foto by Lady

The midnight ticks awake and the refrigerator sighs;
the utilities are aware

The perceived timelessness of the modern lifestyle
sluices money through the powerlines–
the reservoir still produces–

At 3 a.m. you’re still awake, the cat hot on your lap

Antihistamine clears your sinuses, fumbles dry sleep

This morning, you stepped on the cat on the stair
and the dog in the cafe, your assembly of yourself
and the chair not for this permanent world

Domestic pets forgive, resolve, curl up, play dead

Your investigative reports, your bedtime reading,
further your private broiling, ethical hell

Too many atrocities; it’s clear–all the governments are bad
and all the intellectuals Kissingers–

Yeah, it’s a hypnosis, the state-of-the-art invention,
the prime time news compulsions drone
terror between spark and deed

(Your generation’s lowered expectations)
(How will it all pan out?)

In the blue bedroom, yellow city light slats
through venetian blinds onto your wife’s snug back,
jazz tea dream infusion

Tomorrow she’ll coax clouds, drip thought
see shadows on the water and invent
a thousand names for green

She’ll believe in the sandman, page the susurration
of cultivated forest in oblivious waking, live
with what is left, now’s eternity

Kathy Ireland Smith

you’re getting sleepy

foto by smith

arghhh! i can’t sleep, and it’s two-bloody-thirty in the morning.

i was so tired from walking the heath and downtown london and the back & forth in between that i went to bed at 8:30. couldn’t sleep. went to bed again at 11. couldn’t sleep. again at 1. can’t sleep. my body’s dead, while my mind’s going 4 million miles an hour.

i asked the pharmacist for a decongestant that would NOT keep me awake.  took 1 pill this morning, and a 2nd at noon. they’re 4 to 6 hour pills, but i’m speeding like mad 13 hours later. and i know what speed is, having done 30 years of it. only this stuff is all edge, no joy.  my body is too frigging old for chemical edges.

i tossed and turned so much in bed i was afraid kathy was going to awake, rise up and beat me to sleep, so i came down here in the cold to sleep on a 3 foot mini-couch. i am 6 foot 3 inches tall. have a chair pulled up for my leg overflow, pillows softening the pointy places.

and i’m nowhere near sleep.

one of the good things over here is the pharmacists give you a lot of prescription stuff without a prescription. the bad thing over here is the pharmacists give you a lot of prescription stuff without a prescription.

i just wanted to breathe every now and then while my polyp-scrapped sinuses take forever to heal – i didn’t want to be the waking dead.

guess kathy will go walking the thames alone in the morning – while i day sleep, like a bloody vampire.

foto by smith

Diary of the Dead

foto by Lady

it’s not all gumballs and fruit juice.

last week we arrived in picadilly circus at 5:20 for a 4 o’clock movie.

last night we went to a new poetry venue to read.  it was closed.  so we wandered thru the london alleyways to a previous place we’d read.  closed.  learned that a “bank holiday” shuts everything down. took fotos of the dead london streets instead.

this morning went back to the heaths to meet the bird watcher people.  got there at scheduled meeting time of 10. no one there.  asked the proprietor and he said oh, they start wandering in around 11.  what can one expect from folk who pronounce skedyul shed-yool?

i’d thot bird watching was looking at young english ladies.  when kathy stripped me of that fantasy, i figured maybe i could at least catch a feathered bird or two to eat… maybe ask the birders which ones were edible, how long to cook them.  kathy said i’d be tarred & feathered if i did.

enroute home, the underground speaker lady cheerfully announced again & again “due to a person under a train, there is no service in either direction.”

dead movie. dead words. dead streets. dead birds. dead person. dead service.

foto by Lady

the day dead

foto by smith

i pick up a piece of street trash and hand it to my wife. “you know how to please a woman,” she says. “yes,” i reply, “bring her garbage, & dead things“.

at the british museum, we saw professional trash – mummies, old coins, caskets. things coveted by the long dead, now coveted by the living dead. mind numbing stuff. god said “let there be boredom” and lo, she created the british museum.  i know it educates the uneducated – but the more you know, the less interesting the pre-packaged dead become.

discovered this morning a difference between awaking, and being awoke – awoke puts you a half phrase behind the day’s normal phase flow. 

i nodded off on the tube. awoke to see old nun standing. first thot i should give her my seat… soon as i decide no, the church has stolen enough, the subway speaker announces “next stop angel.” person across from me gives the nun her seat. nod off again. open my eyes and there are 2 nuns. kept my eyes open after that so they wouldn’t multiply. they kept glancing at my agent of chaos t-shirt, then up at my face, whispering.

on hampstead heath, little boy’s big ball went into the pond. i tried to make it come back to shore with my mind.  it did.  happened second time, so i did it again. 3rd time it went in, i saw the boy did it deliberately, so i didn’t. suddenly crazy italian lady pops in front of us saying they were making fools of us letting the boy knock the ball into the water… they were making fools of us by having us take her picture… told her we hadn’t taken her picture, she said i know … asked her who they were, she said whoever.  as she walked away she repeatedly called us stupid stupid stupid. 20 minutes earlier i was taking a picture and she walks into my frame.  i stop and say i’m sorry.  she frowns and goes around the other way – where kathy’s taking a picture and she walks into her frame. she glares at me and says you’re trying to irritate me.  she walks into our movie and decides we’re in hers.

later, sitting on a bench in the woods, we watch an earthworm crawl 3 feet, then begin to burrow into the earth at our feet.  i’d never seen an earthworm going into earth before.  it would push in, pull back, pulsate – then push, pull, pulsate… over and over and over.  earthworm earth sex.

walking back to the underground, kathy notices there’s mostly stuff to eat for sale… then adornments for surface beauty… then alcohol – no culture.  basically food, baubles, booze. she mentions the tabloid papers here show bare breasts and ass, but in america flesh is frowned upon… in america you can kill and show horrendous violence, but can’t show flesh.

probably show earthworm sex tho.

licking myself

foto by smith

Satchel Page sez “don’t look back… something might be gaining.”

i look back at these past 8 months, see 9 items of press.

i’ve discovered how to get publicity – die, or marry a young chick and leave town.  if i’d have known it was this easy, i’d have left long ago.  in fact, i’m thinking of coming back and leaving town over & over again – i’ll become The Man Who Wouldn’t Leave.

my 2006 list of shameless self promotion:

Art critic pieces together his future
Michael Heaton, Plain Dealer Friday magazine 8.25.2006 8.22.2006 – Walking on Thin Ice blog
Fascinating and more real than anything on TV tonight

Criminals At Large – Smith’s Farewell Artcrimes Is Best Ever
Douglas Max Utter – Cleveland Free Times – 8.9.2006

Leavin’ Cleveland: An Exit Interview with Steven B. Smith
Mark S. Kuhar – July 2006
(hopefully to be published in Art-e-fakt)

Art Matters With Dan Tranberg – 7.14.2006
21st issue of annual ArtCrimes is biggest ever
Cleveland Plain Dealer

Crimes-free Cleveland – 6.2006
The city’s Agent of Chaos takes on a new mission
Milenko Budimir – Northern Ohio Live

Art Matters With Dan Tranberg – 5.5.2006
Emigrating artist Smith holds ‘liquidation sale’ exhibit
Cleveland Plain Dealer

Over the Wall: The Restless Smith Is Moving On
Douglas Max Utter- Cleveland Free Times- 3.15.2006 3.8.2006
Prison Break, Smith’s final American exhibition


steve, asleep (foto by Lady)

I do believe. I do. I believe we’re doing the very best thing for ourselves. I owe faith, hope and joy to Steve. Never thought life could be like this, not even in my dreams.

Life in Europe: saturated, other, real, vast, colorful. Me: here in the now, dreaming about the past – in Cleveland – at night. Disconnected at night, connected during the day.

One of Steve’s favorite Bob Dylan lines: “those not busy being born are busy dying.” He briefly considered buying the new album, and then declined. (We’d have to give it away. Almost everything we own has to be carried on our backs. Except for some art which is in 3-year storage in Cleveland.)

Spent much of the morning walking along, stopping to pick up odd metallic objects from the road. People probably think we’re weird (we are) but we’re picking this stuff up to make art. I have four things I’m working on. Metal is best because it rusts.


I’m cooking, cooking, cooking. We have full run of the kitchen. For 6 weeks in the U.S. we lived in a friend’s cottage, and it was too hot and too cramped to cook. So I’m in my glory in the kitchen.

There’s tons and tons of Indian food here. So most of what I cook is some Indian curry out of a can. I saute tons of veggies in addition to the meat and I add fresh cilantro.

This house is awesome. The people who own it are TV journalists. Before we arrived, I expected some type of immaculate house with all kinds of expensive furniture.

But the house is so cool. It’s got old wood floor planks and old wooden furniture. Everything’s comfortable. The front door of the house enters directly into the kitchen. It’s full of exotic spices.

The owners have three shelves of travel books. I’ve rummaged through them, trying to learn as much as possible for the next couple years.

I look forward to meeting them. Perhaps they can give us clues, tell us where we can travel cheaply.

They have to be pretty cool people to let us move in here for a month without having met us. I did send them a reference and a deposit, but still, that’s pretty darned relaxed.


Have thought about Katie Daley a bit in the past couple days. Came across her zebra striped pant legs when looking for a poem in an old issue of my city e-zine. I’d taken that photo at the Algebra teahouse, a week before Daniel Thompson died. He arrived at that party so very alive, and then he was gone, just like that.

I actually think about Katie quite often. She’s a role model. Katie and Denise Dee and Wendy Shaffer. I love her story poems, especially the one about picking cherries. I love that she has traveled in non-conventional ways to foreign lands, and that she is open and friendly to people, and that she listens and interacts.

I admire Denise Dee for her total self-assurance, self-reliance, and – counter-intuitively – her reliance on other people.

Denise was in Cleveland for less than a year, and in that time she organized poetry and music events. (Currently, Denise is co-creator of Nerve House, a national art & literature magazine.) She also was not afraid to ask for what she needed from people on the Cleveland Poetics board. She taught me that reliance on other people is actually a form of self-reliance. That the creative community is a real community, a family, a human bank.

katie daley's legs (foto by Lady)

3 rat monte

foto by smith

the rats were busy last night – testing us.

in cleveland, kathy & i noticed all the orange traffic cones forming ever changing human/auto mazes – so we researched it.  turns out the rats are running psychological maze experiments on humans for alien lifeforms. they rearrange the cones every night, sometimes repeatedly… once while we were still in it.

that’s the real reason i stopped getting stoned – i was too confused for the rat maze (not to mention the rat race).

last night, late and tired, we went to the right underground platform – the brown bakerloo line – but went the wrong way.  so we got off, got back on right color, right way, got off right stop, rushed up & down to the new next right color (green) – but hopped on a yellow train by mistake. so we had to take yellow to pink to orange rather than green to orange. by the time we got to wapping, i was too tired to wap.

Obviously, this was another rat test maze. must have been an old experiment tho – the tabloid trash newspaper left on the seat was dated march 15 – 160 days ago. and i believe the alien lifeforms the rats work for are code-named monty python.

rat tart anyone?

take my wife, please . . .

road (foto by Lady)

take my wife, please … as an assemblage artist and photographer.

i’ve been bragging about kathy’s talent nigh 12 months now, telling folk how good she is. kept promising to put up an art gallery on as proof.

finally did 2 – and they’re eye-punchers. (like her franz kline, above.)

see 12 kathy ireland smith assemblages and 3 of her fotos at

and 1 kathy ireland smith assemblage and 20 of her fotos at

got me a wife, companion, friend, fellow traveler (no commies allowed) AND an artistic partner.

now if only she were rich as sin so i could knock her off for the inheritance.

darkness at the edge of town

dark matter (foto by Smith)

scientists announced yesterday they’ve found gravitational proof of dark matter.  they haven’t actually found any darkness yet, but they say given what they know, the makeup of our universe must be

     5% normal matter
   25% dark matter
   70% dark energy

this is an admission that – at best – they may understand 5% of the universe. in my day, 5% got you an F on your report card.

dark matter has never been in doubt – the george bush/dick(less) cheney white house fascist ship is proof enough. you gotta love their logic tho – they say dark matter must exist … otherwise their scientific theories don’t make sense.  sort of like weapons of mass destruction must exist in iraq, or else our war on iraqi women & children is wrong.

actually, weapons of mass destruction do exist in iraq – they’re called the u.s. army.  anybody remember nuremberg, when we tried the nazis for war crimes?

bushy boy (foto by Smith)