MODALITIES OF THE BROKEN
Patti Smith fucked up A Hard Rain in Stockholm.
Then, she wrote about fucking it up
for The New Yorker.
We should all be so lucky.
I bounce a check.
You electrocute the rabbit.
The marinara gets burned.
So you sit down on the back porch with a yellow legal pad
and pen a rumination about the beauty of mistakes,
about the vulnerability of a moment
and how it can drive you to smash up the Caddy,
about how life’s majesties
are in the modalities of the broken.
Then you send it off to The New York Times and 100,000 people read it and think,
Oh, what a maverick, what a visionary.
When Bob Dylan sang A Hard Rain at The Town Hall in 1963
he didn’t miss a g chord,
didn’t forget one 100 drummers,
or men with their bloody hammers.
He got it all.
Didn’t fuck up one line.
Patti Smith has a blue-eyed son.
I have a blue-eyed daughter.
The microphones all across the world
are blue eyes of sound.
So, Patti, we love you,
but when you stand up in front of the world
to sing A Hard Rain
and fuck it up,
just fuck it up
and be done with it
because the rain never fucks up.
It fucks us up
because it is
MATTHEW LIPPMAN is the author of 4 poetry collections – The New Year of Yellow, American Chew, Salami Jew, and Monkey Bars. He lives in Boston and teaches high school English and Creative Writing.