The Coral Sea
In linked pieces Patti Smith tells the story of a man on a journey to see the Southern Cross, who is reflecting on his life and fighting the illness that is consuming him. Metaphoric and dreamy, this tale of transformation arises from Smith's knowledge of Mapplethorpe as a young man and as a mature artist, his close relationship with his patron and friend, Sam Wagstaff, and his years surviving AIDS and his ascent into death. Rich in detail, it is filled with references to Mapplethorpe's work and shows the man beneath the persona. Set against photographs by Mapplethorpe, the work emerges as a hymn, a prayer, a fable wishing him Godspeed on his latest journey.
"She was once our savage Rimbaud, but suffering has turned her into our St. John of the Cross, a mystic full of compassion."--Edmund White
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To the Reader
achieve his goal adored adventure aria arms Bed of Roses bells sounded beloved black crepe blue and burning breath brought aboard brush burning into form cabin Captain coat Coral Sea Cupid deer eyes delicate desire destiny dine dreaming dress boot dressed in Egyptian Edward Maxey enter Estate of Robert eyes and smiled feel felt feverish garden girl glow green hair heavy mists Herculean Moth ignored nature jewel leaves Light Play Lynn Davis manservant marble mischievous Morpheus mortal's muscles were contracting night opened his eyes orchid Passenger Patti Smith pedestal petals Pitcher pluck precious presence opened Reproduced by permission ribbon Robert Mapplethorpe scent scolded seemed sensing my presence shadows shirt shoes shoulder skin skull sleep sleeve Small hands Solomon Islands soul Southern Cross Southern Hemisphere spun stood tears throw tiny turned Uncle uncle's wave weeping wild wind wings wished worn young youth