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Patti Smith Take The M Train if you dare!

December 28, 2015
I’ve just emerged from reading “M Train” by the highly overrated and glum Patti Smith. I enjoyed reading it for the book’s avant-garde pretentiousness! What a horror show. Reading this book was like watching a great-bad movie like “Attack of the Crab Monsters” or the Brain From Planet Arous” or Neil Diamond acting opposite Sir Laurence Olivier in “The Jazz Singer.” She’s like mental-existential lounge music prose. I couldn’t help smiling and laughing throughout the entire book. I’m more amused that people feel she has some significant insights.
 
Here is someone who spends nearly all her time drinking coffee, eating horrid things like Tuscan bean soup, brown bread with olive oil reading obscure books, binge-watching detective shows, talking about her deep admiration for dead existential writers and suicidal Japanese writers, and masking analogies, metaphors, or similes the life around by comparing it to depressing books she’s read, and goes on vacations to visit graves of writers (Kinda a Club Dead instead of Club Med.), and takers stark black-and-white lifeless Polaroids of objects. She’s been to Sylvia Plath’s grave three times! Oh, she goers on about the oven Plath stuck her head in too! “Perhaps the next tenant got an impeccably clean range, a massive reliquary for a poet’s last reflection and a strand of light brown hair caught on a metal hinge.”
 
Yikes!
 
And belongs to the Continental Drift Club that is based on Alfred Wegener, who died during an expedition. She’s big on dead. Live for dead. She veers slightly when she meets Paul Bowles—he’s dying not dead yet. And in the photo she looks worse than him. Oh, her husband is also dead too.
 
And what prose: “I opt to follow William’s shadow snaking a winding medina bathed in flickering images of freestanding arthropods.”
 
Her writing thrives in describing desolation, which she is able to find everywhere. In Japan: “The rice fields, now unyielding, were covered with close to a million fish carcasses…a small Buddha in the snow near the water…”. In Tangiers: “passing a disabled bike, a stumbling burro, and a child brushing small stones from an injured knee.”
 
She constantly describes the object in her room and her clothes. The woman’s mind is a bad tag sale.
 
There’s a scene where he husband to be, says is she agrees to be married and have a child with him, he will take her anywhere in the world and this—yes, this is what she says:
“Without hesitation I chose Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni, a border town in northwest French Guiana on the North Atlantic coast of South America. I had long wished to see the remains of the French penal colony where hard-core criminals were once shipped before being transferred to Devil’s Island.”
 
I laughed and had to say, “And I thought I was the only one!”

 

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