Tom Verlaine and Patti Smith
Tom Verlaine and Patti Smith, 1975 | Credit: Charlie Steiner/Getty Images

Patti Smith Shares Memories of Her Close Friend, the Late Tom Verlaine

Patti Smith has written a heartfelt obituary to her friend and one-time partner, Tom Verlaine. Verlaine was the singer, guitarist and front person for the highly acclaimed and influential art rock band Television. He is reported to have suffered a brief illness before dying last Saturday, 28th January at the age of 73.

Smith, in her inimitable prose-poetical style, describes the beginnings of Verlaine’s life as an artist. “Born Thomas Joseph Miller,” she writes, “he left his parental home and shed his name, a discarded skin curled in the corner of a modest garage among stacks of used air-conditioners that required his father’s constant professional attention.”

Television – Marquee Moon

Smith remembers seeing Television for the first time at the 70s rock’n’roll nightclub CBGB in New York City. “What we saw that night was kin, our future, a perfect merging of poetry and rock and roll,” she writes, adding a sense of aspirational envy: “As I watched Tom play, I thought, Had I been a boy, I would’ve been him.”

Smith reflects on their early days in New York, sharing poetry and creating together, playing shows and laying the foundation of their relationship.

“There was no one like Tom. He possessed the child’s gift of transforming a drop of water into a poem that somehow begat music […] And he, the boy who never grew up, aloft the Omega, a golden filament in the vibrant violet light.”

Read the full obituary here.

Further Reading

Tom Verlaine, Guitarist And Vocalist Of Television, Dies At 73

Patti Smith Calls For Sacrifice And Change In Face Of “Environmental Pandemic”

Patti Smith: 10 Essential Tracks

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