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Archive for November, 2006

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

 krakow foto by smith

kathy is making serious progress learning croatian – she puts in 3-6 hours each day studying it.  i just sit around and drool. she overheard 2 old dudes on the bus talking in croatian about the american poet and his wife who live in lizjnan.  i find a lot of older men look longingly at me with kathy, wishing they had a younger chickie of their own… while a lot of older women severely frown – either at me, thinking i left my old wife for this young thing – or at kathy, thinking she’s encroaching on their territory.  no one has any idea of the truth.  if they did, they’d go out and find their own kathy… i’m thinking of selling lesbian kathys for the women, older kathys for the young.

we’re going to a croatian poetry reading tonight.  i of course neither speak nor understand the language.  figure it won’t be a problem cuz i don’t understand most poetry written in english anyway… or wish i didn’t when i did.  wherever we finally settle, i’ll learn the language.  until then, i’ll probably just learn words like hello, please, thank you… and for the rest i’ll simply point and grunt while looking harmeless.

i worked on a collage, a poem, learning the blues harp, learning typing, learning croatian, and the laundry today… only the collage and the laundry show promise.

london foto by smith



Wednesday, November 29th, 2006


Steve’s been asking me to post wurds. Here are some wurds. 

Boats of all condition are everywhere here. From the top of a hill in Pula, I can see a large ship building facility, and the tops of boats stick up above the building roofs. The roofs are also dotted with antennas. Steve thinks the antennas look like fish bones, floating in the blue blue sky.

It gets really blue every couple days here due to a wind called the bora, which comes in from the north. It pushes out all the clouds and the sky is left thick blue, no discernable pollution. From the top of a hill in Liznjan we can look out and see a hundred kilometers on some days, onto the calm blue Adriatic to a long coastal island to the mountains beyond.

Sunday we went to our hosts’ house. Milena made a plate of whole fish smeared with garlic and herbs, and a plate of calamari sauteed in garlic and olive oil. We started with a concoction of dried fish mixed with what I think is mayonnaise. Tasted like a zesty roasted tuna. I guessed that it was cod, and we looked up the English name and I was correct. While we ate the fish, Milena stirred up some pancakes, which she smeared with nutella. Yum!

I’ve always been hesitant to eat seafood unless I know what I’m eating. A lot of the seafood I’ve had in the States has just not been done correctly or the fish isn’t fresh. But here I’m learning that even if it has tentacles, I’ll like it. So I don’t question, I just open my mouth and gobble it up.

Milena taught us how to make coffee on the stove. We have a special water pot which is tapered as it goes up to the neck. We fill it about 2/3 with water, and boil. Then remove from heat. Add ten heaping teaspoons of expresso coffee, and mix it slowly at the top until all the clumps are dissolved. At this point, Milena takes a teaspoon of the top coffee grit and puts it into each cup with a teaspoon of sugar. Then heat the coffee a little more, allowing the coffee granules at the top to sink in a bit. No straining of the coffee, just pour into the cups. It’s really, really strong and I can write lots afterwords.

Watching MTV this morning with Steve. We see some type of small concert venue and Northern Light is playing. I’m looking at his performance, I like it. But I think our friend Blue of Urban Jellen would do better. It’s so cool to have met him.

Croatia vs. Krakow – I want to write more extensively about this. Immediate thing that comes to mind is that Croatia is just so beautiful. I’m getting my eyes saturated with nature. Krakow had its own beauty, but it was urban, grimy. In Krakow, you can tell that it was a former communist country. Croatia is different, people seem happier.

Practically, we can’t settle in Croatia because there are not enough people here. We need a place with a large English-speaking community. It would take me a long time to learn enough Croatian to be able to satisfy my yen for conversation. And I think it’s an imposition for me to expect Croatian intellectuals to speak with me in English.

That said, I love love love talking with Sabina, Milena’s daughter. She’s preparing to go to graduate school for economics. She has a genuine interest in it, and she is interested in the world and ideas. She has not spent any significant time in an English speaking country, yet I am constantly floored by her fluency. She speaks English very well.

We’re thinking of returning to the US later next year for a poetry tour. Also, I want to interview some people, get more material for Steve’s biography. It’ll be an opportunity for me to retrieve the info in his journals as well. So probably a month in Cleveland, and a couple weeks to a month in Boston, W. VA and Chicago, and also a few days in New York and some western cities. Then we have a rough idea that we’d like to spend a couple months in Mexico.

Also during our time in the US it seems a good opportunity to submit manuscripts. I’m getting together three manuscripts: Steve’s stories, his poems, and my poems.

We think maybe in the spring we’ll return to Krakow for a bit because we know some people there and it seems to make sense to return.

We’re also interested in traveling out East, but it seems difficult to arrange and expensive to get there as well. We need to go to an embassy to get visas.




Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

KIKIRICK MASLAC KEKSI (Peanut Butter Cookies)

1/2 C kikiriki maslac
1/2 C maslac
1/2 C smeđe šećer
1/2 C šećer
1 1/2 C brašno
1/8 t sol
1 t maslac-vanilija
1 t soda bikarbona
1 jaja

Smješaj zajedno kikiriki maslac, maslac, smeđe šećer i šećer. Mješaj jaja i maslac-vanilija sa maslac i šećer materijal. Tokođer brašno, sol i soda bikarbona napraviti tjesto.

Proizvestij tjesto napraviti sitana lopta. Stavij svaki lopta u šećeru. Stavij svaki lopta na keksi plahta. Stiskaj tjesto sa viljuška jedan smjer, i također drugi smjer.

 375F štednjak radi 10 minuta.
The above is a recipe I translated into Croatian for Fanny Farmer’s Peanut Butter Cookies.

 1/2 C peanut butter
1/2 C butter
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 C flour
1 t baking soda
pinch salt

Cream butters and sugars. Beat in egg and vanilla. Then flour, salt, soda until dough forms. Roll into teaspoon-sized balls. Roll each ball in sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, and press one way with fork and then other way. Bake 375F for 10 minutes.

This is my favorite recipe. Cookie crack.


now & then & inbetween

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

foto by smith 

our hosts (melina, sabina, branku) fed us fish and chocolate pancakes sunday, then took us to rovinj, a 1,600 year old istrian village built on a hill that was an island until 500 years ago.  it was like walking thru a fine foreign film.  on the way, we stopped to examine a kazun, a thousand or more year old 10 foot high round stone hut built by shepherds using no mortar or cement… just stone stacked on stone, including the stone roof.  it was standing in front of 600 year old grove of olive trees.  so much history, tradition, beauty – so very much oldness.  the new parts here are older than oldest white america… there’s a 3,500 year old burial ground near the town – the sole example of a mycenaean tomb outside of greece.

foto by smith

and then there’s the new – riding to pula monday, the bus packed old to young, the radio blares out “i’m going to kill every last motherf~cking one of you” from the pulp fiction soundtrack.  i’ve heard more public motherf~cking here in croatia than anywhere outside the cleveland bus system… i know the players know what they’re playing, so it must not matter here, or maybe it’s not offensive cuz it’s in another language.  actually, all fathers are motherf~ckers, or at least mothers-to-be-f~ckers.  i’ve f~cked other’s mothers, but none of my own (my being childless and all, since the 1st thing i did when i left my wife in 1974 was have myself sterilized).

foto by smith

the shots above and below are of rovinj, and the kazun along the way.

foto by smith

nuther weird dream – i was homeless, illegally sleeping on cardboard in an abandoned room on the floor of ken nevadomi’s old movie theater studio warehouse (a place which does not exist)… ken had a nightmare where he was on fire and woke in agonizing wails – had to be a recurring condition cuz there was a live-in nurse/girlfriend who soothed him.  his dream set the tops of my feet and front of my ankles smoldering in flame – the hot coals of my flesh started my pants burning from the inside out, and my flesh bubbled with huge blisters.  my dreams are rich – they amaze and entertain me… 2 nights ago, mother dwarf was washed away by a flash flood while walking beside me on a sidewalk.  kept searching for her.  just about to write her off when she climbed back up the hill and shook herself like a dog, laughing. she wasn’t going to let reality beat her.  she’s been dead 17 months now, yet she still visits my dreams.  i miss her.  but – if she hadn’t died, there’d be no kathy, and i’d be dying from undiagnosed throat cancer.  what weird weird weaves we walk. it’s all interconnected, and i’ve been given neither map nor diagram.

foto by smith


olde words made new

Monday, November 27th, 2006

voodoo lounge by smith 

kathy’s collecting data to write my biography (& my autobiography) – cool… can’t wait to become famous and appear on hollywood squares.  i gathered together my newspaper reviews for her, and i was struck by the words others have used to paint me.  here’s 3 excerpts on my 1st 1-man show at spaces gallery 22 years ago… these mean something because they were written about an unknown me by folk who had no idea who or what i was.  i don’t appear to have changed much since then.

examination of conscience by smith

Wide Open Spaces – Geraldine Wojno Kiefer – Cleveland Edition – 9.13.1984

Smith, a computer programmer by day and object maker by night, stalks the streets like many of us stalk bargains. He comes up with stuff as unrelated as rubber eyes and automobile nameplates, then fits them into his own glittering icons, which, although unlike Krider’s ethereal statements in their gutsy out-of-the-gutter immediacy, recall them in intensity and drive.

Smith’s work bursts out of the aesthetic realm and confronts religion treated as an empty formality, along with other modern horrors like war, gossip, dishonesty and torn human relationships. And it does so literally, as bits of broken glass, fencing and metal shards spring menacingly out of the picture into our space. Some of Smith’s fantasies are part of public domain, some are intensely personal, but all are unremitting and barbed with wit. 
pharmacy duchamp by smith
Spiritual Fulfillment – Sally Norman – Dialogue Magazine – 9.1984

Steve Smith uses pop images in a more overtly corrosive and downbeat manner. Grafting the flea market funkiness of Rauschenberg onto the Cubist fracture of Schwitters, he joins toy soldiers, plastic Jesuses, and ancient newsprint in collages that explore the potency of cultural symbols.

He gives his works titles like “The Validity of Relationships” and “Exploration of Conscience,” weighty subjects that he interprets by using baubles fit for the junkyard – a cheapening of central cultural themes intended as an attack. He drives the attack home with the bite of rusted wire, shattered glass and obscene imagery.

His works acquire additional sting because in using icons that either represent or can be made to represent ideas, he is, in a sense, using cultural themes as found objects. The implications of this can be disturbing. 
hey joe by smith
Art Gallery Plugged In To Shock – Helen Cullinan – Plain Dealer – 9.25.1984

Steven Smith shows a variety of found-object relief constructions using newspaper and collage elements, old miniature toys, bits of glitter and mechanical scraps, whatever. The results are interesting and provocative, but more morbid than poetic. Joseph Cornell he is not.

But there is something in Smith’s compositions other than poetry or Cornell’s cosmos; rather the visualization of probing and seeking, differing vastly from one work to the next.

I deal in symbolic juxtapositions of the odd and unwanted,” Smith writes in his show statement. “My materials consist of cultural castoffs, sociological implications and the refuse known as suburban thought. My goals are simple; erase your labels; learn to look about … Learn to see dead frog and rust and thus re-see yourself.”

runoff by smith


Lady’s Fotoblog

Saturday, November 25th, 2006






nite plier

Saturday, November 25th, 2006

 colage and foto by smith

on the packed bus to pula, i close my eyes, ride blind behind fogged windows thru november rain grey croatian day on this earth covered rock rising from the sea, letting the rhythmic babel of unknown tongues massage my mind.  we’ve come miles, and more – and more to come.  winter today is grey and wet with wind.

in the coffee shop staring at the pastries, kathy wonders why she loves sweets so much when she knows they are bad for her.  i tell her god made humans right after creating the bumblebee and forgot to take out the sweet receptor desires.

one of my old slogans addressed both the over-population problem and the world’s food shortage: eat a fetus, eat a fetus today.  i had a t-shirt made with that in 1981… stopped wearing it because it caused too much animosity and threatened violence.  started wearing my mickey mouse t-shirt instead cuz that made flux smile.  learn and live.  folk are amazed i’m still here after 60 years… some thot i’d drink or drug myself to death, while others were convinced someone would beat me to death.  yet here i am, healthier and happier than ever.  who says god doesn’t have a sense of humor.

sometimes first meetings don’t take.  first time i met justine, i lasted 93 pages.  it was a too ornately written, too slow, too look-how-smart-and-educated-and-multi-languaged-i-am sort of book.  last week i picked it up again because it was either that or start writing myself.  within pages it took off. now i’m on volume 2 of lawrence durrell’s alexandrian quartet.  durrell’s clever – book 2 is the same story as book 1, only retold from new perspective.  i suspect book 3 will re-tell the first 2.  i know book 4 is the sequel to 1-3.

we share tasks, wife n i.  she cooks, chooses the food to buy, puts up with my cantankerousness.  i wash the dishes, do the laundry.  i like being fed, she dislikes doing dishes.  i figure it’s a fair trade.

back from biking to the beach. looking about the beach at the bits of sea worn wood, i suddenly saw an assemblage wanting to be made… first time since cleveland i’ve wanted to make art.  brought a big bag of bits back.  kathy’s started 5 art pieces in the 3 weeks we’ve been here.  i start my 1st two today – one torn words, one worn wood… the first along the lines of the pieces i started with 41 years ago, the second unlike any i’ve done – probably title them alpha and omega.

kathy’s sentimental for family cuz today’s thanksgiving.  i left home at 17 to get away from all that.  the 15 years mom lived with me, we never celebrated holidays or birthdays – i’d frequently buy her a present whenever i felt like it, not when society told me too… and we’d roast a turkey 5-6 times a year cuz it’s good cheap plentiful meat.  i suspect my anti-social ways are a bit hard on kathy.  she likes to invite people over for dinner and conversation, whereas i’d rather put them in the freezer and eat them later.  anyway, we went up the the butcher shop this morning and bought a chicken to roast… we’ll pretend it’s a mutant midget turkey. 

we saw some warner bros cartoons dubbed in croatian – they don’t get the voices even close to right… bugs don’t sound like bugs.  bugs bunny’s the cartoon character i’m the most similar to – even tho i used to kill and skin his relatives.  kathy uses some american tv sitcoms with croatian subtitles to help her learn croation.  there’s family matters, an amazingly bad brainless black show full of racist stereotypes with a main character called urkle… then there’s full house, a bad show filled with equally brainless white folk… and finally there’s the fresh prince of bel-air – which is actually funny in parts.

military jets are mock bombing the beach – they swoop down, there’s some white puff smoke flashes from their underbellies, and a brap-brap-brap of firecracker explosions as they swoop up and around to do it again.  what a waste of blue sky and serene sea.

collage and foto by smith


lady kathy, rauschenberg, and me

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006

 foto by kathy

i added a new gallery of 40 Kathy Ireland Smith (a.k.a. Lady K) fotos from the Netherlands, Poland and Croatia online at – definitely worth a look.  it’s funny cuz kathy insisted she did not want us to buy her a digital camera because of the cost… and it’s transformed her life, her art, her eye.  all but 2 of the 40 are uncropped… like rauschenberg and myself, she prints what she shoots.

i made my mark on croatia.  walked into the toilette in jupiter’s pizza parlor in pula. there was a sign on the men’s door, but it was in croatian so i couldn’t read it.  opened door and stepped into fresh concrete.  my left foot sank down.  pulled it out with a soft plop and used the women’s room instead.  hope it hardens before they fix it – would be my walk of the star, my own urination coronation.

8 nites now kathy asks something about my past life and i start talking as she types what i say into her computer.  some great stuff, some sad, some funny, some cruel, some shameful, some criminal. i say truths no husband ever tells wife… she records words no wife ever hears from husband.  truth about me, truth about others – no whitewash, no spin.  i tell her my sins in the worst possible words so as not to soften them.  my sole saving grace is i’ve gone from bad to better, which is much better than going better to bad.  now i have to make the final journey to good – probably the only way for me to reach that will be others uttering ‘good riddance’ after i’m gone.  but the joke will be on them cuz i’m looking forward to the going.
smith's eyes - drawing by kathy / foto by smith


the evolution will not be televised

Monday, November 20th, 2006

che pula.jpg

odd evening of culture last nite…. saw borat – the movie.  truly body cringing tasteless humor – laughed a lot.  1st run feature evening movie ticket – $3.66 u.s.  bought miles davis cd – ornithology – $8.  30 minute bus ride back to lizjnan – $1.66.  four topping pizza before film – $4.16.  62 kathy fotos printed – 42 cents each.  the day itself – priceless.  (i’m practicing for when i get to do tv commercials).

kathy’s grilling dead flesh in front while out back i lynch the laundry on my homemade line… weird to be hanging clothes outside in november… sky blue, sun out, me in t-shirt.  i’m used to cold grey cleveland wither whether weather.

minutes before 6 this morning, a rooster crowed 7 times, followed by the church bell chiming.  after the 6th chime, it pauses – then goes wild.  i counted 120 rings this morning.  after, the rooster took over again.  they know how to start the day here.

watched pre-dawn cnn news – not the smartest way to start the day. unnecessary pain, hunger, sadness littered everywhere among the rolex watch designer luggage adverts.

Untime in Tide

The sea takes its color from the sky
The sky water from the sea

In share shore rhyme and reed
Feed and fro form to need

While we

Unfertilize skies with lies
Mime death’s unliving power

Bleed need in greed unheed
Knot dead our daily hour

So what will it be

The cabbage and the cauliflower
Or these cemetery ceremonies

the cheney bush league have placed some 70,000 peace activists on the homeland insecurity do-not-fly list. even had senator edward kennedy on it.  but i’m told january 14, 2007, it changes from a do-not-fly list to an allowed-to-fly list – travelers leaving the country by any means whatsoever have to first be approved.  airlines, cruise ships, etc must submit their manifests to homeland insecurity 50 minutes before departure – anyone not approved during that time cannot board.  these are the people who thought new orleans was doing fine 3 days after the levy broke – and we have to rely on them to approve thousands of names of who can leave every few minutes?  give me a break – they can’t even wipe their own bottoms without befouling the constitution. we were planning on visiting next year, seeing kathy’s folks and touring the country reading poetry… but… i felt lucky i got out of there last august – starting to think it would be foolish to come back and give the uber alles crowd a second chance.



Lady’s Fotoblog

Friday, November 17th, 2006








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