I remember my first time at Benjamin’s home, my first time in Atlanta. It was late night, after a Smoke show. He and some friends were hanging out in his room, talking, laughing, smoking. I barely knew him and still don’t understand why I was invited. M.A
This book is a tribute to Benjamin, singer, poet and figure of the American underground, and to Cabbageton, a poor neighbourhood in Atlanta. Designed as a scrapbook, it combines photographs by Michael Ackerman, pages of Benjamin's notes and archive documents, with texts by Jem Cohen and Patti Smith. It reveals the infinite grace, urgency, delicacy and frenzy of a forgotten man and an era.
He was brilliant, charismatic, funny and tender. I sat in the corner, amazed and intimidated and I stayed quiet. Maybe I took a few pictures, maybe not. At about 4 in the morning, I went to sleep on the floor in another room. A few hours later I woke up, looked in his room and saw him asleep, also on the floor, in front of his bed. Now, 27 years later, I try to remember how I felt seeing him laying there so fragile. I did take a picture then, and I picked him up in my arms and carried him to his bed and I went out into the daylight to discover Cabbagetown. Michael Ackerman