joke bloke

foto by smith

lady k kills the pirated movie we just watched (sofia coppola’s marie antoinette – 2006), “i bit bucketed it”. i ask her if that’s how she’s going to dispose of me when i go – “no, i’m going to recycle you, maybe make you into brownies.” at least i won’t have those old bit bucket blues.

5 days left in our french love nest. i like it here. i’m not prepared to leave. i’m ready to move on. i’m not prepared to stay. sort of like my life – i like being me, i don’t like being me. but bottom line, there’s no one past present future living dead i’d rather be than me, and i’d rather be alive than dead – so i guess i gotta be me. my options are somewhat limited – be me, not be me, be alive, not be alive. besides, lady k isn’t done sucking all my past stories from these bones. she finds me more interesting than i do, but i do lick myself incessantly anyway.

what is the sound of one hand clapping?
– patting yourself on the back.

finally created a knock knock joke:

knock not.
who’s there?
– not the world, knocked much longer.

not knock.
who’s there?
– knock the world, not much longer.

there, i now have 6 categories of original jokes…

my chicken crossing the road joke:

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

my grape joke:

what’s purple, really angry, and you’d better stay out of their way?
– the grapes of wrath.

my cop jokes:

What do you call an honest cop? – mythological.
What do you call a dead cop? – necessary.

my abortion joke:

Persian abortion – stuff snake up snatch, turn mongoose loose.

add in my zen koan jokes, my knock knock jokes, and i’m ready for the big time. i could be the steven wright of sufi stand-up comedy.

one more zen koan joke:

why is the sound of one gland collapsing?
– what the right gland giveth, the wrong gland taketh awry.

foto by smith


“This article says we might attack Iran April 6,” Smith moans.

“Well, that’d make sense,” I say. “They like to do it over the weekend. That way everyone gets excited about it, gives them something to talk about over the holiday weekend.”

I cut some cheese for our desert and set it aside to get warm. I’m stewing. I think about us traveling to Morocco that weekend, and I wonder if we’re going to be affected by a backlash of anti-American sentiment.

I say, “It makes me sick to think of my brother over there in Iraq. What if he’s ordered to commit war crimes. How would he even avoid it, being there?”

Yesterday I read that U.S. forces raided the offices of the Iraq Syndicate of Journalists in February. They stole 15 generators which were supposed to be donated to families of killed journalists. I wondered if my brother has had to do anything like this. I love him very much. And of course there are many other incidents of much worse things.

“Americans are gullible,” Smith says. “You read what everybody says about what would happen if we attack Iran and you think, there’s no way we could attack Iran. Then you realize who’s in office.”

Then, “Oh, this is nice, Lady. Listen to what I’m reading in this article: ‘Congress quietly approved provisions making it easier for the President to declare federal martial law after a domestic terrorist incident. And recall that in late 2003, General Tommy Franks openly speculated on how a new 9/11 could lead to a military form of government: ‘a terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event somewhere in the Western world – it may be in the United States of America – that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass, casualty-producing event. Which in fact, then begins to unravel the fabric of our Constitution.”

“I don’t think there’s going to be an election. I think they’ll make an attack, declare martial law, and then just ride it out…”

not known going

foto by smith

Lady K says i’m not getting angry as often – or as much. it’s because i’ve left a lot of what angered me back in america – possessions, politics, programming. it’s because i’m doing something, rather than waiting to do something. it’s because i’m testing myself and finding i’m more or less worthy of this journey. kathy takes up the slack when i’m not.

we’re where we’re not known, going where we won’t know.

need to get lady k to write a blog on travel differences – she has theories of how the food, people, weather, sky colors, landscape palettes, stores, toilets, prices, etc differ place to place. she’s more concrete, in the real world, whereas i’m rather abstract, discontinuous, not quite always there – and even when i am there, i’m not always sure where there is.

past 3 months saw my first gutting/cleaning of a fish, my 1st grill fire laid, my first empty stove gas canister replaced, my 1st repair of bicycle flat on the road. scary to be riding bicycles that have had 3 of their 4 wheels taken off, repaired and put back on by me. i would not be your first choice for a mechanic. life prods areas where we’re weakest, and mechanical skills are among my many.

* ‘last year, Congress quietly approved provisions making it easier for the President to declare federal martial law after a domestic terrorist incident. And in late 2003, General Tommy Franks openly speculated on how a new 9/11 could lead to a military form of government: “a terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event somewhere in the Western world – it may be in the United States of America – that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass, casualty-producing event. Which in fact, then begins to unravel the fabric of our Constitution.’ *

after reading the excerpt above on, i wondered if the cheney-bush beast will stage another terrorist attack on america so they can bomb iran, declare martial law, and cancel the 2008 elections.

i know everyone, including my friends, will say i’m way out there on this. but let us face it – this is a government that brazenly stole both elections, illegally invaded another country, killed 700,000 civilians, spies on its own citizens, and legalized torturing, kidnapping, and murdering anyone THEY say is a menace. cheney also seems to have lost 8 billion of the 12 billion dollars he had under his control – some suggest he’s using this money to run illicit anti-Iran programs around the world.

these are not ethical, honorable people – they stuff themselves on stolen power with other’s money, they feast on blood not their own.

as is, cheney-bush have nothing to lose – if they don’t shut down our legal government, they’re going to end up in jail for war crimes, high crimes, theft & malfeasance in office when they’re prosecuted by the next honest regime. they’re obviously not afraid of being punished for what they’ve done, so i think they’ve already planned another 9/11 which they’ll use as an excuse to declare martial law and take over the government the rest of the way. bye bye america, heil amerika. brain cramps anyone?

personally, i think they should all be locked in a room and forgotten – let them eat each other.

* excerpt above –
Wednesday, March 28, 2007 –
Easter Surprise: Attack on Iran, New 9/11… or Worse
by Heather Wokusch

foto by smith


collage by smith

textbook times by s b smith


I’m lost in a reverie. I’ve just looked at a high school friend’s site, and she’s posted pictures of her giggle of a girl. I imagine it’s joyful to watch a wiggle grow up, but it would be a totally different life. I wouldn’t be able to do what I do. My main concern would be the child.

Smith and I can’t have children. He had a vasectomy shortly after his first marriage.

“Whatcha thinkin?” he asks.

“Oh, I’m just sitting here thinking about kids and what it’d be like if I had them.”

“Well, I don’t know. You’d have to write me about it, because I wouldn’t be here. Unless, of course, you could have the kids for just a week — if we were selling them.”

I say, “Well, some people do that. Rich women who are sterile or don’t want to get fat — they have someone else carry their kid.”

“And frequently the surrogate mothers run off with the kid. I guess it’s hard to carry a baby and then give it away.”

“We could try that,” I say.

“Yeah, and if you were pregnant, every day, I’d ask you, is it ready to eat yet?” He likes to joke that babies belong in soup cans or cages.

The sun floods in unexpectedly.

Smith comments, “That’s anti-Heisenberg sunshine. It only comes if you don’t expect it. And it won’t be there if you go out and count on it.”

Then, “We could have ovary beads instead of rosary beads we could sell to the fertility clinics. Instead of holding rosaries, they’d hold little ovaries and say the fertility prayer 17 times.”

“I love you,” I say. “You’re cool.”

“Yes, we’ll have a service where we rent cool people to parties. We’ll say, ‘We’ll rent you two cool people for your parties.’ And then we’ll go ourselves.”

“Airfare included,” I say.

“And drug fare.”

“And fanfare.”

He shifts in his seat. “You know, we could probably remove these testicles ourselves.”

“Yeah,” I say. “We knew how to change the bike tire. Now we can do anything. We could do your testicles too.”

“You know,” he says, “We could do it with rubber bands, like what we used to do on the farm. On a calf on the farm they put the rubber band up above his testicles, really tight, to cut off all the blood flow. Everything past the rubberband withers and dies. After a couple weeks, you just cut them off, snip.”

beast tramp scamp

foto by smith

It is easier for a Camus to pass through the eye of the needle than it is for a Republican to get into Heaven.

i joked i’d walk a mile for a Camus – and now it appears i will. ordered a couple Camus essays which will arrive the day we leave. so on our last day in france, we’ll bus to town, then walk with our all our possessions in packs on our backs from the bus depot to the bookstore to the train station in a weird cultural parabola. there’s not many artists i’d walk with weight on my back to buy.

reality is fraying, begins to reweave itself mid-stream. metaphors abound. it’s the cleaning-up-here-getting-ready-to-go-there dues, and it’s dropping clues. for example, my computer keyboard has become interactive… last 3 days it does/does-not record my “w”s and “space”s as it sees fit. if that’s a metaphor, i don’t understand. although today it’s changed to leaving out some spaces, while adding extra spaces other places. that’s so logical, reality has to be doing it on purpose. i know the universe is playing with me – but am i its toy, or play pal?

got vaccinated today for typhoid, hepatitis, tetnus and dyptheria. i feel different inside, feel the baby diseases moving about. we’re getting bit by bits of disease so we’ll be safe to go somewhere where we can’t drink can’t wash face can’t brush teeth can’t wash vegetables unless we use bottled water. can’t even let their water get in our eyes or mouths in the shower. we do the hep-cat hepatitis dance.. we be absurd as we adlurb our way to new day say.

foto by smith

down to our last week in south france. each day now becomes a final affair. today’s our last day to walk up the hill to the thursday fruit man. each day he drives to a different village to sell his wares. the fish woman also comes thursdays. we keep missing the cheese woman’s drive-through, and we totally ignore the red meat man.

4 more times i’ll walk 100 paces up the hill to the village patisserie for fresh baked bread. i’ll get maybe 5 more chances to pet the old cat in front of the grocery. we always take time to look at flowers, pet cats, and talk to dogs. we also watch the lizards every chance we get… their fleet liquid sun movements charge our magic batteries.

our M.O. / S.O.P. is we move to a new town in a new country, settle in, get acquainted, get comfortable, then move on, start over. past 8 gypsy months living in 7 countries, we’ve had 5 one night stays, 1 two nighter, 3 one weekers, a 7 weeker, a 13 weeker, and this is our 7th of 8 weeks here. heading for 1 night in barcelona, 2 nights in madrid, then 2-3 months wandering around morocco – probably mostly short term stays.

you learn a lot about yourself and the world when you constantly pack up and move on. learn what’s important to you too because whatever possessions you keep, you have to carry on your back. the two items that top my list of physical needs are water and laundry. also find i’ve become hooked on internet access. which makes morocco an interesting choice because the water’s bad, the laundry and internet questionable. but that’s cool cuz the object of exploring is to move beyond yourself.

we don’t really know what we’re doing, just that we’re doing. we’re Beauty & the Beast, Lady & the Tramp, Ms Able & her Scamp.

foto by smith

i’d walk a mile for a camus

collage by smith

while reading a small book of Camus’ essays in the bathroom, i rediscovered an old hero of mine. (Albert Camus, 1913–60).

some essay excerpts:

Now the ashes in the grate are beginning to choke the fire. And still the same sigh from the earth. – Albert Camus, Between Yes and No, 1937

It is indeed true that we live in tragic times. But too many people confuse tragedy with despair. This world is poisoned by its misery, and seems to wallow in it. Let us not contribute to it. It is vain to weep over the mind, it is enough to labour for it. – Albert Camus, The Almond Trees, 1940

Myths have a life of their own. They wait for us to clothe them in flesh. – Albert Camus, Prometheus in the Underworld, 1946

For the Greeks, values were pre-existent to every action,and marked out its exact limits. Modern philosophy places values at the end of action. – Albert Camus, Helen’s Exile, 1948

No man can say what he is. But he can sometimes say what he is not. People want the man who is still seeking to have already reached his conclusion. – Albert Camus, The Enigma, 1950

I had begun with fullness. What had followed was barbed wire: I mean tyrannies, war, police forces, the time of revolt. For the men of today there is an inner path which leads from the hills of the mind to the capitals of crime. – Albert Camus, Return to Tipasa, 1953

The Absurd Man prefers his courage and his reasoning. The first teaches him to live without appeal and to get along with what he has; the second informs him of his limits. – Albert Camus, The Absurd Man

a few Camus quotes:

An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself.

Integrity has no need of rules.

Man is the only creature that refuses to be what he is.

To know oneself, one should assert oneself. Psychology is action, not thinking about oneself. We continue to shape our personality all our life. If we knew ourselves perfectly, we should die.

We are all special cases.

The only real progress lies in learning to be wrong all alone.

To be happy we must not be too concerned with others.

What is a rebel? A man who says no.

We all carry within us our places of exile, our crimes, and our ravages. But our task is not to unleash them on the world; it is to fight them in ourselves and in others.

Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.

In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.

collage by lady k


I’m comparing the juxtaposition of perspectives now that I’m high again vs months straight. I slow down. Get a bigger handle on understanding my current condition. I think it’s good to shake things up.

I tell Smith, “I think it’s appropriate for us to be smoking now.”

He slowly, creepily turns his head towards me, wide-eyed. Whispers, “it’s almost always appropriate…”


the sunlight floods in
after silent cloudy obscuration

  when it’s cold I seize my hand up in my pocket

sun lightlight heart heart theory

but just this moment

                the passing of the sun

the flit from cloud

                to bright

as though someone

unrolled the lights to a grand

and tho I am cheered
I’m disturbed as well


         I realize

there’s heat inside th body
                        and thoughts
inside th head

sometimes I hear myself talking and it sounds like a duck quacking

March 24, 2007

what “we” we grow

collage by smith

Lady K called me “honey bunny buggle bear.” sometimes she talks to me in the same voice she used to use to talk to her cat. i think she thinks i’m her big pet.

we’re not smoking today. our 4 day stone fuzzed the brain, slowed the will – especially after being straight for 5 months. it’s nice to shut the brain down periodically, but it’s best to start it back up again after awhile to make sure it still works.

hash is stronger and tastier than grass. these past 5 months of being straight, all i wanted to do was get stoned… now that i am, i realize once again smoking’s not the answer, merely part of the process – it’s the spice, not the meal. our relationship, creating, growing, the journey – these make up our life’s meal. hashish is merely a life spice.

on the road 8 months now. we’ve crossed multiple Rubicons – passages where we aren’t the same people after passing we were before. such crossings are difficult, and sometimes must be done solely because they’re hard to bring yourself to do.

1st reading our poetry to strangers in london was a major crossing because finding praise for our words from folk who had never heard of us reinforced who we were in our heads.

going behind the old iron curtain to a totally foreign language and culture was another. creating & promoting our own poetry reading, opening for an avant-garde rock band, and being accepted by the underground creative community strengthened our image of ourselves.

spending 3 months isolated in a fishing village in croatia was a slow gentle crossing – it showed us how productive we could be… we ended up with 2 dozen art pieces, hundreds of fotos, 5 short stories, and a 250 page manuscript on my checkered past.

here in the south of france, some of our traveling lessons and life changes seemed to have settled in, become part of us. we wildly upped our creative quotient via Lady K’s creating her Pbase foto galleries, and her starting Myspace bases for both of us. here she also began posting her short videos on YouTube, and she’s learning how to create animation.

our greatest crossing was starting our relationship, disposing of possessions, leaving america for an open ended free range world roam.

our journey is an ever changing serial reality moving from new country to unknown city. our future is full of never-beens and not-yet-knowns. we are but seeds of future self.

most folks have a big change every decade or so. we’ve had 18 months of continuous change – changes in life, living, cities, countries, cultures.

we’re folding all this together, making our manifold destiny.

but in 10 days it’s as if we’re starting anew. 3 months in morocco will be going through the looking glass to a whole new sight-line beyond the valley of the other side. we will go from being surrounded by caucasians to being in an arabic/african culture. from safe water to deadly water. from old history to even more ancient. roman writing to arabic alphabet. feminist to patriarchal. different civilizations, different diseases.

wonder what “we” we will grow in morocco.

collage by lady k

Patter Chatter

I’m reading Smith’s blog. It’s a rant about Cheney and company. He writes: my english professor always said evil was banal – cheney proves it.

It’s not the first time he’s cited an English professor. I’m editing his memoir, so I keep an eye out for these little tidbits. At the Naval Academy prep school, his professor told him, “You’re wasting your time writing porno ads. Spend your time writing a poem.” Another English professor at Loyola gave him the validation he needed to leave his first wife.

Smith’s typing away on his ever-present laptop. I interrupt him: “Seems your English professor was a big influence on you.”

“All three at Loyola were,” he says. “They were all superb. I was even the teacher’s pet for my English teacher in high school. She invited me over to her house once. I, of course, assumed we were going to have sex. Being a virgin, I thought she was going to teach me how to do it.”

“So what happened?”

“Nothing. We sat around. I was uncomfortable for the entire afternoon. The thing about being a guy — an inexperienced guy — is you never know what you’re supposed to do or if you’re supposed to make a move. I could never make a move unless somebody handed me a piece of paper saying, Go ahead and do it, kid.”

“That’s funny. You’re funny.”

“I’m also honest. Camus said the writer’s never honest. Man’s never honest. But he’s wrong. You can be honest.”

“Now you got Camus in your head.”

“Oh, I love Camus. I’m going to read more stuff. There’s a short Camus essay I’m going to put in a blog.”

“Why do you like Camus?” I ask. “I mean, what in particular are you reading now that excites you?”

“What do I like about him? Well, I referenced him in one of my early poems, Suicide Note:

Camus’ first question of philosophy re
weaves Thane Hamlet’s “or not to be,”

He continues. “Camus says the first question of philosophy is do I kill myself or not. If the answer is no, you have a responsibility for everything that’s going on in the world. Camus refined that a little more in the book I’m reading in the bathroom. He wrote, if you eat and breathe, you’re making value judgments.

“That poem was an assignment. First day of class, the poetry teacher said, ‘Write down a color.’ I wrote down orange. He had us write down six more words. Then said, ‘Next time you come to class, bring a poem.’

“When I read that in class, there was an amazed and impressed silence. They’d never gotten something like that.”


Poor naked ape, melancholy Dane
Dying the silent, sinking orange
I offer my praise to mad Ophelia’s black mass.
Receiving Laertes’ pain poisoned harangue
I’ll soon join that fortunate lass
Morpheusly oblivious of pain
(Camus’ first question of philosophy re
weaves Thane Hamlet’s “or not to be,”
brings Kant’s “progressive unification of
sense manifold” to termination: total
psychic expiration. Hence our sole
existential goal becomes fervently wishing
good death’s black ghoul to sensually become
as one with our whole)
Where God assumes skull Yorick’s reign
Stay yet awhile Horatio, give lie to my name.

s b smith


collage by smith

our lost long friend Melissa Jay Craig has an art show opening this week in Chicago:

ALTERNATE SELECTIONS is a sort-of retrospective of odd book works from 1990 – 2007; The work is installed among the Real Books on the second floor of the Columbia College Library.

Opening reception, Thursday, March 29, 5-7 pm. – show runs from March 29 through May 15, 2007.

Columbia College Library – 624 South Michigan – Chicago IL — Library hours: Monday through Thursday, 8am – 10pm / Friday, 8 am – 6pm / Saturday, 9am – 5pm / Sunday, noon – 5 / The Library will be closed April 8th.

past 2 days, Lady K did six collages with my face. i’m moving up in the whorl. here’s 4.

collage by lady k
2 Smiths, 3 Duchamps

collage by lady k
Smitherd Nixon with Elvis

collage by lady k
Willie Nelson with Waylon Smith

collage by lady k
Smithus Christ