Patti Smith Writes Essay As Tribute To Television's Tom Verlaine

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Patti Smith recently wrote an essay as a touching tribute to late, great guitarist and songwriter, Tom Verlaine. The essay was later published in The New Yorker. In the essay, Smith discussed the pair's history, describing the moment they met and how their friendship came to be.

"He lived twenty-eight minutes from where I was raised. We could easily have sauntered into the same Wawa on the Wilmington-South Jersey border in search of Yoo-hoo or Tastykakes. We might have met, two black sheep, on some rural stretch, each carrying books of the poetry of French Symbolists—but we didn’t. Not until 1973, on East Tenth Street, across from St. Mark’s Church, where he stopped me and said, “'You’re Smith.'" Smith went on to describe how she felt when she heard Verlaine play live with Television for the first time.

"There were only a handful of people present, but Lenny and I were immediately taken with it, with its pool table and narrow bar and low stage. What we saw that night was kin, our future, a perfect merging of poetry and rock and roll. As I watched Tom play, I thought, Had I been a boy, I would’ve been him. I went to see Television whenever they played, mostly to see Tom, with his pale blue eyes and swanlike neck. He bowed his head, gripping his Jazzmaster, releasing billowing clouds, strange alleyways populated with tiny men, a murder of crows, and the cries of bluebirds rushing through a replica of space. All transmuted through his long fingers, all but strangling the neck of his guitar."

Smith concluded the essay by noting the kind nature of Verlaine, stating towards the end that, "There was no one like Tom."

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