DISPUTABLY 8TH STREET

DISPUTABLY 8TH STREET
W. 8th Street,
Greenwich Village, N.Y.
June 2018

PRIME RETAIL SPACE FOR LEASE
Domino’s
SPACE AVAILABLE
State Farm
PROFESSIONAL SPACE FOR RENT

This isn’t the Tangier souk of leopard-skin platform shoes and king-cobra water pipes I beelined to between “Investigative Reporting” and “Media in America” classes at NYU’s College of Arts & Science in the idiot wind years.

The wine bar below street level to the east of the corner of W. 8th and MacDougal?
That basement was the record store where I bought my first Velvet Underground album.
No, not that one.
I mean the two-LP 1969 Velvet Underground Live with Lou Reed. “We’re Gonna Have a Real Good Time Together” kicks off side two. I’d heard Patti Smith sing it twice, once in Princeton and once at Avery Fisher Hall, and didn’t know it was Lou’s song.

Across the street in the vacant space at No. 17: the second and final location of the Eighth Street Bookshop, where I picked up a copy of Seventh Heaven, a chapbook by Patti from Telegraph Books, which also published a little volume by Tom Clark, Ron Padgett, and Ted Berrigan titled Back in Boston Again, with a foreword by Aram Saroyan.

In Seventh Heaven is an elegy for Edie Sedgwick.
Patti misspells Edie’s last name S-e-d-g-e-w-i-c-k.
What I took to be an error I see now from a different point of view.
Maybe the second “e” was by design.
Maybe it was an act of love by Patti, a memorial gift for the deceased amphetamine girl.
Maybe she wanted Andy’s star-crossed doppelgänger to have something in death she couldn’t have in life, and in her scrounging-for-pennies just kids days, that “e” was all Patti had to offer.

–Joel Allegretti


Poetry

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