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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 December, 2007

Walls and Doors

Monday, December 24th, 2007

Happy XMas Everyone! Here’re some recent Oaxaca shots.



Bricks and Creches near Rayon Carrera

DOD graffiti art on Guerrero

Distressed facade on Rayon

Mocha portal somewhere in Oaxaca


mutant entradish III

Monday, December 24th, 2007

carved radishes – foto by smith

last night was the 110th annual festival of the radishes. local folk carve inedible 2-3 foot long radishes into nativity scenes, animals, etc, with a $1,300 prize given to the best radish sculpture. there’re two more prizes for best corn husk sculpture, and best sculpture made from straw flowers. vegetable, plant, and flower art sculptures – what a perfect place for two found-object assemblage artists to land.

the radish (Raphanus sativus L) originated in china, and was brought to mexico by the spanish. spanish priests in the 1800s suggested the indigenous folk carve radishes to help attract people to their food stalls in the market. i wonder about the sativus middle name of the radish, whether it’s distantly related to sativa (grass). maybe i’ll smoke a radish or two, engage in some serious radish reduction.

carved radishes – foto by smith

radish was my secret name back in the 1960s and 70s. i chose it because the radish hides its fiery red hot volatile nature underground, and sends up safe non-threatening green leafs to fool the populace. at one point i started gathering all my poems and short stories in one manuscript – called it The Entradish Chronicles, by Mutant Entradish III. 80% of the poems i had then no longer exist, they weren’t worthy… just call me poem killer.

lot of native folk at the festival last night – plus an outstanding number of federal, state and city police. hundreds of police. all with truncheons, many with machine guns. they’re afraid the indigenous zapotecs will protest their loss of rights.

thursday we’re scheduled to go see the temple ruins in mitla, and after we’ll stop by to visit snowman’s zapotec friends in the village.

carved radishes – foto by smith


Just DO it

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

‘Skydoor’ Oaxaca Portal – photo by Lady

Bought mezcal and drank some–it’s smooth–I can drink it straight. Snowman says the Oaxacans always drink something with it, like lime juice.

Trying to get motivated and out of consumer/tourist mode.

Sinking a little into emptiness… and then I remember that’s how I always feel if I don’t keep myself busy. I have to have PROJECTS.

A girlfriend told me she always turned on the TV so that she didn’t have to think. This must be the same thing I feel when my brain is left to its own devices.

I also haven’t run for a while, which could be affecting my mood, but I’m afraid that if I run I’ll be hungry, I’ll overeat, I’ll gain 5 pounds and have to lose it again. I’ve been working on this same 5 pounds for over two years. Gotta just DO it, lose the last 15 pounds. Maybe only have sweets on special holidays; that ought to do it.

Feel more shit coming on. My shit has been soft since we got here. The first shit I took in Mexico was liquid. My stomach is burbling now… off to the bathroom. Now my shit is like firm pudding. It pluffs out.

SO, what PROJECTS can I do? (I’ve gotta give myself more structure.)

– type in my journal every morning
– find a printer and make some photos – bring them around to restaurants and coffeeshops, English lending library
– work an hour a day on Spanish
– meet Spanish speaker once or twice a week
– work on ‘Criminal’


carne vale

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

foto by smith

a note from our new friend no-snow:

“Mexico is the world’s longest running and most successful Fascist Dictatorship. On the other hand, it is one of the world’s greatest revolutionary hot beds. The revolution here, based on socialist and anarchist principles, predates the Russian revolution and is still seething along under the surface …witness the 6th declaration.

“This was born in on me when I saw a crowd of two hundred pissed off Mexicans with machetes and ropes chasing URO, the current governor through the halls of the El Camino Real 5 star hotel last year. I’m quite confident that if they had caught him they would have hung him in the Zocalo, then staged a thanksgiving dance under his swinging corpse. Unfortunately, his pack of heavily armed body guards opened fire on the crowd and got him away.”

no-snow says when he told his u.s. friends he was moving to mexico, they asked why he would move to a fascist country. he told them to look around – he wasn’t moving to a long time fascist country as much as he was moving away from the cheney-bush-clinton-corproation neophyte fascism taking over amerika.

no-snow is an interesting fellow. 3-4 years older than i, he was a chef on the mississippi tow-boats for 7 years, an army ranger in germany, had a young bobby dylan as a college roommate for 5 months just before dylan exploded big time on the nyc folk scene in the early 1960s. he thought young dylan a brash selfish unsharing arrogant man, which fits the biographies i’ve read. but as lady says, we believe in redemption, and from dylan’s songs i hear and his later words i read, he’s grown greatly emotionally and spiritually since then. like he sang, he was so much older then, he’s younger than that now.

no-snow says folk down here are helpful, sometimes too much so – if they don’t know where something is, they’ll give you directions to where they think it should be.

as for us, we’ve become water carriers – we drink water in the kitchen, walk into the bathroom and deliver it to the toilet. we’re the only water carriers in the apartment this sunday morning though – the cistern ran dry so we can’t shower, wash dishes, or flush the toilet until the next water delivery. we’ve only been in the apt 4 days, so we don’t yet know the rhythm or flow, so don’t know when we’ll be able to flush our fermenting 2-person feces soup.

today’s thought – best not throw the bath water out with the baby.

Oaxaca governor URO – foto by smith


intermittent internet does not equal interact

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

foto by smith

we’ve but intermittent internet, if that. none for past 36 hours. so we won’t be interacting with online folk as much as we have, if at all. might be reduced to prowling the internet cafes again.

but this is good. lady & i are addicted to being online – easy research, email, myspace, uploading fotos, interacting with friends, reading miserable nasty depressive news. on myspace we’ve been commenting on comments on comments uncommonly. amazing amount of time.

so reality is messing with us, telling us time to get to the work we came down here to do.

such as
see sun. we’re definitely doing that.
have adventures. ditto.
learn spanish. we start school the 31st.
finish my edit of bad boy memoir so i can turn it back over to lady.

lady’s certainly getting to work. she’s nesting, making the place her own. down on her knees right now bleach-scrubbing years of worn grid grit out of old rock and aggregate floor tile. we put the tv in the closet. she rearranged the sitting room from right angles to oval, making it cozy instead of barcode. i hung 11 prints of our work on the bedroom door, they stream down like a cavalcade of christmas cards. our calling cards.

our ground floor apartment exits to a locked courtyard. we’ve 3 main rooms – a 12 foot x 12 foot sitting room which leads west to a 12 x 9 kitchen and south to a 16 x 12 bedroom. large bathroom and shower off bedroom. semi-enclosed courtyard off kitchen with sink and water. no sink or water in the kitchen which has a refrigerator and a 4 burner gas countertop stove. sitting and bedroom are lime pie green with the ceiling white – rather like we’re in a large square of key lime pie. the kitchen is yellow and beige tile. we face east.

i’m tall. mexicans are short. i’ve walked into a sidewalk tree branch and a store steel awning support, hit the same spot on my forehead both times. left a bruise. lady’s calling me gorbachev now because my bruise is in the same place as his birthmark.

lady had two margaritas the other night. told a friend. he asked “did it make her frisky?” told him lady’s always frisky.

foto by smith


sometimes it’s heaven, sometimes it’s hell

Friday, December 21st, 2007

foto by smith

blog title comes from a willie nelson song on his 1974 concept album Phases & Stages – side one (back when they had 2 sided vinyl) was the breakup of a relationship from the woman’s point of view, side two from the man’s. willie had lots of practice in broken love. one of his early wives got so mad she waited until he passed out drunk, then sewed him up in a sheet and proceeded to beat the crap out of him with a broom handle. “Well sometimes it’s heaven and sometimes it’s hell, sometimes I don’t even know.” that’s from the man side… a great line from the woman side is “Walkin’ is better than runnin’ away and crawlin’ ain’t no good at all.”

writing these blogs requires thinking, and my mind is tired. overloaded. in ways overwhelmed. me no know words no more.

this is our 9th night here, and our fourth live loud concert a block or less away. this one’s 2 houses over in a side street and is so loud it’s vibrating things like our metal door, our bed, our bodies. oaxacans celebrate xmas december through february. they certainly know how to foster a party atmosphere. there’s frequent brass bands playing in the Zocalo town square where kids toss 10 to 15 foot long cylindrical balloons 20 feet up in the air where they soft sidewise sashay glide slow slide down to the ground to be tossed up again… up fast, down slow. there’s 20-30 balloons being tossed about, and tonight they cast shadows on the well-lit stone church wall as they fell. kids playing, couples courting, shoe shiners shining, balloons falling, families walking, vendors hawking in a people watching paradise.

of course it isn’t paradise. nowhere is. if a classified ad says “good appearance required,” it means only light-skinned people need apply, no indigenous accepted. when folk approach each other on a narrow sidewalk, the darker-skinned people are supposed to step off into the street to let the light-skins pass. the closer to white you are, the higher up the food chain you be. the darker you be, the poorer and shorter you are, and the worse the land you live on.

the government kills teachers and other protesters. there’s still a couple hundred disappeared teachers from last years protest. as the internet points out, “Governor Ulises Ruíz Ortíz has been busy using the usual array of tactics available to Mexican cops, with disappearances, beatings and torture being used against so called ‘subversive elements’ for some time.”

the richest 10% of Mexicans own 60% of the wealth, a gap that continues to rise, along with the number of poor and hungry. Oaxaca is one of the poorest states in Mexico

the sidewalks here are a soap opera unto themselves. they vary in size from entire streets closed to cars, to walkways anywhere from 6 feet wide down to 1 foot on down to disappeared non-existence. they very often have irregular shaped holes of unknown depths, crags, tectonic shelf plates rising and/or sinking, telephone pole guy-wires, unfinished jackhammer deconstruction, piles of rubble, iron bars rising out of the concrete, dog shit, canyons, fissures, hills, valleys – our ex-pat friend Ranger says if you’re walking along and want to look at something, stop and then look, otherwise you just might be seeing sidewalk in more detail than desired.

due to the oaxacan water shortage, the rule here is don’t flush the toilet unless you have to. our first flush of the day, the rotten egg smell of sulfur blurp plops up through the toilet water and fills the bathroom with a horrible gagging stench. i’ve learned to open the window, flush, and dash out, closing the door behind me. sulfur symbolizes hell, so maybe we’re closer to hell here. told that to lady, and she said “no, we’re closer to heaven.

sometimes it’s heaven, sometimes it’s hell, and sometimes we don’t even know.

foto by smith


Limited Internet Accesssssss

Friday, December 21st, 2007

Hey friends,

Just wanna let you know I’ve had difficulty keeping up with email and blogs lately because we’ve had haphazard internet access. So you won’t see as much interaction from me lately…





Thursday, December 20th, 2007

Oaxaca portal (photo by Lady)

“In the future, our little biosphere will be like a hamster ball,” I tell Smith. “It will have recliners, it will purify water. We can go places in it, exercise. What else could our hamster ball do?”

“Well, see,” Smith says, “I’m not into the hamster ball. I’m into the environmental suit. The suit you *use*, the ball *encases* you. I don’t want to be *inside*.”

“So it’s kinda like a philosophy of packaging?”

“And usage. There’s a bumper sticker for you: ‘Beware loose usage.’

“That sounds very enigmatic.”

“We begin in enigma, end in ambiguity.”

* * *

“Are you light handed or dark handed?”

Smith says, “Neither. Even handed.”

* * *

Smith says, “I love you.”

I say, “I love you two.”

“I love you two and 1/2.”

“I love you four.”

“I love you four and a quarter.”

“I love you eight.”

“and an eighth…”

“I love you sixteen.”

“and a sixteenth…”

“I love you thirty-two…”

“and a thirty-secondth…”

* * *

Our internet connection’s down. “You wanna go in and nuzzle?” asks Smith.

“So I’m your last resort when the electricity goes out?”

“Sure. Nothing else to do.”

“That’s how babies are made. Electricity goes out, you get babies.”

“So electricity prevents babies, is that what you’re saying?”


bésame mucho

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

roof dog foto by smith

1st night in our new place. so tired we went to bed at 9. it’s 1:30 and i woke and can’t get back to sleep. don’t believe 4 hours sleep sufficient for keeping up with lady k.

listening to the new sounds here in the night in new house new neighborhood new city. analyzing. first thing in new place is to catalog normal sounds so i can tune them out, just listen for abnormal. been doing that a lot lately. this is our 50th place in 18 months. that’s nomad travel.

one sound is roof dogs. that’s where they live here in centro (the central part of town). no lawns, only enclosed courtyards where they don’t want the dogs defecating, so they put them on the roofs. i hear 6 having conversations right now over the rooftops (mostly 2 story, few 3). large big and small sharp ones quite near, an interesting aggressive couplet at the edge of my hearing.

we have internet. comes on when our landlord turns on his computer sometime in the afternoon after he gets home from work. tonight it went off at 8. so we get maybe 6 hours of connection a day. we find we feel incomplete without access, like a viable piece of us has been amputated. we be addicted, and that’s not good.

it’s hat hot here. either fry brain or wear straw. got me kinda cowboy kinda big game hunter hat. as we go out the door, lady says “Hat kiss” and we tilt our heads sideways to miss brims.

went to an xmas festival. largest collection i’ve seen of merry folk, food, trinkets, music, all spread out up and down the church steps and covered in tarps which held the fabulous food smells in. excellent street food – delicioso. so many voices, bells, carnival ride blips and bleeps, flashing lights, fireworks, cooking smells, children running laughing that i felt like i was in the midst of a firecracker explosion on lsd. i’ve never seen life lived so fully as here. even the poorest laugh. while watching an elderly lady cook empanadas and mamelas on large curved ceramic plates over charcoal pots the way they’ve cooked them for thousands of years, my time travel vision was shattered when she reached into her pocket to answer her cell fone.

after 14 months travel in eurpope and morocco, we told folk back home we’ve never anywhere seen anything the equal of the west side market. well, we gotta take that back. went to the smaller main market here and it wipes out the west side market by exponential factors.

most popular car here is the volkswagon bug – a lot of the old kind, a few of the new. and sitting in the square, vendors walk by with baskets of cooked grasshopper. car bugs and baskets of bugs beloved by all. i’m going to try the grasshoppers. be better than the psychologically disgusting blood sausage i ate in zagreb, croatia.

seen kumquat trees, poinsettia bushes, tangerine trees, patchouli trees. this is a rich land, but it’s been suffering a water shortage past 50 years. water’s delivered sporadically, and it depends on how many rich live in your neighborhood how often you get served. rich and poor live side by side in the inner town.

everywhere we go we hear happy bouncy upbeat mexican music. but if you translate the lyrics, the words tell the saddest stories you’ll ever hear. this happy-sad dichotomy fits the rich-poor lightskin-darkskin disparate reality here.

in our bathroom, i pointed to our toilet which has no toilet seat and in a deep sonorous voice said to lady “and here’s your toilet – welcome to oaxaca world.” she burst into hilarious laughter… more than the joke deserved, perhaps fueled by oaxacan weed. after meeting a few ex-pats down here, i find i do have “a people” after all – i’m part of the tribe of old smokers. not bad going from moroccan hash in morocco to oaxacan grass in oaxaca. back in the late 1960s there were 3 special marijuanas – panama red, acapulco gold, and oaxacan. of course the king weed of all time was thai stick, and it’s been 30 years since i’ve seen such.

asked lady what she was feeling, she said “It’s like we walked into a book.” been doing so much getting done to get here and now stuff, i haven’t had sunk in time to appreciate we’re way south of the border in mexican ways. i’m on a marvelous journey with magic lady.

rich creative soup here. be interesting times.

portrait of smith foto by smith


hawking oaxaca – 10 town shots, episode 1

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

we move to our apartment today.
not much time, so here’s 10 fotos between this place and ours.

fotos of oaxaca – by smith


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