Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ask the Angels

This story starts a long time ago- yep...way back in the 70's, when platform shoes and shag haircuts were in fashion..(oh wait..that could be today) in 1976 a very young Synde was becoming fascinated with the growing punk scene in New York City and London. Primarily NYC, but London had the angst ridden politics of the Clash and the Sex Pistols. One of my favorite albums that year was Radio Ethiopia by the Patti Smith Group. It was an uplifting thought provoking mix of music and poetics. As an artist myself no other musician has connected with me artistically the way Patti does. Her words resonate deep within my being. Enough so that my 16 year old self wrote her a letter, telling her so. Not a gushy fangirl letter, rather a missive- the letter from one artist to someone who inspires.
Less than a month later, I received a letter back. The envelope was hand addressed in a tiny scrawling cursive. The letter inside also handwritten began with a line so awesomely Patti, that I still laugh today thinking about it. “Dear Synde- your letter was so positive I ate it for lunch.” Come on now! How cool is that? She went on to offer advice to that would be poet and journalist that changed my course in life.

After highschool I was studying to become a vet, but I left school (don't worry I went back later in life) and turned it in for a life of music and writing.

Five or six years later while working in New York City, I got to meet Patti, at CBGB's no less..(if you don't know about CBGB's google it..YOU SHOULD know!) She was kind and soft spoken but with a rapier wit. She told me she hoped “ I'd eaten her reply” I told her of course I hadn't, but rather that I had in fact framed the letter. She laughed and said “ it will taste better with age I hope!”

I ran into her a few more times over the years and each time she has asked about my career, what I am reading and what I am listening to. Sometimes we talk about both our connections to Jim Morrison.

The last time I saw her(2004) I gave her a necklace I'd made her..”don't eat it though” I laughed.

Patti continues to be a an unwitting mentor to me. Two weeks ago upon returning to LA I finally sent her a poem I'd written. She responded via email(how times change) telling me it was in her office.

She said it gave her hope and she was going to keep it there...WOW my poem sits in Patti Smith's office..Life holds little surprises for us all doesn't it?

**Don't they see when they're looking at me,

that I never end...transcend, transcend...

anit it strange.....****


  1. cool story - i can totally see you in new york... xo


  2. That is sooooo wonderful! I have only basked in the glory of Patti once, but it was also the first time I saw Alan Moore perform and then Tilda Swinton showed up, so I was in heaven. I think Patti could have played all night, jamming on her clarinet. Wonderful night.