Patti Smith has penned a moving essay in tribute to the late Tom Verlaine of Television for The New Yorker. An excerpt reads:

He lived twenty-eight minutes from where I was raised. We could easily have sauntered into the same Wawa on the Wilmington-South Jersey border in search of Yoo-hoo or Tastykakes. We might have met, two black sheep, on some rural stretch, each carrying books of the poetry of French Symbolists—but we didn’t. Not until 1973, on East Tenth Street, across from St. Mark’s Church, where he stopped me and said, “You’re Smith.” He had long hair, and we clocked each other, both echoing the future, both wearing clothes they didn’t wear anymore. I noticed the way his long arms hung, and his equally long and beautiful hands, and then we went our separate ways. That was, until Easter night, April 14, 1974. Lenny Kaye and I took a rare taxi ride from the Ziegfeld Theatre after seeing the première of “Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones,” straight down to the Bowery to see a new band called Television.

The club was CBGB. There were only a handful of people present, but Lenny and I were immediately taken with it, with its pool table and narrow bar and low stage. What we saw that night was kin, our future, a perfect merging of poetry and rock and roll. As I watched Tom play, I thought, Had I been a boy, I would’ve been him.

I went to see Television whenever they played, mostly to see Tom, with his pale blue eyes and swanlike neck. He bowed his head, gripping his Jazzmaster, releasing billowing clouds, strange alleyways populated with tiny men, a murder of crows, and the cries of bluebirds rushing through a replica of space. All transmuted through his long fingers, all but strangling the neck of his guitar.

She later added, "In his last days, he had the selfless support of devoted friends. Having no children, he welcomed the love he received from my daughter, Jesse, and my son, Jackson." Read the entire thing here.

See other tributes to Tom Verlaine here.

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