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...and they lived happily ever after. Smith & Lady: poets, artists, photographers & adventurers.
Our relationship was forged to the soundtrack of Yoko Ono's magic,
frenetic, love-laden song, "Walking On Thin Ice." ( play song )
 
   
 
 

Archive for September, 2006

kathy tree 4 sale

Saturday, September 30th, 2006

foto by smith

as you see from the foto above, kathys do grow as trees. you too can own your own kathy tree. by good fortune, i happen to have a fresh batch of kathy tree seedlings available for sale. be warned – they must be fenced since they tend to grow their own way, are self willed, and will think for themselves.  however they are delightful and well worth this extra trouble. fine print: kathys may not grow well in republican households, fundamentalist flat earth domains, places placing premiums on premiums, hypocritical habitats, or with the television visionless, the unkind, dishonest, short sighted, closed minded. they are also slow growing… took 32 years for mine to ripen.

leftover notebook notes in no particular odor:

turkish waiter asked if we were canadian. told him american. he apologized. i said don’t bother, no problem. he said it was odd, but when he mistook americans for canadians, they were never upset, but when he mistook canadians for americans, they always became very upset. told him i well understood why.

mcnasty’s – mcmediocre food, mcmediocre music, large cups of so-so mcamerican mccoffee, pretty decent mcfries.

parked along the krakow streets: renaults, skodas, fiats, fords, peugeots, mercedes benzs, citroens.

she asked what i wanted. told her a chair to sit in, a hole to hide in. i want fast guns and big cars (or was that fast cars and big guns?) so we can turn to a life of crime and rob english banks after the funds run out. figure we can survive for 2 years if she-god doesn’t get tricky and we don’t get fuelish.

kurt schwitters, one of the first collage/assemblage genius painters 90 years ago, at a poetry reading sat a photograph of adolf hitler on a stand in front of the audience and said to them if they liked his poetry, not to applaud, but to spit at the foto instead. he had to flee the country, then flee the country he fled to.

pop down one monkey head, another pops up.

the spiny nipple nut.

merkin – a pubic wig for women - from 1610 … why? 

flesh cannot stop my pain.

 

woolly land lambs and saber-toothed teethies

Saturday, September 30th, 2006

foto by smith

she’s my red top hot slot, my mamba mobile mama with the big brain history train.

she said the english moors used to have trees but they were cut down and sheep introduced which kept eating the saplings trying to grow, so no more trees – just heathcliff roaming the moor’s less calling for “stella” in the night.

i asked where did the sheep come from, cuz back then it was all dinosaurs and carnivorous moss – were there saber-toothed sheep?

she said they came from woolly mammoths (of course).

i asked how the woolly mammoths got so small, but the answer came to me: when the ice age arrived and it got colder, there was less food, so everything had to get small (like steve martin). big woolly mammoths became small woolly sheep, dinosaurs became birds, and saber-tooth tigers became kittens.

but this is not the hole story. see, it’s all sea evolution.

the sea got crowded, dangerous with the “lam”s in this complicated see-saw… there were the woolly sea lambs, and the sea lamps they used to light the sea to see – but then came the sea lampreys, which preyed on the sea lambs beneath the sea lamp light. so the sea lambs crawled out onto the lambless land, shook their woolly baa booties in woolly disco thyme and became land lambs.

of course this was the moldy oldie days before mock n mold when corporate dinosaurs roamed the bottom line – so the land lambs grew large, with big sword teethies, and were known fur and white as woolly saber-tooth land lambs – that’s where land lines came from, by the way, before modems and broadbands and muttonchops.

(the modem evolution came thru a modern dance in a modest museum in a moment of myopic mayhem to a mutton… but that’s a more modest mumbling, to be mangled in another story lie.)

 

Food (by request)

Friday, September 29th, 2006

sample (foto by Lady)

A friend asked me to write about food.

I made Monastery Lentil Soup tonight. We feel virtuous and nourished. In his last post, Steve shared his recipe for liquid copper corrosion. So at the end of post I’ll share the recipe for the soup.

Ah, it’s good to have two burners and a fridge and a toaster in this studio apartment. But there’s no stove, so I can’t do any roasting or baking.

**

People sell fruit & veggies everywhere in Krakow. I can walk a couple hundred feet from our apartment in Kazimierz and I have access to an awesome market with fresh herbs and GOOD tomatoes. People even set up shop in the cracks between buildings. Produce is everywhere.

The first week here we bought a particular street food every morning. It’s a loop of dough, kind of a cross between a bagel and a pretzel. It’s chewy, so it takes a while to eat and it satisfies. And occasionally I can get one fresh baked, hot. My favorite comes covered in poppy seed, which I’ve discovered I like even more than sesame.

The main square in Krakow: full of restaurants and more of those crazy pretzel stands. And sometimes people selling fresh popped popcorn or even boiled corn-on-the-cob.

And the square’s good for free entertainment. Steve and I discovered the versatility of the accordion. A group of musicians make the circuit round the outdoor cafes, playing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons on accordions! (Also the night we heard Urban Jellen Test, one of the opening acts was a fabulously sexy and talented accordion player. Her voice and music haunts.)

And there are more of those silver and gold spray-painted people, who pose like statues and let you take their picture for a coin dropped into a box.

**

Food’s crazy cheap. My favorite thing is to buy a pint each of blueberries and raspberries and gorge, loading my oatmeal or my ice cream with nutritious cheap good fruit.

We found a superstore today, TESCO. Bigger than anything I’ve been to before, but strange in the scope of its offerings. Many, many baskets of cruciferous and root vegetables, twisted white turnip things. From what’s generally offered in the stores, it seems there’s not much desire to cook anything other than Polish or Italian cuisine. The Knorr brand is REALLY BIG here.

At the Polish TESCO, there are many choices in things such as canned whipped cream. You can buy chocolate whipped cream, which is very important, I think. We thought about it, but I’d already bought a toothpaste tube of Karmelowe Mleko topping for my ice cream. I’m only allowed so many indulgences at a time.

**

Cheese lovers do well in Europe, especially in the Netherlands. Get it right from the country which makes it, and save a bundle on import costs.

In Amsterdam, it was too expensive to eat at a restaurant. So we went nuts buying food in the supermarket. One morning we had cocktail shrimp on fresh croissants, gouda cheese. We ate outside the supermarket or in the main square every sun-silvered morning, and it was blessed. Oh, happy happy life!

**

Here’s a receipt from a couple days ago at a medium-size grocery store in Krakow. (Please realize, we buy fruit & veggies from the stands – so this is not a proper sample of our diet!)

MLEKO KONECKIE SW (caramel toothpaste) 2.09
Kolecz.z owsa Che (cheerios?) 4.99
KAVA Z KOGUTKIEM (Coffee of the Cock, our favorite brand) 4.29
Rosol Kogutec dro (chicken bouillon) 1.99
Orzechy ziemne so (peanuts) 1.99
Pomidory BK bez s (2 cans of plum tomatoes) 2.38
R Rajstopy Lycra (lycra stockings) 1.59
MORLINY BOCZEK B (bacon) 4.19
Ser Edamski Warmi (edam cheese slices) 2.99
POLGRUNT SOCZEWIC (lentils) 2.90
Workt na sm. LD gr (milk?) 1.99
SWEET TOP SLODZIK (Nutrasweet) 3.10
Maslo Smietankowe (butter, about 2 sticks) 1.99
Ciastka Wiatracz (2 pkgs. oatmeal cookies) 2.59
Jajka w opakowani (eggs) 2.39
CHLEB SLONECZNIKO (small loaf of dense, sourdough-like bread) 2.39
Ser Mozzarella w (2-3 chunks fresh mozz cheese) 2.99

Grand total 52.13 (about $17.20 USD)

**

And here’s the recipe:

MONASTERY LENTIL SOUP

1/4 C olive oil
2 red onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
fresh herbs, preferably thyme & marjoram to taste. Today I used about one cup total of basil, chives, parsley and rosemary. I dice everything except the parsley. I throw in entire parsley sprigs because it’s pretty.)
1 to 2 chicken bouillon chunks
2-4 cups water
2 cans plum tomatoes. Chop tomatoes in half when adding them to the soup.
1 C washed dry lentils
splash white wine or sherry
cheese of choice

Lightly salt and saute onions, garlic and carrots in olive oil until onions become translucent. (Italians lengthen this process. They first saute the garlic, then add the onions until translucent, then the carrots. They call this “to make tasty” or insaporire.) Add fresh herbs and saute 2 more minutes. Add lentils, tomatoes (plus their liquid) and two cups water and 1 cube bouillon. Add more water if necessary to cover solid ingredients.

Bring to a boil, and then let simmer. Sample occasionally – add other cube of bouillon only if really, really necessary. Add more water if soup evaporates too much.

Let simmer for at least 1.5 hours if not longer. Lentils should be cooked long enough such that one isn’t grossed out by a sandpapery texture.

After done cooking, splash in white wine or sherry – usually just 1/4 to 1/2 C.

Garnish servings with cheese. Parmesan is good if the soup is not too salty, otherwise I like swiss.
 

 

art secrets: liquid blue corrosion

Friday, September 29th, 2006

art/foto by smith 

lots of folk ask how i create the blue wax-like finish in my art.

i share this formula with any who desire it… my dead mom mother dwarf smith used it, my dead brother cat smith used it, my live wife the lovely lady kathy ireland smith uses it – i use it.
 
lets say a pint of Liquitex Matte Medium (or gloss, or the cheaper roplex, or any acrylic polymer medium which dries clear)… add 1/4 teaspoon of copper powder or gold powder or brass powder (we get it at an art supply store, or sometimes a sign supply store)… add 1/4 teaspoon of salt… may or may not add a wee bit of water… shake vigorously… starts to turn blue almost immediately, but keeps turning for awhile.

any of the above measurements may be varied – i never make it the same way twice… too fond of chance, and hate to run a run course.
 
the water makes the goo much runnier but also bluer.  i work flat on the ground. sometimes paint it on, frequently pour it on. use it as glue and drop stuff in it. good trick is to cover pot metal or rust with it – rust rusts thru due to salt and turns quite orange… pot metals oxidize whitish, sometimes with yellow bubbles of sulfur depending on cheapness and manufacturing process.

the various copper, gold, brass powders oxidize different shades of blue, blue-green, green.
 
the oxidation process changes over months, slowly assuming different shade, etc, so you’re using chance, chemistry, perhaps physics, and time as art elements – which tickles my little zen brain no end.
 
thin layers are transluscent, can be read thru. can also pour into cookie molds and have copper objects, but they are pliable so need reinforcement.
 
everyone is welcome to this process cuz we all go different ways no matter what we try to do.

 

nam myoho renge kyo

Friday, September 29th, 2006

foto by smith

i say my 40 yr old nam-myoho-renge-kyo buddhist chant near every day. i say it for help when worried (what - me worry?), as thanks to the universe for being kind and having such a sense of humor, sometimes for its calming rhythm, its soothing om-like sound, and i say it a lot to calm myself when my endless inner rage raises its ever present myriad head. what i don’t do is say it for others to hear. but here’s where i got it:

In 1966 San Francisco, two cute oriental young ladies ask me if I want to go to a Zen meeting, so I went around the corner, hid all my money in my sock, and went with them.

They took me out to the suburbs into a small living room that’d been turned into a temple. We had chants, and incense, and at the end I signed up to become a Zen Buddhist. They gave me a Gohonzon — a little scroll — and a chant to chant to it (Nam myoho renge kyo – I think it was Nicherin Daishonin Buddhism). They asked for a donation, so I had to take the money out of my sock, which made ’em smile, and they took me back downtown.

I was hoping for romance, but I think it was the ole bait’n’switch, you know.

I lost the Gohonzon but I still say the chant just about every day one way or another for multiple reasons and situations.

foto by smith

the history of where the chant originated, what it means – officially:

Established 28 April 1253. The title of the Lotus Sutra in its Japanese translation is Myoho-renge-kyo. But to Nichiren, Myoho-renge-kyo was far more than the title of a Buddhist text, it was the expression, in words, of the Law of life which all Buddhist teachings in one way or another seek to clarify.

Nam – From Sanskrit, “to devote oneself.” In original Sanskrit, nam indicates the elements of action and attitude, and refers therefore to the correct action one needs to take and the attitude one needs to develop in order to attain Buddhahood in this lifetime.

Myoho – Myoho literally means the Mystic Law, and expresses the relationship between the life inherent in the universe and the many different ways this life expresses itself. Myo refers to the very essence of life, which is “invisible” and beyond intellectual understanding. This essence always expresses itself in a tangible form (ho) that can be apprehended by the senses. Phenomena (ho) are changeable, but pervading all such phenomena is a constant reality known as myo.

Renge – Renge means lotus flower. The lotus blooms and produces seeds at the same time, and thus represents the simultaneity of cause and effect. The circumstances and quality of our individual lives is determined by the particular of causes and effects, both good and bad, that we accumulate (through our thoughts, words and actions) at each moment. This is called our “karma”. We create our destiny and we can change it. The lotus flower grows and blooms in a muddy pond, and yet remains pristine and free from any defilement, symbolizing the emergence of Buddhahood from within the life of an ordinary person.

Kyo – Kyo literally means sutra, the voice or teaching of a Buddha. In this sense, it also means sound, rhythm or vibration. Also, the Chinese character for kyo originally meant the warp of a piece of woven cloth, symbolizing the continuity of life throughout past, present and future. In a broad sense, kyo conveys the concept that all things in the universe are a manifestation of the Mystic Law.

The phrase NAM-MYOHO-RENGE-KYO is taken from the title of the greatest teaching of the first historically recorded Buddha, known as Siddhartha Gautama or Shakyamuni Buddha, who lived in India around 500 years before Christ was born.

There is such a close relationship between each of us and our surroundings that when we change ourselves, we change the world.

foto by kathy ireland smith & smith

 

morning ablutions

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

foto by smith

i’m living way beyond my dreams this fairy tale journey with wife friend companion kathy. no complaints. but i do still have 3 dream desires… get stoned with willie nelson, have bob dylan record one of my poems,  jam with jack dangers.

playing (again n again) the new dylan – modern times. someone said don’t bother, just another cover album. it’s 10 brand new dylan songs laid over familiar been around awhile tunes… sounds like an old friend on first playing, and keeps getting better deeper wiser friendlier each repeat. folk been running down writing off the man for 40 years now – you’d think they’d learn.

yesterday played dylan’s 1965 hiway 61 revisited. john lennon said before elvis there was nothing. weren’t for hiway 61, there’d be nothing after either.

at a particularly bad point those miserable 9 months mother dwarf lay abed a dying, i bought new willie nelson cd and a walkman. put willie on, put head phones on mom, watched the pain creases smooth into a smile. savage beast, savaged breast – music hath power to soothe. tho even now, 15 months after her death, her pain i could not ease tears my eyes. where was fair when it mattered?

jack dangers stopped by once – wanted to meet the artist who did those pieces. walked in while i was sorting thru my 12″ x 18″ x 3″ baking pan filled with roaches, looking for a fairly fresh fairly big one to toke. he was impressed. on his next meat beat manifesto tour, he told me backstage someday we’d collaborate. who knows, besides The Shadow. the man handles found sound the way i do found objects.

latest meat beat manifesto cd is superb – at the center, a jazz collab with blue series alumni craig taborn on keyboards, bad plus skinsman dave king, peter gordon on flute. (“without mbm’s groundbreaking amalgams of hip-hop and industrial dance music, modern dance music genres such as big beat and drum & bass wouldn’t exist…one of britain’s most inventive practitioners of sampladelic funk”–alternative press).

 

“Investment” in Krakow

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

foto by smith 

In London, we read numerous advertisements in glossy magazines encouraging Brits to purchase investment properties in new hot spots: former iron curtain states.

Here on the streets of Krakow, charming real estate’s advertised at nominally “cheap prices.” Western Europeans buy up entire apartment buildings.

We’re accustomed to finding plaster dust on our shirts, walking under the ubiquitous scaffolding. We see young men chipping away at the old city, constructing a new city.

Our studio apartment costs $900 USD/month. If it weren’t rehabbed and if it weren’t for the English-speaking tourist market, it’d cost probably 300 to 600 zl, or about $100 to $200 USD per month. (Of course, utilities and hi-speed Internet are included in our rent, which makes it a pretty good deal.)

Next time we’re here, we plan on getting a normal place. We have to learn how to do this once the money’s gone. Steve anticipates getting $1200/month in Social Security in 1.5 years. This is supposed to be enough to live comfortably in Krakow.

(We don’t yet know if we’ll stay here or come back to the U.S. I guess it depends on Steve’s health, our whimsy, and whether or not society and airplanes still operate in a couple years.)

We met an American expat who moved to Poland and married a Polish woman. He’s been here seven years.

His parents-in-law earn 1000 zl/month between the two of them (around $333 USD.) He says it is difficult for them to get by, though. And when Poland became part of the EU, their savings became almost worthless.

Another expat said that it’s difficult for students to live here now. Parents can barely afford the rents, so some students end up sharing 3 to a room for 500 zl/month.

We met a young British expat who consults with people in the U.K. (and the Middle East!) who want investment property in Krakow. He has no qualms about it; he’s getting paid. But he’s young.

By paying high rent, we contribute to making Krakow an unaffordable place for Polish people. (I’m sorry, Krakow people. We’ll try to do better next time.) I like to think we help the local economy, but we probably just contribute to the pockets of the upper class. 

Lady K

 

i eyeless

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

foto by smith

dream woke me.

i lived alone wandering high desert castle
swimming in pool beneath in dark dungeon canyon

robbed an armored truck in spanish hills
can’t remember why
some sort of sad thing not for money or adventure
robbery was fun exciting
desert storm dark night bright sun light

robbery went weird
partner disappeared, ceased
i got away with money thru the storm
bought a brick of marijuana
hid it in bag in castle in mountains
in inner dungeon canyon with water
where i swam in solitude 

ring at door i opened
cops dressed in black big guns
i said of course had to be cuz was wrong
slowly spread hands far from body
like zen gunless fighter
they saw surrender stood around me in circle
lady cop searched found marijuana
said aha i thot so
locked huge old rusted chain links around each wrist
took me down to village
cops local people liked me sat real close
leaning against me smiling laughing
saw me as folk hero
i saw i would be famous
lady cop didn’t like this but liked me
so it was in sadness she
slowly poked out my left eye
i saw blood oozing down my face
she let me think about it then poked out other eye
both eyes grew back so later she did it again
they remained dark bloodless holes this time
but i could still see
wasn’t upset in pain afraid just accepting
but it made her sad

woke told wife weird dream robbed armored car
lady cop poked out my eyes
wife sez good for her

now it’s 5:37 in morning and i can’t get back to sleep

so much you lose – it’s hard to capture dreams

 

god willin’ and the creek don’t rise

Wednesday, September 27th, 2006

foto by smith

chicken little here with my little chunks of fallen sky as i cry “wolf in the woulds, fire in the crematorium“. hey buddy, can ya spare a paradigm? – cuz this one’s breaking faster than a polar ice cap.

here i am worrying about kathy’s and my future when i might not have to… there may be no pay-pal accounts to fill, no web sites to feed, because there’ll be no electricity to run the little buggers – thanks to the rising waters, the stinking politicians, the unthinking civilians.

live for today may be a viable life philosophy after all – who’da thunk it.

if it all does collapse, kathy n i’ve decided we’ll be the grasshoppers that roam the globe bringing entertainment to the leftover ant bands scattered about.  we’ll be their roving tv – set up large empty tv-like boxes and crawl within to read poetry, tell jokes, disperse news. and of course being grasshoppers, they’ll pay me in smoking grass and kathy in grasshopper drinks. we’ll leave little assemblage sculptures made from broken tv parts in each hive, so they can worship after we’re gone.

we’re already ahead of the game since we’re mobile, have few possessions, are used to smelling clothes to see if they’re wearable, used to the unexpected kindnessess of strangers, the expected scams of scum. we’ve slept with the rats and in sheep shit – and made jokes about both.

our having no jobs, no set schedule, and oodles of free time allows us to read and research what’s available to all. i always knew how bad it was out there – but until now, i had no idea how really really bad it actually is. a lot of what we mention comes from The New York Review of Books at http://www.nybooks.com/ and Common Dreams at http://www.commondreams.org/ in case folk want to check it all out.

so, seize ya on the downsize “god willin’ and the creek don’t rise” – as hank williams used to say.

 

Horrors

Wednesday, September 27th, 2006

(Lady) 

K commented – related an interesting and terrifying story about her grandmother’s second husband escaping a firing squad. ( Read the comment here. ) Such a terrible thing to go through. What courage for him and the others to have run for it.

We tend to condemn historical atrocities as events which would never happen again. But I believe the capacity for evil exists in all societies, all nationalities, at any time.

On the other hand, I believe the Internet gives citizens of the world an unprecedented opportunity to become aware and effect change. Maybe we are in the next stage of our social evolution. I sure hope so. We only started keeping records 5,000 or so years ago. Our species is still young in this endeavour.

I’m reading the book Tell Me No Lies. John Pilger’s compiled masses of articles from 1945 through 2004 by investigative journalists.

He sees the Internet as an unprecendented opportunity for ordinary citizens. Here is an exerpt from the introduction:

My own view is that the immediate future lies with the emerging samizdat, the word for the ‘unofficial’ media during the late Soviet period. Given the current technology, the potential is huge. On the worldwide web, the best ‘alternative’ websites are already read by an audience of millions. The outstanding work of Dahr Jamail, a Lebanese-American reporter, who has provided a source of eyewitness truth-telling during the bloody occupation of Iraq, rarely appears in the Western press, yet is published frequently on the worldwide web. The courageous reporting of Jo Wilding from besieged Iraq is a striking example. She is not an accredited journalist, but one of a new breed of ‘citizen reporters’. In South Korea, where political dissent is expressed mostly on the internet, the Ohmynews website claims no less than 33,000 citizen reporters.

Together with independent newspapers and radio stations broadcasting the likes of Amy Goodman and Denis Bernstein, it is this network that has helped raise the consciousness of millions; never in my lifetime have people all over the world demonstrated greater awareness of the political forces ranged against them and the possibilities for countering them. ‘The most spectacular display of public morality the world has ever seen,’ was how the writer Arundhati Roy described the outpouring of anti-war anger across the world in February 2003. That was just a beginning and the cause for optimism. For the world has two superpowers now: the power of the military plutocracy in Washington and the power of public opinion. The latter ought to be the constituency of true journalists. This is not rhetorical; human renewal is not a phenomenon; a movement has arisen that is more diverse, more enterprising, more internationalist and more tolerant of difference than ever and growing faster than ever.

** 

Regardless of whether we can become aware in the near future, we have an environmental catastrophe at hand. And our government, the biggest polluter, is not responding. The time to respond is now.

My fear is that we don’t have time to become “good,” to develop a critical mass of awareness, to evolve. Might be drowned in rising waters and simultaneously starved by parched lands.

Reading another book – Collapse — by Jared Diamond. He analyzes the factors leading to ancient and not-so-ancient societies’ collapses. A recurrent villain in the book is deforestation. Once forests are lost, soil floods away and even rain patterns are affected.

Colonists in places like Iceland and Australia practiced farming techniques that were suitable for Europe, but not suitable for these more fragile ecosystems.

Australia fooled the colonists with its large trees. The colonists thought large trees evidence of soil productivity. But actually the trees were very slow-growing, and could not be replenished at the rate at which they were cut down.

It seems that everything Australians could do incorrectly, they did. The government required farmers to clear and overgraze the land, causing loss of fertility within a couple years.

Today, the Australian government encourages immigration to Australia because it feels that in order to become a major world power, it has to have more people. But its land cannot even support its current population.

Australia’s fisheries suffer the same fate as its forests. Recall the Orange Ruffy fad. Orange Ruffy take an astonishing FORTY years to mature before they produce more Orange Ruffy. While it appeared they were plentiful, it was just that there was a large “standing stock.” The stock takes forever to renew itself. (Just like Australia’s trees.) Australian fisheries have run through Orange Ruffy in addition to a slew of other species.

Currently Australia’s chipping what’s left of its trees at a fraction of their value to Asian markets, for paper.

Australia is a canary, an example of our stewardship of this planet. We are not good stewards. 

Lady K

 

 
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