From the musical Annie, the song "Tomorrow" is given rock star treatment by Patti Smith, the rock poetess chosen for #100 on the Sunday Service because of her class, style, and respect for the fans that love her.
This has been a great year plus for Patti Smith and I can think of no one who deserves it more. Though I wasn't as knocked out as the rest of the world by her autobiographical volume, Just Kids, I liked it fine and it certainly brought her much deserved attention.
Now, her rendition of "Tomorrow" I'm knocked out by; for me, a song from a musical qualifies as Litrock, though this is the first one on the list. It is probably the least likely song I could have chosen for #100, or even from Smith's catalog, but there you go. It gives me a chill every time I listen to it, chokes me up, grabbing me and not letting go.
When she urges on the late great Richard Sohl to a mildly bombastic crescendo, which she matches note for note, I am washed out on a tide of love, ennui, and beauty.
I dare you to listen twice. You'll never stop.
As a bonus for the followers of this blog feature, here is an incendiary rendition of her song "Privilege (Set Me Free)" from the legendary boot "Exodus."
If that's not enough, a video performance of the same tune, that hits similar ecstatic heights. There are many groups that have merged rock and literature, rock and poetry; this song may, however, be the consummate example.
One final note. There are have been many interviews with her over the past 18 months, both print and television. At the commencement address she gave at Pratt University last year, her advice for artists was as basic as it gets (and, as such, as good as it gets):
“My generation had a rough go, dentally….You have a better chance at dental health, and I say this because you want at night to be pacing the floor because your muse is burning inside of you, because you want to do your work, because you want to finish that canvas, because you want to make that design, because you want to help your fellow man. You don’t want to be pacing because you need a damn root canal. Floss, you know, use salt, baking soda, get them professionally cleaned, you know, for a bit, take care of your damn teeth.”
Going into deep catalog territory for this poem from Lilliput Review #97, from July 1997, I think you'll find it pushes more than one edge for sure. For four other sample poems, plus a lovely Wayne Hogan cover (& some Jean Cocteau, Harlan Ellison, and Cid Corman, to boot), click the numeral way back there in the sentence before last. Enjoy.
Before A Beginning (A Prototype)
The shape of each letter shapes the shape
of the word. The letters are thin
(think "I"). The word could be wide,
fat enough to stretch from side
to side of this page. This page
is boundary, setting an edge at the shape
of the poem (think "quadrilateral")
And quick upon this earth that is itself
both page and poem passes the word the source
of our madness, the shape of our madness.
C. D. Chase
one mountain left...
translated by David G. Lanoue
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