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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 January, 2008

sky temples & tombs

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

skull from Monte Alban tomb – foto by smith

we visited Monte Alban, a temple / burial site another 1,200 feet up the mountains – one of its names means “At the Foot of the Sky”, another translates as “Sacred Mountain”. after seeing it, i believe both.

Monte Alban, looking south – foto by smith

it is a large place – area started off 4,000 years ago with the Olmec people. in 500 B.C. the Zapotecs who had taken over began Monte Alban. they leveled the top of a 1,600 meter high mountain that intersects and divides three valleys, built Monte Alban with a maze of subterranean passage ways, rooms, drainage and water storage systems.

Monte Alban, looking south – foto by smith

it was the first urban city in mesoamerica, at one time hosting 35,000 people. had a 1,500 year run. from 500 B.C. to 1,000 A.D. when it was abandoned – they’re not sure why.

Monte Alban, looking southwest – foto by smith

i was forewarned there would be no wildlife or birds at the site – if seen, they would be spirit guides. saw a dozen swift-like birds, 2 large hawks, and fairly fresh offering of dog doo. perhaps it was sacred shit.

Monte Alban, looking south from north end – foto by smith

to get there, we crammed 6 people in a 4-person cab and took off up the mountain. road triple-s curves. lady’s thigh was against the stick shift, so there was a little driver lady leg dance every time he shifted. the dash up the hill was a carnival ride. exhilarating to look back down the valley as we caromed around the cornering mountain road.

Monte Alban, looking north – foto by smith

find my mind keeps slipping back to the grandeur of the temples, rather like a special film that insists on being reexamined.

Monte Alban, one of the oldest Olmec carved “dancers” – foto by smith

we’ve been in a lot of old places along the way. there was a 2,000 year old roman colesium downtown in the 3,000 year old city of pula croatia . . . the thousand year old walled city of marrakech . . . the thousand year old castle of krakow and its 750 year old market square. . . the 5,000 year old stone circle in england . . . the antiquity of london, paris, beziers, venice – they seem to offer deeper, broader energies to the soul, the creative spirit.

Monte Alban skeleton recovered from one of the tombs – foto by smith


Street Mysteries (fotos)

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

Closer up

Se Vende $ Entero o Por Piezas

Los Objectos Estan Mas Cerca De Lo Que Aparentan



red orange dog

bug bug


i’m for falling

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

wall graffiti – foto by smith

I’m For Falling

Whining want weeps
Its winning way
From fool tool TV
Via too much tit
And botoxed brain
Showing shallow twits
In xeroxed pain
Damn little give
Whole lotta take
Turning from sun
To burning lake

I’m for falling
Falling down
Falling through air
Calling cloud
Free from err
Free from want
From wanting more
Free of lust
Of money whore
Free to trust
The ever more

foto by smith


it ain’t the meat

Monday, January 21st, 2008

sex shop graphic – foto by smith

i’ve been collecting subject lines from the endless spam emails i get telling me how small my penis is. the interest of these strangers in the state of my genitalia seems a wee bit unseemly to me, perhaps even seedy, sorry, shady, slick and sick.

99% of spam emails pertain to penis size, fake rolexes, bad stock tips, instant riches, effortless weight loss, illegal pharmaceuticals, gambling, getting laid, porn, phishing – all symptoms of folk’s weaker, darker side . . . the greedy feeding on the needy.

these samples are sordid – but not without humor, and the odd implication:

Beat her womb with your new big rod, so that she knew who wears the pants!
Your baby-maker needs to be bigger in order to perform its functions well
How BIG can I get?
Bigger then Its better
Have you ever felt a kiss of a womb? With your new big rod you’ll feel it!
Conquer your uncertainty about your male power!
12 Inches ain’t so bad
True masculinity is impossible without a substantial volume of male meat
3 extra on your willy ?
You’ll be No.1 in her heart, when you increase you dic’k
As your dic’k gets larger, no woman will say “no”
Length and thickness will give you more power
Hottest sluts admit, that larger dicks taste much better…
Beat her womb with your giant
There are no losers among the possessors of long dic’ks
Step on the road leading to success in bed
In a few months you will be a new, more s’e_xual man
get her into bed today
Nothing will make you more self-confident, than a bigger dic’k!
Begin a campaign against your s’e_xual imperfection!
Why be an average guy any longer
The greatest gift for your woman will be your new big shaft!
How to feed your trouser snake to boost its growth?
Add some more male meat to your package!

whatever happened to that old blues number, It Ain’t The Meat, It’s The Motion?

or my own version – it ain’t the meat, it’s the emotion.

sex shop graphici – foto by smith


bird absurd

Sunday, January 20th, 2008

wall graffiti – foto by smith

lady says, “I hear a bird.” i say “absurd.” she opens the bedroom door and yelps as a pigeon circles the room, then flies out the bathroom window. her yelp and the flying something weird wing noises startle the heck out of me.

~ ~ ~

can pears wear pair pear panties to prevent bare pears? why do we say a “pair” of panties when it is a single item? or a pair of pants? a pair is two, you can’t pair one with itself. and why scissors with the plural “s” on the end when there’s but a single scissors? is one scissors composed of two scissor?

this came up from thinking how difficult learning spanish is for me – it’s all memorization, repetition, and lists of exceptions. but then i start thinking about english and can’t imagine how anyone would go about learning its endless weirdnesses. lady’s more facile at this – she loves learning, spanish is similar to the french she has, and she’s an excellent student with honed study habits. me, it’s been 35 years since i had to study, and my brain is de-wired… too much free radical cannabis-ization re-association past 40 years. but bit by bit i will learn. “never give up, never surrender” says the captain kirk character in “galaxy quest.”

~ ~ ~

i want a get out of jail flee card. when the thought police come, i’ll hand them my get out of jail flee card and run away while they’re trying to figure it out. it’s best to run away before they get you in the car, downtown, or inside their buildings.

~ ~ ~

told lady we’ll name our first son quark – quark smith. she asks, “why.” so if he goes into the military and rises up the ranks, he can become captain quark. “we can’t have kids – you had yourself fixed when i was 4.”

~ ~ ~

i take a cookie. she says, “that’s not good for you. that’s not even real food – it’s manufactured.” i say it’s real food, it’s an orange cookie. “no honey, it’s a biscuit of death,” she adds, “i don’t drink their kool-aid, and i don’t eat their biscuits.”

~ ~ ~

“we have met the enemy, and he is us.” pogo via walt kelly, 1970.

walll graffiti – foto by smith



Saturday, January 19th, 2008

wall stencil political graffiti – foto by smith


wing word round
in classic clown
till dry discourse
rues rule.
Courts gesture
of course.
Lambs lame lions
and liars lie down
in one main line
of fool.

wall stencil political graffiti – foto by smith



Saturday, January 19th, 2008

Lady, Summer 2006

“You are lucky. You know that?”

I know I’m lucky to got YOU in my life. I was used to seeing you around the poetry readings, especially Cafe Noir, out back, et cetera. You were always with the Silent One. Michael. He didn’t speak much.

But one time when you weren’t with him, you mentioned something about my art. I told you you could come over and look at the art. And that was outside, when Cafe Noir was still open. I have no idea when that was. Because you came over after Mom died.

I know I saw you a couple times at the 25th Street Book Store. And I know you were part of the Norman Rockwell Lawn Poets’ reading at Mom’s closing. Cuz I was on the ground and I took a picture of you over my right shoulder. You had a very serious, stern, unhappy look on your face.

Bulemic, unhappy, heavier Lady, Spring, 2005

“I think on that day I vomited in the basement of the gallery.”

Oh, that’s nice to know. You coulda kept little baggies of it and we could have sold them online to those kinda folk.

Anyway, let’s see. Oh, I took *extra* notice of you when you asked to publish my “Dear Occupants” poem in the City.

“Aha. So it worked!”

I figured you showed good taste. Oh, yeah, that’s always good bait.

Somehow through the emails you took me up on my offer to see the art, to see the studio. And I said, ‘Fine.’ And you said, basically, “What food do you like? I’ll come over and cook things.”

I essentially said, “Don’t bother cooking. Food doesn’t matter.”

And you essentially said, “Fine. I’m not coming over.”

So I wrote back, “That’s a shame.”

And then, you emailed asking for a ride down to the Strongsville Borders Reading, where I read a condensed version of the Lab Rat / Dead Mom pieces.

It was ArtWalk night, so you came over early. And we walked from Jean Brandt’s gallery to the Raw gallery to Asterisk to Doubting Thomas. Literary Cafe could have been on there. Then we went down to the reading. I drove down to the reading. Had a good one.

Drove you back. And you came in, to visit, and essentially sat down in a wall of marijuana smoke.


We kept smoking, kept talking, and after a while I realized that if I didn’t want things to get complicated, I was just going to have to wait you out.

“And things got very complicated.”

After that, you pretty much covered it in what you wrote. No sense doing it again. You did it very well. Your “off with the panties” piece.


Summer 2006


I left my husband in 2 oh oh 2 for poetry. A month later, I was laid off and a firefighter poet moved in with me. I never got back into an engineering job. I resorted to web development for a couple years at less than half my former salary. In March ‘05, I became suicidal from the pointlessness of what I was doing at the office and the futility of my lukewarm relationship. I decided to try bulimia, hoping that if I got thin enough that someone would find me attractive and rescue me or that I’d die bent over a toilet, heart attack from electrolyte imbalance. The firefighter got sick of my sickness, dumped me in June ‘05.

I met Smith at the start of my activities in the poetry community. He had a croaking whisper of a voice. He often came to readings smelling like grass. I was jealous of his irreverent poetry, the compelling stories from his past, his outlaw art and his 20 year ArtCrimes publication. I read and re-read the last issue of ArtCrimes, thought it the epitomy of cool. Though jealous of his edge, it didn’t keep me from thinking highly of him, wondering about his life.

I commuted with him to a poetry reading in September 2005. After the reading, we talked past midnight. I asked, “Don’t you want to hold me?” Smith reluctantly agreed, knowing this would complicate things.

We did a full body press. It felt good, right, for both of us. We started hugging, kissing, touching. It’d been at least fifteen years since Smith’d touched a woman. He said, “You can sleep over if you are too stoned to go home.”

I said, “Only if we don’t have sex. I’m involved with several other men.”

So we went to bed in our clothes. I said, “It’s too hot.” I took off my pants, my top and my brassiere.

Smith said, “Oh, no, Lady. Panties go too.”

And that was that. I dumped the other men. Two weeks later, Smith gave me the keys. He said, “It’s not fair for you to wait for me to answer the door.”

And two weeks after that, I moved in.

Smith’s skills as a mainframe programmer were becoming obsolete, and he hated the work. He retired in December 2005. He planned to “fake it” until March 2007, living off his savings until he was eligible for early social security. He convinced me to drop out of the office world, “retire” with him, become his artistic collaborator.

A week after I moved in, we decided to move to Europe. Smith proposed October 16.

Right before retirement, he casually mentioned that he had nodules on his larynx. I freaked out, had him get a biopsy. He was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx. No health insurance.

There were two months of radiation treatments in January and February. At the same time, I was cleaning Smith’s condo and painting and repairing the walls and floor, which were damaged from twenty years of his rough art practices. We’d decided to sell the condo in order to travel, but now we had to sell it because now most of his savings were gone from medical expenses. (I’ve since read that people without insurance pay on average 3 times more than what the treatment costs insurers. This makes me severely angry.)

We were going to get married in January, but couldn’t because I couldn’t dispose of my previous husband. So we married March 18.

During this period we had three art shows, the release of the final issue of ArtCrimes, and bunches of readings… and we created art and wrote about a quarter of his memoir.

I’d never been so happy and sad at the same time. Sad because of the painfulness of dealing with Smith’s illness, and happy because I’d finally found the partner I dreamed of, someone who was a companion, someone with whom I could do art and writing and conversation.

We closed the sale of the condo in June 2006. We had to wait ’til July to see if the radiation treatments worked, getting another biopsy. Regardless, Smith decided we were going to go to Europe whether or not he was cured. As soon as we had the money, we bought our flight tickets to London. In the back of our minds, we weren’t sure they were going to let us leave, that it wasn’t permitted for us to live our dreams. We felt we were escaping.

The July biopsy showed him in remission. August, breathless, we left the country.

We’ve lived together 24/7 since December 2005. Smith’s voice has healed. He sounds like a wise cowboy.

I’ve never been so happy and so sad. I’m happy because I have my road-tested companion, love of my life, and a manuscript… and pictures I hold in my head. My thoughts travel to all the countries we’ve seen and been.

But I’m so, so sad as well. Now that I have someone to care about, my heart has a home in the world. I’m compelled to care about the world to make it a safer place for me and my love. All global terror is personal terror for me, inescapable from my quotidian existence: the political terrorism of our imperialist institutions, the WTO, the IMF, the non-sustainable practice of globalization, our genocide of 1 million Iraqis, our de facto genocide of 100,000 Indian farmers, my recent disillusionment with the Democrats, realizing their complicity in perpetrating mass corporate and political crime. What is happening to our home, the world?

Lady Now


la cucaracha

Friday, January 18th, 2008

wall graffiti – foto by smith

the cleveland poetry scene has been arguing about nick names for venues, so lady posted this on their bulletin board:

The *art* in vice is especially nice.
I get my slice in the paradise of life.
Everyone has an art.
Me, I have an Arthur.


We be diseased if we please;
let the plot be the foil.

not sure what it means, but it is ambiguously enigmatic, and i’ve always liked that in a woman.

~ ~ ~

i was curious about the cockroach song La Cucaracha, so i googled it:

La cucaracha, la cucaracha
Ya no puede caminar
Porque no tiene, porque le falta
Marijuana para fumar

The cockroach, the cockroach
Can’t walk anymore
Because it doesn’t have, because it’s lacking
Marijuana to smoke.

according to wikipedia, “The word can refer to the insect. It can also be used to refer to a person derogatorily by association with a cockroach. It has been used as an underworld slang term for marijuana, or a marijuana cigarette stub (whence the American slang term “roach” with the same meaning), or tobacco adulterated with marijuana, or tobacco adulterated with anything. It has been used as slang for a vehicle or a train car without any wheels.”

wall graffiti – foto by smith


10 walking oaxaca

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

lady k – fotos by smith

sky flags

political graffiti

our neighborhood banana tree

political graffiti

bloodring – do not play with broken glass

political graffiti – cheney’s hand, bush in mouse ears

political graffiti – tormenta republica

painting in the museum of oaxacan painters

drawing in museum of oaxacan painters – fotos by smith


Conceptions of Gringos, Mexicans and Shootouts

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

“So our one new friend said, ‘Thanks for trusting me and letting me into your home.’ That’s odd, don’t you think? I’ve never had someone say *that* to me.”

“I just told him it was our pleasure,” says Smith. “Plus, it’s a reasonable attitude. We’re all strangers. We don’t know him. He doesn’t know us.”

“It justs make me think about some conceptions of Gringos. That we don’t trust anyone.”

“Fact is, you *can’t* trust everyone. You know that. You don’t know which ones you *can* trust, so you have to keep an open eye. After our first meeting in the restaurant, I felt we could trust him. So did you.”

“Well there’s a prejudiced thing out there about Mexicans being lazy. Which isn’t what *I’ve* seen.”

“And one of the cliches is Mexican cars up on four blocks, without any tires. I’ve seen maybe seven as we’ve walked the streets. But how many working cars have we seen?”

“There’s cars don’t work in Cleveland.”

“Anywhere there’s poor, there’s cars don’t work.”

* * *

“Do you want to talk about our other new friend?”

“What about her?”

“Well, she believes the Nancy Davies book is all propaganda. And she told us about the students and the police shooting at the University yesterday. Did you understand that?” (We were talking in Spanish.)

“I guess so. I guess maybe students took five buses and had a shootout with the police.”

“They were protesting over a peso a ride raise. So I said to our friend, ‘I’m amazed at how people are protective of their rights here.’ And she said, ‘They probably weren’t even students. Probably agitators.’ And she told us to be careful if we saw demonstrations or things like that, to go back to our apartment and hide. Anyways, she said Nancy Davies lied about most of the deaths. But I tend to believe Davies would have no reason to do that.”

“Davies said that’s the number of deaths APPO reported.”

“Anyways, I thought our friend had a conservative attitude.”

“Well, she’s invested. She’s lost work and money because of the protesters. Her boss had to close down his business for three months because the loss of customers and tourists. And she gets her news from the government controlled news channel. She’s looking at it a whole different way.”


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