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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, 2007

deja voodoo

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

coming into barcelona, i told lady “barcelona best be nicer to us this time since we’re giving her a second chance.”

the barcelona gods laughed, then picked my pocket.

then sent us off to a never ending bus-land of the lost and damned.

entering the subway car at the train station, two twenty-something spanish thugs body blocked me into the door, kept batting my body back and forth, my backpack against the door preventing me from turning around. as soon as they turned and walked away, i flashed “pickpocket” and felt my back pocket. it was empty. they’d taken my notebook i use to jot blog notes, directions, expenses, and potential poetry lines. boy are they going to be disappointed, unless they’re would-be poets, accountants, or blog monsters. the last note in the notebook was about a begging scam at the beziers train station. maybe it’ll give them a new line of work. their technique was so blatant and brutal… i’d always read how subtle and deft pickpockets were.

barcelona seems crude. last time here on our way out someone told us we had bird shit on our backpacks. we thanked him and took care of it ourselves. later, lady read online that’s a barcelona scam – they throw birdshit-like gunk on you, then pick your pocket while helping you clean it off.

coming up from the subway, the bus stop we were looking for was the first thing we saw. waited 30 minutes and the bus came by – and kept right on going. so we walked to another stop and caught it an hour later. we figured we’d know where to get off because we’d taken it from the same hotel last time we were here 5 months ago. wrong wrong wrong. the bus goes out one route, returns another. we recognized nothing, and the stops had no names on them. eventually we get off in the dark in unknown territory way past where we want to be. flagged a lucky cab for only $13 and finally get to the hotel – a 3 and a half hour journey that should have taken 30 minutes.

during all this, lady and i are way sick nasal dripping coughing mucous machines who hurt all over and are tired from no sleep the night before due to colds we picked up in paris.

when we arrived, we were so bushed we went next door to mcdonald’s for take out. they even ripped us off – gave lady the wrong salad and didn’t give me my fries or coke.

barcelona is the city i like least of all the cities i’ve ever been in, and i’ve been in a few these past 61 years. it’s a city of thuggish pickpockets, birdshit throwers, bad architecture, and insane buses. it’s also the first city where neither of us speak a word of the language.

on both trips here, we came from france. in both cases the comfortable fast clean civilized french trains ended at the spanish border where we got on dirty uncomfortable hard-seated over-crowded noisy spanish trains. even the passing country-side differs – france is too neatly domesticated, spain more decayed and poor… though to fair, the high mountain spanish country between barcelona and madrid is gorgeous. of course, i’ve gotten more interesting blogs out of spain than i did france – chaos is always more reportable.

the beziers, france, train station begging scam i mentioned: a nice polite arab man comes up and hands you a xeroxed paper showing his two children whom he needs help feeding. on our way to paris i gave him $2. when he saw the amount of change in my hand he suggested i give more. told him no. this time i saw a different young arab handing out the same xerox, only with different children. so i watched him. eventually he went back to two others who also had piles of xeroxes; he sat down while one of them went out to work the suckers. now i tell the beggers to bugger off unless they look dirty, needy, hungry, desperate. still, i’d rather lose some money to a scam than leave a person in genuine need. but the problem is is lady and i are running our money down – these 14 months have cost us $75 a day, and the money from selling our studio is running out. we may be beggars soon ourselves. if so, we’ve found a lot of teachers along our way. in paris, i watched the young boy who begged money from lady. he returned to an extremely well fed well dressed arab lady.

how does one tell the disparate desperate from dastardly desperados?

 

New issue of the City! NO WAY HOME, DIRECTION UNKNOWN

Friday, September 28th, 2007

I’ll be back in cyberland next Thursday. Traveling back to the States & it’ll take us a while. Before I go, here’s the new issue of the City zine:

New issue of the City! NO WAY HOME, DIRECTION UNKNOWN
Issue 20 Fall 2007

http://www.thecitypoetry.com

The City Poetry Zine is characterized by a kind of patchouli cheer/despair or sci-fi gestalt or fairy tale radiance. It showcases poetry, prose, reviews, interviews, photography and art.

some snips:

woody x weed

woodpecker landed ona thick tree
and did a little dance to the priest
wld a pecker cld
he mighta askt
what the hell allus people
were doin standing by a hole
we didnt beak

– Bree

We swim like fish in a culture of space and time
where the surface of things
more threatening than the patient gaze of egg timers
bore holes into the unguarded pens of fiction writers.

– Ronnie McGrath

“I think you said that Burning Man changed your life.”

I would describe it as the first time I felt what a community actually felt like. Everyone talks about community but that was the first time I actually experienced it. It felt really fucking good, really natural.

– Blue7 interviewed by Lady K


http://www.thecitypoetry.com

ATTENTION current and past contributors: there is a reading Oct 21 in Cleveland. It is part of the Kerouac Celebration weekend. You are invited to participate. Please view www.thecitypoetry.com for more information or e-mail me.

 

of one all

Friday, September 28th, 2007

to love the country of self, of one
or
to love the country of life, of all

the first decays
the second grows

 

4 in the morning

Friday, September 28th, 2007

foto by smith
foto by smith

it’s 4 in the morning and i feel like the unwiped backside of some cosmic debris – i can’t breathe, my throat’s swollen swallowless, and my normal ever-present ambient pain level is amped to the gills. reality’s telling a joke and i’m its bad backass punch line.

there’s nose pills i can take (actifed), but they make sleep difficult for me the 24 hours following. . . yet they knock lady out – go figure. sometimes it’s hell being a mutant. when i take just one in the morning, i twitch all the next night and drive lady crazy and sleepless until i come out here and lay my 75 inch body across this 48 inch couch.

reminds me of a great song though — Tossin’ & Turnin’ – Bobby Lewis (1961). there’s a lot i’m grateful for in my life – glad i was raised in the country by loving parents in the pacific northwest in the “innocent” 1940s & 50s, glad i caught the late 60’s hippy dippy drug n love wave in baltimore, and i’m oh so ever glad i was there for the birth of rock and roll.

so weird going from How Much Is That Doggie in the Window by Patti Page in 1952 to 1956 Hound Dog Elvis. like john lennon said, before elvis, there was nothing. except of course there was – there was rhythm n blues, black swamp funk, boogie woogie, jump blues, western swing, hillbilly boogie and that rockabilly thing – not to mention jazz and jump jive swing.

i stopped listening to the radio 20 years ago – heard too much before and too little since…. though there’s still great stuff all along the way – devo, talking heads, clash, radiohead, david bowie, meat beat manifesto, bonnie raitt, the grassy knoll, the artist often named prince, dead kennedys, the never ending rolling stones, and the king of it all bob dylan. forgive me for not mentioning the other 88 worthies, but this head mucous of mine slows thought.

can’t believe this has taken an hour to write – it’s 4:55 – but it’s helped me not take an Actifed, given the aspirin a chance to kick in, let some of the nose slime ooze down my upright throat, and given me the chutzpah to lie down again, see if i can breathe, maybe even sleep. if not, and i have to take a sinus pill, and i get 2 sleepless nights in a row before shouldering my world possessions in a pack on my back for the bus-train-bus trip tomorrow, well, it’s going to be a long way from here to barcelona.

ahhh, the truth i carry, the way the water went

foto by smith
foto by smith

 

pay now suffer later

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

foto by smith
foto by smith

so hard to suffer now for some mythical improved future. instead of eating less and exercising, i’m eating cookies and looking for more. we’ve tomorrow to wind up south france, pack, and head for spain day after. 3 days barcelona we fly to new york. 1 night new york then endless amtrak to cleveland. 2 months cleveland we bus to chicago to live for at least 1 year.

this endless leaving leaves me listless, and the cookies start looking attractive. 44th moving in past 15 months. so much of physical hunger is mental.

this day got no wheels. how the heck i gonna make deals. i’m a pod facade for the arse farce.

foto by smith
foto by smith

 

is / is not

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

foto by smith
foto by smith

“Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Social Contract, 1763

i’m reading that at the end of the 1700s, western civilization consisted of the irreconcilable – rationalist versus romantic, scientific versus artistic, deliberation and reason versus passion and instinct. i don’t see where there’s a problem – i happen to be a bit of all of those simultaneously.

the problem is not they’re irreconcilable, the problem lies in the EITHER-OR mindset that says it must be one or the other.

it’s not either-or. instead it’s taking the valid viable workable bits of each and all. . . a little of this, a bit of that, a slice of here, a dash of there. i’m a collage assemblage artist – i’m used to taking ephemeral found bits and creating solid foundations of art.

this is especially true in spiritual matters – almost all creeds and belief structures have part of the truth, while none have it all. the basic exceptions to this statement that all have part are the flat earth fundamentalists of all religions who insist only their god is right and he/sh/it must be worshipped only their way – or else. if there is a hell, it will be filled by fundamentalists. one-size fits all organized spirituality is a contradiction in terms.

i take a bit of buddhism, a bit of american indian recognition that all things animate and inanimate have spirit and deserve respect, a bit of christianity, bit of sufi, bit of coyote trickster, bit of humanism, bit of rationality, bit of jung, bit of freud, bit of experience, bit of life, bit of science, bit of pagan, bit of flakiness, bit of logic, bit of gaia, bit of biting the bullet, etc on anon, and build my own world spirit view. after all, i’m the one going to be paying for it, so i’ll work it out myself thank you very much.

one of the major ways the world’s gone wrong is everyone puts labels on everything thinking that labels sum up what they’ve labeled. give me a break – labels aren’t truths, they aren’t even teensy weensy bits of truths. labels are intellectual lazy thinking on the part of academics who try to fit reality to their pre-conceived theory, or else crazed wish-fulfillment for the weak and scared too timid to think for themselves. labels are for the sheep and asleep who need their meat pre-chewed.

nothing is ever just one thing or another – instead life and thought are constant compromises in an ever evolving collaboration between us and reality. what’s true and right today might be false and wrong tomorrow, what’s true for you might be lie for me.

there are general broad stroke rules like “don’t do to another that which you wouldn’t wish to be done to you” – but even this breaks down if you’re a sado-masochist because your liking to hurt and be hurt doesn’t mean you better try that shit with me.

most of life is a mixed salad of common sense, pondering, experience, patience, hope, and healthy skepticism. those folk who go around saying life is just this or just that and you’d better live it their way are sick. they are not to be tolerated, or listened to.

these thoughts arise from my current reading of roger osborne’s “civilization – a new history of the western world.” i’m halfway through it, and my brain’s getting crowded, while my spirit is wondering where to go to get recharged with hope. seems like most the nastiness done in the past is revving up again with the cheney-bush beast going around stomping non-white folk and telling the rest of us where to get off. the scary thing is these shitwits believe they’re in the right and have the moral obligation to tell us how to live – or even if to let us live.

for the past 6,000 years, the powers-that-be have killed for food, gold, sugar, land, tobacco, slaves, gods, family grievances, divine right, power, skin color, sex, just because, or simply because they got out of bed on the wrong side that day.

personally i can’t see letting someone with less experience, fewer scruples, and a lower IQ than i have tell me what’s right, what’s wrong, or what to do. i’m more of the i’ll-live-my-life-and-you-go-live-yours school of thought. if you want to get together and talk, fine, i’ll listen to you and ponder your point of view. but if you want to lay your law on me, sorry charlie. i don’t tell you, you don’t tell me.

if your god or your class or your mental disease has a problem with that, too bad – you need counseling.

“Any civil government depends on the consent of those who are governed, which may be withdrawn at any time.” – John Locke, Civil Government, 1690

foto by smith
foto by smith

 

always have paris

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

foto by smith
foto by smith

found this old video of my 35 pound heavier self reading poetry 14 years ago in the basement of wildflower (now lemko hall). it’s on The Lit site. Lady K and i will be the featured readers at The Literary Cafe next month. it’ll be our 1st american reading after 14 months away. video is at The Lit

the video me is 2.5 years sober, weighing 210 pounds on my way from my 240 pound drinking weight down to my current 175. it’s my collaborating co-reader Marty Sokolich who saves the reading from being boring.

more on yesterday’s paris:

we went to the largest flea market in the world in north paris – les Marche Aux Puces. it’s like the endless souks in marrakech, only richer and with a heck of a lot more variety. in marrakech all they sell are shoes, belts, lamps, purses, clothes, spices, need, and con – here they have the cultural flotsam and jetsam and human detritus of the last 500 years of western civilization. it’s an assemblage maker’s dream of heaven, except they sell the fragments for way too much – a broken 6 inch doll arm with missing fingers went for $26.

lady got tons of excellent art fotos. me, i got rather down seeing all this STUFF to buy, especially along antique row where there’s endless tacky tasteless trinkets for the uber rich. but where i see tacky, lady sees treasure. i wish i could see with her eyes – she sees how pretty and unique the work is whereas i see toys for the rich to purchase with their gains from the poor. i can also see all these rich dried dull spiritual dwarfs and mental midgets sitting around their sterile sitting rooms admiring their latest excesses while talking how much or how little they paid. in many ways lady’s world is richer than mine. i believe it’s a function of the varying times we’ve each spent on this earth – my soul has been seared with experience and skepticism while she still believes much of the world innocent.

she was right about one aspect though – many of the dealers had created magnificently eccentric art installation assemblages in their stalls consisting of doll parts, mirrors, dead animals, mannequins, the old and the odd. if i could keep my eyes on the surface, it’d be fun, but i keep analyzing the undercurrents and their social implications, the spiritual cost.

lady’s young and growing. i’m old and curmudgeoning. soon i’ll be drooling and swatting at passers-by with my cane, a lot of whom seem to think Lady K is nothing but an old fart’s tart.

it’s weird watching people watch us. our age difference attracts looks. i watch their faces back. most people understand why old me would be with young flesh her, but they’re puzzled why she’s with me – i’m obviously not rich so it’s not for the money, and i certainly don’t appear to be famous or powerful. the old guys look at me with either a way-to-go glance or a yearning why-can’t-that-be-me look. most old women look at me with disapproval assuming i probably dumped my older faithful wife for this young piece of fluff, while the lone older women look at lady angrily for taking one of their chances away. the younger women look at me speculatively, wondering what’s there that attracted lady. and teenage girls don’t see me – i don’t even register on their radar unless i’m in their way and they have to go around me.

little do they all know i left my first wife 32 years ago when my current wife was 3 – or that i spent the 20 years before lady in celibacy – i stopped dating in 1986 because relationships were too twisted.

few more odd paris memories and i’ll go:

used a public toilet, and the men’s urinary stalls were open to the view of all walking by – men, women, children – with just a little wall shield covering the penis area. i stood pissing, watching the crowd stroll by. good thing i have a small penis cuz the wall flap tweren’t very big.

they let dogs on the trains here – big dogs, little dogs. let em in the stores too. which is fair – i’ve met a lot more nice dogs than i have people.

notre dame is a lot smaller than i thought from the movies, and i didn’t see a single hunchback. walking through it inside, i realized notre dame is just one more tourist game – the religious tour with the sacred soundtrack and the holy gift shop. most parts of paris are essentially tourist games, each with their own soundtracks, gift shops, spiel con, and beggars.

but paris does do the tourist game very well, much more interesting than any other city i’ve seen. and the coup de grace was looking up through the night at the well lit white Sacred Heart / Sacre Coeur, and then turning around looking out over paris at night beneath an almost full moon – now if only the smoke merchant at the foot of the hill had been in business.

but it’s not the tourist scams that make me love the place – it’s the small crooked streeted old sections like Montmarte where i could happily live. i’d even learn french, the lovely language of the lazy lips.

foto by smith
foto by smith

 

paris photo blog

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

les marches aux puces

les marches aux puces

les marches aux puces

street mirror

metro station

we’ll always have paris

 

to paris & back

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

foto by smith
foto by smith

in these 14 months of traveling anywhere but america, i’ve found 2 things generally true: the bigger the city, the fatter the people and the unhappier their faces – and – the less the sun shines, the fatter the people and the unhappier their faces.

i’ve also found in our journey 2 cities i think i could live in – paris and amsterdam.

we left for 4 day paris trip saturday. ominous beginning – the sky was grey and rainy, and an email from our airline back to the states saying homeland security wanted us to email our passport numbers, names, sex, address, and date of birth. scary overtones of big brother other when our government demands foreign airlines collect data on americans. spy versus why.

arrived in paris. our hotel was only 3 kilometers away, so we walked. turns out we went the wrong way to a wrong rue voltaire. took an anonymous french old man angel and 3 subway rides to get to the right rue voltaire. next day we even found a 3rd rue voltaire.

in the subway i saw a blind beggar look at his watch to see what time it was.

at a cafe, an arab woman sent her 4 year old son in to beg money. i’ve found here and in morocco they teach the children to go straight to the woman of the couple to beg, to look straight into their eyes and look sorrowful while they plead. in essaoura i said no and interposed myself between the kid and lady, so the kid went around to her other side whereupon i interposed myself between them again and said no. this happened 4 times. it’s all a scam, part of their scam clan. what a horrible thing to do to a kid.

french folk don’t realize lady can understand much of what they say. one young male duo wondered if we were italian because italians like em young and they said i was going with an infant. another real old couple across from us on the subway wondered out loud if i were her parent – told lady she should have replied “no, he’s my husband – by the way you humping that old person you’re sitting next to?” teach them some manners.

went in search of the smoke merchants – tried 3 places per instructions we downloaded from webehigh.com – first two failed because it was sunny midday and the dealers don’t much come out before dusk, and the third and most assured failed because it was sunday night and the park closed at 4. it doesn’t matter that we failed, but it does matter that we tried.

also tried to see the catacombs, but they closed at 4 also – guess the dead had to get ready to go out or something.

my digital camera is dying – big black spot has appeared somewhere in the inner programming – my foto of the eiffel tower looks like a large black alien blob is attacking from the sky.

the hotel’s balanced breakfast was really an unhealthy unbalanced breadfast… white bread, brioche bread, rye bread, baguette bread, bread sticks, cake bread, bread crisps, french bread, jam, honey, butter, cereal, applesauce, small chunks of soft cheese, and coffee – for $6.

in spite of what this sounds like, i had fun and enjoyed paris – all except lady k’s vomiting diarrheic food poisoning last night as a result of our dinner at a mexican restaurant on rue sartre just off notre dame.

write more tomorrow.

foto by smith
foto by smith

 

porter paris

Friday, September 21st, 2007

foto by smith
collage by smith

since we’re heading for 3 days in paris, i sent my lady this…

I Love Paris
Words and Music by Cole Porter

I love Paris in the springtime
I love Paris in the fall.
I love Paris in the winter
when it drizzles
I love Paris in the summer
when it sizzles.
I love Paris evry moment
ev’ry moment of the year
I love Paris
why
oh why do I love Paris?
Because my love is near

and she replied…
Cole porter has some sweet songs.
i love anywhere with you near, dear, my near dear.

foto by smith
foto by smith

 

 
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