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There were a set of discs intertwining the words ego love god, merging them with his own name; they seemed to recede and expand over his flat surfaces.


(...)


We combined our belongings. my few records were filed in the orange crate with his. my winter coat hung next to his sheepskin vest.


(...)


We listened to my madame butterfly as sung by eleanor steber. a love supreme. between the buttons. joan baez and blonde blonde. robert introduced me to his favorites - vanilla fudge, tim buckley, tim hardin - and his history of motown provided the backdrop for our nights of communal joy.


(...)


The leaves were turning burgundy and gold. there were carved pumpkins on the stoops of the brownstones on clinton avenue.

We took walks at night. sometimes we could see venus above us. it s the shepherd's star and the star of love. robert called it our blue star. he praticed forming the t of robert into a star, signing in blue so that i would remember.


(...)


He was searching, consciously or unconsciously, for himself. he was in a fresh state of tansformation. he had shad the skin of his rotc uniform, and in its wake his scolarship, his commercial path, and his ather's expectation of him.


(...)


It was exciting just to stand in front of the hallowed ground of birdland that had been blessed by john coltrane, or the five spot on st. mark's place where billie holiday used to sing, where eric dolphy and ornette coleman opened the field of jazz like human can openers.


(...)


He waited for me, and as we headed toward the subway he said, "one dy we'll go in together, and the work will be ours".

Some evenings later robert surprised me and took me to our first movie. someone at work had given him two tickets to a preview of how i won the war, directed by richard lester. john lennon had an important role as a soldier called gripweed. i was excited to see john lennon but robert sept wih his head on my shoulder throughtout the movie.

Robert was not especially drawn to film. his favorite movie was splendor in the grass. the only other movie we saw that year was bonnie and clyde. he liked the tagline on the poster: "they're young. they're in love. they rob banks." he didn't fall asleep during that movie. instead, he wept. and when we went home he was unnaturally quiet and looked at me as if he wanted to convey all he was feeling without words. there was something of us that he saw in the movie but i wasn't certain what. i thought to myself that he contained a whole universe that i had yet to know.


On november fourth, robert turned twenty-one. i gave him a heavy silver id bracelet i found in a pawnshop of forty-second street. i had it engraved with the words robert patti blue star. the blue star of our destiny.

We spent a quiet night looking at our art books. my collection included de kooning, dubuffet, diego rivera, a pollock monograph, and a small pile of art international magazines. robert had large coffee table books he had acquired from brentano's on tantric art, michelangelo, surrealism, and erotic art. we added used catalogs on john graham, gorky, cornell, and kitaj that we acquired for less than a dollar.

Our most prized books were william blake. i had a very pretty facsimile of songs of innocence and of experience, and i often read it to robert before we went to sleep. i also had a vellum edition of blake's collected writings, and he had the trianon press edition of blake's milton. we both admired the likeness of blake's brother robert, who died young, pictured with a star at his foot. we adopted blake's palette as our own, shades of rose, cadmium, and moss, colors that seemed to generate light.


(...)

For my twenty-first birthday, robert made me a tambourine, tattooing the goatskin with astrological signs and tying multicolored ribbons to its base. he put on tim buckley singing "phantasmagoria in two", then he knelt down and handed me a a small book on the tarot that he had rebound in black silk. inside it descrribe he inscribed a few lines of petry, portraying us as the gypsy and the fool, one creating silence; one listening clesely to the silence. in the clanging swirl of our lives, these roles would reverse many times.

The following night was new year's eve, our first together. we made new vows. robert decided he would apply for a student loan and return to pratt, not to study commercial art as his father wished, but to devote his energies to art alone. he wrote me a note to say we would create art together and we would make it, with or without the rest of the world.

For my part, i made a silent promise to help him achieve his goal by providing for his pratical needs.

(...)


Like jean genet, robert was a terrible thief. genet was caught and imprisioned for stealing rare volumes of proust and rolls of silk from a shirt maker. a esthetic thieves. i imagined his sense of horror and triumph as bits of blake swirled into the sewers of new york city.
We looked down at our hands, each holding on to the other. we took a deep breath, accepting our complicity, not in theft, but in the destruction of a work of art. (...) he held duchamp and warhol as models. high art and high society; he aspired to them both. we were a curious mix of funny face and faust.


(...)


Sometimes, during lunch break at scribner's, i would go to st. patrick's to visit the young saint stanislaus. i would pray for the dead, whom i seemed to love as much as the living: rimbaud, seurat, camille claudel and the mistress of jules laforgue. and i would pray for us. robert's prayers were like wishes. he was ambitious for secret knowledge. we were both praying for robert's soul, he to sell it and i to save it.

Later he would say the the church led him to god, and lsd led him to the universe. he also said that art led him to the devil, and sex kept him with the devil.


(...)


I felt disconnected from all that was outside the world that robert and i had created between us.

In my low periods, i wondered what was the point of creating art. for whom? are we ainmating god? are we talking to ourselves? and what was the ultimate goal? to have one's work caged in art's great zoos - the modern, the met, the louvre?

I craved honesty, yet found dishonesty in myself. why commit to art? for self-realization, or for itself? it seemed indulgent to add to glut unless one offered illumination.

Often i'd sit and try to write or draw, but all of the manic activity in the streets, coupled with the vietnam war, made my efforts seem meaningless. i could not identify with political movements. in trying to join them i felt overwhelmed by yet another form of bureaucracy. i wondered if anything i did mattered.

Robert had a little patiente with these introspective bouts of mine. He never seemed to question his artistic drives, and by his example, i understood that what matters is the work: the string of words propelled by god becomig a poem, the weave of color and graphite srawled upon the sheet that magnifies his motion. to achieve within the work a perfect balance of faith and execution. from this state of mind comes a light, life-charged. in Just Kids, por Patti Smith

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1 comentário:

  1. tá lindo esse livro.
    é lindo, esse blog.
    ;-)

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