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patti smith on trampin'
page six





Lyrically, "Trespasses" has quite a melancholy tone, but it ends up on a joyful note of whistling. Since you wrote it in memory of Fred 'Sonic' Smith, would you comment on some of the ideas in the song?

PATTI SMITH: the lyrics speak for themselves. the whistling lad at the end refers to our son jackson.

Of course, trespasses are offenses - were you thinking of that word association when you wrote about the "broken fences"?


PATTI SMITH: no, the word offense hadn't occurred to me.

Lenny was telling me how the cassette that Fred had recorded the music for "Gone Again" on was lost for awhile, before you finally found it. Are there still musical ideas Fred recorded that may surface and be used for future songs?

PATTI SMITH: fred left quite a lot of music behind.

Jay Dee Daugherty worked with you and Fred on the "Dream of Life" album, so did you ask Jay to try and get into the spirit of Fred's musical ideas when he wrote the music for "Trespasses"?

PATTI SMITH: jay wrote the music on his own. i never direct the band members except to suggest a rhythum structure - as in Gandhi. jay brought in the music and i had written a ballad some months before. the two fit. i rarely write lyrics in that way. it was a rare and happy fusion.

Does the old coat refer back to the same blue coat of Fred's you mention in "Godspeed"?

PATTI SMITH: the coat is a metaphor as well as a coat: the coat in (Arthur Rimbaud's poem) ma bohème; the blue coat: trials in the form of cloth.

So Rimbaud's "Ma Boheme" was a poem that influenced you ideas on Trampin'?

PATTI SMITH: Yes, i've always loved that poem about a wandering young man. it relates to a lot of things I was thinking about while we were making trampin'. i used the poem as a sort of mental note.




I departed with hands in my torn pockets
Even my overcoat was becoming ideal
I walked beneath the sky, oh Muse and was your vassal
Oh! my, my! what splendid loves I dreamed of!

My only pair of pants had a big hole in them
A stargazing Tom Thumb, I sowed rhymes along the road
My lodging was at the Great Bear Tavern
And in the sky, the stars rustled softly, to and fro.

I listened to them, sitting by the roadside
On a twilight September evening
While I felt drops of dew on my forehead
Like a coarse, vigorous wine.

And while rhyming among the fantastic shadows
I plucked, like the strings of a lyre
the laces of my tattered boots
One foot close to my heart!


Je m'en allais, les poings dans mes poches crevées ;
Mon paletot aussi devenait idéal ;
J'allais sous le ciel, Muse ! et j'étais ton féal ;
Oh ! là là ! que d'amours splendides j'ai rêvées !

Mon unique culotte avait un large trou.
- Petit-Poucet rêveur, j'égrenais dans ma course
Des rimes. Mon auberge était à la Grande-Ourse.
- Mes étoiles au ciel avaient un doux frou-frou

Et je les écoutais, assis au bord des routes,
Ces bons soirs de septembre où je sentais des gouttes
De rosée à mon front, comme un vin de vigueur ;

Où, rimant au milieu des ombres fantastiques,
Comme des lyres, je tirais les élastiques
De mes souliers blessés, un pied contre mon cœur !




GREEN RIMBAUD by patti smith

At 10 o'clock on November 10, 1891
the poet Jean Arthur Rimbaud
met the END of his
adventure on Earth.


+ + + + +

Not everyone was born to be a prophet.
We smile down.
We know all about it.
We were born to be
Born to be: Wild Necks
We do the grind to the organ music.
We know where we're coming from.
We cut a womb rug.
A mean rug.
You should see me jitterbug.
Go Rimbaud. Doo-wa
Dogma-flow Rimbaud
With the
of the