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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 )

my constant silver lining (coffee picking thots & fotos)

boy moon fly – weathered child’s collage in indigenous village

We just came back from two days in the mountains picking coffee with an indigenous family. I’d never seen a coffee tree and suddenly I found myself in their midst. And vanilla vines, which grow on coffee trees. And many other wundruss food plants and trees. Horses and burros. People dressed in traditional clothes and the smell of wood and cobblestone streets or mud streets loaded with piles of transportation animal dung. Hawks that congregate on a tall dead tree at twilight, stark black hulks against blue mountain and fading sky. At night, all the stars. When I got up in the middle of the night to take a shit, I saw the big dipper from the toilet window. From my compromised animal position I could contemplate the cosmos.

The roosters crow at 4:30. At dawn I stared out the bathroom window to banana trees, more coffee trees growing down the side of the mountain. A red dirt path, and two workers hiking up it already and this is dawn, an hour after the roosters.

stone and surface for grinding corn and other kitchen ware

Our hosts hold their bodies to rake the coffee cherries off the branch and hit the jackpot basket hanging from their chests ching ching ching efficient not a bounce from brow to ground.

Later in the day Elvira and I work together, further from Smith and Tomas. She’s a head shorter than I am, but she bends strong trees down so I can grab them and pick them. I pick them, she picks others, and she picks my brain, too.

“How are you and Smith together? Are you happy?”

“Very happy.”

“How long do you want to live here?”

“At least a year. Smith says longer.”

“Do you have a house in Ohio?”

“No. We don’t have a home.”

cat at the traditional oven

“Did you stay with your mama?”

“No. I had an apartment, and then I moved in with Smith.”

“Did you study poetry?”

“No. I worked with computers. I studied engineering.”

“Did Smith study poetry?”

“No. English and philosophy.”

“Oh, he’s a philosopher?”


“Do you share the same philosophy?”

“Yes. We believe life is most important. That we need to make happiness now.”

“Do you work now?”

“Sort of. We hope we’ll make money later with the book we’re writing. And we do art too.”


Walking back home, Elvira asks me, “Is this your art?”

“Being here?”


“Sure. Smith says all of life can be art.”

We watch Smith disappear up the road. He carries a bag on his back, secured to his head with a strap.

Elvira asks, “How many pesos kilos do you have free?”

“What?” I have no idea what she’s asking. Maybe she wants to know how much money I have.

“You see this?” She points to my purse. “How many kilos is this?”

“Probably two.”

“How many pesos do you have free?” and she gestures at my body.

“I’m guessing less than 75.”

“75! Wow.”

“Well, I don’t know. I usually use another method of measurement, not kilos. We use pounds. There are two pounds to a kilo.”

I think about how little I eat compared to Tomas and Elvira. They eat probably twice as much, but they also work three times as much. They’re small people.

modern art – child’s drawing in indigenous village, subjected to weather on outside wall

I got bug bit. Wrote our friend Mad Max, “Fun work, but twenty of the little fvckers got me.”

He wrote back: “Mosquito bites are not good. Tell me more about this village. Is it up in the mountains or down in the more jungley part? If it’s where I think it is, up in the mountains, it’s O.K. but if you go down into the the more humid and jungle like parts you need to see a Doctor and get some prophylactic malaria shots before you hang out in that climate.”

Tropical diseases could be some kind of haute couture fad. I imagine Angelina Jolie in khaki, limp and alluring in a sweaty tropical fever under gauzy mosquito net. Or we could set up diarrhea clinics for fat celebrities so they could lose all that extra weight – very quickly. Serve them smoothies with an extra special ingredient, bacteria a la mode.

art made by children

When what you read becomes real, that’s adventure. That’s a traveling life. This past couple days experience has fertilized my brain. I was worrying that I don’t think as much, or as deeply as I used to. I worried that it’s because I’m smoking too much grass, or I’m not in the real working world any longer so my brain has slackened, or that it’s because I no longer have solitude because Smith is my constant companion, my constant silver lining. Though I’d always yearned for a companion like Smith, I used to have cathedrals of thought that I’d built in my fortress of solitude. I had ornate recursion, mania, obsession, brainstorms, vistas. Rabid focus on the future.

Now I have the eternal Now, a big eyeball. An entirely different perspective. A me who I’m surprised to be. And I have an articulateness, a maturity. I remember the old cathedrals were really labyrinths of madness. I have a thinning of think, but it’s a refinement.

“Malaria” – my latest art piece

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