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Archive for August, 2006

bread crumbs

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006

london grouch (foto by Lady)

there are ghosts in these drop cloths which unroll unplayed, their holes uneaten, hanging out of place.

most always i’m the oldest person at these poetry venues. look about at people not mine, places not mine, loud music at least partially mine. doesn’t matter tho cuz i’ve never found a place i belong, or my people. poets always came the closest. i think ‘my people’ are the people who refuse to be with other people, so linger alone, semi-happy, in the moral shadows. as groucho marx said – i’d never join any club which would have me as a member.

we left last night’s open mic poetry venue after waiting 45 minutes for it to start. i’ve been in the poetry business 43 years now – when am i going to learn poets never ever ever start on time. when i get filthy famous and rich, i’m buying every poet on the planet a watch. last night was even worse because they were filming for tv – but basically for the 3 bands involved. when bands and poets interact, the poets get screwed. which is a shame since poets are much more important. we left and wandered london. would like to have been on tv, tho.

on the underground last night, i twice gave correct tube directions to places we haven’t been … to a jamaican and an afrikaner. they asked me, so i must look like i belong – must be my skeleton t-shirt and greek fisherman hat. fortunately i’d just deciphered the wall map to see where we were going – and they were going the other way. story of my life – folk ask my direction, then go the other way.

changed trains so many times, i told kathy we’d best leave a trail of bread crumbs to find our way back. she said, the birds would eat them. no problem, i replied, we’ll leave poisoned bread crumbs and follow the dead birds back home.

be back. i hear the little coffee pot orgasms as it finishes its liquid ablutions… ahhhh, there is life.

kathy’s going underground tube hopping today – ride the rails and pop up at various stops, see what there is to shoot. i’m staying here, putting her art and fotos up in her 1st art gallery. the lady is a talent. and i’m her champ tramp.


pink wapping

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006

ether (foto by Lady) 

in the undergound tube on the way to cabaret poetical’s open mic last night, kathy says we have to change from the orange line to the pink line at whitechapel. i don’t do no pinks lines, i reply. pink lines are for feminists. pink lines are for commies. pink lines are for girly men. i’m a manly man, i say. i don’t do pink – unless it’s pussy … i do do pink pussy.

she stares at me. then says we have to get off at whitechapel. so i start singing “going to the chapel and we’re gonna get ma-a-ar-ied, going to the chapel of love.” she stares some more. so i explain it’s ‘chapel of love‘ by the dixie cups – then say that’s wrong, it can’t be the dixie cups, cuz they’re black, and this is whitechapel, so it must be elvis’s version, cuz he’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. she’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 i’m way too far past my bedtime. we wake up this morning and she waps me back. ah, that’s the way to start the day – with a good wapping.

last night’s reading was great. had 10 minutes – had all their attention, all the time. it helps reading from memory because i can watch their faces, their eyes. after i read, the m.c. said well, what can i say.

i find good stuff works wherever. start with something funny and short, then intersperse pure punch poetry with more humorous stuff, and you have them on your side every time. and my damaged voicebox tom waits voice helps too. so far we’ve read at the poetry cafe, the foundry, cabaret poetical. three totally different venues with folk who know us not. part of this journey is to see if i have the power i think i do – and i do. it would be false humility to say otherwise… and no one has ever accused me of false humility – or real.


skinheads, dandies, punks, mods, rockers, hipsters

Monday, August 21st, 2006

hipster at wormworld (foto by Lady)

a hard poetry audience last night – few skinheads, some dandies, punks, mods, rockers – mostly young with a few older hipsters – a raucous bunch in a real loud bar. i got their attention with my gravely tom waits voice & “i ain’t got no white boy blues,” but it’s not my sort of venue – more of a robert ‘dick head’ ritchie place.

kathy read ‘my first armed robbery’ – she’s a brave lady … she stood her ground, fought back against the talking, the bar noise, the aggression … they did respond well to the four-letter words in it, but most the rest was over their heads, and it was too long for their attention spans, too serious for the venue. a piece like that, they have to know you first, or you have to be famous so they want to listen. still, i saw a few appreciative souls who actually listened.

i didn’t want to read. not my venue, not my people – but after kathy’s courage, I’d have been ashamed not to get up and try. she is something – one way or another, she’s going to make something of me inside…. i’ve always been able to fake the outside pretty well.

the evening did start with smiles tho – older indian lady read her worm poems (the night was called ‘welcome to worm world’ after all). 1st worm was the penis. she ended with a pussy poem. so we’re not alone here on the edge.

evening taught me two things – we can get to and from unknown venues via multiple underground lines (thnx to kathy’s research & my return memory) … and I’m going to have to gather all my short, punchy, to the point poems together for reading to folk who frequently view us as interlopers.

we’ve read to two totally new audiences who have absolutely no idea who we are, so we have no local fame or friendship or familiarity to fall back upon. it is freeing, invigorating to test yourself against the unknown. have to fine-tune the act, but we definitely have the power. both audiences took notice of us. we’ll be going back to the poetry cafe just before we leave and show them what 5 minutes of poetry can be.

ps – my thnx to robert dick head ritchie for being in his usual fine form at our spaces gallery farewell artcrimes reading july 29, 2006 – once we got him up off the floor and to the mic, he added that jaded back alley fall down drunk piss on the world flavor that’s usually missing these days in the underground scene. artcrimes went out with a bang after 21 issues in 20 years. we got 2 fine articles of praise from dan tranberg and doug utter. and i only lost $3,500 of the $4,000 publishing cost for #21. that makes $20,000 i’ve lost on artcrimes in 20 years. who says there’s not money to be made in art and poetry.


Through the Looking-Glass

Monday, August 21st, 2006

x-o-x-o-x-o (by Smith)

This from an essay by James Cameron, 1966:

One felt extremely alone in Hanoi. Among its 600,000 inhabitants there seemed to be nobody like oneself–nor was there, nor had there been for years. It had been far from easy to get there; the thing was virtually unprecendented, and felt it. This was not a place where non-Communist Westerners were welcomed, since recently the only ones who had come had arrived in B-50s and F-105s and blown things up, like bridges and people, which was not agreeable when you saw it, nor indeed very persuasive. My European face was accepted so long as I was taken to be a Russian technician or a Czech diplomat; when they learned who I was the reaction was astonishment, curiosity and doubt.

But one was through the looking-glass at last, in the capital of North Vietnam, in Hanoi, which the Americans will say is full of demons and the Communists will say is full of heroes. It seemed to me, on the contrary, to be very full of people, largely indistinguishable from those of Saigon except in the bleak austerity of their condition.

The important thing was that one was now through the looking-glass, and everything outside–home and London and New York; everything–was now a sort of mirror image, where black was white and white was black, good was bad and bad was good, defence was aggression, military efficiency was wanton cruelty, right was wrong. It was not the first time this had happened to me, but more strikingly now than ever before. Once you turn all the political value-judgements into terms of people, they become both simpler and more difficult.


are we not wo/men?

Sunday, August 20th, 2006

house on Lewisham corner (foto by Lady)

this from a lewisham (london) england library sign-up sheet:

please tick the box which best describes your ethnicity:

asian/asian british – bangladeshi … asian/asian british – indian … asian/asian british – pakistani … asian/asian british – any other … black/black british – african … black/black british – caribbean … black/black british – any other … chinese … mixed – white & asian … mixed – white & black african … mixed – white & black caribbean … mixed – any other … vietnamese … white – british … white – irish … white – any other … any other*

*please provide details for ‘any other’

me, i’m mutant mongrel … bit of german, bit of irish, bit of english, bit of scot, and a lot of outlaw – but mostly i’m mutant. i still believe in right & wrong, truth & justice, politeness, style, grace, manners, sharing bounty … these used to be human characteristics. now that they’re not, i claim mutanthood.

the good news – all those ethnic variations above make this neighborhood a delight to the eyes, a pleasure to the ears, and stimulate the mind. most folk here are gentle with my whiteness, return my smiling thank you with huge smiles and thank yous of their own. not all, of course – but most.

why all these labels? we all came from the same place long ago. we’re all headed to dust very soon.

in the movie island of lost souls (1933 – the 1st & best version of h. g. wells’ 1896 novel the island of dr moreau), bela lugosi as sayer of the law cries out “are we not men? what is the law?”

what is the law? … it’s easy – do as you would be done. how hard is that? 

you don’t want to be hurt, don’t hurt others. you don’t want to be stolen from, don’t steal from others. you don’t want to be murdered, don’t murder others. you don’t want to be lied to, don’t lie to others – or yourself. and don’t let your politicians do these in your name.

we don’t need religions to justify being good – simple physics will do… according to the heisenburg uncertainty principle, what you seek determines what you see, what you ask determines what you hear, what you do determines what is done – in other words, what you beget is what you get.

i’d say it all comes down to self interest. you want a good life, then be good. it’s worked for me. i’ve got my kathy, i’ve got good friends, i’ve got great stories, and i’m on the adventure of my life – an adventure you all have told me you wish were yours.

your proof is in my pudding.

reading all our bombing and raping and mass murdering of women and children in iraq has really gotten me down. told kathy it’s always been this way, and it always will because governments are run by the rich – and the rich have always done what they want. i was losing hope again, and hope is the only thing that keeps me going. but kathy saved me yet again – she pointed out we are a young race, maybe 5,000 years of actively interacting in so-called civilization… she says we may yet grow in spirit, we can grow in spirit – she believes we may yet grow into decent folk.

i thank her for that. she keeps saving me, one way or another.

may you all find your own metaphorical kathy.


New Cross & Lewisham Roads

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

Beth Wolfe wrote, “The wrapper thrown away reveals raw unwrapped today.” 


Today was an unwrapped day, a washed day. A veil of rain, then a veil of sun, brilliant varying clouds, rain skitting from blue sky after the cloud’d already left, clear air on varied architecture.

Antique stores, furniture stores leave brand new tables, sofas, mirrors out on the sidewalk. It rains on the furniture. It rains on the mirrors. On New Cross and Lewisham Roads, no one cares.

Then the sun comes out, and the mirrors glint in the silvery sun and the water evaporates off the tables.

And the garbage: wrappers in the patches of grass next to the train station. Bottles on the bushes in front of the gas station. We think wrappers grow in grass, and bottles grow in bush. (What grows glass, R.A.?) Humans of all races and tongues walk by the bushes and the grass, fertilize them with the light toss of a new wrapper.

Lines from a favorite Wendy Shaffer poem: “lightning fulgurating behind white lace” and “heart packed in bubblewrap.” In one version of the poem goats pull on garbage.

Strangely mute until recently. Pictures and dreams and this island and the Otherworld release tongue from haze. 




Saturday, August 19th, 2006


juicy patty shack



one step beyond

Friday, August 18th, 2006

today’s email from cleveland amy concerning my blog this morning about my dream last night in which masumi appeared:


I don’t know if you’ve been told yet, but Masumi was killed in her apartment last night by another tenant in the building, a 19-year-old guy. The artist John Jackson was also killed–he lived in the same building. I don’t know any more information. Both Masumi and John had been complaining about the guy playing his music too loud.

I read your blog about your death dream in which your “Japanese ex” appears, and thought it was eerily appropriate.

Hello to Kathy and hope all is well on your travels.



my reply to cleveland amy:

amy – i had no idea whatsoever… when i first wrote the blog this morning, i used masumi’s actual name… then thot that would be rude, ungentlemanly – unfair to her, so i changed it to “my japanese ex” to be polite.

this is seriously spooky. do you know what time this happened – because my dream was between 6 and 8 this morning which would make it between 1 and 3 last night your time.

no way can this be a coincidence. . . has to prove something because i never think of masumi unless folk ask me why i quit dating for 20 years until kathy came along.

in the dream i thot the cream-skinned lady could be kathy.


today’s email from west virginia steve:

Interesting dream. Carl Jung would have loved having you on the sofa for an hour — many archetypal symbols:

party (celebration)
beautiful young woman

I read it 3 times — here’s my take:

Mer Jam (Kathy) loves you for your innate kindness, and she “points” out to you that the world is open for you to explore because everything that held you in the past is now vanished. Mom is dead; home is burned (condo — place of “rest” — is gone). So she takes you “through the hole” — your current journey into the unknown. The “fireworks” is metaphoric for the passion you experienced when you first realized how much you loved her.

The only troubling part of the dream has to do with Masumi’s return and, more importantly, Mer Jam’s departure. It may be that if you meditate on that, you may learn something about your own subconscious fears.

Enough armchair psychology.


my reply to west virginia steve:

steve – you say the part in the dream about masumi bothers you … read this freaky email from amy i just now read… this is the first verifiable psychic experience i can prove cuz no way at between 6 and 8 this morning london time (1 to 3 a.m. cleveland time) could i have in any way known of this. and i’ve never dreamed of masumi before.


west virginia steve’s email reply to my reply:

This is seriously unsettling. First of all, a talented (but difficult) artist is murdered by a pathetic loser, so no matter what one may think of her personality, it is terrible. I know you feel exactly the same way. And then there is the dream — an impossible coincidence. To me, it does confirm yet again the existence of an afterlife spirit, and yet again, the mystery deepens. FYI, the information is on the home page of Very, very sad.


dog paddling murky water

Friday, August 18th, 2006

hieroglyphics (foto by lady)

had another dead dream. i woke in tears. then the cat bit my toe.

mother dwarf was in the rest home – they were giving her a party because she was the only one left alive. i arrive and a young, beautiful cream-skinned lady starts dancing with me. lots of people. hors d’oeuvres. i say nice party. she says yes, but nobody’s here. what do you mean? she points to mom sitting behind the table – there’s no mom, just a mom-shaped hole cut in the wall. we go thru the hole, trace down events. find the rest home had burned during the night and mother dwarf was dead. so brown lady and i go watch fireworks. she’s hugging and kissing me, telling me she loves me. i laugh, say this is going to sound weird, but what’s your name? she becomes sad. says mer. ask her last name. she says jam. that makes me remember – she was there 9 months ago when we 1st brought mother dwarf to the home. she loves me because i was good to mom. everything is fine. then we’re back at the party and unpleasant japanese ex comes up, takes my hand. insults mer. mer leaves. tell ex that was sad, mer seems nice. ex sez yes, but i’m stronger. i wake up, crying. get up to come down, to tell kathy my dream – and step on the black cat sleeping at my feet, who screeches and bites my big toe. i call to him, apologize, get down and soothe him.

last dead dream had holes cut in the expensive hotel floor. this has mom hole cut into wall. what am i missing here?

and so we start today. back when i smoked grass every day, i couldn’t remember my dreams – which was a shame cuz they were surreal doozies. now i’m 18 days dried out, my dreams linger. must be short term memory – once said i had the longest short term memory gap in town (back in my drinking days – i’m 15.3 years sober now).

new day, new plan. 15 more days in london, 7 days in amsterdam (these exist, are pre-paid). then 6 weeks in lodz, poland followed by 4 weeks in pula, croatia. i’m emailing 2 croatian literary folk today for info (thnx 2 natalija & ognjen of for the croatian references – please check out their collaboration website). after that, i’m thinking of running guns with humphrey bogart between macedonia and casablanca.

we have no idea what we’re doing – this is all far murkier than we’d anticipated… but then, that’s the object, isn’t it – to throw ourselves into uncharted unknown murky waters and see if we can swim. appears we can at least dog paddle.

remember, you can walk on water – if water wants … just ask … walk willing.

the bad news – southwest general hospital in middleberg heights ohio just hit us with an $8,400 bill for 2 hours of operating room time and 5 hours of bedcare … looks like they’re charging $500 for the 2 pieces of cotton they rammed up my nose.

seems i left hospitals off my list of the obscene greedy unclean. more later.

Poem by Kathy:

Life is not cinema,
but if it were,
had I been cast 
as the lead actress in your movie

I’d give you the moon
and the stars,
I’d find shelter in your arms,

and we would eat popcorn!
as the closing credits
scroll by
the top of the sky


soul 4 sale

Thursday, August 17th, 2006

i’m at the mercy of my brain. it looks at A, looks at B, sees logical C.

i look about at the wondrous differences here between the u.s. and england, and i see slightly more mannered ways of doing the same old shit to keep the rich richer and the poor underfoot. they pay a higher minimum wage. they let the food store checkout clerks sit down while working. they make sure the peasants have footpaths thru the rich folks’ greens. they’re more well mannered about it, perhaps gentler in their greed, but their arrogance shouts “heed!” … or is that “heel!” we need to heal – there’s more than enough to go around. i’ve always shared, and i’ve less than a lot of folk. sharing has made my life richer, and it soothes the soul. we need but one law – DO AS YOU WOULD BE DONE. they should heed that law, because if they can do what they want to me, i can do what i want to them – and believe me, i am not one you’d want for your enemy.

i always said i’d sell out for the right price – all i need is an offer with some real foundation, a game i can believe in. i’d make a dynamite lawyer because words love my tongue – but i look at the lawyer game and it is founded on slimy slippery lies. how could i look in the mirror when i lie for a living? i know there are good fine honest lawyers helping those in need (like jean brandt) – but the system they work is a moral septic tank with no toilet paper. i’d make a great politician too – but their game is indistinguishable from organized crime – (i don’t know of any good, honest folk in politics – anywhere). seems all these games are essentially “i got mine, now i want yours too.” or even worse, “i’m in the catbird seat, so think like me, believe like me, or i’m going to hurt you.” how can anyone who professes to believe in god hurt another who believes in another god, or no god at all? stephen king sez fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity. he’s one of the few rich folk i respect… he’s said of this world, “same shit, different day.”

in the beginning the strong took what they wanted and became the gots. the gots have. the gots make the rules. the gots hire their official enforcer thugs called police, army, navy. the gots steal from the ungots and build prisons and buy weapons and more police thugs to make sure the gots keep their gots and get your gots too.

the weakness in their plan lies in us – we outnumber them… as jim morrison sang, “they’ve got the guns but we got the numbers.” their power rests on our acquiescence. they get away with what they get away with because we let them. they can’t arrest all of us cuz there would be no one left to make and buy their trinkets… they can’t kill all of us cuz we’d stink too much – there’d be no one left to bury the dead, and we all know the rich don’t like getting their hands dirty with honest work.

camus sez the first question of philosophy is “do i kill myself, or not?” if not, then we’re all responsible for everything going on. if you’re not dead, you’re complicit.

whatcha gonna do about it?


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