...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 )
“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” – Warren Buffett, billionaire
There’s been an ever-increasing fundamental lack of morality and fair play in America that has exponentially worsened these past 50 years, what with the top 1% of the population owning 40% of all the money and CEOs making $500 for each $1 a worker gets.
Our country’s infrastructure — bridges, sewers. waterways, roads — is crumbling and this theft of wealth is destroying the psyche of the bottom 99% of Americans. If something isn’t done soon, it’s going to lead to the poor taking up arms and reclaiming what’s due from the rich via blood and bullets.
If we’d just tax the rich, make the corporations pay their fair share, and cut the defense budget in half, we’d have more than enough money to put our unemployed to work fixing our infrastructure, give all Americans health care coverage, pay for proper education for all, and have money left over to reduce our debt.
This ain’t rocket science folks, so what’s the problem — you do well in this country, you need to do right by this country. It is scum-sucking bottom-feeder cowardly to take and not pay your fair share.
It is pure criminal the way the wealthiest 1% and the corporations steal from us all and kill the planet in the process. We need to seize their assets and jail them for theft, treason, and crimes against humanity.
Past Lies and Poverty
Old wonders shrink, grow tame in time
The new fear hangs on
In quiet desperation, quit of desire
Like the shadow of a crowded
Culture in which each
Declare their innocence
In straight unfocused silence
It is there
The smell of unwashed
Dishes smug in the stench of our
Like a salesman’s under breath
The deep teal, the tiled resonance
Of hungers on top of hungers
— Smith, 1985
“In 1970, CEOs made $25 for every $1 the average worker made. Today CEOs make $90 for every $1 the average worker makes. But if you incorporate CEO benefits, stock options, perks and bonuses, today CEOs make $500 for each $1 the average worker gets.” — from “The Richest 1% Have Captured America’s Wealth — What’s It Going to Take to Get It Back? The U.S. already had the highest inequality of wealth in the industrialized world prior to the financial crisis — and it’s gotten even worse“. — February 17, 2010 . . . this is part II of David DeGraw’s report, “The Economic Elite vs. People of the USA.” alternet.org/economy/145705/the_richest_1%25_have_captured_america%27s_wealth_–_what%27s_it_going_to_take_to_get_it_back.
“The Wealth Distribution – In the United States, wealth is highly concentrated in a relatively few hands. As of 2007, the top 1% of households (the upper class) owned 34.6% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% (the managerial, professional, and small business stratum) had 50.5%, which means that just 20% of the people owned a remarkable 85%, leaving only 15% of the wealth for the bottom 80% (wage and salary workers). In terms of financial wealth (total net worth minus the value of one’s home), the top 1% of households had an even greater share: 42.7%.” — sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html.
The land of the greed, the home of the grave – foto by Smith
As a kid
Groucho Marx TV You Bet Your Life
waiting for the contestant
to say the secret word
so the stuffed duck
with Groucho glasses and moustache
would drop down with
I say secret ritual
dance mental maze
make minor magic
trying to get the stuffed duck
wearing my face
to drop down
when I finally get it right
and hand me the answer
to all this
— Smith, 6-26-2011
Here’s a new song collaboration with Peter Ball titled Credo. Lyrics by Smith & Ball; voice by Smith; music, mix, recording by Ball aka Apartment One: reverbnation.com/mutantsmith. It’s the first song on the screen; just click PLAY.
Going out the Enter Only / Going in the Only Out – foto by Smith
I appreciate the headline name, “Rebuild the Dream.” I think we need to rebuild the dream and I am glad that commondreams.org is focusing more on positive action rather than despair in this headline.
In the video, Van Jones said, “We are being lied to.” I can sympathize with where I think he is coming from. I think he means well. But I think the phrase “we are being lied to” is a phrase that seems to arouse anger. I can understand why one might wish to feel anger. And I can understand that people seem to want to strike back at injustices.
On a spiritual level, I wish for anger to not be aroused, but instead, cooperation, healing, transcending labels and fixing the situations in this country and the world. I also think that it is appropriate to discuss things in a more complete manner and have sound “bits” rather than “bites.”
I understand the challenges of communicating in a more complete manner though! So, I wish for Van Jones to be successful in engaging people to focus on dreaming, and I wish for these people to be able to transcend anger and feel compassion so that they can engage even more people and help heal our country and the world. I am also not sure that Jones’s points are entirely accurate, but I know he has good intent.
It is understandable why many would perceive the words, “America is broke” as accurate considering the deficit and debt of the United States. On a spiritual and fundamentally practical level, though, the United States has the ability to heal its situation–I believe fairly quickly–by stopping funding of the military and military contractors and/or transforming the military and military contractors into agencies and businesses that implement sustainable infrastructure in an ethical manner inside the United States.
Also, were the United States government to make reparation payments to the countries of the world it has invaded, these countries could also develop sustainable infrastructures for themselves.
There are more complications to the phrase, “America is broke” when one considers the history of actions, debt and deficit in terms of parties that are in power in the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. Government, and the particular institutions and corporations and areas that the parties seem to want to invest in and/or fund. However, I am reasonably sure that most reading this particular page are aware of this history so I will not go into it now.
On a metaphorical level and practically implementable level, I love the phrase, “America is not broke.” Jones goes on to point out that were the rich to pay a fair share of taxes, this would help the economy. I believe this to be true and good within a practical threshold of understanding.
The second “lie” Van Jones addressed is the sentence, “Asking the super-rich to pay taxes hurts America’s economy.” Based on the history of economics worldwide, I agree with Van Jones in that that sentence about the super-rich is not accurate. The disparity of wealth that the United States is experiencing has harmed the vast majority of people living in the United States, and has had a significant harmful impact on the people living in other countries as well. I ask for the extreme disparity to be removed. I also ask for free trade agreements between countries to be removed, and instead for fair trade to be implemented. But I ask that the fair trade is implemented in such a way that the biosphere can survive, heal and thrive–in other words, for sustainability.
“Hating on America’s government – and wrecking America’s infrastructure – is patriotic” is the third idea Van Jones calls a lie. I can understand where he is coming from. From a peace perspective, though, I have seen that criticizing the government and wishing for peace has been called “unpatriotic” and “hateful to the United States” as well. I do not believe that criticism of the government and wishing for peace are hateful or unpatriotic.
I do believe that wrecking infrastructure can be hateful, but also can clear the way for a new, sustainable infrastructure that we need. We need an infrastructure for public transportation that has a negligible impact on the environment. We need a new and/or revitalized infrastructure for affordable healthcare for all people. We need for the disparity of wealth between the CEOs of insurance companies and the people who need healthcare to be reduced.
I would prefer it were the health insurance companies disbanded, but with a transition plan for the people who are employed by the companies so that they can obtain more ethical, sustainable work. I want for the CEOs of all companies who are rich to just decide to opt out, retire at a reasonable income, and stop exploiting people. So basically, I want a graceful, gentle parachute for the CEOs so that they and their families are not frightened. Preferably Gaia would provide this naturally for these people so that it just happens without a hitch.
I wish Van Jones success in getting people to engage in rebuilding the American Dream in a sustainable manner and with the goal of long term sustainability, and I ask that this vision include kindness, forgiveness, and that rebuilding include sustainability in terms of wages, health, and especially the environment.
I have sympathy for many of the organizations that Van Jones mentions: AFL-CIO, SEIU, MoveOn.org, etc. I have volunteered for an effort that SEIU has helped with, and have contributed to moveon.org even though I’d seen moveon.org as being aligned with the Democratic Party. I have great sympathy for many who vote for the Democratic Party but I also have a lot of criticism for the corporate funding and militarism promoted by the Democratic Party. However, I realize that the heart of progressives is still represented in many ways within the Democratic Party, and that the heart of good people is also represented in the Republican Party albeit manifested in unfortunate ways within both. We must recognize common ground, and in a way that is beneficial to the health of most, if not all people and the environment!
On July 5th, Van Jones invites us to go to rebuildthedream.com and share ideas. I think this is good.
There is criticism based on the history of political campaigns and parties, and this is mentioned in the threads of comments below this video but I think we also have to recognize that opportunites are born in mixed circumstance, and that action and progress can transcend circumstance.
Spiritually I like the words, “Contract for the American Dream.” I can see it as a way of making a covenant with a dream, a process similar to “making a covenant with God.” And I also see “reality” as a long dream, one that needs to be repaired, one that can be repaired.
I would like us to transcend “they” and “our” in the phrases “their turn” and “our turn” that Van Jones says. I would like “them” to be “us” and “us” to be “them.” I know this is so in so many ways. “We’re going to rebuild the movement that stands for liberty and justice for all,” Van Roy says at the end, and I think the “all” part if this is good and the intent is good. I’d also like for us to consider mercy. 🙂
So this is my long, yet brief analysis of this video!
sober Smith June 2011 – foto by Lady K
probably the gentlest foto ever taken of me
Commercial:::::::Lady K, Mark S. Kuhar and I are reading poetry tonight at 7:30 pm in the Serafino Gallery in Little Italy as part of their current Outsider Art, Underground Poetry show in which we also have 36 pieces of art displayed. Serafino Gallery 11917 Mayfield Rd. in Little Italy, Cleveland, OH 44106 · 216.721.1025
Well, I’m done with my final rewrite of Stations of the Lost. Now give it to Lady for her final go-thru and we’ll get it online as a pay-per-print on Amazon within a couple months. After that, I’ll figure out how to turn it into an e-book for cheap download as well.
After rereading the entire thing, I think I can predict what many will feel after reading it — you won’t like me very much but my what an interesting story.
Here’s the first half of the “Serial Suicide” chapter; the second half, which we’ll skip, is even more of a downer.
April 21, 1991 while watching the movie Mortal Thoughts downtown with Mom, I started swallowing small amounts of liquid, which was odd because I wasn’t drinking anything. An alcohol induced ulcer at the base of my esophagus had hemorrhaged and I was swallowing my own blood. I came home scared and didn’t tell Mom.
While Mom was downstairs in her space, I lay in my loft for fourteen hours vomiting blood into a bedside bucket, passing out, coming back, all the time my little computer brain computing, saying, This is serious, you’re going to have to go to the hospital. But hospitals mean money, and I was poor, with no health insurance. I’d vomited blood the previous December for four hours, but managed to stop it through will or luck, so I thought maybe I could stop it this time too.
For the first six hours I thought, Right now I can get up and drive to the hospital.
Couple hours later, more lost blood, more unconsciousness, I’m thinking, Well now I can take a bus to the hospital because I’m too weak to drive anymore.
Later it became, Now I have to call a cab.
Each time I’d start to lose consciousness from blood loss, I’d think, Is this it? But each time I worried about Mom who still needed my help and company, so I came back. All through this, I collected the blood in the bucket and wondered, What art piece can I make with a bucket of my own blood? Buckets of human blood aren’t easy to come by, so this was a seriously unique art supply.
Finally I couldn’t do anything but weakly call over and over until I woke Mom. She called EMS. I was too heavy for them to carry down from the loft because I weighed ninety pounds more then from all the wine and food. I rolled out of my water bed, crawled on my belly across the floor and slid like a seal head first down the loft stairs where they put me on a sling-chair and carried me into the ambulance, where I immediately disappeared into unconsciousness. When I returned to this reality after an indeterminate period of time I looked at the nurse and croaked, “Wow, nice to be back,” and threw up a huge amount of gelatinous blood. It looked like pre-chewed Jell-O as it quivered in her tray.
Oh, I was gone. I mean, I left my body. Before–in the fourteen hours of vomiting blood—I would occasionally lose consciousness and there’d be a nether region where I was aware I might not come back, and then I’d worry about Mom and return. But down in the ambulance I zoomed right past that point. I was gone. When I regained sight, it was literally, Wow, I’m back, and it felt good, I was glad.
I officially quit drinking the next day in intensive care the third time they shoved the tube up my nose and down my throat—the first two times I gagged it back out with my throat muscles. I decided right then if I lived I would never have a tube shoved up my nose again due to alcohol. Haven’t drank since.
The docs dripped six units of blood into me. After five units, one doctor turned and asked, “Where’s it going?” A friend inquired later if I knew what type blood I’d received; said no, but that the next time I’d gone downtown, I’d bought a five hour boxed set of James Brown music.
Back home, Mom had dumped my blood bucket because the rot smelled bad. Everyone’s an art critic.
After I stopped drinking, Mom admitted, “It was so bad living with you drinking I was thinking of moving out.”
“Where would you have gone?”
“I had no place to go, but I couldn’t have stayed with you the way you were.”
I got a call from Dick Head right after I got out of intensive care.
“I can’t drink anymore or I’ll die,” I told him.
“Then why don’t you die!” he screamed. “I’d rather die than not drink.”
** excerpt from chapter 39 of “Stations of the Lost – a true tale of armed robbery, stolen cars, outsider art, mutant poetry, underground publishing, robbing the cradle and leaving the country” by Smith & Lady
bottom Mark Kuhar; middle Lady K, top Smith – foto by Smith
Outsider Art, Underground Poetry reading and art show this Thursday June 23.
Lady K, Mark Kuhar and Steven B. Smith will be reading poetry at the Serafino Gallery in Little Italy Thursday June 23 at 7:30 pm as part of their current art show reception.
This is a good looking show. Lady has 21 pieces made on three continents, I’ve 13, and we’ve included our first collaborative piece; Mark Kuhar has a slew of paintings and sculptures peppered around the gallery.
Please join poet/artists Kathy Smith, Mark S. Kuhar and Steven B. Smith as well as artist Ralph Solonitz for “Outsider Art, Underground Poetry,” at Serafino Gallery in Little Italy. View strange works of folk, primitive and art brut; political cartoons, and listen to poetry, cosmic love songs and bongo chants. Show runs June 18 – 30.
11917 Mayfield Rd. in Little Italy, Cleveland, OH 44106 · 216.721.1025
Lady & Smith and Kuhar art at Serafino Gallery – fotos by Smith