...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 )
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It’s 4:30 a.m. and people are laughing in delight
all over the world. Some get up really early and
exercise together, so even here in the U.S. at
4:30 a.m. people are laughing.
It’s prime time for office tea and coffee gathering
in London. 5.2 million work there, and probably
3.5 million are in offices. At least 5% of these are
taking a break right now, and half of that talking,
and half again laughing. 43,750 people in London
offices are laughing, more or less, right now.
And there are people not in offices… and people
all over the world still to consider. If a quarter of
us have a decent laugh at least once daily over,
say, a 5 minute period, there’s a .34% chance that
any of us have been laughing in the past five
minutes. Multiply that by 7.1 billion people, and
24.1 million of us are laughing, more or less, all
over the world. So much delight is being had, and
Ponytails were killing us. My most excellent friend & I are solving the problems of the universe. The most excellent show maybe ever–“Red Dwarf…”
On Friday, the Red Dwarf ran into the Squid of Despair, a giant squid. The cast and crew discovered that everything is a giant, mass hallucination, that we’ve all been playing parts for four years in a GIANT VIRTUAL VIDEO GAME.
SO, now they find out who they REALLY are–and THAT’s the DESPAIR–the despair was that they found out who they really were…
AND, right when they were about to KILL themselves, all cast members lined up, four in a row with one bullet–the ship’s computer finally got to a high enough FREQUENCY where they could HEAR and save them.
Friends, we suggest that we buy each other’s organically grown sustainable smoothie very expensive cakes and artisanal food, get frequent behive hairdos, sans hair dye, at the beauty salons where the hairdressers are paid magnificently and enjoy their work. Exercise classes and spas. Sustainable capitalism–it’s a plan.
I suggest free education for everyone, or paid education, whatever works. And a career of anyone’s choice. Some people have to go to school longer for their careers. Those people should be paid a wee bit more. OK, incentive. But not ridiculous incentive. I’m thinking: sliding scale speeding tickets, like the ones they have in Sweden. Getting rid of tax loopholes and offshore accounts. Staying local. Stopping all this weird international shipping except for cruise ships to one anothers continents. In the basements of the cruise ships, we could carry very expensive, fine cheese and the spices and coffee of the world. Gigantic, energy efficient cruise ships. Free energy? What was that thing Tesla was talking about? Hope it works. I would like to beam myself to the North and South pole if possible, and Japan. Coffee crops as well. I really like coffee from fair wage growers whose wages must grow more excellent.
Keeping the inheritance ‘stuff’ within reason, but making sure these rich people work doing art/music/artisanal food or whatever tickles their fancy and stimulates the economy in a sustainable way.
Primed the pump last night and bought some local, organic food. Sharpened our old knives for only $12. Hope he charges more next time. Hope the family business has more business coming in–we are an overtly ethical business. Hope our book projects take off. I know all this will happen. I just, know… it.
Precedent kathy’s economic stimulus package – a prescription for today & possibly the future (albeit with tweaking and optimization):
1. If you happen to be near a flower shop, I hear the bees are expecting food next year and so buy a flower, think of a bee, and if you are wealthy, buy flowers for your entire house. I hear they are going to flower forever and ever.
2. I hear the bees have been heard of as ‘unhealthy’ in an outdated narrative, but I’ve recently heard an update on this information: there are some 15 or so new species of bees. I hope they are very good, sturdy, happy little pollinators and that they somehow magically know how to find their ways back to the hives. I anticipate that we shall eat fruit, good fruit, from now until the foreseeable future. I COMMAND IT SO. And the fruit will be wildly and widely available for maws of mass consumption, and will be very healthy and beneficial for the maws of mass consumption.
So, I command you to start eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day (if you have the money for it and if it is available in your region. I hear most regions do have enough food. I would like to assume so. If not, I COMMAND IT SO.)
Of the grocery stores, et cetera: I really don’t understand how a couple of red peppers can really equal the life of a chicken. How can this situation be changed so that healthy food is subsidized? GOVERNMENT: I COMMAND YOU TO START SUBSIDIZING HEALTHY FOOD FOR PEOPLE.
3. Cellphones used to have a ‘bad’ reputation. I hear that they are now in collaboration with our needs, and nature’s needs. Thank you, cellphones! We love you!
4. I hear more and more Republicans are finding that they really were right, after all, that they are decent human beings who put their mouths where their money is in terms of helping the poor with churches, in stimulating the economy ethically so that people can buy more locally-made, hand-made goods – this is my vision for the near future. This is my economic stimulus plan.
5. The rich people will dine on the most succulent, juicy, well-marbled grass-fed beef, served to them by wonderfully paid and happy craftspeople who work with food.
6. McDonald’s and its ilk will start serving healthy, inexpensive, wonderfully-tasting food, and will pay its workers very well, a living wage that will meet and exceed its collaborators expectations, 32 hours per week with full benefits and pension plans in reparation for the history of the business’s exploitation of its workers and environment. In turn, the workers will become very faithful advocates of McDonald’s (and its ilk). And their high wages and high health will help stimulate the local economies.
So, on some days, a person of moderate wealth might find that he/she would like to eat at McDonald’s or its ilk, and other days, at an expensive smoothie bar or expensive restaurant or vegetarian restaurant (I hear they are becoming quite popular.)
7. Artists: Did you know that anyone can become an artist? Sure, some of us are misunderstood, but–get this–in a civilized society with lots of cash flow, the rich people buy lots of art. They buy personalized items for lots of money, and so do we. We are rich people! Did you know that? All of us are rich.
We might not have the actual cash money in our bank accounts right this second–but I hear it’s coming! Has to do with that hand-crafted, ethically-produced stimulation thing. Yowzers.
8. Poets: Why are you giving away God’s words for free? You are so good. Buy each others books. I command thee. I command more people to start appreciating poetry–people who might not necessarily write poetry, but suddenly find that, wow, what a goldmine of nuance and love and reverence for life there is in those darned poets! BORDERS BOOK STORE: I command you to buy books from local poets in consultation with the people who know best–like Suzanne from Macs.
INDEPENDENT BOOK STORES: You are lovers of hand-crafted zines, recycled and reowned books, fine coffee environments, tee, pastries, plants, atmosphere, music, fine wine, et cetera. IN MY ECONOMIC STIMULUS PLAN FOR YOU, YOU WILL NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT LOSING BUSINESS, ONLY GAINING IT!
9. Back to the bees. I hear monoculture crops weren’t such a good idea. I’m glad they’re realizing now that they need to employ beekeepers for the local areas, and that most of the year (maybe?) the bees need to eat organic, varied, wonderful, varieties of food. Perhaps a patch of this food with a local beekeeper could be employed in every area that needs one? And that the use of pesticides is suddenly found to not be necessary, or that somehow, it is in coordination with the health needs of pollinating insects? Seems like local beekeepers would be a good jobs program to me.
– – –
I imagine that this plan will require some tweaking, but it sounds like a good start and good vision to me. What do you all think?
“No Exit” by Mother Dwarf Smith – foto by son Smith
We made the monthly Tremont ArtWalk rounds tonight, and our first stop half a block around the corner at the Doubting Thomas Gallery, my 24 year old art past struck again. Performance artist Frank Green is selling off his art collection and one of the pieces he has for sale is a fine assemblage by my dead mom–Mother Dwarf–while another in a rusted cake pan is one-third of a triptych of mine from the mid-1980s (the other two portions of the triptych were destroyed somehow).
Also saw Dick Head at Green’s show, and 4 days ago in another part of town I chanced across some of my old artwork in a couple of Dick Head’s 1985 Clevebland Rag-o-zeens. My old art past is Mobius strip looping around in some Twilight Zone infinity flip. These seem to me to be omens saying I’m supposed to be here.
I first met poet artist punk musician publisher performance artist Dick Head in 1983. There was a pounding on my 4th floor warehouse fire door. I opened it to my first view of Dick Head. He whined, “Do you have any drugs?” “No,” I replied, “but if you find any, come back.” An hour later he was back pounding on my steel door, with drugs. Not a bad foundation for a 27 year friendship.
Robert Ritchie a.k.a Dick Head – foto by Smith
Sometimes I forget how long I’ve been in Ohio. Moved to Chagrin Falls in 1977 when I was 31 (moved there to be with another man’s wife), then to Solon in 78, downtown Cleveland warehouse 81, Tremont 85, Europe 2006, Africa 07, Mexico 07, and back to Tremont 09 at 63.
“Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four?”
Started life in Idaho in 1946. Then Washington state, Oregon, California, Tennessee, Maryland, Hawaii, Virginia, Florida, Connecticut, Michigan, Arizona, Ohio. And of course the England Netherlands Poland Croatia Italy France Spain Morocco Mexico Ohio loop just to keep things interesting
No wonder place has seldom been my identity.
“No Exit” (detail) by Mother Dwarf Smith – foto by Smith
“As Above, So Below” – 1/3 of triptych by Smith – foto by Smith
The adventures of Lady & Smith, soon to be no longer broadcast from foreign shores.
Getting things picked up, packed, mailed, given away, tossed, cleansed for our fiftieth-some move since 2006. Our fridge and furniture have been traded for our final two weeks rent. Plants gone, art gone, books gone, spices gone, smoke gone. Getting white and empty in here. It’s the awkward stage where we’re gone in our minds but still here in the flesh. (Although my body still revels in this sun and warmth).
What an odd three year story arc it’s been – Cleveland England Netherlands Poland Croatia Italy France Spain Morocco Mexico, and now back to Cleveland to live. I spent 29 years there–46% of my life. Looks like I’ll stay at least one more.
Once back, perhaps we can begin to put our journey in perspective. 31 months, 10 countries, 21 cities, 3 continents. Not sure how we’ve changed, but know we ain’t the same.
After all this, I figure Cleveland will be just one more foreign city to report on.
We watched Stranger Than Paradise last night. Wanted to see the actors standing in the blowing snow looking out at the iced-over Lake Erie to prepare us for returning to Cleveland winters. The scene where they drive by Tremont into Cleveland showed our old studio flat. Interesting scene because they’re supposed to be driving from the east, from New York City to Cleveland, yet in that scene they’re coming from the west, which is ass backwards.
Looks like we’re moving back to Cleveland this spring after 32 months living outside the U.S.
Lady’s been talking of moving back awhile now. She’s isolated here, needs to be around younger people, have a viable art & poetry scene. We were talking of San Francisco or Seattle, but family and a job lead us back to Cleveland.
I’m isolated here as well, but then I’ve been isolated for 62 years now – place don’t make no difference because it’s the people Iâ€™m walled off from no matter the country, city or century.
Returning is going to be exceedingly odd because I left Cleveland AND the U.S.A. in both my mind and body August 2006 with nary a thought of ever returning to either. At least my cosmic script writer still has a sense of humor and the absurd.
Knowing we’re going, each day I look deeply into the colors and contours of here, the most beautiful place I’ve lived except for my 7 years being raised on a 40 acre farm on Paradise Prairie outside of Spokane Washington in the 1950s. Both southern France and the Istrian tip of Croatia were beautiful places to live as well, but they were culturally even more disadvantaged than Oaxaca.
Not looking forward to this, but relationships and marriages require compromise and right now Lady’s needs outweigh my own. Plus I’ve lived most my life and have become who I am while Lady is young, still living, still becoming. (Actually, she’s very becoming.)
I’m looking forward to the poetry and art. Cleveland has the best poetry scene we’ve seen anywhere in our three years of travel – including London England. And it’ll be good to make art again. I’ve made a dozen pieces in our journey through 10 countries and 22 cities we’ve lived in during that time, but the art desire was attenuated because I knew we’d be moving on again and I’d have to leave the art behind – my ego is too large to be comfortable with that.
I’ve fond memories of the cities we stayed in along the way – in chronological order: Cleveland, Ohio USA / London, UK / Leeds, UK / Grassington, UK / Burley-On-Wharfsdale, UK / Amsterdam, Netherlands / Lodz, Poland / Krakow, Poland / Liznjan, Croatia / Trieste, Italy / Venice, Italy / Abeilhan, France / Barcelona, Spain / Madrid, Spain / Marrakech, Morocco / Essaouira, Morocco / Keswick, England / Marseilles, France / Paris, France / New York City, New York USA / Oaxaca, Mexico / Tanetze, Mexico.
Not a bad run. And this will not be our last – get some more money and a wee bit of security and we’ll be off again.
I’ve finished my morning ablutions, drank my 1st cup of eye-opening life-giving Mexican coffee purchased from the mountain woman with whom we stayed twice to help pick her coffee from her trees (so maybe we’re occasionally drinking some coffee beans we actually picked), answered my 1 email, spot checked the news to see what lies the evil corporate empire has defecated on us since last night, glanced at the blogs I follow of others, and read the few comments left on my blog.
Now it’s time for me to blog, and of course I have no blog.
Lady started this blog on WalkingThinIce.com end of June 2006 while I was recovering from my nose polyps removal and cancer biopsy operation (polyps are gone, cancer is clean). Since then we’ve lived in 10 countries (4 of them twice) and have blogged 1,232 blogs with between 2 to 3,000 fotos of our travels.
Lady and I have been together 3 years and 2 months, and we’ve a daily blog of our life and times for 2 years 4 months of that. Well, almost daily – for our three months of living in a small fishing village on the tip of Croatia facing the Adriatic we had to bus a half hour into town to blog, and our two weeks of camping in the North England rain we had to walk an hour through the mountains to blog, so in those cases we only blogged thrice weekly. But I blogged two-three times a day in our two months in Krakow Poland, so that should keep my average up.
In our 38 months together we’ve moved 50 times, living in the U.S.A., England, Amsterdam, Poland, Croatia, Italy, France, Spain, Morocco, England-France-Spain-U.S.A. a second time, and now for the past 11 months in southern Mexico.
Here in Oaxaca is my favorite place I’ve lived since I moved from the farm to the city in 1960. It’s not the most important place I’ve lived since then though – that’d have to be Morocco. One month in Marrakech and 2 months in the old walled city of Essaouira on the Northwest coast of Africa was the most amazing adventure I’ve had because it was like going through the looking glass to an ancient time before electricity, cleanliness, antibiotics. There’s nothing Western about it, it’s more like Old Testament times. Morocco also kept trying to kill me with multiple attacks of dysentery, which kept things interesting.
The one thing daily blogging in a multitude of countries, cities and cultures has done is made me a better, faster, more thoughtful writer. The other thing is it has given Lady and me an online diary record of our daily existence, with fotos.
The funny part is when Lady started this blog, I asked her why. I couldn’t fathom why anyone would want to blog. And now I’m addicted to my daily noise.
Still, it is hard to blog every day, to think of something to say. No one’s interesting every day all the time. So here’s my bogus non-blog of a blog today. Of course my non-blogs aren’t really a problem because I always have interesting fotos for eye candy to keep you distracted from my lack of content. Tomorrow I might just have something real to say.
Weirdsville last night tumbling through stillness and cold sweat going places I’ve not gone before and would prefer to not ever visit again.
Was sitting reading last night when the book page started swirling counterclockwise. Looked up and the whole room was rotating like I’d drunk too much, yet it’s been 17 years since I had a drink. Lay down to recover. Got worse. Started feeling nauseous. Got up to splash cold water over my head because I was beginning to get scared. I had no balance so had to use the walls to get to and from the bathroom. Lurched from wall to wall as if intoxicated. My arms were tingling and my head light and rising like I’d shot too much speed. Nausea got worse. I called to Lady who brought me a bucket which I tried to fill with all my me. When I emptied my body, the retching wouldn’t stop and I tried violently to force out the rest of me. Looked like I was vomiting blood, but peered closer and saw it was Monastery lentil soup and chocolate cookies mixed with strawberry yogurt. Cold sweat and chills with a temperature a couple of degrees below normal. At this time we both independently decided it was food poisoning. I’ve had food poisoning a dozen times in my life – you could add them all together and they wouldn’t even come close to being this bad. Couldn’t move because my body was falling through space to the left. If I slightly moved left or right, the nausea multiplied exponentially. It was as if my body were a gyroscope, and if I deviated from its plane even slightly or slowly or gently I became much worse. Had to keep my eyes closed because the spinning room made me nauseous. Lay there in cold sweat, eyes closed, holding body and mind together with sheer will, making the occasional sardonic comment to Lady to reassure both of us. Couldn’t undress because couldn’t move, so lay there with a blanket over my cold wet chills. Fell asleep. Woke 3 hours later and made it to the bathroom by hugging the walls. Had to use the wall to hold myself upright on the toilet because my body wanted to fall to the left. Walked the walls back to bed. Woke this morning shaky, no nausea, 99% of my balance back. Got down a cup of coffee, will try a bowl of oatmeal. Feel chilled and weak and a bit chagrined – not used to having my body betray me. I’m indestructible Super-Smith, so what the flux is going on?
Think I’d rather be an energy being, except then I couldn’t hug Lady.
lady in sitting room room window from kitchen window – foto by smith
blog partial from Tuesday, August 22, 2006, London UK
in the undergound tube on the way to cabaret poeticalâ€™s open mic last night, lady says we have to change from the orange line to the pink line at whitechapel. “i donâ€™t do no pinks lines,” i reply. “pink lines are for feminists. pink lines are for commies. pink lines are for girly men. iâ€™m a manly man,” i say. “i donâ€™t do pink – unless itâ€™s pussy â€¦ i do do pink pussy.”
she stares at me. then says we have to get off at whitechapel. so i start singing â€œgoing to the chapel and weâ€™re gonna get ma-a-ar-ied, going to the chapel of love.â€ she stares some more. so i explain itâ€™s â€˜chapel of loveâ€˜ by the dixie cups – then say thatâ€™s wrong, it canâ€™t be the dixie cups, cuz theyâ€™re black, and this is whitechapel, so it must be elvisâ€™s version, cuz heâ€™s white. she looks at me some more.
then we come to the wapping stop and i say “you know what stop this is?” she says “what. “i say wapping,” and lightly wap her back and forth across her cheeks. sheâ€™s laughing too hard by now to stare. on the way back, i ask her, “do you know the next stop?” she says “no.” i say “wapping,” and wap her some more. she says “you’re way too far past your bedtime.” we wake up this morning and she waps me back. ah, thatâ€™s the way to start the day – with a good wapping.
recalled Yesterday & Today Beatle album cover – collage & foto by smith