...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 January, 2008
Thursday, January 31st, 2008
painting in museum of oaxacan painters – foto by smith
lady bought a short linen robe from Mitla, a local Zapotec village. nice work, $10. when she wore it, i told her to be authentic she should wear it the way the native woman did – with breasts exposed. she asked how i would know such arcane info. i lied and told her i saw it on the internet. she said show me. so i typed “zapotec women in lingerie” into google image search, and it came back with a foto of dick and lynne cheney’s 2003 christmas card. ?. what a surreal punch line to an absurdist joke. i have trouble associating vice dick cheney with women, or lingerie. when i think of dick cheney, i think more of rabies, of mad dogs. so i can visualize him attacking the indigenous Zapotec people around here, while foaming at the mouth – although he’d probably farm the actual violence out to halliburton.
lady says “wow, your comment’s a poem.” what comment, i ask. “on the myspace snow poem.” what’d i write? “fresh white hides old sins, grows belief in yes until white dirties into no.” she’s right, that is poetic. true to life too.
ice storm cleveland 2007 – foto by smith
Wednesday, January 30th, 2008
“We need more stuff to eat,” Smith says as he cleans the kitchen table. There’s an onion, a clove of garlic, a half bag of peanuts. He picks up garlic skin, sweeps crumbs into his hand.
“I know,” I say. “But I’m tired of going to the market. I’m tired of cooking, too. I need someone to feed me food pellets. What I really need is for my mom to come down here and cook for me.”
“Yeah, but then I’d have to talk to her, before and after.”
“Not my mom. She’d be happy just reading a book.”
“No. They all expect human interaction, social intercourse. Maybe we can keep her in a cage.”
“Fine, as long as she has a book.”
“We’ll put a pile of really really good books outside her cage, just out of reach. Turn the spines so she can see how good the books are. Maybe tie a string to them so we have them close enough so she can touch them, then slowly pull them away from her. We can leave one really good book close enough for her to get, but we’d make sure it’d have blank pages.”
* * *
I’m spending most of my writing energy revising Smith’s biography, CRIMINAL. This is the 11th round of editing with many more to come.
I’m spending less time on MySpace and blogging because I need to focus on this writing project.
Here’s a passage I particularly like:
We were poor folk, but we ate well. We had our own garden. We had beef, pork, rabbit, chicken, goose, infrequent duck and frequent venison. We ate chicken eggs, goose eggs, duck eggs. We churned our own butter, had our own whole milk that was at least one quarter cream on top.
I roamed several hundred acres. Forty were ours. I knew where every apple tree was. I raided the garden, ate the raspberries, ate raw peas in their pods. I sliced a dug-up potato and cooked each slice over a fire I made. We had a fruit cellar. Mom canned peaches and pears. She dyed the pears green and red and pink and yellow. I’d steal a jar, and I’d have to eat the whole thing. You canâ€™t leave a half jar. Evidence.
Up in the attic of the fruit cellar, I found boxes of old magazines from the thirties and forties. Colliers, Liberty, Saturday Evening Post. I tore out advertisements and played with them. I still do, only now I call it collage. Iâ€™d still rather have an old advertisement than a new thing.
Wednesday, January 30th, 2008
The Last Election, 2008, 12″ x 12″ – collage & foto by smith
went out this morning to find our street blocked by an empty bus. walked block to main thoroughfare, found it and its side streets all blocked by dozens of abandoned buses and big trucks. walked in middle of empty main street block south to 3 avenue intersection and flashed on Twilight Zone – the highways all 3 directions were empty, blocked by empty buses and trucks. in the middle were a crowd of people yelling and chanting slogans.
came back, told lady, went out 30 minutes later to see, and men were manually rolling the buses from their blockage. traffic was starting back up. the crowd was gone. looks like folk hereabouts have a lot of experience in disrupting the official flow of things, as well as a lot of practice getting things going again. the blockage was very well done, well thought out, efficient. god knows where they got all the buses, or what they were protesting.
couple weeks ago college kids hijacked some city buses and took them to the university – they were protesting a peso rate hike (10 cents to us, a dollar to them). there was a several hour shoot-out between the protesters and the police.
we’ve seen at least 6 protest marches in 7 weeks – just by chance, we haven’t gone looking. massive political graffiti everywhere – big, little, high, low, endemic, ubiquitous.
it’s refreshing to be where people are trying to take back their lives from government gone wrong. it’s hard to say one politician is more crooked than another because that implies some are more honest than others and i have trouble using politician and honest in the same paragraph, much less the same sentence. but politicians here in mexico seem more openly brazen about misuse of power, more thuggish. maybe because they’ve been at it longer – thousands of years. a lot of dissenters here are “disappeared.” they say that because since they’re never seen again, we really don’t know they’re dead. they also say the revolution was never won here, is still going on.
we met with a lawyer today and started our application to live here. this is the nicest place we’ve been. it’s warm in the sun. cool in the shade. the trees come in endless variety, many with blooming flowers. people are nice. buildings colorful. the underclass angry, rebellious. and it’s really cool to look north, east, west and see mountains as we walk the city streets. we’re a mile high, yet look up to mountains almost all around. . . the Sierra Madres – the Mother of mountains.
while lady was sick abed, i did a collage with fragments of graffiti and adverts torn from the city walls – The Last Election (foto above). made my own piece of Centro Oaxaca wall. also added stuff to my 1st collage (foto below).
Disease Warning of the Week: TV is the new TB – it eats your mind instead of lungs.
And remember, politicians taste just like chicken – because they are. try one.
Caution – Derechos Humanos, 2008, 23″ x 27″ – collage & foto by smith
Tuesday, January 29th, 2008
doctor office woman – foto by smith
lady’s still ill. bad fever saturday night. broke by dawn. came back sunday. not as bad, but bad. broke. came back today.
went 3 blocks to a pharmacy with a doctor. he and lady conversed in spanish. he poked, prodded, listened, measured. his eyes widened when he saw her temperature was 102.92 farhenheit
she has a stomach virus. he prescribed 7 days cipro antibiotics, 4 days anti-parasite pills, 2 days fever pills. doctor consultation was $2.50, the 3 prescription medicines $11.70. no waiting.
you see into people when they’re sick 3 days. lady doesn’t whine. doesn’t bark. don’t know how she can be this nice when she feels that bad. add insult to injury, today starts her moon blood cycle. so much for suffer less. she says it’s a 2-for-1-er, gets 2 bads over at the same time.
the human body is oddly constructed. both waste and reproductive pleasure tracts use the same tubing, and air and water start down the same throat. who knows what other sub-dermal inter courses are happening?
the body’s badly designed. i find it inconvenient to have penis and testicles on the outside of my body. if they must be outside, why between two legs that are forever crossing, trying to crush the little critters every chance they get? i want to be smooth down there, like ken & barbie dolls. at the very least i should have a retractable penis, absorbable balls. or perhaps my penis could be nestled in one armpit, my testicles snug in the other. makes a whole new social situation out of putting your arm around a girl.
and bit of a sticky wicket trying to get your armpit into her thicket.
doc off man – foto by smith
Monday, January 28th, 2008
Sunday, January 27th, 2008
Hayapan goat – foto by smith
went a wee bit up the mountain to Huyapan today to visit a local family. the husband roasts coffee and makes chocolate, yet has a degree in economics from a radical university. lady and he had a conversation in spanish, which i partially understood. he says the world economy right now is like 1929 just before the crash – everything is tied to speculation, nothing is tied to productivity. we sat in their courtyard and ate soup. i drank too much fresh coffee, while lady drank part of a beer and 2 large potent mezcals. she’s decided in future one mezcal is better than 2. she started feeling bad before we took the bus back to town.
the bus back had a religious shrine in the front window, and a lad who hung out the open front door looking for possible passengers as we tore down the highway. bus stops anywhere you want to get on or off – just wave.
lady’s in bed now – with aches, fever, stomach pains, so it’s not the alcohol. the crummy part of love is when your loved one hurts and you can’t fix it. i know jackshoot about fevers. what does one do when sick folk won’t fit in the freezer?
gave her some aspirin, put her to bed, hugged her to sleep because she had the chills. wait for time and sleep to re-ravel her nicked sleeve of care.
she’s tossing, in restless sleep. i should go to bed and soothe her but i’ve 3 cups of fresh ground strong made late afternoon coffee in me, and i am wired.
(next morning – lady’s fever has flown, but she still feels weak – 2 aspirins and 11 hours sleep seem to have turned time, tithes, and tide.)
in Huyapan we saw a burro, a kid goat, hummingbirds, an eagle – what a large, majestic bird it is. great views up and down the Sierre Madres – blue sky, sun, trees, flowers, cactus. a grand vastness, yet peaceful all around. look off and see one mountain end, there’s another beyond it, and more beyond that, each a wee bit bluer, hazier – the clouds beyond the last mountain range echo mountain shapes as the setting sun paints the underclouds red and orange. gorgeous.
saw 4 wedding parades with brass instrument and drum bands marching through town – each wedding has a 5 day marriage celebration. one group had 12 foot tall bride and groom puppets at the head of the procession – at one point the puppets faced each other and bumped their bodies in sexual pantomime.
drove by the ex-governor’s house, which is on a hill and manned by 50 caliber machine guns.
saw banana trees, pomegranate, mandarin, orange, lime, pistachio, apple – more trees i can’t remember. i get a thrill seeing food trees. it’s like walking through fairy tales.
and flowering trees – here in oaxaca, huge spreading trees are totally covered in large red or orange or white flowers rising up to the sky. they make my soul soar, my eyes sing. this is the prettiest place we’ve been.
our six weeks here we’ve dipped down to 4,000 feet above sea level to see one temple, and up to 6,200 feet to see more. most times we’re at 5,200 – one mile above the sea. so high it seems i could look out over the oceans, encircle the earth with my eyes like my heart.
Hayapan burro – foto by smith
Saturday, January 26th, 2008
electric line shadows on wall – foto by smith
lady’s hand hennaed by Henna Me from Cleveland – foto by smith
URO (Ulises Ruiz Ortiz), unpopular governor of Oaxaca – foto by smith
on shelf at large la merced (market) – foto by smith
collage stuff to assmblaged – foto by smith
Mexico Che – foto by smith
sidewalk poster – foto by smith
Friday, January 25th, 2008
lady looking in our apartment – foto by smith
hell for me would be forever sitting around a table eating with a bunch of people in a noisy restaurant where you can’t hear the conversation.
lady and i have spent the week going around with 3 friends visiting from cleveland, and there’s been a lot of restaurant meals. i like our visitors, enjoyed their company. in fact one of them is one of my favorite poets – russ vidrick. but interacting with people via small talk isn’t my best skill. my natural element leans more toward making absurdist politically incorrect quips that tend to end conversations rather than promote them. the only person i’m truly comfortable being with is my wife lady k. i’d make an excellent hermit as long as i had solar panels for electricity and an internet uplink. i’d be a perfect example of tormented genius if i had the genius.
lady says after this visit, we’ll probably get more visitors. told her in that case we’d better move farther away. she said if we do get visitors, we’d sleep on a mattress on the floor and give them the bed. told her no, you make them too comfortable and they’ll want to stay longer, or come back again. you need to keep guests edgy, stressed, and uncomfortable so they’ll be happy to leave sooner than later.
as for the dinners, mexican food is delicious, but of a broad sameness – beans, cheese, salsa, meat on thin round bread with mole, salsa, peppers, cornmeal – and bad bread. haven’t had excellent bread since france. still dream and yearn for their sesame baguettes.
perhaps our task here on this planet is to eat and drink, then process the eaten into feces and the drink into waste water. we grow the food somewhere else, use slave labor to harvest and package it, transport it here, eat and digest it and deposit it in the toilets around town, whereupon it’s processed into toxic fertilizers, shipped back over there and spread upon fields to grow more stuff to start the cycle all over again. move stuff around for mother earth. essentially we’re piss and shit machines – toss in reproducing and you’ve pretty much summed up our job descriptions as humans. which reminds me of one of my not so nice poems:
Small particles of truth lace loveâ€™s lies
Peeping one-eyed catâ€™s seafood stores
Mount used two love carnivore rides
Cast past sated loss
Self to self slip service schemes for the day
Emasculation Mama stiff with semen
Screams dreams porta piss shit machine
Message me to mine
Bile regenerative truth du jour:
to my hole
this is smith, reporting from the tangled tango of time and temptation called the here and now.
wall graffiti – foto by smith
Thursday, January 24th, 2008
San Bartolo Coyotepec Moneybox
View from Monte Alban
Thursday, January 24th, 2008
koi in pond at organic market – foto by smith
Hiding Out From The Law Of Averages
A 4 year old’s brain is twice as active as an adult’s
Night has fallen and it can’t get up
A blue whale’s tongue weighs 6,500 pounds
The happy dead rot as rain and rust
At Earth’s equator, surface spin = 1,000 miles per hour
In Cleveland, it is 700 miles per hour
Can’t take nothing for granted, not even granite
Vegetarians live 10 years longer
Do we follow contrails in the sky, or contracts on the ground?
People attending church more than once a week live 7 years longer
Our bodies our stardust, our soul chosen light
Women live 7 years longer than men
The more I lose the flow the greater
My need for joy to slow my low
Whites live 7 years longer than blacks
It’s a long road to whore
Couples in long relationships have higher levels of endorphins, a morphine like pain killer . . . Roy Orbison was right – Love Hurts
Or maybe love’s the high
tin bird grave at organic market – foto by smith