by patti smith

[from Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment by Janet Kardon, 1988]

It is the Artist's desire to permeate existence
He does so by the power of his presence
And by will alone he breathes a work into art.
As pumping air into a balloon, that when let go,
permeates the sky.

He sees perfection in a leaf or another man's
psyche. He is a city of veins and lead;
building and rebuilding the same chapel,
and the same marble stairway

As one walks these stairs and looks around
one notes a gallery of light wars. That is all.
A ship dissolving into the atmosphere, into sea.
And when night falls-the light as well.
And all disappears into walls. No more
luminous than a moon. Composed of love
and will alone.

And the Artist does indeed love.
In love with his own process.
It reaffirms his mastery, his mystery.
A testament of his own life force and also
his gift to humanity.

Certain gifts are chosen and arranged in retrospect.
The Artist machetes a clearance. Here one can be spared
the pain and the extravagance of the entire body and
be transported by snaking thru a glittering fraction.

His gifts, his children, travel beyond the eye
and hand that spun them into existence.
A lifetime of work letting go
of one who has weathered innocence.
Pressed laurels upon intelligence.
All with the generosity
of a transforming

Copyright © Patti Smith 1988

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