Danny Shot

Patti’s heroes are my heroes,
Rimbaud, Ginsberg, Dylan,
Burroughs, Corso, Houdini,
Joan of Arc, Marianne Faithful.
I must have found a few on my own.
Patti Smith is my hero.

I met her once, up close
at St Marks Poetry Project.
It was awkward.
I tried to give her a book of poems
by Jack Wiler entitled I Have No Clue.
Jack from Wenonah, a small town in South Jersey
Patti from Vineland or thereabouts
Jack 5 years older than me,
5 years younger than Patti,
(the first time I met Jack he said “I thought you
and Eliot Katz were old guys, Jesus Christ,
you’re just a kid. I was 22).
so I thought she might like the book

Anxious, I took a step towards Patti
handing the book to her.
She took a step back.
“This is a book,” I said. “I got a book for you.”
She took a step back.
“A book. For you. I got a book.”
Another step back.
“This is for you. A book.”
Allen Ginsberg, who was close by
came over and put his arm around me,
“this is my friend Danny, he wants to give you a book,”
with that he guided my hands forward to Patti
who reached out to take the book
a nervous smile on her face.
“Thanks,” she said before disappearing.

Today I’m reading M Train,
A book friends have warned me about,
“It’s not Just Kids you know.”
Maybe that’s why I like it better
as I discover new heroes
Thank you Patti Smith
spirit guide, hero.


DANNY SHOT was longtime publisher and editor of Long Shot arts and literary magazine, which he founded along with Eliot Katz in 1982 in New Brunswick, NJ. A resident of Hoboken, NJ (home of Frank Sinatra and baseball) where he is the poet-in-residence of the Hoboken Museum he has spent over 30 years as a New York City high school English teacher. His poems and stories have been widely anthologized and he’s performed his work everywhere.