Blog Home Agent of Chaos City Poetry Zine Buy Stuff!
 
...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 the ‘Poetry’ Category

6 Russell Atkins poems from Artcrimes

Saturday, September 15th, 2018

This fall, Cleveland State University Poetry Center is publishing selected poems by Russell Atkins (1926), co-edited by poets Robert MacDonough and Kevin Prufer.

Atkins lost all his personal papers when he went into the hospital then assisted living years ago and the city tore down his house, so they are looking for any poems published in magazines or chapbooks.

They discovered 4 of his poems in Artcrimes # 7 (1989 edited by Chris Franke) and 2 in Artcrimes 11 (1991 edited by Ben Gulyas) – and of the 6, 4 were unknown to the editors.

If anyone knows of any other published Atkins poems, please let me know and I’ll pass it on.

Russell AtkinsWiki article – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell_Atkins

The 6 Atkins poems in Artcrimes — the blog editor deleted the special spacing from his poems and left justified.

~ ~ ~

Transit
by Russell Atkins

th’ baby came forward
with out-held arms
saying, ” — dah!”
to me?
I
knew a terror not to dare!
with fled I rushed
about the terminal
looking for things going now
like a bus for Canada —

a car’s approach:
“I need the swift of your help,”
I said, ” — a baby
with arms out-held!”

the driver said, “I dig!
(he knew the worst)
— let’s split

~ ~ ~

Backyard
by Russell Atkins

reaches about
and has hold
of the throats
of trees
— such shake it to death wild!

the snow octopus
widths into blizzards
of mists
then furiouses!
a dash through sky
flung tentacles
jet
full squid

~ ~ ~

Spring’s Generation Gap
by Russell Atkins

it takes evening
a long time to arrive — it
feebles (slow old man
still trying to hold down a job,
decrepit) forced to move fast
— janitor of the above offices!
he replaces things that
were used puts them in special
dark corners, closes shadows
into spaces like doors,
straightens, covers until
all seems gone
just before
youthful day comes to work
demanding, “Hey, dad —
— where the hell is everything?!”

~ ~ ~

Old Man Carrying A Bible In A High Crime Area
by Russell Atkins

Condense, will it? grow a barrel
for shooting?
flash open and spit God’s
electric al bullets, Leviticus
as the holy trigger – the thief
drops into hell? book develops
dimensions turned sanctuary
where no muggers plunder?
Does the dope fiend defer
to this, struck to a fix? will the book
in black, cleric vestment
convert loose women?

Old friend, listen: don’t wait
– when they come at you,
throw it at them!

~ ~ ~

Ninety Kilocycles
by Russell Atkins

Ever stuffed in that box living’s
claustrophobia’d surely, small
this harangue or abuzz’d of news
where miniature Savings & Loans
are robbed, where murder, as if betwixt dolls,
squeaks a gloom’d spider’s kept
spinning no matter what –
– to have everything in handfuls
is most convenient(even conscienced
by dials)
if someone leaps at end
from a vast height, it’s brought
between fingers of a mere hand
held for a minute, for a time
at this squat package of sounds
– when, quickly,
the button snaps off the world’s harsh
after its hush, sprung like a trap,
one imagines the rage goes on
within –

~ ~ ~

Public Square
by Russell Atkins

The light is at the back
it lets one know
it’s not for sure

as I’m amidst
this alit of a
chess’d up jut
long’d from by
shadows that ail

twilight’s haunt
is in appear‘’
downtown’s vaunt
is muted
so, half way
through some monstrous’d
abstraction
I sense but its
short-shrift
– things told
should be open
by now
to what is

turning

 

7 most recent poems

Monday, August 27th, 2018

7 most recent poems:

2018.8.13 – Lizard Load
2018.8.14 – Status Report 274
2018.8.16 – Fuel for the Fire
2018.8.22 – Sermon of the Sum
2018.8.23 – Philosophy 174
2018.8.24 – Status Report 275
2018.8.25 – Status Quo

~ ~ ~

Lizard Load

Meatbag walking meatbag talking
meatbag grabbing what they will

Spermworm musing slick wet stalking
spirit shackled stone

Gotta eat, gotta sleep
clear that bone juice from inside

Mind delaying flesh composting
I am meat looking for mouth

~ ~ ~

Status Report 274

I hear stupid’s too stupid
to know it’s stupid
and I see stupid in the mirror sometimes
and wonder if I’m too stupid
to see him more often

~ ~ ~

Fuel for the Fire

We look through shadow
for sample of sun
for night is short-sight light
since apple was won
or lost
at dawn of good and evil

With eye for lie we live in blindness
sacrifice flesh for burn of righteousness

~ ~ ~

Sermon of the Sum

Got crutches for our crutches
lies to sell our soul
keep the wheel going
no matter what we know

Have to feed the monkey
with money on the make
it ain’t funny honey
if you lose more than you take

I know pre-chosen diction
certain aisles we should walk
in capitalistic infection
of altrustic balk

But then, no one asked me
if I wanted to join this messy
surreal comedy
where more is always less

So have no expectations
I know there’s none of mine
we are our own creation
somehow lay with lie

Eight-fold path
foretold thought
first is last
should would ought

~ ~ ~

Philosophy 174

Moon blood comes, moon blood goes,
moon blood stops, moon blood flows.

Life goes on, life stops,
sometimes won, sometimes lost.

~ ~ ~

Status Report 275

Running the red line —
stress
political anger
coffee
slightly modulated by weed
and budding Buddha heed

~ ~ ~

Status Quo

8 fish die
7 are born
we’re still in the game

4 hives dead
5th still going
6 months to go to know

72 years worry weary
getting wary wise
in wander

1 day polio
next day free Salk vaccine —

so no worry, we could all be saved by aliens

 

scraps and crap

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

Someone asked for my black bean soup recipe. This is a first for me.

Smith’s random black bean soup

3 segments of garlic
1 very large onion or 3 smaller ones
3 carrots
4 stalks celery

chop the above, add to large pan with 1/3 cup olive oil
and saute

add tablespoon ground cumin, black pepper, some smoked salt

add large can diced tomatoes. 3 cans of black beans with juice
3 caps sherry, 1/3 cup miso, 1/2 cup black beluga lentils,
1 container vegetable broth, msg if desired
bring to low boil

lower flame and simmer for 1 hour

take 1/4 of it and put thru a blender
add back in
add chopped green onions, chopped cilantro, chopped parsley,
and some frozen corn
bring to low boil, lower flame to simmer
and slow cook for an hour

~

I have a foto on new Crisis Chronicles Press book cover.
https://ccpress.blogspot.com/2018/08/howey099.html

~

And here’s my July feature on Medusa’s Kitchen thanks to publisher/editor Kathy Kieth… this is my 33rd consecutive month: http://medusaskitchen.blogspot.com/2018/07/wolf-parts-poems-and-visuals-by-smith.html

~

We all blind ourselves.

“Where you come from is gone.
Where you thought you were going to weren’t never there.
And where you are ain’t no good unless you can get away from it.”

You want strange? Comedy? Absurd? The Church of Christ Without Christ?

Then you need “Wise Blood,” from 1979, the movie John Huston made from Flannery O’Connor’s first novel (1952). With Brad Dourif and Harry Dean Stanton.

I saw the movie at the Cedar Lee when it came out 39 years ago and was wondering if it could possibly be as good as I remembered. Finally found it again (on Filmstruck). It is. 5 stars out of 4.

~

Another Filmstruck film – His Kind of Woman, 1951, Robert Mitchum, Jane Russell, Vincent Price, directed by Richard Fleischer (although uncredited, he redid the film after John Farrow’s failure) – a film noir of piranhas in a pool fighting over whom to eat – I used to see these as entertainment, but today realized they’re education, prophesy, life as it’s actually lived — we’re all meat, just looking for a mouth.

~

Wine More Than Women

Dead poets sing tall towers
of empty icing,
of love without helping,
love without caring,
love without sacrifice,
love without being there,
of loving land more than people,
people more than person,
strangers more than family,
of women who wait without complaint
while men fight wars,
drink wine,
cry.

This is not poetry,
this is not love.

This is masturbation,
this is licking one’s self in the mirror.

Love is changing diapers,
love is getting up before dawn and going to work,
love is not eating the last piece of pie,
love is looking, watching, sharing,
caring.

Love is not thumping chest,
love is not beating brow,
love is not patriarchy,
love is not lies.

Their poet love is empty love,
self love,
love of sound and whistle
minus meaning.

Love is dirty,
love is work.

Love is worth it
when you’re worthy.

As is poetry.

 

Smith text of last night’s reading

Sunday, July 8th, 2018

Text of my reading last night at Visible Voice Books in Tremont (Cleveland, OH) from “Where Never Was Already Is” with co-reader John Burroughs who also published my book.

~ ~ ~

Car repair
free pastries free coffee
six hundred dollars.

~ ~ ~

Wheel Deal

There’s something wrong with this world
I mean I wash the dishes
and more dirty dishes appear
I clean cat box of clayed shit and clumped piss
and more’s magically there
every day I defecate
yet defecate the next
dedicated to rerelease I guess
I eat in morning noon evening in-between
again and again
I drink water piss it out drink it in
again and again
in never ending script
get up
run the rat wheel
walk the rat wheel
sit the rat wheel
be the rat wheel
resolve to better
fall to fail
it gets cold I put on sweater
it gets hot I put on sweat
is there a seek in cycle
or learning in loop
something actually done
accomplished
improved
or are they just waiting for me to see the light
already seen in previous scene
done played
paid
replayed
repaid
is this but screen test
or something real
I mean what’s the deal?

~ ~ ~

Life with Wife

So strange,
I’m sitting quiet in my chair
and this beautiful young woman walks by,
stops,
leans over, kisses me,
and walks on.
This has been happening for over 12 years now.
I wonder who she is,
and how she got in?

~ ~ ~

Norman Rockwellville

Walked a mile to the country school
white wood, two rooms
grades 1 through 4 left room
5 through 8 right
the husband wife teachers
lived in the cottage on the grounds
each day I listen to my 5th grade lessons
then 6th, then 7th, then 8th
end of year they close the school
skip 2 of us in the 5th to 7th
the third, her mom said no
did not want her young daughter
in class with older boys with cars
and condoms
which I later understood

Walked a mile other way to country church
white wood, two rooms
youngsters in front
adults in back
preacher weekday carpenter
his family a good chunk of the congregation
one day in front room
sitting behind my 14 year old girlfriend
who’s teaching the kids parables
I run my 13 year old hand
up her leg
under her skirt
into her panties
to a bit of wetness beyond
where I pause in silence
as she continues her sermon

~ ~ ~

Dung or Diamond

On my lack of fame and fortune
I keep baiting the stream
But nobody bites

As for peace and understanding
I chase the spirit
I follow the sprite

~ ~ ~

Sisyphus in the Land of Sorrow

No longer waiting for my cream rise to top
nor my rock to not unroll
cuz that boat will never sail
in fact wasn’t even made
and its flag don’t fly
its tank is empty
its tires flat
and engine froze
no happy ever after fame and fortune
cuz unhappy race is base of game
no matter which rung you on
unless you let go
voluntarily
for real
and fuck fame
fuck fortune
love life
hug wife
pet cat
and of course
sip the coffee and toke the smoke
to set the yet for rising sun

~ ~ ~

Marriage Proposal

December of 68 I was lying on LSD on my bed downtown Baltimore.
Walls, floor, ceiling, doors all painted flat black.
Metallic mobiles and assorted assemblages hung from the ceiling
turning at will in low green and blue light.
My future wife walked in and sat so she could see me in the mirror.
So and so just got married she said.
That’s nice.
Silence.
Watch her reflection watching me.
So and somebody else also married.
More silence.
Watch her reflection evaluate my reflection’s reflection.
Even through the LSD I could see she wasn’t talking what she was saying
so asked.
I just want to know what’s going to happen she screams
stalking into the living room.
I lie there amid my hallucinations and resentfully realize
I’m too weak not to marry her.
Another’s strong needs always overrode my indifferent apprenticeship.
20 minutes later she skulks back to the bedroom.
OK I snap.
OK what? she snaps back.
We’ll get married.
When?
Six months I finalize
feeling sure the artist within will wither once reduced to marriage,
suburban boxes, the upperclass hypocrisy rampant in her family and friends.
We had a rich wedding in a high Episcopal-cum-Catholic cathedral.
Reception held of course at the country club.
None of my freak friends came.
The day of the wedding
I put all the trash left from moving in the middle of the floor
smoked the last of my grass
took off all my clothes
and slowly danced naked about the trash
sprinkling it with my box of monosodium glutamate
and chanting unknown chants of sorrow.

~ ~ ~

Cleveland Gray

Gray gloom blooms
Over my head
Dims my dimmer
Breaks my bread
Hurts my heart
Aches my gut
Empties my bucket of luck

Mom’s dead
Dad died
The homework ate my dog
My money fled
My President lied
He’s helping the rich instead
(what a big surprise)

Feeling blue what do I do to shake this Cleveland gray?

No home heart warmth
To keep me sane
Shadow sun forgotten same
Jams my brain
Makes hope a corpse
And life a pain
Over and over again

Maybe get some sleep
Or take a toke
Or shuck a sheep
Or shake a joke
Or just drown in downtown brown
Cuz I tell you true I’m feeling blue
Gotta shake these Cleveland grays

~ ~ ~

8-ball Boogie

I worked my ass off and now my pants won’t fit.
Kissed so much behind my lips are starting to stick.
This working class hero bit’s just another bag of it.

I’d eat the rich, but their taste is so bad. I’d serve
the poor, but too many already have. I’d play with myself
but I’m not all here. So I ask God, is She still there?

Reason drips in dropped disguise red through white
through blues departing in the night, the never right
hype the Man, his chicken stripe, and his doo doo do.

We worship Amway, Scientology too. As long as it’s
Brand Named we play the fool, pay first born foreskin,
a nipple or two. So break out your dead deal dust due.

Ghosts of gone before host our yet to be. No
flowers for the finished, no hour for their song.
Ground zero works in theory only when you’re wrong.

Weren’t for Monk, I’d catch Coltrane. Weren’t for TV
I’d have a brain. Heart and soul sold for junk. If I’m
the rat, best step back cuz I’m not the one gonna jump.

8-ball boogie gets you every time. Tried to fax the
factors in, they made me stand in line. Try to share
my truth with them, they stamp my life a lie.

8-ball boogie, get you every time.

~ ~ ~

Grease Your Grill

I’m an oven cleaner baby
Come to scrub your grill
Yes this oven loving man
Mean to steam your grill
Get the heat back baby
Flame and fire the thrill

I’ll rub your rust off lady
Get your grid to shine
Rid this mood of maybe baby
Lady let me lick your lime
Make much meat that might be
Moistened by munching lightly
Juicy, prime

Gonna grease your grill
Put the heat back baby
Then, send you the bill

~ ~ ~

Alchemy, Inc.

Kenneth Rexroth found his muse
a floating petal in slow stream
running gentle Asian arc
between his woman’s thighs.

Wallace Stevens rose unwilling
from unloving woman
to actuarial tables, champagne,
painting philosopher dust.

Bob Dylan mixed amphetamine,
coal dust, winter cold
lean and mean and bold.

Leonard Cohen went for love,
Zen guitar, droll wine women
in funeral parlor tone.

William Carlos Williams’ prescription:
red wheelbarrow, dusky attic,
dancing daily in the dark.

My wife Lady K slipstreams with All,
glad book in hand,
flux and flows with glow.

I take when and what and why I get,
grateful for any voice at all,
scramble for the word.

~ ~ ~

Black Ice

Late January
coming back from Snoetry 5
a 12-hour reading in Erie
three lady poets in the car
me driving
sun down
liquid ice falling from the sky
we enter 90 West to Cleveland
going 45 in a 70 zone
see two-car crash
and flashing lights ahead
I hit the brakes
the tires stop
the car doesn’t
we slide at same speed
silent on black ice
straight for crashed car
two backseat poets screaming
front seat poet talking serious
me thinking it’s simply too cold
and too far from Cleveland to crash
I slow turn the wheel to the right
and we gently slide right
just past the rear of the crash car
the screaming stops in amazement
but now we’re heading for the cop car
its top lights flashing NO NO
I gently turn the wheel left
and we slow slide left
between the front of the crashed car
and the rear of the police car
and go on down the road
in complete silence
ecstatic

~ ~ ~

Slipknot

Meet me in the meat lane
I’ll be lambing up the chops

trying to chase the safe
and not the not

laminating lamentations
crying up the crop

slipping slide relations
in cut of guardian knot

never wanted to fuck my mother
didn’t want daddy dead

actually loved my younger brother
before he blew off his head

they’re all gone and yet remain
in my side of am

none of this of course germaine
to jiggle jelly jam

~ ~ ~

Status Report 168

Rats sing.
Rats laugh.
Rats line their nests
with gnawed American money.

The rich sing.
The rich laugh.
The rich also line their nests
with money not their own.

I prefer rats.
They do it for love.

~ ~ ~

Confessional

I said I’ll make the decisions
because I’m old and male

and she said no

I said yes, says so in the Old Testicle,
and you don’t want to upset the Old Testicle
because it’s Big and Hairy

and she said don’t piss me off

I gasped, you’ve just offended the Sacred Scrotum

and she made the decision

~ ~ ~

Conversation with Wife

Leaning back in my chair,
Lady bends over and kisses me.

I reach up my two hands,
cradle her breasts.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m holding these up for you,
was afraid they’d fall and hurt me.”

“Oh, you’re sooo brave, and manly . . .
now can you make me some coffee.”

“Coffee for the breasts?”

“Yes, that is the price.”

“Ah, the booby price.”

~ ~ ~

Bad Boy Smith

At a reading at ex-dive bar
The Millard Fillmore Presidential Library,
Ray McNiece and his band Tongue-in-Groove
played Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues
to bring me up with the announcement
I “was Cleveland’s bad boy,”
had “done time.”

So I confessed.

Served 9 days in Juvenile Detention
in 1960 when I was 14 for stealing 13 cars.

Spent 1 night in jail in 1968
on false charges after an argument
over thermostat settings in the hall,
case dismissed,
arguing neighbor moved out.

Locked up overnight twice
for drunken lurchedness —

first in early 80’s
after cops in civilian clothes
beat me bloody for talking back,

second 1990
for being too drunk to even walk
and driving through a fire hydrant,
water spraying everywhere;
I was lying shirtless on the jail cell floor
when a guard asked if I wanted a lawyer,
I replied, “No, you’re going to let me out
in the morning anyway.”

It’s sad I knew that.

Did have to spend 3 days in a hospital
after I got out
attending a You-Are-an-Alcoholic seminar
in place of being jailed for 6 more months.

But the big one was in the little house…
10.5 months in York County Jail 1970
for my second armed robbery;
after being caught,
my bulging pockets of stolen money
somehow reduced itself to $140
once counted by the head detective.

I am a bad boy.
But I’ve learned to pretend to be good,
seem to be getting better at it.

At least I’m not some cop
pocketing money another stole.

As for the alcohol?
Sober 27 years.

Down to strong coffee,
occasional grass,
driving too fast,
not respecting the government,
and jaywalking.

But I’m still one bad bone.

 

Friday Night

Friday, July 6th, 2018

A delirium of talk
from my head to my heart
tight burn hollows of shoulders
dog breath, a panicked cat
bird in the throat
bird in the ear
bird in the eyes
bird brain
Friday night

~ Lady

 

playing catch up with mustard

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

Still have 40+ poems lately unblogged. Not that it matters except for my own documentation since few read this blog. Had a lot of readers when we traveled, and a decent number when we returned, but once I got weary and posted mainly poetry instead of narrative, I lost most readers. Poetry ain’t the most popular kid on the block, and I”m not the most popular poet around. It is what it is.

On the other hand, this is blog #4,389 since June of 2006, and I am not famous, so what would I expect?

~

Du Jour

Washed out white sky
turns day grey with rain
soft drizzle gentle
soothes sound
cool and clean
smooths
except for the asbestos fibers
and industrial toxins
welded to the wet

Spring sinks silent
frogs heat in sleep

~

Status Report 267

Used ego for rent,
sale,
lease,
bye.

~

Spirit Juice & Bone Meal

To my left potatoes brushed in oil
and wrapped in foil
sizzle in the fire

On my right
the steady plop drop
of rain on leaves and wooden roof

My soothed soul
satisfied
between

~

Politics 107

Bad people
are doing bad things

~

Status Report 268

I prise apart affairs of heart
and hammer at the mind

~

To Be

I can’t kill myself
mainly because I can’t kill myself
but also because my baby brother
blew his brains out with a borrowed bullet
thirty-one years ago
(one year longer than he lived)
and I don’t do second acts

so I live
weary and wondering

of course that was before
Lady K stormed into my life
ignoring my GO AWAY unwelcome mat
which act six months later
found me homeless, married
and wandering around Europe
then Africa and Mexico
with a 40 pound pack on my back
for three years

somewhere along the way
I promised her I’d live to 101
minimum
with an option to glide

Mother Dwarf kept me alive
when I drank myself to death 27 years ago
because as I was dying
and tried to pass this line for next
a voice said, “What about Mom?”

Now Lady K needs me
feeds me
as apparently does the cat
so I Sisyphus on
71% of my 101 done
wondering what will be left
since I’m one metal hip
two metal shoulders
and two metal bolts in the neck now

then there’s the political grab and greed
the cultural cruelty, the social malfeasance
the climate change, slavery
the blatant hate speech and lying
of the child-abuser in office
in utter waste of human
which whisper
“go, it ain’t getting better”

I’ve lived large and fast
six full decades
with part of an earlier
and most of this later
and lately been weighting
the warp and weave of this weary wise

but know for sure
she’s the prize
ain’t no lie
wife is worth my staying alive

 

6 latest

Monday, June 25th, 2018

Once again I’m 40-some poems behind in posting… guess ego doesn’t care as much as it used to.

Used ego for rent,
sale,
lease,
bye.

Here are 6 most recent poems from 6.13/25.2018, in reverse order.

~ ~ ~

Bad Boy Smith

At a reading at the ex-dive bar
The Millard Fillmore Presidential Library,
Ray McNiece and his band Tongue-in-Groove
played Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues
to bring me up with the announcement
I “was Cleveland’s bad boy,”
had “done time.”

So I confessed.

Served 9 days in Juvenile Detention
in 1960 when I was 14 for stealing 13 cars.

Spent 1 night in jail in 1968
on false charges after an argument
over thermostat settings in the hall,
case dismissed,
arguing neighbor moved out.

Locked up overnight twice
for drunken lurchedness —

first in early 80’s
after cops in civilian clothes
beat me bloody for talking back,

second 1990
for being too drunk to even walk
and driving through a fire hydrant,
water spraying everywhere;
I was lying shirtless on the jail cell floor
when a guard asked if I wanted a lawyer,
I replied, “No, you’re going to let me out
in the morning anyway.”

I’m ashamed I knew that.

Did have to spend 3 days in a hospital
after I got out
attending a You-Are-an-Alcoholic seminar
in place of being jailed for 6 more months.

But the big one was in the little house…
10.5 months in York County Jail 1970
for my second armed robbery;
after being caught,
my bulging pockets of stolen money
somehow reduced itself to $140
once counted by the head detective.

I am a bad boy.
But I’ve learned to pretend to be good,
seem to be getting away with it.

At least I’m not some cop
pocketing money another stole.

As for the alcohol?
Sober 27 years.

Down to strong coffee,
occasional grass,
driving too fast,
not respecting the government,
and jaywalking.

But I’m still one bad bone.

~ ~ ~

Breaking Bread

1.

Amsterdam
we buy cheese and bread
meats and cookies
and fruit
for not very much
take it out to the stone steps
facing the plaza
sit in the sun
feast.

Homeless man comes by
points at the cookie bag
I reach into my pocket for money
and he says,
“No, no, cookies.”

I open the bag
hand him 3 cookies.

20 minutes later we see him walking
across the plaza
he turns to us
raises his arm in a big thumbs up
and laughs delightedly.

2.

Bezier
we get two slices of quiche
and a sesame baguette
sit in the sun
on the old stone steps
of the massive church on the plaza
munching away
a couple walks by
smiles at us with a cheery
“Bon appetit.”

3.

Zagreb
big academic dinner
with Holbrook and Salinger
and their American School clients
at an old place in the woods
Lady orders wild boar
for symbolism I go for blood sausage
ground up dead flesh cooked in its own blood
Lady’s boar is excellent
my blood beast is soft
mushy
I spend the rest of the night
trying not to vomit.

4.

Marrakech
our Berber guide in walled city
picks small fruit off stand
hands it to me
says okay to eat
it is delicious
next day I take another one
wash it off
eat it
spend next two days
vomiting one end
excreting the other
lose 18 pounds.

5.

Puerto Escandido
on the Pacific beach
feral cats crowding our feet
we eat fresh fish grilled outdoors
most delicious meal I’ve had.

Knowing it can’t be replicated
next night I order a second fish
just as good.

6.

Essaouira
Magda orders pigeon
gives me a bite
now when we walk the streets
I stop and tell the pigeons
“I know your taste.”

7.

Oaxaca
in inner city
man across the street
gives me avocado from 40 foot tree
I stand in my kitchen window
stare at tree as I eat
and say “Thank you.”

Later I try roasted grasshoppers
because they say
once you eat, you never leave.

Insides undercooked
soft, squishy,
make me uneasy
We leave 15 months later.

8.

Krakow
every crack in the street’s facade
contains a French fry stand
I gain 20 pounds.

9.

Amsterdam
order legal grams of hashish
from coffee shop —
red, golden, green, brown, black,
and 2 laced with opium —
eat the opiated hash
get in bubble bath
put on headfones
drift.

~ ~ ~

Status Report 266

Read once somewhere
in one of the alternate realities
I keep stumbling through
that certain Texas rabbits
develop a nervous disorder
when they get too many per square unit
and start dying off to make room
for future rabbits
to become stress dead

thought about that today
reading the news.

~ ~ ~

Time Lie

Time and weather
wind and wave
smooth the stone
shine the glass
rewarp woof
reweave past
otherwise we’d crash
from weight of wrong
going fast

~ ~ ~

Saved by Face

That pebble before sculpting by sea,
you’d have passed by.

The grain of sand inside the pearl,
pretty poor predictor.

Life wears away,
shows true face.

The deeper the lines,
the greater the grace.

~ ~ ~

Cawing All Crows

Raucous crows
telling me what to do
in language I don’t understand

 

text of my 15 minute reading last week

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018


front book display at Mac’s Backs
me left, my collage up top, and Beats the rest

Here the text of the 15 minutes I read last week at Mac’s Backs bookstore. (takes 10 minutes to read).

These poems are from “Where Never Was Already Is” on Crisis Chronicles Press, published 4.2018 – 244 poems over 54 years – 29 collages – 324 pages – 6″ x 9″ – $15: http://ccpress.blogspot.com/2018/04/098Smith.html.

You normlly have to be dead or famous to get 244 poems in one book.

~ ~

Want Ad

I like walks in the rain
I like licking pink stains
There’s good and bad things baby
Crawling through your hair
Old lumps of new grown gravy
Calling from your lair
You wanna bite me baby
I wanna bite me too
Bite me three times
You got a deal

~ ~ ~

Lineman

Hey baby, what’s your sign?
Cum here often?
Wanna see my coloring book?
I’ve got a big red crayon
Fit right between your lines

~ ~ ~

Dada Greybeard

A lady poet followed me home
And asked if I could keep her
I replied
It must be denied
For I had no room in my freezer
She engineered her stay
Of relocation with play
Charm and elocution
Praised this and that
Allowed a wee pat
Counted on evolution
I may be cheap
And easy too
But for female I’m hard-wired
And too
It’s sort of cool
This once being the one that’s desired
Though I question her taste
Her need of rat waste
A too hasty fade
Will shatter shades
I cannot replace
Best to see
What she reweaves
What treasure in her trundle
Though it fracture my plan
I am but man
And man is meant to bundle

~ ~ ~

Love Potion

In the cool of the Fall
when we first fell
she was my B-movie star stable,
scrappy girl reporter one date,
witty secretary a la lusty librarian
or pouty pal with secret crush
the next,
sometimes all in one night,
it became ritual
each time we left I’d stop
two steps below
look up
demand one kiss for passage
and gauge
what girl tonight?

One evening talking witches
as she left I found in fridge
on white plate
thick wet orangeyellow mango slices
arranged in crescent circle
with mound of red slick pomegranite seeds
glistening in their midst
like surreal sperm on fertile egg,
and flashed, aha, a love spell,
and flushed it down the toilet.
Did no good though,
we married a few months later.

~ ~ ~

Life with Wife 5

Scrub tub
add epsom salts
fill with hot water
ease in
take a toke
lay back in hot wake
to soak away ache
and phone rings
wife saying
“Can you pick me up?”
“Now?”
“My eye hurts.”

Four weeks ago
doctors took her eye part way out
sewed on 21 radioactive pellets
put eye in
locked her down three days
while radiation bombarded tumor
popped eye back out
removed pellet plaque
put eye in again
sewed inner eyelid shut
and sent her home to hard since
her eye blurry from serious salve
pupil dilated due daily drops
eyeball swollen and bruised
burning from bright
tired of trauma
she works more to see less
amid multiple pains
shooting ache stab throb
burn itch pinch
and she is
… weary

“Sure, I’ll pick you up”
because pain trumps pleasure
and love binds both

and baths can be refilled

~ ~ ~

Yen

Had I my way,
the world would be at peace and fair,
and we’d all be out on the porch sitting in the sun,
bees buzzing, breeze blowing,
slow toking, coffee sipping, writing poems,
listening to friends, family, folk
picking, playing, harmonizing,
hope and happy on horizon,
the past a purr of catnip cream.

~ ~ ~

Status Report 220

Looked out the window
looked inside my head
didn’t see nothin’
so went back to bed

~ ~ ~

Primordial Ooze

First pre-dawn sip of coffee
followed by first toke of day
and finally, faintly, from afar
I hear Doctor Frankenstein’s mad cackle:

“He’s alive. HE’S ALIVE!!!!”

~ ~ ~

Tried & Traveled

After I died
in my dead end drinking
twenty years ago
it took
three days intensive care
and six months Nyquil
to beat alcohol,
cocaine to kick Nyquil,
poverty to kill cocaine,
valium to get off grass,
and weed to beat it all.

Tried most anything to get off me.

Now it’s one cup cowboy coffee
Costa Rican strong
each morning
and hope of toke or two
to take me through the month.

But what I really want is
copper brain wire
direct to pleasure center
battery hooked
finger on button
blaze of white light.

~ ~ ~

One-More Smith

My younger brother called me One-more Smith
He said
“Every time we get ready to leave
You say
One more toke
One more line
One more glass of wine.”

Now I’m 27 years sober
And he’s 31 years dead.

~ ~ ~

My Tree Barks

My bark is worse than my bite
although once my bite was worse than my bark
back when I was but burgeoning bark on tree
but it was a dogwood tree
so I was bark bark
and became known as Bark Bark Smith
and little dogs pissed on me.

It was a good life
warm and wet
before I matured into tendril stock
which warps and weaves
in woof woof wonder
which is why
I’m now known as
Bark Bark Woof Woof Smith
the One Who Never Whimpers.

~ ~ ~

Status Report 127

Piling high the sticks and stones
mixing muck, dirt and earth
She-God cries “Up and atom, Adam,”
then nudging his ribs
steals his bone
adds mirth
and laughing up Her sleeve
creates Eve
for better and worse

~ ~ ~

Sky Cog

O Great Cog
release me from this wheel
I’m but broken bit
neither tooth nor flair
save me from this pace
before I wreck the place
for I am wrench in works
will impede the flow
jam the am
and scram Your precious plan
You should offer me some slack
put me on the beach
coated with soothing oils
a book in hand
pen and paper near
grass in pipe
strong black coffee dear
food units to imbibe
the occasional magic mushroom
to color reason
and I will season tone
while You work the other drones

~ ~ ~

Spirit Bone

There’s truth in the dark
in the hours before dawn
if I could find the inner light to see

It whispers “I’m here”
soft and seductive
just outside my human
in the hour of the wolf
when sleep won’t come
and wake ain’t here

No baby being born
no madness lurking
so I light some nag champa
and om a hum job for the soul
while making coffee for mind and flesh

The truth is there
somewhere
playing hide and seek
offering wee peaks
like an old stripper with wrinkled skin
hiding behind pastel scarves

~ ~ ~

Now Zen

It ain’t age.
It ain’t sex.
It ain’t race, religion, height,
gender, color, class or learning.

It’s path, progress and position.
The road not not taken.
Be here now.
Hear now
o eyes unseeing
o ears unearned.

We’re all perfect potential
cept maybe republicans, lawyers,
the true organized crime called police
the true whores called priests.

You can walk on water IF water wants.
Just ask.
Walk willing.
There ain’t no dark night’s ungentle light.
Ain’t nothing outside but lies.
But even lie true ain’t for you.
Walk within.
Don’t need no god.
No catholic pimp pushing blood feast.
My lie’s mine.
Walk my own walk.
Fuck the talk.

Grasshoppers gone wrong become ants.
Bad ants cry uncle, cry wolf, cry baby.
Goats goad sacrifice to sun.
Ritual requires repetition, release.
Nothing stays river’s run
but drought’s dry dirt
(and river still runs).

Rub your ears together.
Start a fire.
Flesh alarm.
Let gone go.
Lock lip.

Listen.

~ ~ ~

Confessions of a Conservative

Let others munch spare frogs legs and things
Or their mother’s tidbits so fine.

Not me.
I prefer wee bumblebee wings
With a pipe of blueberry wine.

I’ve no desire for porcupine stew
Aunts coated in chocolate yea thick
Fried crocodile
Ala flayed caribou
Or some other chef’s table trick.

A simple table whenever I dine.
Not mine all these modern cuisines.
I’m quite satisfied with blueberry wine
And old fashioned bumblebee wings.

~ ~ ~


display dowstairs at Mac’s Backs where we read…
my memoir from 2012 by Smith & Lady on left:
“Stations of the Lost & Found, a True Tale of Armed Robbery,
Stolen Cars, Outsider Art, Mutant Poetry, Underground Publishing,
Robbing the Cradle, and Leaving the Country”…
my new book middle and right


portrait of me above Mac’s Backs cash register
1991, chalk by Tim Herron, collage by me
3′ x 4′

Got this nice blurb in Cool Cleveland:

Local Poet Steven B. Smith Shares Old and New Work in New Poetry Book at Mac’s Backs

Reading went well, extremely well, sold 2 books, had a poem videoed by Cool Cleveland who say they may review the book.

Tom Mulready of Cool Clevelnd told the audience my memoir – Stations of the Lost and Found – is one of the best he’s read and should be required reading for anyone interested in the arts or the underground. Wow.

 

6 unblogged poems April 30-May 9, 2018

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

unblogged poems from April 30 to May 9, 2018.

~ ~ ~

Leah Mueller’s Memes

She talks of finishing last
but does she mention fights, maturity,
drugs and alcihol?
No.
No mention of parents, health, flying,
second chances, terror –
the terror!
she never ever mentions terror!
(oops, my error)
or cleaning up sleep bad habits politics numbers
I could go on
and will cuz it’s all a game
of mental metal mind
a word game paying my dues
keeping secrets of sex
in my blue suede shoes
betrayal pure fire of caution
forgetting going nowhere
sharing vacation, diets, resurrection,
playing games’ mistake
of ache and cake…
anyway that’s my take.

~ ~ ~

Status Report 265

Get up 5:30
wife feeds cat
I feed fish
we each feed other love and coffee
at 7 I feed the birds
more coffee
noon feed cat
6 feed fish again
before sleep try to write poem
to feed myself

~ ~ ~

Seed Pod Willy Nilly

‘They’ or ‘He/She/It’ gave us earth pod
wrapped in dirt and air and water
soaked in sun
grown in grass
blessed by leaves, trees, flowers
with the instructions
‘Abuse until choose or lose.’

Planets have enough low fruit
for life to flourish
up to a point
then resources run low
temperatures rise
air earth water become toxic
and it’s fish or cut bait
live or die
do right or so long
sucker.

It’s an IQ test
a morality maze
to see if we’re worthy
know enough
to stop shitting in our nest,
stop pissing upstream,
quit raising fools to king,
bowing to Mammon.

The godz laugh.
‘We got you this far,
now it’s up to you.’

So what do we fracking do?
We swallow the cyanide of capitalism,
bury our head in ‘Me first,’
the me screw me of
‘Fuck you you, I got mine.’

Silly sentiment cuz Earth wins
Earth always wins
just a question if we survive
cuz She simply outwaits our bad
covers our corpses with dirt
composts us
breaks down our concrete with vines
our metal with rust
our arrogance with actuality.

I won’t miss us when we go
for 25% of us are slime
50% wouldn’t be missed
20% mean well and try
and 5% actually contribute.

Be a pretty world when we’re gone
outrageously red sunsets
due poisoned air
and once we’re fertilizer
ssno more jackhammers, jet engines,
clink of coin, gush of oil,
diarrhea of politician and priest
just sigh of wind
swish of wild grass
chirp of bird
purr of beast.

Makes one eager for the end.

~ ~ ~

The Breakdown Boogie

Sitting in dappled sun and shade
breeze and blossom
watching river run round bend
knowing it’s going
but gone unknown

Moment of joy in soup of sorrow

Squeaky axle
squealing down road
highway hell going home

We shape the dead to shoulder living

Less into peer pressure
than pure profit

Is it real, or happy ever after land?

~ ~ ~

Sisyphus Dreams

Waiting for eyes to un-unopen
in dark before sun
dream stuck thick to lid
mind scream why this again
but caffeine will lance these lies
hope and habit handle the rest
as I walk one foot in foot of one
head high humble
foot low slow
pocket empty
moving through misconstrue
till sleep and wake rerun this fool

But someday…
raindrops on roses
sunlight on glass

~ ~ ~

Blues in the Naught

Birds sing in the dark
before the sun they seek rerises.

Everyone is speeding somewhere
lights on, wallets out, minds off.

We worship repetition
become rock, are hill.

Get in starting block
ready, sit, go.

Before and after are lies
it is always now.

Ashes of roses
ghosts of thyme.

 

catch up catsup ketchup

Monday, June 4th, 2018

Last posted a new poem April 7th… I’ve 40 poems since then unblogged. Think I’ll post 6 a day to catch up.

Hard to blog lately. The blatant evil rampant in the Republican party and the 62.96 million who voted for Trump and the egregious racism and greed shown since are getting to me. Never expected a lot from people, but I expected more decency than this.

Here’s Lady’s latest poem from June 2.

~ ~ ~

“You’re Prickly Pear’s Paramour.”

Remember when we were in Morocco?
Remember when you carried me on the
roof by the parapet?

“Were i Spider-Man I would whishhh my hands
over to you and tear your blouse off,
that’s what I’d do, touch the tips
of nipples where the milk used to be”

You have a serpent’s tongue slithering out

“We’re all innocent –
the serpent’s innocent, the mongoose
is innocent
but one of them’s going to win
I’m not even positive it’s nice
to eat vegetables. They might have
tiny little tomato screams. Rhubarb
might be begging for its life
lawnmower out there sounds like
big angry fly
looking for some shit”

You are just so many facets…

“Yeah, there’s the hot water facet,
the cold water facet”

~ ~ ~

and my most recent 6, from 5.15-6.4.2018.

~ ~ ~

Splice of Life

The panicked deer
desperate
dashes three westbound lanes
of 60 mile-per-hour expressway
that no one’s obeying
and with quick wit luck
leaps triumphant the concrete divider
success surging through brain
when SPLATTT
eastbound truck paints partition red.

And yet
she dies in dance of joy
euphoric escape last taste of fate
which rebirth
reshapes as joy over hate.

Live on edge, die on edge,
happy way go round.

And then of course there’s slo-mo-go,
the easier way to roll.

But is it?

~ ~ ~

Philosophy 172

I been working in the quandary
wandering my weird wrong way

If you go when you’re happy
take happy with you

If you go when you’re sad
leave sad behind

Count sheep if you will,
just don’t look in the mirror

~ ~ ~

Zen Box

Kneeling on the floor
before the cat box
removing clayed clumps of piss
and dried shit
then smoothing the surface
I realize this is my Zen sand garden
the urine my sins against others
the shit my sins against myself
the baking soda confession and forgiveness
for past’s smell
so I start new day new
clean
free
knowing I’ll be on my knees again tomorrow
for same old shit

~ ~ ~

Fork U

Washed the dishes

past 24 hours we used
3 tablespoons
1 teaspoon
3 knives
8 forks

one tablespoon and knife every 8 hours
one fork for 3
one teaspoon per 24

could be clue
I mean, 1 goes into 24 24 times

would make a good poem
if I knew where to go

all moments are interesting
not all poetic

and are

~ ~ ~

Conversation with Wife 41

I need to write a poem.
I feel better after writing a poem.

“Then write one.”

I don’t have any poem words.
I don’t have any poem pen.
I don’t have any poem paper.
I’ve got shit and toilet paper, that’s what I got.

There, there’s your poem.

~ ~ ~

Sisyphus Sum

It’s hot with strain of ache and pain
this pushing rock up hill
in another day of try and loss
no hope of less
so grasp what’s good
like chirp of bird
and glint of sun
or inchworm on my arm
sometimes a cloud will move just right
or drop of sweat catch the light
as lack brings laugh
and loss a like
such sips quench my worse

 

 
Copyright (c) 2009 Smith & Lady
Designed by Lady K