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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,
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1968

Calvert Street, Baltimore, 1968

In the old daze, you had to get up before dawn, crawl through forty foot of snow down to the field you plowed with your fingernails in between pulling the grizzly off Uncle Mom and killing your Republican quota of three Injuns a day. Life was an adventure back then. Of course, there was no TV, so tweren’t nothing to do no how. Now, life is boring. Incredibly boring. You live in a little box just like the boxettes next door. You wear the same suit or jeans, go to mundane jobs in unimportant buildings and push little pieces of paper or people around. The thrills come when you stab someone in the back, fuck around on your spouse, get an actual key to the shithouse, or a gold watch for being unadventurous for forty years.
    Now drop some LSD and snort some coke and smoke some grass and eat some Valium and drink some booze and I swear just getting out of your chair and across the room becomes an incredible adventure with the outcome unknowable. In fact, I defy you to eat some belladonna and walk anywhere. Do enough drugs or booze, and TV sitcoms become witty. Drink more, and your neighbors and friends become less boring through the blur. Become catatonic, you might even be able to see life from Ronald Reagan’s viewpoint.
    When I got kicked out of the Naval Academy for smoking grass, I swore there were two things I’d never do: shoot up or drop LSD, because needles led to heroin addiction, and I was too crazy to do LSD. Two weeks later, I’d done both.
    January 1, 1968, I was in my 4th year of wanting to try marijuana because of reading On the Road. By the second week of January, I was stoned. Three weeks later I was kicked out of the Academy and the Navy. By my second week as a civilian, I was dropping LSD and shooting speed. Did uppers, downers, hashish, psilocybin, mescaline, snorted glue, popped tranquilizers, ate belladonna, did morphine, shot heroin, ate THC. Pills everywhere. It was a massive year of drugs and interesting people.
    I moved to Baltimore in February. My parents called me and begged me to come home to help with the auction they were running at the time. It tore at me, but I said no. So they put my eleven year old brother on the phone, and he cried for me to come home. It tore more, but I still said no.
    By chance, I’d moved into a drug building on Calvert Street. It was an interesting building. As I moved in, John the homosexual ran up and down the stairs wearing a long white diaphanous nightgown, crying out in falsetto, “Ooo, middies, middies.”
    Old man Crawford lived on the top floor. His kick was to come down while we were tripping, pound on the door and yell, “Open up! Police!”
    I moved in with Mackeral, one of my fellow ex-Midshipmen. We painted each wall of the living room a different, darker shade of green. The bedroom was painted entirely black: walls, floor, ceiling, doors, windows. The bathroom was a riot of colors splashed on during an LSD trip. The kitchen was dignified shades of grey with made-up Japanese characters painted in black on the wall. There was a thin wall which faced the door to the hallway. We put a poster of Baba on the wall, painted the wall and poster black right up to Baba. It was one where the eyes were both opened and closed, depending how you looked. Often tripping in the hall I’d look back and see the poster open its eyes and watch me through the black.
    There was a hippy on the first floor going to art school. He sold blood plasma every week for fifteen dollars to survive. One of his art class sculpture projects was three smashed vegetable cans, hooked together, painted black. He gave it to me after he got his grade.
    I pulled a big doll head off. It had blond curls. I took a black magic marker, put thick black circles around her eyes. Wrote the word WHORE across her forehead, doused her with lighter fluid, and set her on fire. The black circles on her eyes ran down, like she was crying. Gave her a haunted look. WHORE ran a little bit, but you could still read it. Most of the hair was gone and blistered. What was left blackened. There was a blackish gray tinge about the face. I glued the head on top of the black tin can sculpture. It affected everybody who saw it, even me. My future wife asked me to put it in the other room out of sight because it made everybody creepy.

    – Excerpt from Criminal by Smith and Lady

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