Monday, October 3, 2016

Patti Smith: Evidentiary Material III

Patti Dans Le Bibliotheque

I returned to Mills college one week 
after the opening of Root Connection
to the Rare Book Room
its trove of Patti's printed matter arrayed

Approach and Arrival

 Waiting uptown for the NL
takes you right to Mills college

 A fun ride along MacArthur
to Fruitvale and into the Oakland hills,
Perhaps I'll encounter Patti followers
I might as well take a flying leap
at a rolling doughnut

 Beautiful trees along the central route
Today's the last day of Summer

 The very venerable Music department

The miracle of universal focus

 The ancients watch over us


 I once heard and spoke
 to Leon Theremin in this place,
He demonstrated his electronic instrument
to Vladimir Lenin

He seemed even older 
than this cat

 Cleaning leaves from the campus pond
a very fastidious campus
with a lot of leaves

Center of campus
between the academic departments
and the residential sector.
lock on a a figurative chastity belt

Olin library.
is located just here


 By the greensward 
and the dormitory moat

 Poster for this half
of the Exhibition

Beat generation figurine 
gone through Velvet Doors
punk rock sweetheart


Patti came prepared
Ready for her close-up

Her first book of poetry

 Never had this one but the text
was reprinted in other early collections

 Early bookshop reading

 from Seventh Heaven

 Translations of her tough little book
Seventh Heaven

 Foreign editions of WITT
her second well-distributed volume

 The Night
a Symbolist collaboration
with Tom Verlaine 

I had my tan copy signed by them
meant sending backstage to Tom
at a Television show in Boston
always risky



 French translation 
on the left

 I never had this one either
But in 1978 in Providence RI
Patti performed an auto-erotic act on stage
Impishly I wiggled my tongue at her,
later she signed my copy of WITT
"tongue of love"

 Poet and Martyr
of Radio Ethiopia

The Inner Sanctum

 At the head of her class

Serious student for life
Teacher's pet?

 Well, she earned some
 honorary grades here

 Frankly a bit of a empty museum vibe
rather than  working rare book research,
It was not as open as the museum was

The accordion player
now steps to the road
wonders who sounded 
the alarm

Patti blasting off

 Homage to the Dalai Lama


 A display of various
Patti Smith broadsheets

 A poster print
of a drawing typical of
Patti's unique manner

 Patti's benediction
on outlaw writer
William S. Burroughs
illustrated with his drawing
made with gunpowder and ink

Not a bust of Bill but
quite a classy room
for our Lady of CBGBs


it's a gas gas gas


 She was always working
always thinking
Her survival and success
is somehow ours too

Her many books are celebrated
editions issued throughout the world
(that blue Russian cover's an odd one)

 Art books of her photographs 
make coffee tables groan


 Her words published
as adorable keepsakes

 She even got to write the introduction
for a reissue of New Directions classic
translation of Rimbaud's A Season in Hell
its cover reproducing Lustig's
dust jacket design from
the vintage cloth-bound copies
(now I am envious)

(I recall my poetry professor, friend
and fellow Rimbaldian James Tate saying,
I guess we can't have Rimbaud anymore
now that Patti Smith owns him
no shortages when it comes to envy)

Patti's old Rimbaud T-shirt

 Patti appears as a peer
with her inspirations and mentors

 She undeniably has joined
the Roll Call herself


 Turning to Alchemy,
as Richard Lloyd sang
in our shared youth

A votive candle
for Saint Patti,
once I would have
wanted one myself

 Her recognition is indelible
the dogs lose their bark
She sweeps ever on

 Patti playing the harmonica,
la petite noire

 The platonic PhD at 40
Oil painting of a Mills graduate
 along side Root Connection

 Time for me to get airborne

Back by the music department,
Laurie Anderson studied here

Tomorrow will be
the first day of Fall

 Mills undergraduates
on their way to 
traditional degrees,
with a dash of Patti Smith

 A singular dignity

At some point 
all of us must 
empty out our bookshelves
as a form of liberation

21 September 2016

Poetry and noise:

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