Roman Holiday

Album: I am Easy to Find (2019)


  • A "Roman Holiday" is deriving of pleasure or self-satisfaction from others' suffering or discomfort. In this song, the Roman Holiday is the relationship between the singer Patti Smith and her lover Robert Mapplethorpe. When Mapplethorpe realized he was gay, they kept their bond in a platonic fashion until his death from AIDS in 1989.

    I'm your hospital, I'm your silver cross
    Tell me what to be, tell me how to talk
    Patti wasn't lonely, Robert wasn't lost
    Put me on a rope, take me for a walk
  • This song had two inspirations:

    1) Patti Smith 1969-1976, Judy Linn's book of Patti Smith photos. National frontman Matt Berninger explained to Pitchfork: "A lot of the imagery in it is of Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe when they were really young, just hanging out in their apartment: dressing up, taking pictures of each other, looking cool. It's such a beautiful portrait of pals, such a romance.

    2) A comment on Patti Smith's Instagram that she sent to somebody who had just lost someone to suicide: "Please think the best of him."

    Berninger said: "I found it incredibly moving. I was just obsessed with her kindness and her wisdom in the face of so many sad things."


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