Blog Home Agent of Chaos City Poetry Zine Buy Stuff!
...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 August, 2007

culture chameleoned

Sunday, August 12th, 2007

foto by smith

$14 subway, $18 door fee, $6 for a bottle of water = $38 open mic attended last night where we did not get a chance to read because they have the open mic slots limited to 10 and you have to get there an hour early to sign-up. that makes 3 non-open open-mics in a row for close to $100. the rats keep playing with us, experimenting, and london remains indifferent to our poetry desires.

this is unexpected because london was so nice to us our first trip here – last august we read at 4 open mics in 3 weeks, our first non-american audiences. past 10 months with neither readings nor poetry community have been hard for us – back in cleveland we’d hit 2-4 poetry venues each month. reading before a live audience is addictive, especially when you can see them sit up in surprise. it’s hard having a good show and no place to glow.

foto by smith



Sunday, August 12th, 2007

I had this daydream that everyone in Cleveland was on a wave crest moving away from me, moving ahead in their lives without me, that everyone’s progressing while I am just me. But this is a perceptual artifact. I regard everyone as “back there”; I’ve assigned them to limbo, and then I’m just startled when I hear of new developments in the community back home. I’m not in limbo. Travel forces clarity and growth by virtue of constant transplantation, parallax of place.

I feel great loss in that I don’t have access to the poetry community in Cleveland, that I don’t have the immediate comfort of girlfriends. I’ve learned that people are the most enduring and enjoyable aspect of “place.”

Thought of an old friend yesterday, then logged on to find an e-mail from her:

Three weeks back I had an odd dream. In the dream I tried to contact you and there was a void, totally dark, totally empty and finally a message like voice said, Kathy is no longer here.

Yes, I am changed.

I don’t know what we expected to find by traveling. Our initial plan was to travel for years, but we’ve learned that it has tremendous psychic, physical and financial cost. But the trip’s been a mechanically transformative process. The logistics of getting by in other countries have forced me to respect myself, because I now see I can do anything.

Secure in myself, but not sure who this self is. I’m sure of who I’m NOT, though. Maybe that’s all I need.

In becoming secure, I had to curb my old obsessive thinking patterns. Unfortunately, those thinking patterns bore good creative fruit. I elevated my ego in poetry.

One obsession was to find the “right” man. When I found Smith, it stopped, and my choo choo derailed. Now the search is over, and I’m left with vacancy of habit. I suspect political anguish tries to flower in this vacuum.

My other neurosis: I’d always wondered ad absurdum if I do the “right” thing, if I’m ethical, if I’m “nice.” This worry manifested in physical nervousness, quavering chin, choked throat, an uncontrollable downturn of the corners of my mouth from which I tried to wrench a smile.

Away from my Cleveland petri dish and with a rehabbed self respect, this neurosis has lost its potency. To try to be perfect seems a good thing, but it inhibited rather than enabled me. I’m now more spontaneous, less worried, and I’ve rehabbed my mind’s home to accomplish this. I tender a faith, a trust in myself and others. I attribute to other people a graciousness and maturity, a thick-skinnedness or capacity to absorb my potential faux pas. To attribute maturity to people is a way to respect them.

So, I’ve lost some of my old self, but I’m more confident, less obsessive and neurotic, and I continue to create art and write.

I’m wary of these summations, these “sound bites” where everything is posed as perfect, where I’ve now “learned my lessons.” But in fact, I am somewhat rehabilitated. Perfectly poised for the next onion skin unveiling of my perception.

I look forward to visiting Cleveland again, but I remember the person I used to be not so long ago. I remember my trepidation, transgressions and trespasses.



Sunday, August 12th, 2007

foto by smith

out back, sitting in the sun, watching big bees do their slow ancient pollination dance lumbering from small white flower to small white flower. sky jet noise above going from there to elsewhere makes me glad i’m here going nowhere.

i shut my eyes, feel the heat on my face, reduce reality to the red orange sun glow of my closed eyelids and the background drones of civilization.

i’m a doer sitting here doing nothing, thinking of what i could be doing, should be doing… the mind never stops, is never satisfied.

but right now, the only thing real is the sun hot on my face, its orange painting the inside of my lids, its enervating heat draining my will.

foto by smith


Friends, Immigration, Chicago

Saturday, August 11th, 2007

I am pretty well. Healthier mentally than I’ve ever been. But my big internal gripe lately is that I miss having a home base, miss being in a community, I miss having friends. The Internet frustrates me; it’s still an artificial way to keep contact, as satisfying as saccharine.

We have one friend here in London and a number of friendly acquaintances, and we feel friendly towards the people who’ve lent us their house. But because we’re not settling here, we’re not sending a whole bunch of feelers out, and it’s difficult. The human animal requires sunshine and friendship.

Talked to a lady customer in the salon the other day. I said we couldn’t legally stay in London more than 6 months without a work visa. I was surprised to hear her say that we could work under the table and just stay. I guess a lot of people do that. She recommended bartending or watching kids (babysitters get about $14/hour here.)

(There’s a lot of room for “getting by” here. For example, the local trains do not conduct frequent checks to see if you’ve purchased a ticket. That’s probably why tickets are so expensive. I imagine a lotta people are getting freebies.)

When I talked to the woman in the salon I realized how starved I am for female company. It’s just me and Smith all the time. She gave me her number to go get a cup of tea together. I think I’ll call her. There’s nothing like having a girlfriend.

I wouldn’t mind staying in London because it’s got such diverse inhabitants and a poetry scene. It’s visually pretty boring, kinda like the super capital of the business world, but if we settled here we’d pick up our lives and interest again. Legally, it’s tricky for Smith to get in because of his past. Even though the felony took place before I was born, he’s marked for life unless he gets a pardon and they seal his record (which costs $1500 in legal fees). It’d also cost more than $2000 for both of us to apply to live in the UK.

Canada is appealing, but also costs. They have a criminal rehabilitation program for potential immigrants (which costs), but it is an option. I took an online test to see if I qualify to immigrate to Canada, and I pass. (Factors include health and employability among other things.) There is also a citizenship test for which I’d have to study.

So now the plan is to move to Chicago in December. We’ll stay at Smith’s old friend/my new friend’s house for a week or so while we arrange a rental. Prior to our arrival, I’ll book a number of viewings. We found a decent online site and verified there are affordable apartments in the lower west side, my area of interest.

I’m not worried about it at all, because we’ve landed in cities not even knowing the language, and we always found an apartment within a week.


sacred lies

Saturday, August 11th, 2007

foto by smith

i tell myself lies. latest is i endure this homeless road weariness for four more months, then we’ll have our own chicago permanant base place where i can relax and examine the journey. but once we stop moving, we start from point zero creating a new personal life and a new poetry life and a new art life in a new city from scratch. life’s complicated, especially when winging it – there’s no rest this side of death.

last time i started from zero was moving to cleveland ohio 30 years ago…

or maybe 13 months ago when lady k and i disposed of our stuff and left the country with what we could carry on our backs. less than zero, more than most.

i once had an art show titled Sacred Lies – Love, Truth, Honor, Family. i described sacred lies as “the lies we tell ourselves to help us go on, the lies we need to believe to keep us from killing ourselves, or others.” but now, i believe in love, and with lady have family – so i guess some lies aren’t lies after all.

foto by smith



Friday, August 10th, 2007

Aug 10 2007, Lady

Finished two pieces yesterday. Can’t decide what to name them. My first solo art show is in October, “Offworld”. I really really like the first piece (above) but I think it’s too expensive to ship to Amerikkka because of the heavy horseshoe. We’ll see.

I haven’t blogged my own impressions lately due to the addictive nature of reporting what My Man Smith has to say. But I have lots of thoughts that haven’t made it onto screen.

I’m doing some memoir writing. I don’t know if I’ll try to keep it in memoir form. I could harvest it for some future fiction.

An interesting and traumatic part of my life was its intersection with my childhood girlfriend’s life. Let’s call her Mary. She was sexually abused. Her mother was ever in the limbo of depression. She was a ghost on the couch, sleeping in front of constant TV. I still have nightmares where I’m trapped with Mary inside her house. Or sometimes I dream I am Mary. She was beautiful and used her beauty as a tool to improve her environment. She often tested her aptitude at my expense.

Another thing I want to capture in writing is the fuzzy warmth of my young 70s childhood which grew into the synth beat excitement of the 80s. The Eurythmics and the Talking Heads were fantastic initiation into modern cool. Adam Ant and Duran Duran and Queen so ecstatic… we pounded the cafeteria tables at school to thump out “We will we will rock you.”

The 80s are back in style,
opening into zebra-striped possibility:
I will be a girlfriend.
I will wear a hat and a scarf
and a flower and sneakers,
a totally ecstatic fanatic psychopath.

While I was in high school in the 80s, Smith was “drinking, mainlining, writing poetry, making art and publishing ArtCrimes. Getting fat. That was the 80s for me.”

Aug 10 2007, Lady


no play yes rat

Friday, August 10th, 2007

foto by smith

finally emerging from my blur… merely road weary, not road kill. lady bounces back faster – she’s writing, has 4 assemblages in the works, and jogs every other day. i endure, she flourishes.

backyard squirrel jumped against the door glass to catch a fly, chattered angrily when it hit the glass. stood up, put its paws against the glass and peered in. when it saw us, it chattered away in complaint. the backyard fox, the backyard squirrel, the indoor outdoor cat – the animals here are fearless, follow their own agenda.

and the rats have us running their test mazes again – went downtown last night to an open mic poetry reading… it was canceled, so another $24 put out for no poetry. that’s $50 for two no poetries, and $50 for two no camera in past 2 weeks. this no stuff is expensive.

foto by smith


our public servants

Thursday, August 9th, 2007

foto by smith

Our Public Servants
The needle men
  the wee within
  hides hollow
  shadows small
Such slime
  and sin
  and grime
  they grin
Much mock the moral mall
In greed they grip
  the public tit
Lick all
  the wrong behinds
The useless twits
  with inbred wits
  use farts
  to fuel their minds
Call down rehearsed
  their red tape curse
  in girth
  of unknown tome
  why alone
  no known tones
But worse
  they ALL tell lies

foto by smith



Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

Deptford, London store window


I had this dream I wrote the best poem
and in the dream I woke up and wrote something
not quite as good and then I Really woke up
and now I cannot remember the poem.

If I am a careful listener, I can tell you
something new. If I came to this New I would be
a new person. You All have the record of what
I’ve done against which I am compared. But a
new Person is Free to affect speech and ideas.

We expect something New but we have to come back
to the Same Room. We expect reincarnations of
our friends in other circles, other chances,
but it is used up, our best memory.

Everything is stale compared to our best memory.
I remember the best peach each time I eat a
peach. Sometimes against what I expect I am
pleasantly startled, but I have to watch the Now.

I’m always unknitting and reknitting these but
the thread remembers. If I say what is on my
mind I am not contrived in this context. This
was all given to me in a dream.


may you live in interesting times

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

foto by smith

Promise Land

Greyhound bound
To Tupperware City
Light like liquid Zen
Wars time tatter tight
As tight asses tie
Meat neat man to kine, kino
Contempt of course
Playing Plato’s barn

Blue bloods
Stabilize fish at 7
Mime the ma’am
Bamboo cathedrals
In wondrous disarray
Just outside real
Where the fat
Flee frantic
Fleece feed the poor

Competing EXIT signs
Dance specific disease
  Rude crude
  Plus tax
Bouncing Betty’s
Slouching Bethlehem belly
Slips on guilt
And splinters.

listening to Fresh Air, the democrat’s basic strategy seems to be to keep the iraq war going – murdering more iraqis and american soldiers – in order to get reelected in 2008. the more i read, the more i learn, the more disgusted i become. there is no honor in politics. we want wise leaders, but what we have are wiley spineless thieving murderous lying slime suckers – government of the rich, by the rich, for the rich. hillary clinton will fit right in.

in Sicko, a man says in france and britain the government fears the people (which is why they passed universal health care there), while in america the people fear their government (which is why here health care is run by the insurance and pharmaceutical companies). in britain and france, the people vote.

i’ve never ever voted. tried to vote against richard nixon in maryland, but they wouldn’t let me register because i was a convicted felon. but as soon as i get back to the states, i’m registering to vote. the more people who vote, the more difficult it is for them to steal the elections like they did in 200 and 2004.

h.l. mencken said americans would eventually get the government they deserved. i can’t believe lady k and i are moving back to america… feels rather like moving to nazi germany in 1937. i can’t wait to be picked up by the thought police.

may you live in interesting times.

foto by smith


Copyright (c) 2009 Smith & Lady
Designed by Lady K