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Archive for March, 2008

dark side of paradise

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

Oaxacan graffiti – foto by smith

the dark side of paradise – too much smoke, too much coffee, too little exercise, too much blogging, too much new and old body pain. things to ponder. use this straight time to unkink my mind. got a handle on much of my life, time to get ahold of the rest. see what happens. as usual, it’ll be a battle of weakness versus will – and i’ve vast reservoirs of both.

as Billie Holiday sang in between the opiates,

For there’s a change in the weather
There’s a change in the sea
So from now on there’ll be a change in me
My walk will be different, my talk and my name
Nothin about me is going to be the same
I’m goin to change my way of livin
If that ain’t enough
Then I’ll change the way that I strut my stuff
Cause nobody wants you when you’re old and gray
There’ll be some changes made today
There’ll be some changes made

this is old & gray reporting from the sunny side of the dark behind the mirror.

Oaxacan yard gate – foto by smith



Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

Also he’ll be interviewed on WCPN’s Around Noon.

Here’s a poem o his I published in the City Zine:


“Don’t panic,” they said,
remain cool like your Krishna,
meditate maybe like Buddha,
uttering ’Om Mani Padme,’ jewel in the lotus,
or lie down and relax
like Vishnu on the python bed
to float on the ocean’s currents,
buoyant on the invisible thread
of your breath in slow motion…

Millions of cats prowled around me.
Smoke from shared sex
and hashish joints stung my eyes.
Unsettling tongue
of an awkward fire fed my stomach.
I skidded queasily towards
towards the formidable edge,
unknown ominous frontiers of human life…

They laughed a secret laugh
behind my back – “Isn’t it crazy that
this man from Kathmandu should get stoned
from a piece of space cake in Amsterdam?”

“Don’t be serious, laugh,
celebrate the flame of life!” a woman’s voice said.
“Hold my hand; I can imagine
you are alone on this trail.
I’v been there once,” she whispered.
Her tongue curled like a dry leaf in my ear
and crackled “How much did you take,
just a piece? I took thirty-eight grams once,
It can be crazy if you don’t know it’s coming.
Just don’t worry too much.
Don’t lose your control over things.
You can kiss me if you like,
You can pat my back,
tickle my belly or stroke my breasts
for a while, if it comforts you.
Sometimes it can be heavenly,
this licking the rim of the forbidden frontiers of human life.”

“That’s what he wants, that’s exactly
what he’s looking for,” a voice leered far off.
“But I have to go ultimately,
I’ve a man waiting at home for me.”

“Maybe read a poem of yours,”
someone said. My heart raced wild
and I heard some girls gossip in the next room—
What if he gets sick in Europe?
Don’t we get sick in Asia?
“Just take it easy,” another voice echoed
“You won’t go psychotic. Remember one thing,
whatever happens, you can always make a comeback.”
Faces of my dear ones veered past my face.
I felt delicate thread of my life
slipping through my fingers
“Hey man, it’s fine. Don’t worry too much.”
My host shouted. “Drink lots of water.”
“Drink black tea or coffee,” a guest suggested.
“Or take lots of orange juice.”
“Maybe sing your favorite song,” a woman said.
“Or recite one of your Hindu mantras.”
“Maybe stick your finger into your throat,”
another voice came sheepishly, “and throw up.
You probably haven’t digested everything yet.”

Questions came like wind slaps.
“Can you tell me what they call boredom
in your mother tongue? Do you remember
your email account and password?
Discuss your children, if you have any.
Shall I bring my little daughter before you?
Maybe you’d feel better then,
seeing her brilliant eyes.”

I imagined a child’s face and clung to it,
like a penitent would hold onto
a sacred cow’s tail in his afterlife,
and slept on it, all through the river of blood…

Hours passed by
and then I heard someone say—
“What if he had freaked out?
What if Death had stalked our house tonight?”

Hearing these words, I woke up
knowing I’d come back, stepped on
the familiar shores of life
where Death’s feared, a distant distrustful thing.
My drowse burst like a glacier that cracks
from rumble of a seed of fire
that explodes somewhere in earth’s deep sleep.

Yuyutsu RD Sharma

Got this info from the Mac’s Backs website:

Thursday, March 27th at 7 p.m.


Nepalese poet Yuyutsu R.D. Sharma is a widely traveled poet and translator who has read his work at the Poetry Cafe in London, the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry in Belfast, the Gunter Grass Housethe Nehru Centre in London and many other venues.

Yuyutsu Sharma has published seven poetry collections, including Annapurna Poems (Nirala, 2007) and Way to Everest: A Photographic and Poetic Journey to the Foot of Everest (Epsilonmedia, Germany, 2006). He has also translated several collections of Nepali poetry.

He currently edits the European journal Pratik: A Magazine of Contemporary Writing. His work can also be found at edited by Kathy Ireland Smith.

Leonard Trawick is one of Northeast Ohio’s preeminent poets and teachers. He taught at Cleveland State for 30 years and as professor emeritus is still active at CSU. He has edited over 120 books for the Cleveland State Poetry Center Series.

Leonard Trawick’s poetry has appeared in over 40 magazines and anthologies. Beastmorfs, a collection of concrete and visual poems was published by CSU in 1994 and he has also written libretto for three operas.


lady photos

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008





3 days undazed

Friday, March 21st, 2008

graffiti – foto by smith
we’re going up-mountain tomorrow to pick coffee for a couple days. last visit, our hosts Tomas & Elvira said since we were poets, we needed to write a poem about coffee. i did. this is the first time i’ve written a poem on assignment since i went back to college in 1971. a gringo friend translated it into Spanish, and i interloped our verses – does this make me an international poet?

Owed to Coffee
Deudo al cafe

Standing on Coffee
Mountain, the vanilla vine
dances, beckons me.

Estando de pie en montana de
cafe, vina de vainilla
baila y me llama.

Coffee cherries red
against blue sky await
caffeine morning rush.

Cerezas rojas de cafe
destacando un cielo azul esperan
embestida temprana de cafeina.

This liquid dark way
hot strong coiled energy
sleeping in my cup.

Este liquido oscuro muy
caliente, fuerte energia enrollada
durmiendo en mi taza.

The kiss of coffee
on my stiff lips still asleep
bursts joy and new sun.

El beso de cafe
en mis labios rigidos aun dormidos
estalla alegria y nuevo sol.

Two eyes sleepy, thin
Two hands seeking warmth, sun, source
Coffee to rescue

Dos ojos sonolientos, delgados
dos manos buscando calor, sol, fuente,
cafe rescata.

Dawn dark but coffee
black swirl in bottomless cup
brings me inner light

Amanecer oscuro pero cafe
remolino negro en taza sin fondo
me trae una luz interior.

– Spanish translation by Sharon

our mountain journey will give me three days unstoned, which will be a stone unto itself. i can use the straight time off.

neighborhood turkey – foto by smith


mango shadow fate mate

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

Lady K half of Green Panda Press book – sculpture & foto by smith
wrote this to Lady K two months into our relationship (november 2005).

A Simple Machine

No mangos from the shadow
No ghostings from the closed
But kisses for your shoulder
I certainly do enclose

I dance about your shadow
Re-hang in velvet drape
Your renovated altar
Your greatness to relate

From former fog I scurry
To your two as one
What gestates in ambiguity
Becomes footnote to bronze

and now 28 months later, here we are living in the land of mango in very little shadow.

the fotos of the two poetry books are the front and back of one single book published by Bree of Green Panda Press. one side is poems by Lady K. turn it over and the backside is poetry by Charles Potts of Walla Walla Washington. Bree used my art as covers for both. i find this prophetic because Bree put Lady and i together artistically a year before we became lovers. even more prophetic, in a later Green Panda Press anthology, she put Lady and i and a 3rd poet who was one of Lady’s lovers at the time we took up all on the same page. so Lady and i were together at least twice before we were together.

it’s fate mate.

Charles Potts half of Green Panda Press book – art work & foto by smith



Thursday, March 20th, 2008

Exxon Spawn by Lady K (foto by Smith)

Rock-a-bye baby
in the tree top
when the wind blows
the cradle will rock
when the bough breaks
the cradle will fall
down will come baby…
and all

I’m calling out the monsters. Let’s name spades spades.

Monsters are not green or purple. Monsters have skin-colored skin: beige, ruddy, brown, olive, gold.

There are monsters of privilege and compartmentalized investment opportunities. These monsters live in gated communities or small islands. They have good health care–what, don’t you?–and perfect teeth & they only eat organic kibble. They wash and recycle their zip lock baggies. The drying rack’s shored up on an air conditioned counter next to shade grown coffee bag flown a thousand miles from the grind of Reality.

The monsters of privilege are well educated. These monsters have good muscle tone. These monsters make small sacrifices & mouth holistic living. These monsters practice feng shui. These monsters are really a-scared of you & me.

And there are the monsters of assured ignorance & monsters of opportunity, the serial killing mercenaries memorialized with state holidays & veterans pensions.

(venerated family members)
(sacred cow monsters)

There are monsters of convenience. They drive their SUVs down the road past peak oil & Exxon-Mobile ill. Set mind cruise speed. Prozac heart at McEase. (Material disease ain’t symptom free.)

These fuel eating monsters believe the corn crop, the sugar crop, corporate science sanctions all this pleasure whilst the lungs of the planet–burn furever & evermore. Unpaid slavery labors US Grade A corn fed leisure. Ain’t no clean green for these mad cows.

And there are monsters like you & me, creeps who eat the beef of seven planets without much grief, common thiefs of the brief.

Someone smarter than us will make it all better, alright? Good night, sleep tight, we bite. Monsters have appetites like black holes.

– Lady K

Exxon Spawn by Lady K (foto by Smith)


the dogs of dead end streets

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

graffiti – foto by smith

~ ~ ~

brain dead. limbic system shut down. have no mind, no thoughts, no blog, so i’ll use notes from Lady K’s notebook . . .

~ ~ ~

Walleye Fishing

When your eye gets walloped
by the wall.

– Lady K

~ ~ ~

maybe there are
stone thoughts,

but stones don’t talk

(so we’ll never know)

– Lady K

~ ~ ~

the dogs of dead end streets, in the country of the blind – Lady K

~ ~ ~

i’m going to put my imaginary finger in your imaginary hole while we recite imaginary numbers.

~ ~ ~

you reap what you sow, you sew what you rip.

~ ~ ~

artists are canaries of property values. in both cases, the canary ends up dead. – Lady K

~ ~ ~

U.S. newspapers in 1934 editorialized: “Marihuana influences Negroes to look at white people in the eye, step on white men’s shadows and look at a white woman twice.” – internet

~ ~ ~

Hugs feel good, but hugs can lead to Huggies diapers. Hugs may cause babies.

~ ~ ~

you have 2 live 2 learn. – Lady K

~ ~ ~

that your honeycomb? no, my pussy pot. – we

~ ~ ~

the 3 of us – foto by smith


madonna of the burning tires

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

tee-shirt front – “Protectors of the Virgin Saint of the Barricades” – foto by smith

bought a tee-shirt from the striking teachers. the front shows the Madonna of the Burning Tire Barricades wearing a gas mask, the back says Resistance in Oaxaca. every time i wear it, i worry about pissing off the soldiers, cops, police, guards, government thugs walking around with machine guns and serene expressions on their faces. it’s getting hot here physically (and politically) and the cops wear black which makes them even hotter. i’ve seen more machine guns down here in 3 months than i’ve seen anywhere outside a bad Rambo movie.

i wear the tee-shirt anyway, but worry when i do. we gringos are supposed to stay out of politics down here. but on the other hand, gringos can pretty much get away with anything because we’re tourist sources of money. one final bit of thought concerns our request for a year visa – i shouldn’t be biting the hand i’m asking to house me. and our landlords are both teachers – i wouldn’t want to impact them negatively. weird living in a place of such revolutionary turmoil that just wearing a well-designed a tee-shirt entails these kinds of thoughts.

tee-shirt back – “Resistance in Oaxaca” – foto by smith

we’ve seen a lot of machine guns past 2 years – in airports in London, U.S., and Mexico City, on the road between Marrakech and Essaouira, and here every day we go to the town center. we’re living in textbook times, down and dirty in the fine print.

men with machine guns – foto by smith

this weekend we’re heading back up the mountain to pick coffee for a couple days. i thought the indigenous Zapotec couple had invited us just for the experience, since we’re so slow at picking, but it turns out they need all the help they can get. i’ve mixed feelings about this. it will be our second time, and second times seldom carry the magic of the first. i don’t mind the 5 hour bus trip up down and around the mountain to go only 31 miles north north east, and i don’t mind the work and exhaustion – but i do mind the bugs. little tiny black gnat-like flies that land on top of blood vessels and chomp. can’t believe such little critters can hurt so much. must have had 30 bites which took weeks to heal – and we used bug repellent. guess we’ll be using a lot more this time. the bugs especially like the elbows. had something bite my leg – i suspect spider – that turned the flesh around the bite black.

anyway i won’t have internet access for three days, so that’ll be a plus . . . give you all a blog vacation.

the mountains north of town we’re heading up into – foto by smith


smith vs the lizard police #3 (comic)

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

this is part 3. click here to go to part 1.


smith vs. the lizard police #2 (comic)

Monday, March 17th, 2008

this is part two. click here to read part one.


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