“…She is Benediction…”

When I was 17, I was lost. I know now that I had been lost for a very long time but at 17 as a Freshman at the University of Iowa, I knew; I was lost.

I was no longer at home and had freedom for the first time in my life. I was finally the Mistress of My Destiny. For the first time, I felt only responsible for myself.

My Freshman year of college was a childhood I never had.

I had been straight edge up to this point. I was an uber responsible successful high school student and I had little time to Mess Around. My Freshman year I had time to goof off. I worked close to 40 hours a week and was paying for school myself, but I was free.

I found one of the most inspirational mothers that year in a record store, BJ Records,  above a bar I had begun to frequent.

Patti Smith. I knew her one and only mainstream tune from high school and though I enjoyed it I had NO idea what this tiny and disheveled Poet/Punk Legend could do.

I bought the album Easter.  I heard Babelougue.

I was hooked.

I read what I could find about her. Patti Smith had given up her successful career at its height to marry and raise her babies. She left NYC and the Village and moved to Detroit with her husband, Fred “Sonic” Smith, a Punk legend in his own right. She was always Straight Edge; I admired that but was finding it hard to walk that path.

I was discovering my feminism and the way I figured it, being a feminist meant I could make my decisions based on my desires. I was surprised to find writers who criticized Patti Smith for making the decision to leave her rightful place on the Tattered Throne of Punk in America for the mundane existence of a mother.

I thought to myself, “Man, Shes got Balls!”  I wanted to be like her.

Her poetry sang out of the pages without the need to open the book. Her guitar and her voice sent me into my future. I could be anything I wanted to be.  She proved that to me.

Patti Smith is one of my Mothers, she is also a hero of mine. She is a Poet, Musician, Mother and Activist. She is a Hefty role model and that is a good thing.

As a mother now, I see very clearly why she left the Village and her Throne at CBGB’s for a home in Detroit with the man she loved to raise  her children; there is no higher calling.

Johnny Depp, Eddie Vedder and Patti Smith performed at  a benefit to raise both money for the legal fund and awareness for the  West Memphis Three: three young men wrongfully accused of murder. Their conviction has now been overturned.

This is Right Use of Power in my opinion. Patti Smith has always been an outspoken advocate for the disenfranchised in our communities.  The above clip is taken from one of the benefit concerts

Read more here:


Written by Patti Smith, a recent winner of the National Book Award for her book Just Kids


When I am troubled in the night he comes to comfort me. He wills me thru the darkness and the empty child is free to take his hand his sacred heart the heart that breaks the dawn. Amen. And when I think I’ve had my fill he fills up again.

Seven Ways of Going

I’ve got seven ways of going, seven wheres to be,

seven sweet disguises, seven ways of serving Thee.

Lord, I do extol Thee, for Thou has lifted me.

Woke me up and shook me out of mine iniquity.

Oh, I was undulating in the lewd impostered night.

Steeped in a dream to rend the seams to redeem the rock of right.

Swept through the seas of Galilee and the Seven Hills of Rome.

Seven sins were wrung from the sight of me,

lo I turned my neck toward home.

Ah, I opened up my arms to You, and we spun from life to life,

’til you loosened me and let me go toward the everlasting light.

In this big step I am taking seven seizures for the true.

I got seven ways of going, seven ways of serving You.

As I move thru seven levels

As I move upon the slate

As I declare to you

The number of my moves

As I speculate the eighth

Seeking love without exception

A light upon the swarm

Seeking love without exception

A saint in any form.

Dancing Barefoot: Lyrics

she is benediction

she is addicted to thee

she is the root connection

she is connecting with he

here I go and I don’t know why

I fell so ceaselessly

could it be he’s taking over me…

I’m dancing barefoot

heading for a spin

some strange music draws me in

makes me come on like some heroin/e

she is sublimation

she is the essence of thee

she is concentrating on

he, who is chosen by she

here I go and I don’t know why

I spin so ceaselessly,

could it be he’s taking over me…


she is re-creation

she, intoxicated by thee

she has the slow sensation that

he is levitating with she …

here I go and I don’t know why,

I spin so ceaselessly,

’til I lose my sense of gravity…


(oh god I fell for you …)

the plot of our life sweats in the dark like a face

the mystery of childbirth, of childhood itself

grave visitations

what is it that calls to us?

why must we pray screaming?

why must not death be redefined?

we shut our eyes we stretch out our arms

and whirl on a pane of glass

an afixiation a fix on anything the line of life the limb of a tree

the hands of he and the promise that s/he is blessed among women.

(oh god I fell for you …)

~ by Step On a Crack on October 26, 2011.

3 Responses to ““…She is Benediction…””

  1. Jen, really amazing. I feel connected to you in so many ways. I remember your job at BJ Records. I didn’t know PS hung out there — or worked there. I’m glad you posted … i know you were on “break”. I’m danglin’ a little too with the STUFF that comes up (not literally)– putting a name on our shit … and facing the new world … feels naked and scary sometimes.

    You’ve always been awesome…. like Patti — whatever incarnation you chose to take on — you will excel. You’ll always be you; awesome.

    Love m


  2. Holy cow! My favorite musicians (although it’d be cool if tom Waits was there too) jamming together! i had no idea about this story, which kind of surprises me because i used to be crazy into this kind of thing. i guess my years out of the States are becoming telling…

    Anyway, thanks so much for today’s history lesson. You’re my favorite teacher!


    • I am just the messenger, Man. The West Memphis 3 are FREE thanks to some amazing work by a collective of artists and musicians. THAT Is Perfect and THAT is the Power of the Word! Waits: Master with the Word and the Notes. I love his stuff. Maybe being out of the country is a good thing. Maybe you are in Shangri la where Freedom is NOT being dismantled as we speak; can you say, “embedded journalists?” It is rough over here IF you are paying attention. That old Bill of Rights is getting its run for the money. Full Disclosure: I worked in electoral politics for WAY to long and see Politics as Blood Sport. Politics IS my sport and I am NOT betting heavy on a big win for anyone coming out the next gate. Between corporate America and the Christian Right, We are dangerously close to the need for a revolution. ‘Transperency in the White House?’ Give me a break, what happened? We had a shot and we blew it. OK said my peace. I will keep my politics to myself now. Right, sure I will. Peace, Jen


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