M Train

Patti Smith
Year of publication
When I read it
October 2015
What I thought

So very good

Choice Highlights

I’m sure I could write endlessly about nothing. If only I had nothing to say.

There were no cafés where I grew up but they existed within my books and flourished in my daydreams.

We endured a parallel existence, shuttling back and forth between New York and Detroit, brief rendezvous that always ended in wrenching separations.

When he embraced an idea he looked at things from every angle.

Packed prudently, our bags were quite manageable.

The bathroom was narrow and candlelit with a few fresh flowers in a small vase resting atop the toilet tank. Like a tiny Mexican chapel, one that you could piss in without feeling blasphemous.

She had a dusty appearance, as if she had emerged from the bowels of a foundry.

I stayed in Berlin a few more days, revisiting places where I had already been, taking pictures I had already shot.

By the time I got back to New York I had forgotten why I’d left.

A thick torpor coupled with a surprisingly internal luminosity gave me the impression I had been overcome with a numinous malady transmitted by the Berlin and London fog.

We drank tepid coffee and engaged in a semi-successful cultural conversation.

I badly needed coffee, so I entered a small café and took a seat. Unfortunately the Silver Moon Café was not a café at all, but once entered, it was nearly impossible to leave.

I had accomplished my mission, losing only one pair of glasses.

My real estate lawyer attempted to sway me against buying the bungalow due to its ramshackle state and questionable resale value. He failed to comprehend that these were positive qualities in my book.

Later at my hotel I heard gulls screaming and watched as two of them plunged toward the recesses of the tilted crown of the great roof outside my terrace. I believe they were conjugating or whatever bird fucking is called, but after a while they were silent, so either they were satisfied or had died trying.

I loved my coat and the café and my morning routine. It was the clearest and simplest expression of my solitary identity.

On the whole I thought more than I wrote, wishing I could just transmit straightaway to the page. When I was young I had the notion to think and write simultaneously, but I could never keep up with myself.

Behind her smile I could see so many other things, a catastrophic sadness.

I wrote to give myself something to read.

There were books lining the walls and halls, books that I knew and books I wished to know.