“Patti and Robert and Sam”
This poem was originally published on The Pittsburgher’s predecessor, The Dog Door Cultural.
When I lived in Chelsea I walked down to the hotel they once lived in
then I went to Gristede’s in search of the meat of the skeleton building
I think once he said Sam Shepard is a god
and I never learned not to take him seriously.
He studied playwriting by reading his plays
and I studied his face as he flipped through the pages.
I knew how it ends even before he told me
because he had two names and he played in a band.
Just too many kids there owned my favourite book
and I saw the cover through windows of bookstores.
It’s hard to share something you love to your bones
and just as hard to admit it has poisoned your flesh
We each kept our book on the nightstand and reread them religiously
but he also kept the Holy Bible and I had Patti Smith’s early poetry
He and I once took the subway to the Guggenheim museum
and I was so elated they were showing Robert Mapplethorpe.
Then you met us there and we walked up to the gallery
and escalated into the future of a business that destroys.
I knew how it ends even before you told me
because I knew you first and he liked me last.
Months later you said you had bought my favourite book
on the very day you went to see True West on the West End.
It’s hard to share something you love, and we both did
but since then you barely took pictures of me on your film
And I let you read less of my poems, so I guess we cannot be like Robert and Patti
I wonder when you read the book did you think about when you and I lived in Chelsea ▲
Viola Ugolini is graduating from King's College London in Liberal Arts with a major in Film Studies and a minor in English. She writes poems and songs, or turns songs into poems and poems into songs, to search for the better ending.