où est baudelaire?

     by patti smith, r.e.f.m.*

[from CREEM, May 1977]

Critic does not mean criticize. It means to open the eyes. To be the translator of the demon of creation... transforming the seed into a substance soluble and palatable so that the people may eat.

In the past it has been the critic, one who could see for miles. The unfailing vision of Baudelaire. The critic who trumpeted the space and light of the future. The whirling noise that saturated the jail house walls with the rock of right.

Moving through the fat veins of corporate tyranny with loaded cylinders we shot them up but good. We raised the radio, the alternative tongue, the rock press, hard and fast and totally true. Today the dull ravings that spill from the sluggish mouth of the established rock press are literally linguistically splitting us apart. Sad atoms in-space.

The people are hungry to gnaw on the growing flesh lining the escape root to subliminal ascension, to break through the sleeping skin of false communication.

As for me, I am honored to be screaming at a rock concert, I am honored to write for a rock 'n' roll magazine, and I am honored to perform on a rock 'n' roll stage. All three rhythms inside of me -- the critic, the artist, the people, have one goal; total abandon, total communication, and to be truly, totally ready to go into the spinning fluid void where the light flakes and lands on the bank of pleasure.

Going for broke
Hope I'll reach you there
I feel the people
But où est Baudelaire

* Radio Ethiopia Field Marshall

Copyright © Patti Smith 1977

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