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Archive for July, 2006

art life

Wednesday, July 19th, 2006

‘like a clover sick robot of love’ intones wendy shaffer atop the white bed back here in the fairy trap love shack. kathy’s recording both of them on her laptop with her borg-babe apparatus.  2 readers, 3 hearers, and something about bug-eyed wet buns.

this is the true, mostly only, payment in the art life.  forget fame’s fortune – it seldom comes.  it’s the artists and poets you meet along the way – they’re more interesting to be around than most folk.  their minds run faster and further, down odder lanes.  they give you performances between the performances, color in the shade.

and, it’s the life.  the chance to live up to one’s wish.

kathy’s recording me too, before i lose my tom waits bug voice – she’s adding music to some.  gonna be a mock star… then kathy & i can mocu-marry, make an honest mutant out of me.



Tuesday, July 18th, 2006

smithThey’d go out once a week, party,
drink, dance…

I found a joke book in their drawers
once about the different shapes of

All different tit shapes

And my dad flew a plane
their friends had motorcycles

In fact, my father’s father
made a couple fortunes
in Mexican gold mines
but lost them all

Seems to me a lot of people
in my family
were marginal,

My mother’s brother
actually raped
a 12-year old farmer’s daughter
and I know he beat his wife–

He broke into a jail
with a sawed-off shotgun
to break his friend out,
and they both stayed–

My Uncle Juanie
drank a quart of whiskey a day

I know that my cousin Juanita
stayed at our place on the farm
a couple nights

somebody was looking for her,
probably the authorities–

Some of my parents’ friends
(I thought this was really cool)
started to build their house
but ran out of money
so they had the basement,
the floor of the house,
and the frame around the house
and that was it
we went down in the basement–
where they lived–
to visit

As a child I thought that was
pretty cool


I don’t know very much
about my family

never cared to, actually

all those relatives
were just more strangers
to put up with
(but on a regular basis)

My father had
seven or eight brothers & sisters
We’re the kinda family
always getting together for holidays
30, 40 people
always visiting

Some of them smelled
really stale and old

My father was one of the most
honest and honorable
of the bunch

Some of the sisters
married richer folk
and put on airs…

I can’t think of a single
relative I really liked
outside of Mom, my Dad
and my brother–
blood relative

Couple of the surviving
ones probably wonder
what happened to Mom–

Never cared about my past
because I’ve never
defined myself in terms
of my bloodline or heritage–

I also cut that bloodline off
by having myself sterilized
so whatever my bloodline has
to accomplish…

rests with me…

I like it that way.


When Mom died,
she was the last one
who could give me answers
about anything

So even if I wanted to know,
I couldn’t.

I don’t even ask my friends

I do ask the occasional stranger
what they do to survive…

Gonna put all their answers
in a book and sell it back to ’em…


It’s weird that I’m leaving
town with the funky voice again-
a weird gestalt-

About moving to Europe-
Kathy said it-
and I said, Why not?

Kathy had the vector,
I had the inclination

Should be a market for us
in this content-starved world.
We can become content.

We’re not following anybody’s footsteps
We don’t have any handbooks telling us
how to do this…

We fall to float…

(It doesn’t work
if you worry about
the safety net


We have no idea
what we are doing
We are the Heisenberg
Uncertainty Principle

We’ve done the vector and

we’re hurtling that way…


New art shit

Monday, July 17th, 2006

KathyArt is the second greatest gift Steve’s given me. His love is the first.

I used to dabble in drawing. Copied lots of cool shit. But didn’t create anything original. Felt like a wannabe.

Then I moved in with my art teacher.

Steve plays. A piece of art will hang on his wall for a decade, unfinished. He’ll whimsically take it down, look at it, and try something new with it.

He’ll put materials atop it, see if they work. He’ll try different washes. He’ll pour paint on it.

This is process – and I had no conception of it prior to Steve. I thought that art was pre-determined, a little fully-formed h0munculus in the artist’s mind.

But this way of doing art–process–is all about play, discovery.


When we found a buyer for our condo, I stopped making art. But I started up again two weeks ago. Here’s the new shit:




Friday, July 14th, 2006

even fairy tales have thorns.

i got a low level case of food poisoning today from mom’s restaurant. turned my insides liquid. not a bad way to quickly flush food & toxins, tho.

it looks like some prison inmate is either in love with kathy’s poetry or is trying to take over our phone… (read about that scam in the pain dealer).

heat storm in the mid-90s is coming this way, and our little 2 room fairy trap love shack has no air conditioning – nor air flow. we figured it would help get us used to traveling poor in europe.

but we got love, health, adventure, dreams, schemes, themes, and each other – so this rose soars above those thorns.

also got some plain dealer friday magazine press for the final issue of artcrimes – the review by dan tranberg includes a collage by kathy & i. 

nothing’s ever all good, nor all bad… there’s always pain in the flowers, flowers in the thorn.

and now, a word from our sponsor:

artcrimes 21 – duck & cover / final issue – 21 in 20 years is enuf / 144 pages, 172 artists, 700 copies / coated cover stock – perfect binding spine / IF you buy from us before we leave in 18 days: 1 for $15 / 2 for $25 / 3 or more $10 each / postage (in the u.s.a.): $3 per book 1st class, $2 media mail / $15 at bookstores/galleries


3 minutes

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

in our fifth week, we were headed to k-mart for shelves to integrate her and my existence into ours, when i said, “you know, after artcrimes comes out, everything’s done. mom’s dead. we can do anything we want.” after two minutes silence, she says “how about moving to europe.” took me minute. “why not?” i replied. so when we got to k-mart, we didn’t need the shelves.

those 3 minutes have made me homeless – and semi-possessionless too in some weird zen candid camera life lesson lift game gift – like ‘do pass go’ & keep on going.

my new script has yet to be writ… there’s then, now, and yet to be.


this it is the it it is

Wednesday, July 12th, 2006

it’s not easy being smith… always keeping on, putting one foot in foot of the other, the other in front of the one no matter what roadblocks arise, what feces falls down.

doctors cut the cancer polyps out of my throat 8 months ago, then beat me bloody with 8 weeks of radiation. then nose polyps they’d forgotten to mention which filled my head from brain pan to eye ball.  doc took those out
2 weeks ago when they biopsied my voice box.  while waiting pathology results, i was hit with hot/cold massive spike tooth pain which ended in root canal 2 days ago.  combined with the body/mind trauma of simultaneous
nose/throat surgery, it made it hard to be me.  something about head trauma – pain below the neck is body pain… pain above is me.

all these whiles, the lady who saved my life – my wife4life – is being beaten and rebeaten with worry for her defective manthing.

then there’s the no-health-insurance-self-pay-money-blues.  even at half-price self-pay, $25,000 for throat cancer… $1,000 for root canal… $6,000 for nose polyps.  this for a guy who quit his job with $20,000 in the
bank 8 months ago, married 4 months ago, and is leaving this country for unknown origins in 3 weeks.

yet the it it is is good.

both biopsies came back today cancer-free.  our studio loft condo sold in 2 weeks.  we have tickets for london.  artcrimes 21 is published to magnificent murmurs.  i have met / found / married my soul’s lover / partner / companion / friend / wife kathy.  she’s the sole mind i’ve found which works like mine, of equal talent.  we have multiple poetry readings coming up, book just published by green panda press and soon one by deep cleveland press.  and friends are saying nice things in goodbye.

what a way to end one adventure and begin another.

may you all be as lucky as i.


future fly death

Tuesday, July 11th, 2006

i don’t kill things.

once brought a dead spider in from the cold to put in a collage, but the warmth of my hand revived it – i apologized & put it back. next day it was dead, so i used it. in time, its abdomen shrank to nothing – i replaced it with a faux jewel, and it became magic.

last night kathy was killing flies. she had a low death count. trying to please both my wife and the goddess of efficiency, i told her to turn on my computer, turn out the rest of the lights, and the flies would gather on the screen. she killed 8.

this morning i washed fly goo from my screen. kathy says you can see baby maggots in some, so she gets xtra credit for killing future flies.

am i complicit? am i damned for fly death, or did i do good by aiding my wife?

reminds me of Mickey Mouse in The Brave Little Tailor (1938). Mickey kills 7 flies in one blow. He is so proud of this achievement he cries out to two farmers on the street `I killed seven with one blow!’ the farmers were talking about a giant, so they assume Mickey killed seven giants. The King hears and makes Mickey his official giant killer. it ends happily ever after (at least until the next cartoon problem) with Mickey marrying Princess Minnie.

which giants must kathy and i now defeat?



creek don’t rise

Monday, July 10th, 2006

my brandt gallery opening cookie fortune: YOU STAND IN YOUR OWN LIGHT. MAKE IT SHINE. i do, and will, “the good lord willing and the creek don’t rise.” (old hank williams saying).

kathy-wife-for-life & i leave the country in 22 days. goodbye cleveland, hello spain – you’ll not see our like again.

tho now it looks to be 1 month england, 1 month netherlands, 2 months spain – then on to eastern europe to circumvent the western european visa laws. like to see lithuania because their capital city vilnius has a statue of frank zappa in the town square… that’s as unsquare as square can be.

cleveland has been good to me and for me. ArtCrimes was born here in 1986 – 21 issues ago. it might die here as well. i came to cleveland for another man’s wife, and i’m leaving with a wife of my own.

cleveland gave me daniel thompson, jim lang, maj ragain, and way too many cool creative folks to list… most are in the 500+ list of ArtCrimes contributors online at my one regret is leaving the new group of young and not-so-young poets (like you jack mcguane and steve goldberg) recently met thru The Literary Cafe’s monthly 2nd thursday reading.

been almost 2 weeks not smoking grass – and i seriously miss it, even with the occasional marijuana brownie. t’ain’t the same . . . body high versus mind high – same dichotomy as the old ecstacy vs lsd. so i’m down to drinking way too much tanzanian peaberry coffee. you chose your toxins and you takes your cancers.

glad kathy started this blog. i’ll be back at this address a lot more often with more down n dirty unslick comedy schtick.

seize you on the down size. leave you with this goodbye poem from jim lang:

. . .


a crook namecalled sbsmith / came to town & layed down a spliff / crimes turned to art / & he gave all us a starring part / now cleveland’s done saved / loneranger weds & scenes fade / onword anon & forthwith / ~ langwages to smyths




(Recommended – very sharp and midnight performing

Saturday, July 8th, 2006

Very Sharp & Midnite
will be performing their porchy blues
at Prosperity Social Club (on Starkweather in Tremont)

9 pm
july 8
10 reasons to come,,,,,

well, here’s four, anyway:
1 bree’s croonin’
2 pete’s guit-liks
3 chris’s bass strummins
4 danny’s base drummins

starts like i says, at 9. we’ll do two sets, so come on over and eat a brat, suck on an ale. u know, live it up!

Prosperity Social Club 1109 Starkweather Avenue 216-937-1938


fairy trap love shack

Saturday, July 8th, 2006

forget fame for fortune. we’re playing bigger game. we want the Nobel Peace Prize (even if Killinger has sullied it). this fun of being with kathy over flows, makes others smile in hope.

before kathy, i used to be an attack poet – now i’m proof positive one’s never too old/young to join the Circus. figure kathy n i’ll roam the world, shed laugh and chatter – leave whiff of hope here, smidgen of smile there. it will accumulate in logical pockets, become infectious, self propagate, and even republican politicians will become too happy to keep killing babies. the world of course in gratitude will award us the Nobel Peace Prize.

speaking of chatter … we lie in the dusk in our temporary fairy trap love shack and talk – then steal what we say for poems . . . here’s 3:


Mature cat seeks young kitten
for yarn pull

You pull my yarn,
I’ll purr yers…
. . .

Bed Bug Bite

She —
Your hand smells of woman
Of play dough
Play dough smells like cunt
But cold cunt
Your hand smells of warm

He —
Ah, but I love a good cold cunt sandwich

. . .

Junkie Business

I’m losing my last two crutches:
and marijuana.

In the old days
I could have coffee
after dinner.

You know,
this junkie business
is for younger bodies.

You keep doing it,
and pretty soon,
you end up like Keith Richards,
falling out of trees
and landing on your head.

. . .

i love loving a poet person.
so cool to hear my here in word.


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