Thursday, September 15, 2016

Patti Smith: Evidentiary Material I

Opening night of Patti Smith extravaganza
at Mills College in Oakland

Visions of Patti Smith

The pure products of America go crazy, said William Carlos Williams, a New Jersey poet who introduced fellow New Jersey Poet, Allen Ginsberg, to the literary world writing the introduction to Howl and Other Poems. Allen, in addition to a large number of his own influences and colleagues, in turn influenced another New Jersey Poet, Patti Smith.

He is today very sane and focused, her written work and her views are taken seriously throughout the worlds of music, art, and  letters.
 And she maintain the oneiric, the dream-like in her work. 

But she hit the scene as a fire-brand with a more sur-rational approach to art and performance.
She had these dream monologues that she would launch into against a garage rock vamp, essentially taking a familiar trip but always introducing  the new and unexpected to it, improvising poetic flights on stage in what she called a Babelogue.

After attracting a devoted following as well as considerable scorn from many in the celebrated world of music making and selling.
But eventually came the hit single "Because the Night" and LP Easter, the wider interest in the New Wave bands that followed in her wake, and vindication even if many original fans detected a loss of edge

She dropped-out at the to of her career, got married to another cat named Smith and retired to have kids in Detroit, MC 5 territory. Then Fred, and Patti's brother Todd, her early boyfriend and benefactor Robert Mapplethorpe, and Patti Smith Group pianist Richard Sohl,
all died with a few short years.

Slowly and tentatively Patti came back
as few have ever done,
Honors have accrued

Patti gone international

 Patti regards 
the aftermath

 Lovely reception
good wine and food

 Lovely museum

 Worthy of our heroine

 Wall label verbiage

 First encounter
the literary Patti,
Shot used for cover of Seventh Heaven
her first wide-spread book

 New York Street Poet
(Rated X)

and the orgasm

 in excelsus deo
on Saturday Night Live

there was splendor
there was backlash

 "Piss Factory"
her original signal on the Mer label,
I have the Sire records reissue 
with an autographed pic-sleeve,
A profession of her determination
to matter, to not fade away,
B-side "Hey, Joe"
walks with Patti Hearst


 Early show with her
comrades in arms, Television,
Leader Tom Verlaine another of her men
played on Piss Factory/Hey Joe 45

 Patti baby
the girl with the dancing feet

 Sleepy head 
Robert Mapplethorpe
not yet famous

 First of Patti's famous boy friends,
 switched over to boyfriends of his own

Sam Shepard
She acted in his plays
co-wrote a short play with him,
Cowboy Mouth

 Fellow poet
 future rock star,
Jim Carroll

 Love is so strange
love is so pure,
Love is something
you must endure

 I made a Rimbaudian liason with Patti
soon as I saw a random bit on her
first reading with Lenny on lectric guitar
St mark's Place early 70s

Vitrines packed full
of obsessive bootie

 Our fearless leader

 Inspired some fear herself
whenever she grabbed her clarinet
or a feed-back guitar

Outside of Society bootleg LP
it's where I wanna be,
I dig the austere Radio Ethiopia Patti

 Then the hit single happened,
combining Patti's sexy style and grace and 
Bruce Springsteen's calculation

 Jack Kerouac said fame was like
old newspapers blowing down
Bleecker Street

 Hey, I'm a back door man

I looked for the curator who wasn't present,
most here were Patti neophytes
or came for a performance piece
connected to the other half of the opening 
celebrating a well-known dancer

I met one knowledgable Patti follower
remembered the early Rather Ripped records
in-store with Patti
She was "cheated" by the Sex Pistols 
in San Francisco their last show,
Talking about my generation


A break for refreshment
 while the sun is still in the tall trees

 Songs of Innocence

Part I of IV
Next installment 
examines her mature years

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