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seventh heaven

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Oh Raphael. Guardian angel. In love and crime
all things move in sevens. seven compartments
in the heart. the seven elaborate temptations.
seven devils cast from Mary Magdalene whore
of Christ. the seven marvelous voyages of Sinbad.
sin/bad. And the number seven branded forever
on the forehead of Cain. The first inspired man.
The father of desire and murder. But his was not
the first ecstasy. Consider his mother.

Eve's was the crime of curiosity. As the saying
goes: it killed the pussy. One bad apple spoiled
the whole shot. But be sure it was no apple.
An apple looks like an ass. It's fags' fruit.
It must have been a tomato.
Or better yet. A mango.
She bit. Must we blame her. abuse her.
poor sweet bitch. perhaps there's more to the story.
think of Satan as some stud.
maybe her knees were open.
satan snakes between them.
they open wider
snakes up her thighs
rubs against her for a while
more than the tree of knowledge was about
to be eaten...she shudders her first shudder
pleasure pleasure garden
was she sorry
are we ever girls
was she a good lay
god only knows

Patti Smith, "seventh heaven" from Early Work 1970-1979. Copyright © 1994 by Patti Smiith.  Used by permission of the author and W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. This selection may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher.
Source: EARLY WORK: 1970-1979 (W. W. Norton and Company Inc., 1994)
seventh heaven

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  • Singer, songwriter, playwright, and poet, Patti Smith has been influenced by artists as diverse as Arthur Rimbaud, Bob Dylan, Antonin Artaud, Jimi Hendrix, William Blake, and the Rolling Stones. As a high school student she was interested in jazz and poetry, and her early creative works were poems. Drawn to the act of performing her work, she read her poems with a guitarist, eventually adding an entire band.

    Smith first published her poems in 1972, the same year she co-wrote a play, Cowboy Mouth, with Sam Shepard. Since then she has published a number of collections of verse, including Babel (1978), Early Work, 1970–1979 (1994), The Coral Sea (1996), and Patti Smith Complete: Lyrics, Reflections & Notes for the Future (1998).

    Smith writes in a stream-of-consciousness style, often meditating on questions of mortality and faith. Of her 2008 Auguries of Innocence, critic Donna Seaman wrote that Smith “presents...

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