an ode to patti smith

dear patti,

I fell in love with you when I read your words about Robert [Mapplethorpe] and I grew jealous of your photo shoots and memories. And then I read your poems. And listened to the moan of your voice, rocking out into microphones. When I moved back to New York, I searched for you. Knew that we’d collide, but wondered when. Then, one Thursday or Tuesday, you read from a book at St Marks bookshop and I went there with some poet friends. Patti, I thought this would be our moment of meeting. This would be the time our eyes would meet and you’d notice the poet in me and the rebel and even the sad and you’d grab me. Patti, you’d grab me with your skinny arms and bring me into your chest. You’d kiss me. Not like first-base-French-style, but just like from one poet to another. And you’d rub your years into my skin and we’d run away together. Patti…..this did not happen. Because when my friends and I got to the bookshop, we could barely fit in. The place was Times Square crowded. I nudged myself behind some bookshelves and for an hour, I listened to you read, with the view of just your nose, between the stacks of books. Just your nose, Patti.

 

Tonight, I get to celebrate you without you (because you are in France or the Netherlands or somewhere too far to make it here.) But just know that because of your magic, many poets and writers will gather to read you. And sing you.

Where? you (may) ask.

Cornelia Street Cafe at 29 Cornelia Street in the West Village/ NYC

And what time? you (may) wonder.

6pm. And though it’s $8 to enter, that does include a drink.

So, who’s reading my words? you (may) inquire.

Madeline Artenberg, Meagan Brothers, Megan DiBello, Daniel Dissinger, Gordon Gilbert, Aimee Herman, Selina Josephs, Gabriel Levicky, Lulu Lolo, Jess Martinez & Zita Zenda

an introduction of sound

Sometimes, one needs to walk outside of comfort zone, whether it be scooping out the wounds from a body to give voice on a stage or sitting across from another beneath a late night New York City sky. Life is meant to be understood, but these understandings take time. I translate one part of my body and then it changes its mind and suddenly I have to start all over. This is ok because this body isn’t on loan; I don’t need to return it by a certain date. We have some time to get to know each other and change directions.

I told someone once, I walk outside my comfort zone each time I wake up.

So, here I am. Up. Awake. Aware that just the other day, I allowed myself to feel music coat me in a way that was always private. Took my ukelele on a trip into the city. We rode two subways together. Got bumped a few times. Walked beneath the slowly setting sun. Listened to poems and then shared a stage together.

 

photograph by Zita Zenda

photograph by Zita Zenda

After I plucked my uke, she remained on my lap, offering me comfort with her wooden curves. And then we went to a comedy show. And then we shared a meal with a beautiful woman who we wrote a poem with. Then we listened to the roar of Patti Smith. There is music to living. To remaining. I guess sometimes you just have to introduce more sound to it all.