New York City,1978 / Kevin Cummins
You will see us coming, V formation through the sky.
Take arms. Take aim. Be without shame:
No one to bow to, to vow to, to blame.
From ‘Til Victory, “Easter”, 1978
ChelseaΘHotel, NYC, Θ1968, Robert Mapplethorpe
There must be something I can dream tonight.
All the fire is frozen, yet still – I have the will.
Trumpets, violins, I hear them in the distance –
and my skin emits a ray,
But I think it’s sad, it’s much too bad
that our friends can’t come back to us today.
From Elegie, “Horses”, 1975
 1977, NYC, Robert Mapplethorpe
1990/ No photo info
” You just keep doing your work because that’s what you are called
to do. No artist can expect to be embraced by the people; even if it seems like no one notices us, we must always keep working.  We must do this for ourselves, but we are never creating just for ourselves – never, because it’s so beautiful and important to work for the people, to embrace and be embraced by the people. But you see, that is true for everyone – every person needs to do important work and every person can, if he isn’t prevented from doing it.”
Patti Smith, Louisiana Literature Festival, Denmark, 2013
Across the country, through the fields –
You know I see it written in the sky:
People rising from the highway
And war is the battle cry.
From Ask the Angels, “Radio Ethiopia”, 1976
“Yes, we anticipated Punk, so did other people, so did the Stooges, so did the Ramones… but we never wanted to be a punk band, and never thought of ourselves as one. I mean, I’m with the grunge kids and the hip-hop kids and country music as easily as I was with the punks, because it’s not about the particular style, it’s about what’s being expressed.
I’m first and and foremost an artist, and that means I place myself outside society, which is a very deliberate choice I make every day.I really don’t give a shit what society thinks of me, and I never gave a shit about being famous or making money. After almost sixty-three years, I still care about the same two things. One is creating good work – and the other is love.”
Netherlands television interview
2004  Radio Baghdad / Google Images
All the world revolved around a perfect circle:
Oh Baghdad, Center of the world!
City of Ashes, with its great mosques
Erupting from the mouth of God,
Rising from the ashes like
a speckled bird, splayed against the mosaic sky.
Oh, clouds all around. We created the zero.
But we mean nothing to you. You would believe
that we are just some mystical tale, we are just a swollen belly
that gave birth to Sinbad, Scheherazade.
But we gave birth – oh, oh, to the zero. The perfect number!
We invented the zero and we mean nothing to you.
2015 / Google Images
Oh, in Mesopotamia aloofness ran deep.
The face of Eve, turning. What sky did she see?
What garden beneath her feet? The one you drill?
You drill. pulling the blood of the earth,
little droplets of oil for bracelets. Little jewels.
Sapphires. You make bracelets
around your own world. We are weeping tears,
rubies, we offer them to you.
We are just your Arabian nightmare.
We invented the zero, but we mean nothing to you.
Your Arabian nightmare, City of Stars,  City of Scholarship
and Science,  City of Ideas and Light.
City of Ashes that the great Caliph walked through.
Where his naked feet formed a circle, they built a city.
A perfect city of Baghdad in the realm of peace
And all the world revolved, and all that we invented
mean nothing to you. Nothing.
resizePatti Smith in an Iran War Protest, NYC 1975.
Excerpts from Radio Bagdhad,  “Trampin”,  2004

Patti Smith on singing at the Vatican: ‘Anyone who would confine me to an old line is a fool’

Why is Patti Smith, who opened Horses with the line ‘Jesus died for someone’s sins, but not mine’, playing a gig at the Vatican?

Patti Smith
Patti Smith: ‘I’ll do what I want.’
Photo, Claire Hatfield, 2014


 Asked  how she felt about unsettling her fans with her Vatican performance, Smith responded with customary fire. “I’m not playing to the Pope,” she snapped.“He may not even be there! But I expect there’ll be a bunch of cardinals …” (Audience applause, laughter.)

” I’ll do what the fuck I want, especially at my age … oh, I hope there’s no small children here!”


 1958 or 1959/ Smith family photo/Google Images
Patti Smith will soon celebrate her 70th birthday.

2 thoughts on “ohPatti

    1. Oh, she’s got a website as big as a museum! Robert Mapplethrope, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs etc, etc.

      We can’t all be so lucky at age 20, but Patti says “Well, they weren’t famous THEN. How was I to know they’d all become famous?”

      THANKS, Paul!


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