Emily Scudder

Patti Smith has a Migraine

Outside a sold out event center, mostly women snake round
the city block, standing close in pairs or clusters of friends,
electronic tickets printed out gripped in middle aged hands.

You see the wind was blowing, the sun going down
on a blue September sky, unexpectedly fine.

Patti Smith has a migraine.
Black pants black boots black jacket white shirt.
Patti Smith wears black sunglasses not to be cool.
She can’t look at the light. She can’t read from her book. 

When your head hurts on a scale of 1 to 10.
When she rates it a 7
Then we’re in it together. All 400 of us.
If she has to leave, it’s ok. She’ll be back in 5 minutes.
She says. Let’s see how it goes.
She says. Music heals. She knows. 

I love this woman don’t ask me why. No, do ask. Do.
Pale wrists thin straight she raises her long hands fingers palms to us
then shifts her hips back right back left, barely, just enough to catch
the music into her body, to pull us into her years ago, her dark nights,
New York City back club body, lithe, speedy, Chelsea Hotel young.

Patti Smith is 70.
Her body so familiar. Like photos I’ve seen.
Patti Smith’s hands are beautiful.
Limbs lean hips wide now.
Her figure less boy more girl.

Patti Smith has a daughter
who drove to Boston to help her through.
Artist mom wife widow public private strong
female male and God. God. Her deep deep voice
Nose and long white hair. She is everywhere
claiming her loves losses pain joys marriage children.

Patti Smith is a mother. Just like a mother
She wants us to meet her daughter, holds her close round the waist.
Patti Smith is a mother with a migraine.
She apologizes for her dark glasses.
She apologizes for not reading from her book.
She apologizes for more things too.
Just like we women do.  

And today next week tomorrow I’m going to flatten my hands hold
them up palm out
And dance too, shift back hip to hip, trust my familiar, trust my groove. 

You see the wind was blowing, the sun going down on a blue September
sky, unexpectedly fine.