimbaud and Richard Ellman’s Oscar Wilde.
The author of A Boy’s Own Story and The Beautiful Room is Empty, White first read Our Lady of the Flowers in 1964. Not only did he respond to Genet’s “deeper, more extravagant prose,” but he also experienced a sort of self-liberation. “For the first time the gay world was presented without apology or explanation,” said White from his home in Paris. “This afforded gays freedom and showed how art can affect real-life politics. Others saw the gay world as tacky, but Genet allowed gay men to see it as glamorous and poetic. And his affectionate treatment of drag queens helped elevate our ideas of them.”
White, who had tested HIV-positive in 1985, was also grateful for a project that allowed him to reflect on homosexuality, art, and literature in a world untainted by disease. Genet evolved in a culture without AIDS, and White traveled through it interviewing scores of people, from fashionable Parisians to village peasants. He takes us through the French welfare and prison systems, crisscrossing criminal, artistic, and political scenes: high society led by Cocteau; café society led by Sartre; and revolutionary movements — the Black Panthers and the PLO. Writing the book reaffirmed to White that “gays are not a single-issue community.” Just as Genet was never a single-issue being.
Genet’s life, like his work, is a terrain of contradictions that White lays out with clarity, with all the kindness and cruelty intact. Abandoned as an infant by his poor, servant-girl mother in 1911, Genet started life as a ward of the state. Like all orphans of his day, uniformed in a black apron, black stockings, and wooden shoes, he was identified and raised as an outcast. By thirteen he was wrestling with a sensitive, convulsive nature. He pilfered and lied; he ran away. Somewhat effeminate, he fell for the masculine airs of older boys and longed to take on their gestures as his own. But fourteen he was branded a thief. A bastard. A faggot. He accepted these tags with arrogance, wearing them like a bright coat. And at fifteen, he was handcuffed and led into the Penitentiary Colony of Mettray.
Mettray was a work farm where hard labor and discipline were rigidly enforced. By day the young prisoners worked the fields in silence and performed naval drills on landlocked ships. By night they created a kind of twisted netherworld, enforcing their own codes of love, honor, gesture, and justice. It was a world where the handsome, sadistic heterosexual was king, and where Genet, passive and adoring, blossomed as a princess and future scribe.
He cherished Mettray, harsh as it was, for it housed so many awakenings, sexual and aesthetic. It sharpened his powers of observation, his ability to see goodness or the lack of it. Peering inward, he also found, with great anguish, that he possessed the evil that other people attributed to him. He drew his coat even tighter and maintained a swaggering pride in his weaknesses. Through this, he became strong.
At nineteen, destitute but free from the confines of institutions, he began a decade of wandering through Europe and Africa. Often arrested for some petty crime, he passed from prison to prison. And in 1939, in a cell in Fresnes, he realized that he possessed a power — a unique way of looking at things, and the words to express what he saw. As World War II closed in, Genet — cold, hungry, imprisoned — mapped out his masterpiece, Our Lady of the Flowers. He reopened all his adolescent wounds and wrote, with haunted blood, the death and glorification of the transvestite Divine. He portrayed the ordinary thug as one with an inner handsomeness and unsung grace. In this world of trapped young men, treacherous yet fiercely loyal, gravitating to their dominant and submissive natures, he revived his youthful loves, the inmates of Mettray. For the first time in modern literature, society’s most marginal men were portrayed without shame or remorse. White points out that Genet did not use his work as a forum for understanding or accepting the homosexual or criminal. He had no political motivations, yet his books sparked furious censorship battles in the European courts. He opened doors for future writers and, more important, gave dignity and mystery to society’s estranged.
I was twenty when introduced to Genet. He was widely read in the arts community, and we adopted his vision as our own. We dressed like Marseilles dockworkers and filled our notebooks with swaggering conceits. It was 1967, a time when homosexuality was not understood — even feared. Yet many boys who seemed to detest “fags” were tagging themselves as such to escape the Vietnam draft. It seemed, too, that many of these same boys, riddled with guilt or curiosity, were softening their views. The way in which homosexuals were being regarded, not only by others but by themselves, was changing.
Without conscious attempt, Genet had sparked a kind of miracle — social change. At the same time, the president of France, at Sartre’s behest, pardoned Genet for all his crimes. Almost immediately he fell into a deep depression and ceased writing. White attributes this response to Genet’s success and pardon, both of which stripped him of his outcast status, his sacred individuality.
Shortly after, he befriended the sculptor Alberto Giacometti. Their relationship brought him new life and a new revelation about the interdependence of humanity: that “every man is every other man, as am I.” Renouncing possessions, returning once more to his role as vagabond, Genet disavowed his early work, his erotic imagery, his own importance as a poet. But repudiation is common in the evolution of an artist, and in examining the stages of Genet’s life, it is clear that revelation was not exhausted in youth, but born again in old age.
In his last years, addicted to Nembutal, and suffering throat cancer, Genet devoted himself to the plight of the Palestinians. He saw them as orphaned, rootless warriors, not unlike himself. His last work, Prisoner of Love, is not only dedicated to them, but to life and the imagination. He had come to believe that every being is as valuable as another. This was the final miracle of Genet — that we are all potentially holy, that we all contain a common speck called God.
Genet died a transient’s death on April 15, 1986, in a hotel room in the thirteenth arrondissement, the same working-class district of Paris where he had been abandoned seventy-five years before. He is buried in Larache, Morocco, in a grave covered with two sun-washed white stones. With our own transforming powers let us imagine that if we parted the earth to raise him, we would find nothing but a singular, muscular vine, crowned with a magnificent studded rose.

Patti Smith

Permalink 2 Comments

Patti Smith – “autobiography” (1971)

November 7, 2008 at 5:06 pm (Patti Smith, Poetry & Literature)

Published in Creem magazine, Sept. 1971…



     by patti smith

great human wild animal
an outlaw
keep watch over her

I was born in Illinois…mainline of America…
beat to shit…Chicago tenement
big red eyed rats in the night…dead rats to tease at night
Morning…I waited for the organ grinder
with my nickel for the monkeys tin cup
gingerbread man…cotton candy man
bad girl setting fire to the oil cans
run like hell escape on the icemans truck
I was a limping ugly duck
but I had good luck

Mama filled me with fantasy…my bears danced at midnight
even my toybox had a soul
Mama called me her goat girl…little black sheep
I loved my brother and sister: Todd and Linda
we drank each others blood…we were double blood brothers
we rolled in fields…three white wolves…we practised telepathy
no one could separate us…our minds were one
One, little one eye…I had an eyepatch…I walked like a duck
In the years the nursery children cried Quack Quack
I didn’t care and didn’t fight back
I floated off…fantasy gave me fire…I was made of water
the moon caused tidal waves and I’d cry like a coyote

I learned to drift…magik…tarot pack
I paraded in thirty disguises
and when people laughed at my carnival family
We didn’t care…We had armor:
Daddy was a tap dancer…acrobat…wild horse
tracing pornography through the bible.
Mama was the dream of every sailor…bootlegged whiskey
called spirits from evenings half moon…dream weaver
We braved hurricanes…a new baby came…I named her Kim
the neighbors were suspicious…they called us witches
we didn’t care…we were laughing and dancing and damned
and there was always music
Hank Williams crying off the lonesomes
funny valentine…Patty Waters
beat of the drum…bartok
song of the swamp rat
rock and roll music
rock and roll music

On my own…my own rythums:
rythum of the railroad
steamheat of the factory
Alabama blues on a migrant bus
but as a blueberry picker I failed…I dreamed too much
the berry crop died…my mother smiled.
I ran off…I traveled…I broke down
kept running…TB trapped in the lung…spitting on the railroad track
I shook…I drank…rythum of one too many rhums
Drunk and broke down I slinked home…grabbed my sisters hand
and away we run…We took a freighter to Iceland
railway to Paris…Pigalle and wine in a black dress
I joined the fire eaters and sang in the streets…using all I learned
from Lotte Lenya…Bob Dylan…and motorcycle rock n’ roll
We lived near a wishing well…milked goats…capture snails
and crawled back to New York.
New York my greatest love:
Rise of the building
flash of 42nd street…the pool halls…the hustlers
the trucks along tenth avenue
the helicopter yards
ghost of Jackson Pollock
human shit and dead dog floating on the Hudson River
moving…I kept moving
Panama…heart of adventure
the hot life of Mexico
the drunkard…the dock worker
Rythum…flash of white hair…winter
the Jesters…the Paragons
rise of the blue heron
breathe through the great rythum
scream through the Shepard
sing through that rock n’ roll music
rock n’ roll music
rock n’ roll music
rock n’ roll.

Permalink Leave a Comment

The Patti Smith Group – “Horses”/”Hey Joe” (TV – 1976)

October 19, 2008 at 8:52 pm (Music, Patti Smith)

Taken from The Old Grey Whistle Test

Permalink Leave a Comment

The Patti Smith Group – “Free Money” (Live – 1976)

October 19, 2008 at 3:54 pm (Music, Patti Smith)

Live in Stockholm…

Permalink Leave a Comment

Next page »