...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 March, 2008
Monday, March 31st, 2008
cup of Tanetze coffee – foto by smith
feel like cold spit warmed over, then mixed with rotting molasses. this is my second day without coffee, and i am dragging. bit of zombie, bit of narcolepsy, bit of slug, lot of lazy.
the good side of my groin seems to be going bad. the bad side–my right–i strained 2004 when trying to pick my collapsed mother up off the floor. she weighed more than I, and was too big around to get a good grip on. besides, exactly where do you grasp you mother’s torso to get good lift? awkward all around. since then i’ve been trying to keep up with Lady K walking up and down europe/africa/mexico with a weakened groin muscle. dood it too.
last week my good groin left side started swelling and burning and going numb on the skin surface. it’d flare up 3-4 times a day. finally decided it started when i consumed anything that raised my blood pressure – like strong coffee, salt, heat, sex, and marijuana. went off for 4 days to pick coffee up in the mountains, and didn’t feel a twinge in spite of the huge increase in physical exertion. the only difference up there was much weaker coffee, no grass, no sex, and less heat.
so i’m cutting out coffee to see if i can continue smoking, and this coffee-less lethargy is giving me all the pizzazz of road kill.
this is all crummy because all Lady K and i do is walk – up down in out everywhere nowhere. let this be a warning to all you younger folk thinking of taking up with old people – the old are physically weakened and break easily. Lady got defective merchandise when she chose me. of course there’s no where else she could get the artbrain / mindbrain / soulbrain / spiritbrain she needs except here, so it’s take the defective, or lose all.
try to fake it out for a few more days, and then give in and go to the clinic. ain’t got the money to get me fixed, but we lose our life if we don’t.
no matter how good and special your life is (our life is), there’s always a dark side lurking just off screen with the bill.
but still, i cannot complain – i’ve Lady K in my life, we’ve lived in 10 countries in 20 months, and we’ve oodles of canoodles of art, poetry, fotos, and non-fiction in the bag since we started september 9, 2005.
sometimes you just gotta pay
found couch couple, Tanetze mexico – foto by smith
Monday, March 31st, 2008
THEY NEVER TURN THE LIGHTS OFF HERE
The neighbor needed some money
The neighbor sold me to the takers
with white lipped sobriety
thinking of his family
The takers FedEX pragmatic packages
diapered, hooded and chained
in container planes
way out from who cares where
I wait in patient fluorescent
in the big safe institution of your fear
installed here between skin & prayer
the ingredients of a day
Imagine your eyes and hands
tactile tight in a concrete coffin
prison bar for sundial
paved under the unlawful awful blacktop
of your outsourced grasp
and feeble minded wrath
They never turn the lights off here
Shady Lady K
Sunday, March 30th, 2008
before Lady K – foto by smith
after Lady K – foto by smith
Saturday, March 29th, 2008
men’s restroom door, El Pochote Market – foto by smith
get up at 4:48 in the morning to run up the slippery steep hill in the rain to catch the 5 hour Hell Bus back to Oaxaca. only seats left were the back seats, which is similar to riding an evil tempered trampoline. the young woman across from us kept throwing up out her window. since she had to keep it open for her next nausea, we were freezing – riding through high mountain clouds before sunrise is painfully cold. and me being 6′ 3″, the distance from my ass to my knee is greater than seat to seat distance. Lady is nauseous from the bouncing bus, sore from the sunburn walking working, is fighting diarrhea, and i worry about her.
bus goes 4 miles an hour up the dirt road mountain due to rain and slippery clay. even at that speed, the bus rocks and bounces. the dark prevents us from seeing how far down the fall would be. when the sun finally rises, the clouds we’re driving through cut our vision. we bounce nauseously through a glowing nothingness.
the driver loudly plays a cd of emotionally overwrought mediocre mexican pop songs over and over again – loud nasal male vocal whining at the top of his voice about life and love driven by unsubtle mariachi horns and oompa oompa accordion. this is the same cd he played for 5 hours on the trip up. sometimes i think there’s only 7 mexican pop songs that every singer puts on every cd and then wails in the same voice.
the two girls in front of us had a small white poodle. for some reason the second girl stood up the last 90 minutes of the journey and let her friend’s dog have her seat. large girl standing bouncing, small white ratdog lying in her seat. while i was mulling this over, the bus skids trying to miss something. i look out the back window and see the dog we’d hit trying to get off the highway with his left leg at an ugly angle, and i flash on the disparity twixt the two dog’s lives – one rides on the bus in his own seat, the other gets creamed.
when we reach the city, i compare its noise, filth, crowding, clutter to where we’ve been.
Tanetze is magic, a beautiful place with good people. have to figure out how to go back without the 10 hour hell of getting to and from. this our our 4th trip, our 20th hour on this same bus named Indomnable (Indomitable). each of our 4 trips was slightly worse than the one before. i can take the bug bites, i can take the exhausting work, and i can take the hour walk straight up the mountain, but i cannot take another 5 hours on this bouncing microcosm of mexico.
a few return trip haiku:
Alarm beep beep beep beep beeps
Get up to go home.
Mad morning bus dash.
All the good seats are taken.
Sit in bumpy back.
Bus stops on mountain.
Perched on rock, I stare out there.
Unzip. Piss in air.
in the seat across from us
vomits out window.
Hell bus skids, hits dog.
Poodle on bus not shaken.
I see both alive.
Bus drives through mist. I
look down on cloud white cold.
Shiver in my me.
Back to the city.
Dirty. Polluted. Crowded.
Lady K sick. Sore.
Diarrhea flows one end.
Vomit the other.
We climb mountains, pick coffee.
Return home. Wonder.
women’s restroom door, El Pochote Market – foto by smith
Friday, March 28th, 2008
banana trees next to host’s house – foto by smith
“up in the mornin. out in the field. work like a dog for my pay. but that lucky ole sun ain’t got nuthin to do but roll round heaven all day.” 1949 song.
never trust time estimates. easter we thought we’d be walking an hour up the mountain, celebrate in the village, walk half hour back down, so didn’t take sunscreen. we were in the sun all day. walked wrong way up mountain. back down. back up other side. hid in the shade in the village. 2 hour walk in the sun back home. Lady turned right red. hurt. add injury to injury, her intestines start to burble on the way back down. then it gets worse – she has an allergy attack due to plants, animals, feathers, dust. she’s tired and hurts from walking mountain all day – she hurts outside, she hurts inside, her insides want to come outside, she can’t breath, we’re in a village of 2,000 people on the side of a mountain on easter sunday with the small pharmacy of course closed and Lady says to me no way can she pick coffee tomorrow. i can’t believe she’s actually being sensible. we’d been told it was 30 minutes down the mountain to get to the coffee trees, and an hour back up with 45 to 60 degree inclinations. they’d asked if we could do that cuz if it was too much, they could go to the closer plot. we’d told them no problem, we’d go down the mountain. the pharmacy was closed, but Tomas was the god parent of the nurse’s child who lived above the shop, so he went out and came back with some allergy pills. Lady found one stomach pill in her purse. that got her through the night.
good morning good morning – foto by smith
next morning, Elviria went to the closed pharmacy and came back with more stomach pills. Lady decided to come with us. she knew they could use the help because picking season is running out and there’s no one to hire in the village to help because a lot of the boys and men have gone to the city or the u.s. to make money cuz there ain’t none here.
walking down mountain 40 minutes to coffee plot – foto by smith
there was dawn rain. i had vague hope they’d call off the coffee picking mountain trek. it was wet, foggy, and quite cold.
no reprieve. the steep path down mountain was slippery, part wet clay, earth, rock, vegetation. the view was fairy tale gorgeous – down steep tree covered mountain side to cloud misted valley back up looming mountain other side. wherever you looked there were more mountains. cloud tops below us. we walked through grass, trees, wild orchids, pineapple plants, arched graceful flowering trees, will-o-wisps, peach coffee banana trees, silence, bird calls, mist, sun, strange flowers, streams. took 40 minutes to get down to camp.
we waited to apply insect repellent, and i got bit 6 good ones descending. applied repellent liberally every 2 hours. have two dozen bug bites anyway.
pineapple plant growing on ground – foto by smith
picked coffee cherries from trees 8 to 15 feet tall for hours. you pull the limber trees over by their branches, hold them to you and pick small-cherry berries from up and down the branches while standing on uneven mountain ground. 3:30 we broke for lunch of meat, black bean soup, coffee, and made-that-morning tortillas cooked over an earth and stone stove.
coffee mountain lunch – foto by smith
we ate beneath a wall-less tin-roofed shelter looking across the valley to another mountain. we could see a village clinging to it. before lunch, Elvira showed us flowering sprouting vanilla vines – and budding pineapple plants which grow on the ground, one pineapple per plant. after lunch we watched two lizards scamper in a sun sex dance on a stump. i’ve seen lizard police before way back in my drinking days, but this was my first lizard sex.
coffee mountain lizard lust – foto by smith
picked more coffee after lunch. the ground was littered with bright yellow fallen lemons. bright red coffee bean cherries glowed in the sun against blue sky. green bananas peeked through yellow green leaves.
bananas – foto by smith
then UP THE MOUNTAIN. coming down was so much work due to constant leg brake i thought it’d be easier climbing back up. i was wrong. i’m 6 foot three inches 175 pounds 62 years old, but we went up the mountain in 52 minutes. i was breathing ragged and got so tired i stumbled to the side once where i looked down a long way i didn’t want to go. the view going up was even more magnificent than going down because it was sun-lit, the mist burned off. trees, flowers, shadows, shapes, river sounds an hour below, textures, stone cliffs, all a mile in the sky. most beautiful place i’ve been.
looking down on clouds is cool.
dinner that night was full of talk and laughter, invitations back. maybe going down the mountain changed how they saw us. changed how we see ourselves.
day’s end – foto by smith