Just Kids Question #8 - Patti and Allen

by Patti Smith

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Just Kids Question #8 - Patti and Allen

Unread postby Liz » Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:32 am

Pg. 123:

I got my tray and slipped in my coins but the window wouldn’t open. I tried again without luck and then I noticed the price had gone up to sixty-five cents. I was disappointed, to say the least, when I heard a voice say, “Can I help?”

I turned around and it was Allen Ginsberg. We had never met but there was no mistaking the face of one of our great poets and activists. I looked into those intense dark eyes punctuated by his dark curly beard and just nodded. Allen added the extra dime and also stood me to a cup of coffee. I wordlessly followed him to his table, and then plowed into the sandwich.

Allen introduced himself. He was talking about Walt Whitman and I mentioned I was raised near Camden, where Whitman was buried, when he leaned forward and looked at me intently. “Are you a girl?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I said. “Is that a problem?”

He just laughed. “I’m sorry. I took you for a very pretty boy.”

I got the picture immediately.

“Well, does this mean I return the sandwich?”

“No, enjoy it. It was my mistake.”

He told me he was writing a long elegy for Jack Kerouac, who had recently passed away. “Three days after Rimbaud’s birthday,” I said. I shook his hand and we parted company.

Sometime later Allen became my good friend and teacher. We often reminisced about our first encounter and he once asked how I would describe how we met. “I would say you fed me when I was hungry,” I told him. And he did.


Comment on Patti’s first encounter with Allen Ginsberg.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: Just Kids Question #8 - Patti and Allen

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Tue Aug 27, 2013 2:19 am

First of all its quite amusing, he evidently thought she was a pretty young man :lol: but not too disappointed that she wasn't after all.
I don't know how famous Ginsberg was at that point so I don't know if it would have been that easy to recognise him then or whether she is saying that with hindsight. I suppose if you were into his works you may have been familiar with a photo of him.

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Re: Just Kids Question #8 - Patti and Allen

Unread postby Liz » Tue Aug 27, 2013 11:14 pm

I think he was already well known in certain circles. She certainly knew of him - but she was a poet. It was over 10 years after Howl and Jack Kerouac was dead.
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Re: Just Kids Question #8 - Patti and Allen

Unread postby Theresa » Tue Aug 27, 2013 11:26 pm

Allen introduced himself. He was talking about Walt Whitman and I mentioned I was raised near Camden, where Whitman was buried, when he leaned forward and looked at me intently. “Are you a girl?” he asked.

I had to chuckle a bit at this part. I can just imagine the conversation moving along and then....that question.

I think that would be a great ice-breaker for anyone who might be the slightest bit intimidated by a famous personality.

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Re: Just Kids Question #8 - Patti and Allen

Unread postby Liz » Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:06 am

I thought it was hilarious. It would have made a great scene in a movie.
To me, it was like a modern day Doris Day in the Automat, with a twist. But I still don't get how so many people thought Patti was androgynous. I keep reminding myself that back then her hairstyle was not "the style" for women. Although, the shaggy look did become fashionable in 1971....but the angle (or emphasis) of the shag was different. In the 80s I don't think anyone would have questioned her gender or orientation.
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The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: Just Kids Question #8 - Patti and Allen

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:07 am

Liz wrote:I thought it was hilarious. It would have made a great scene in a movie.
To me, it was like a modern day Doris Day in the Automat, with a twist. But I still don't get how so many people thought Patti was androgynous. I keep reminding myself that back then her hairstyle was not "the style" for women. Although, the shaggy look did become fashionable in 1971....but the angle (or emphasis) of the shag was different. In the 80s I don't think anyone would have questioned her gender or orientation.

I think you could probably think she might be, maybe it was what she was wearing.
Btw she talks alot about pegged pants. What are they?

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Re: Just Kids Question #8 - Patti and Allen

Unread postby Liz » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:17 am

This is the current version of pegged pants:



This is the 80s version - meaning tightly rolled up pants:



This latter version is a style that my artist buddies and I wore in college in the mid-late 70s also. Not so tightly rolled, but rolled jeans nonetheless.
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Re: Just Kids Question #8 - Patti and Allen

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:11 am

Liz wrote:This is the current version of pegged pants:



This is the 80s version - meaning tightly rolled up pants:



This latter version is a style that my artist buddies and I wore in college in the mid-late 70s also. Not so tightly rolled, but rolled jeans nonetheless.

Thanks Liz, I kept wodering every time she mentioned them and just didn't get round to looking them up :lol: Don't remember that being a style over here or maybe it just didn't have a name here or I didn't know anyone who wore them like that, who knows :lol:


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