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...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 February, 2007

PBase Galleries

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007


I’ve collected my best photos from our travels and put them up on pbase at: I’m still going to add more galleries with more of Steve’s stuff and some more of my photos taken before we left the U.S.


large then, little now

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

collage & foto by smith

foto by smith

big man above, small dick below


yesterday’s bread

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

 collage & foto by smith

3 old jokes from the 1950s or 60s:

what is purple and lies in the atlantic ocean? – grape britain.
what is purple and lies on the bottom of the ocean? – moby grape.
what is purple and punishable by 10 to 20 years? – statutory grape.

and my new one:
what’s purple and angry and you’d better stay out of its way? – the grape of wrath.

my new grape joke goes with my new chicken joke:

double cross: why did the chicken cross the road?  – to get revenge for the road crossing him.

i’ve created an original grape joke, and i’ve created an original chicken crossing the road joke. not many can claim that. i can quit now, rest on my laurel.

one of my all time favorite jokes from the 50s is the one where the 5 year old boy comes into the kitchen licking his fingers and says, “mom – remember that soft spot in baby’s head?”

when my mom got hit by a car in cleveland in 1999, at the hospital she told me the back of her head hurt. i gently touched it, and it was all soft. the driver who backed his car into her fled the country, went to poland. it took her 6 more years, but that is when mother dwarf started dying. if i met that driver now, i would want to hurt him – but i wouldn’t. just because he was stupid, careless, weak, foolish, and cowardly doesn’t make him evil – just human. we’re all stupid, weak, careless, foolish cowards at one or more times in our life. considering the mistakes in my own life, what right do i have to judge another? still, i feel anger… his carelessness cost my mother her life. human is as human does.

how quickly the brain moves from juvenile jokes to serious pain. ying yang orangutan give a god a bone.

went for my daily fresh bread. pointed at 2 small loaves of brown wholegrain. lady frowned. chattered at me in french. i mangled “je non comprends pas francais” (which sounds like zhe no com-cron(d) pah fron-say, and means i do not understand french). i think she got my gist before my second syllable. she chattered some more. frowned. i shrugged my shoulders, raised my hands, palms up in a frenchish sort of way. she stared at me in silence. i figured maybe someone else had reserved those two loaves. she brightened and went back in the bakery, came out with a large calendar – pointed to today’s date, looked at me, pointed to the bread, then pointed at yesterday’s date. she didn’t want to sell me day old bread. they take bread seriously here. i laughed, nodded, swept my finger along all the bread, and raised my eyebrows. she pointed. i nodded. she spouted price sounds at me. i held my change out in my palm and she picked a few coins out, and smiled at me. i am the stranger in their land. i miss not knowing what’s going on, but i get by by saying hello, please, thank you and goodbye in each land’s language while smiling, pointing and grunting for all the rest.

collage & foto by smith


Lady’s last week in Croatia

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007


jazz underground



at the










cleveland poetica

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

 collage and foto by smith

got this email from jennifer – a cleveland ohio usa poet:

Hello Mr. Smith!  Where, in your opinion, would be a good place to start for me to go to read my poetry in Cleveland?  I am not sure if I am any good, but I love to write it.

thought other cleveland poets might be interested in the same info, so here’s what i sent her:

wife kathy and i left the states 7 months ago to wander around europe for a couple years. but i still know a few open mics that would welcome you …

every 2nd saturday from 3-5 pm at the jean brandt gallery in tremont is a totally open forum (run by russ vidrick - )… 1028 Kenilworth Ave. Cleveland, Ohio 44113. 216-621-1610

the 3rd saturday from 3 to 5 pm at the Bookstore on West 25th Street, 1921 W.25th St, 216.566.8897  (run by jim lang).

in both these places, you sit around in a circle and anyone reads whenever they feel like jumping in – no sign-up, no featured readers. both these places and the next are super friendly to new poets.

3rd good place is the literary cafe in tremont on literary street – less than a block from lincoln park.  they start around 10 and have 2 featured poets followed by a sign-up open mic – – run by steve goldberg / nick traenkner / andy – think it’s the 2nd thursday.
you could also check for their monthly friday borders (strongsville) reading (run by mark kuhar). open mic follows the features. might be 3rd friday.

and macs backs book store up in coventry has a monthly reading on a wednesday night – you could call and check that out – (run by suzanne) – Mac’s Backs paperbacks, 1820 Coventry Rd, Cleveland Hts, Ohio 44118. again open mic after the features. maybe 2nd wednesday.
gallery 324 down at the galleria has poetry every saturday – noon to 2. (run by marcus bales).  1301 E. Ninth Street Cleveland  Ohio  216.780.1522
of course there’s always the clevelandpoetics online bulletin board you can signup for a

these are but a few – there’s lots more – the cleveland poetics group would clue you in.

cleveland’s one of the richest towns i’ve seen for poetry – better than any town we’ve come across since leaving the states – and that includes london and amsterdam.

you can check out a lot of the poets mentioned above at my wife’s poetry/art site and my art/poetry site

. . .
if anyone needs a laugh, read this hall of slime list from The BEAST: 50 Most Loathsome People in America, 2006 at

poem and foto by smith


camera compo paintings

Monday, February 19th, 2007

foto by smith

foto by smith

foto by smith


isn’t isn’t always is

Monday, February 19th, 2007

 foto by smith

we always think our home city unique, but when i tried to see how far we were from cleveland, the website wanted to know which of 19 clevelands i was referring to. there’s clevelands in alabama, arkansas, georgia, minnesota, mississippi, missouri, new mexico, new york, north carolina, north dakota, ohio, oklahoma, south carolina, tennessee, texas, utah, virginia, west virginia, and wisconsin.

turns out we’re 4,135 miles ( 6,655 kilometers ) from cleveland, ohio, usa. we’re 536 miles west of where we were last week in croatia – but it took 2 cars, 1 bus,  5 trains, 10 towns, 33 hours, and 820 miles of traveling to get these 536 miles further west.

i’m a list maker, a fact storer, an item analyzer, a component comparer, a segment sequencer. i take bits and pieces of found reality and juggle them into truthful cohesiveness. figure if i get enough facts, enough clues, i can get a handle on what is, or isn’t.

 and there’s an awful lot of isn’t which people insist is.

collage & foto by smith

speaking of isn’t

welcome to the neo-con, same as the old con. seems bush’s iraq war escalation of 20,000 troops really means 40,000 more soldiers because – he says – those 20,000 fighting troops require another 20,000 troops to support them. the lies never cease.

how do you know if the cheney-bush beast is lying? answer – they’re breathing. how do you know if the cheney-bush beast is committing murder, treason, theft and terrorism? answer – they’re still breathing. the cheney-bush beast doesn’t have to open its mouth to lie, cheat, steal, murder, terrorize – every breath they take deprives iraqi civilians and american soldiers of life. the far right’s killing folk right and left for no right at all. they could more accurately be labeled the far wrong. same with the religious right.

foto by smith

fundamentalist christians sure have a weird take on morality, because killing in the name of god – whether your god is some old testicle psycho or the new god of oil – is evil. i do hope the religious wrong’s version of hell does exist, so that they can all receive their just deserts and go to hell when they die.

do as you would be done is the whole of the law. may we all reap what we sow.

the sad and evil – 3 news excerpts we all would rather not know:

The number of people living in poverty is growing at a faster rate than the world’s population…

In Haiti, workers are paid 11 cents an hour by corporate giants such as Disney, Wal-Mart, and J.C. Penny. The United States is one of the few countries that has refused to sign an international convention for the abolition of child labor and forced labor. This position stems from the child labor practices of U.S. corporations throughout the Third World and within the United States itself, where children as young as 12 suffer high rates of injuries and fatalities, and are often paid less than the minimum wage…

In 1990, shoes made by Indonesian children working twelve-hour days for 13 cents an hour, cost only $2.60 but still sold for $100 or more in the United States.

the 3 quotes above come from a feb 17, 2007 publication by  you can read the complete article ( Mystery: How Wealth Creates Poverty in the World by Michael Parenti ) at – but i’m warning you, it’s pretty depressing evil stuff.

foto by smith


The warm french

Sunday, February 18th, 2007


I speak a little French. My reading comprehension is fairly decent. I had three years of French in high school. When I first got into France, I had enormous difficulty parsing out the words of spoken French. I was on a train from Dijon to Beziers, and someone had taken our seats, and they wouldn’t change seats – they were nice, but they said, oh, just sit there (I think that’s what they said, at any rate). So we took someone else’s seats. So then more people boarded at different stops, and we had to play musical chairs. Not the most fun thing to deal with in a different language.

But yes, I’ve found a lot of really nice people. I find most warm. Only ran across some friction with a woman at the bank. I also find that most people here don’t speak English, which is different from my experience in other countries. It’s nice, because I get a chance to try to practice. In other countries, they tend to get frustrated with me and just start talking in English.

I had a real nice conversation with the fruit vendor in town. And several days ago we found a winery on our way to the garbage dump. We were looking for junk in the dump with which to make art, but found this winery at 9:30 in the morning. Came up to it, and understood everyone, and they gave me a tasting in the morning! The wine was different, light liquid on my tongue and then a burst of flavor. I bought a bottle of everything I’d tasted, and then they gave me an additional one as a gift.

We’ll be here for six more weeks. This first week shot by so quickly. It’s warm half the days here. I sit on the ledge of our kitchen window and read in the sun, which seems to reach 70F. I want to try to stay longer. We met the owners of this house from, in our initial house hunt for London. We stayed in their London house 3 weeks, and they offered to let us stay here. We pay rent, but it’s really a token amount for this area – 120 Euros a week. They do TV documentaries mostly for the BBC. They’re doing a documentary on the royal princes for the French.

We’re trying to find poetry readings here, but I can’t even find readings in French. I wonder if there’s a different idiom in French for “poetry reading.” The variations I’ve googled don’t come up with anything. We also contacted English-language bookstores but so far no one seems to be open to a reading. Really weird. I bet we’d have more luck during tourist season.

Now for an announcement:

My friend in Milwaulkee, Denise Dee, organized an Irish festival (in Milwaulkee) from March 11 to March 17. Cleveland Poetry Icon Katie Daley will be performing the 11th and 12th. Here’s a link to more information:

Denise Dee

Denise Dee


dream theme

Saturday, February 17th, 2007

 collage & foto by smith

two odd dreams in three hours.

7 a.m.:
took 2 really small books to a village bookstore to get them autographed by the lady author. we liked both of them. at the bookstore i mistakenly barbequed her 1st book and it turned into a hamburger. i was going to have her autograph the hamburger, but realized i’d eat it after and would lose her signature. while standing in line, i looked down and saw i was voluntarily naked – thought it would be rude confronting her with my genitalia while asking her to sign the second book. went around trying on the pants the mall had used to decorate their walls, but they were all either too small or the denim was rotting. kathy said she had an idea, so i grilled some chicken for a second sandwich. i was worried the grilled meat was too small, but when i put it on the bread it grew into a bath towel sized piece of chicken. i tore it in half and put the rest back, hoping no one would notice i’d touched it. before i could eat, kathy came back with a bright red pair of bull fighter pants with gold embroidery that fit me. i awoke. never got to eat a bite of either sandwich.

5 a.m.:
was in hospital to get my right elbow drilled. doctor had a mustache much bigger than his face. i was his last operation ever because he had been promoted to run the hospital. there were balloons and confetti streamers all over. he was a good guy and everyone was happy. my wedding ring was on my right hand. i kept floating away, so he taped my right ring finger to a post. my floating broke the tape. floated all over the hospital an inch above the floors. doc came back with a power drill that had a 3 foot bit to drill my elbow. i became concerned about the approaching pain and hoped they would knock me out first. woke up on a cold floor in darkness, confused. sat up. nurses came and screamed at me to lie back down. refused. they said if i didn’t, i’d hurt somebody. told them i was just sitting here, doing no damage. they screamed i shouldn’t even be awake, the drugs should have kept me out. called me a drug sump. said they didn’t want to have to do this but were going to give me a powerful para drug to put me back out. i was looking forward to that when i awoke.

my dream life is more interesting than my waking life. i say that because i’m out of focus now. creatively lazy. this wandering the earth is magic, but requires continuous effort, refocusing, re-commitment. i’m a lazy soul. in 3 weeks i’ll have 61 years of my life sentence served. i’ve created tons of art, written gobs of poetry, created 2,600 pages of cultural website, published 21 issues of artcrimes, helped blog 40 megabytes over the past 9 months, more or less come to terms with who and what i am – and am not. on one level, i feel i’ve done enough. yet this new relationship with kathy – and this world wide wandering journey with kathy – shows me you’re never done with any of it… you daily have to work on yourself – recreate your self, your art, your heart, your soul, your goal. i think i’m tired of me. not tired of kathy, though. she fascinates me – her art, her poetry, her constant effort to better her entire inner and outer being, her list of goals, things to do. for her sake i’ve got to be better than i am – got to keep working on the next version of smith, my next release, my next better me. ain’t got no options – can’t kill her for the insurance money cuz she’s not insured. plus, she’s the only reason i’m sticking around.

collage & foto by smith


Our Second Lives

Friday, February 16th, 2007


Meet Lady Messmer


And Mutant Messmer

I’ve spent 9 hours the past couple days creating our avatars in secondlife (go to Had a conversation in french, a conversation sprinkled with a little Polish, and eavesdropped on some German speakers. Good place to practice a foreign language.

Some people make a living creating things, programming things for sale on secondlife. So I’m checking it out – I have 10 years of programming experience. 


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