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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 July, 2008


Saturday, July 26th, 2008

altar of art – installation by lady
‘plot to get whitey’ collage by smith


Open mic night on my local microphone…
It’s almost like you’re layin’ track in what you write
on the open mic night on my local microphone.
So we gonna worship at this altar of art shrine?
Or it it just a mark where your car left the road
& didn’t come back…

Most mountains — if there are dangerous curves —
there’s usually a shrine there )
Sometimes they’re really BIG shrines
& there are a lot of Dangerous Curves
& if you go over the Side in your car
you don’t come back–
at least not in this configuration–
Happy Trails to You… the quick silver messenger service sang it…
and I just now heard it now as Happy Acid Trails to You…

Wonder how much our soul they’ve taken
and if soul is like a burnnnnnnnnn……

smith n lady ) ..

     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

     Happy trails to you, until we meet again
     Happy trails to you, keep smilin’ till then
     Happy trails to you, till we meet again…

          Quicksilver Messenger Service, originally by Dale Evans



Friday, July 25th, 2008

e=mc squared collage by Smith

We are selling Smith’s e=mc squared collage in t-shirt or tote bag form at cafepress. Cafepress is expensive, so we’re selling these at cost, without markup. We won’t get any $$ from it. But it’s a cool collage, my favorite of Smith’s paper collages, and I want to make this available to anyone who wants it at cost.
  We purchased several test t-shirts. I do not recommend the colored t-shirts (can’t get rid of that option in the store.) The two toned printing on color t-shirts doesn’t work well, like it isn’t aligned correctly. But the collage is fine on either a white or black shirt because it’s printed with just a single tone. I think it comes out best on white t-shirts.
  You can go to our cafepress store here.



Friday, July 25th, 2008

meta star – foto by lady

“I know what’s important in life,” I tell Smith. “You, and mushrooms.”
   “You know,” he says, “Three days ago it was just me. Now I’m sharing the title.”

~ ~

I’ve eaten all kinds of things out of banana leaves here: tomales, seed paste, chili sauce. I’ve used banana leaves to cook tortillas, transferring the wet tortilla to circular comal, a cook top used over charcoal or gas flame. Tuesday night at 6:45 p.m. I opened a folded banana leaf to pick out a half mass of skinny mushrooms. There were 24 in all. I started with ten of the larger ones, wiping them cleaner with paper towel.
   Smith put our pillows at foot of the bed so we could look at the early evening sky out our half oval window. The view had an asian, terraced look of mountains and a couple village streets. Kinda like a huge terrarium, I thought. I started to discern more variation and color in the gray clouds blanketing the mountain village, and felt calm and happy.
   At 7:30 I still wasn’t tripping, so I opened my banana leaf and ate the rest very slowly, holding the chewed up mushroom paste on my tongue and the roof of my mouth a long time to try to absorb the hallucinogens more directly. My tongue became a little numb, and I couldn’t taste the paste. By 8:07 I’d eaten the last of the mushrooms and I felt euphoric and very friendly towards my banana leaf. Smith tried to tidy up and take the leaf away, but I said, “No, let it stay here for a while. I like it.” And I smoothed it out on the bed between us.
   He lay back down and watched the window with me. I saw the clouds as the underside of a comforter. I held Smith’s hand, and the cloud light silvered our hands and the folds in our clothes, and I felt that the light was from the clouds and was connected to us, especially to our breathing. Our breathing lungs and the clouds were one, part of the same thing. I told Smith, “Light is the eye of God, and you and I are being caressed in so many ways.”
   For an hour past sunset we watched the half oval window. I was immensely aware of the changes of color as the sky turned darker and darker, subtle gradiations from minute to minute. The city lights started turning on, and it looked like the lights were in the trees, or that they were a band of entities, or a star field. As the sky turned darker, the metal window frame kept changing color, very beautiful, almost iridescent. The window lit up in silver gold purple blue brilliance as car lights passed.
   I felt that everything outside the window was personal, connected to us and aware of us as though we were the actors on a set. The water pipes in the hotel became melodious, singing tones for me. I told Smith about the tones. “The aliens are testing us to see which tones we respond to,” he said. “Aliens do that. Sometimes they’ll remove one star from the sky or add one and watch to see what we do, and if I run to tell somebody, they put it back, quick, to make me look stupid.”
   I turned around to watch the candle burning on the dresser in front of the TV, its flame reflected on the TV and on the side of an adjacent water bottle. I thought, the flame is an eye from the other side. The nature of the TV is modern, more modern than looking out the window. I preferred the window, but appreciated the candle as a fellow spirit watching the window with me or as a metaphor for my spirit sheltered in the artificial dwelling of concrete hotel with TV accoutrement. The candle/dresser/TV “set” was visually interesting because of the light, reflections and shadows. Wires stretched from both sides of the set to electrical outlets in the walls. I thought, the wires have their own energy, magic, it’s just being channeled and harvested by man. Electricity seemed a kind of artificial magic, but strong, modern.
   My awareness of the layout and nature of the room changed from time to time, always friendly, but distorted spatially and as though I was looking from someone else’s eyes as a new being in my body. Sometimes my sight seemed to come from a different place, a foot above or below my eyes.
   Then I focused on Smith for a while, lying on the bed next to me. I saw many layers of light on his face. Sometimes it looked alien, sometimes old, always wise and good. The shape of his head changed from the side such that it looked as though he had a folded head behind his neck, kinda like an alien turtle head. Or sometimes his beard appeared to be waving tentacles of light, or his glasses a fundamental part of his face, kinda melted in or welded to his four eyes. Sometimes as he talked it seemed as though the words came from the line in his forehead. He’d blink his eyes and I felt that all his consciousness was behind the eyes, the face just a rock, a terrain, or something residual from the process of life, something excreted, the mind true spirit. Often I saw lines like an antennae or breathing apparatus coming down from the air to his temple, connecting him to all the stuff I was starting to hallucinate, his true face.
   I held him and felt my arms part of his body, or felt that he — who I was watching — was me. Then I kissed him, and as I kissed him I held him to me, and it was as though I scooped up fluid material, or a plane of material, from the soup of the planet and was kissing it through his face. “Thank you for allowing me to kiss Reality through you,” I told the face.
   I looked at his hands, and asked, “Why four fingers?”
   “Nobody’s ever asked about the fingers before,” he said. “It’s always been about the opposable thumb. The thumb’s important, because without it, there’s a whole buncha things we wouldn’t do. Without it, we wouldn’t have transistors. And imagine just trying to untie a knot or unzipping a zipper without a thumb.”
   “You’re a thumbist,” I said.
   “I give my beatnik thumb snap to you.”
   “Imagine if we had EXTRA thumbs,” I said. “we’d be EXTRA intelligent.”
   “Some people are all thumbs. I gotta take aspirin, and roll a joint. I couldn’t roll a joint without thumbs.”
   If I looked at the wall — it was gilt yellow with candlelight — I saw little iridescent ribbons, thousands upon thousands of them. When I closed my eyes, many patterns, like a fractal kaleidescope. Smith was wearing a shirt we’d printed with his art, a collage of a wavy background and zebra woman. The pattern on the shirt hovered above his chest and waved in the air. (You can click here to order this shirt. I recommend ordering black or white t-shirts, because cafepress’s two-color printing on colored backgrounds is a bit off.)
   I looked out the window which by this time was smeared with condensation from our breath. The village lights lush through the smear, and told Smith, “People need to know how velvet everything can be. I like this. I like this a lot. I’m getting a lot out of this.”
   “Lesson of journey: you gotta put stuff in to get shit out. It’s called digestion,” Smith said.
   “This trip is full of metaphor. Everything is full of meaning.”
   “The big 4,” Smith said. “The metaphor. The master answer plan for where we are.”
   There was so much more to this trip than just these words. It was one of the most important experiences of my life, if not the most important. I felt an awesome interconnectedness and a potential for participation in a great spiritual reality. I saw metaphors, constant meaning, in everything. The last shred of my former uber-estranged-engineer-rationality is gone. I was in contact with the big IT. I am so happy that mushrooms are there for me whenever I feel the need to connect to this ultimate reality.
   Coming down, I sat up, put on a sweater. Everything felt as though I was doing it for the first time, pulling my arms through the sweater as though putting on a web. “It feels like I’ve just landed,” I told Smith.
   I decided to eat. We’d bought some strange Mexican junk food, “rebanadas,” hard toast covered in frosting. “I don’t know if this is cosmically acceptable food,” I told Smith, but I ate it anyways. Tasted good, like sugar crack.
   Went to bathroom, looked in mirror and my face was all distorted. I looked like an alien elf. I couldn’t see the “me” in me. The alien elf turned into a thirtyish woman with lots of flaws and smeared eye makeup, messed up greasy spiky hair, ill-fitting nightgown. Grossed out by my menstrual pad. Returned to the bathroom mirror later relieved to find myself attractive. I think I shouldn’t have looked at myself while I was tripping. I am a gauche physical being in contrast to the ultimate, patterned reality.

e = mc squared collage by Smith


wow no wow in huautla 1

Friday, July 25th, 2008

Huautla looking west from hotel roof – foto by smith

weird trip up magic mushroom mountain back down.

eight folk talked of going to huautla to try magic mushrooms. seven said yes. five showed up – a 70 year old male, a male 65, female 62, me 62 and lady 35 (the indians call lady she-who-runs-with-old-farts). our transport was a white van built for nine passengers, with 2 more seats welded in, into which they squeezed 12 of us – plus a live chicken in an open handbag. lady & i ended up squished 4 abreast in the rear seat, which varied from no padding at all to random metal protrusions. ride was $12 US. every day the young driver drives 5 1/2 hours from oaxaca to huautla, unloads, fills the van with people, drives 5 hours back – 7 days a week. i think if everything went right, he could do it in 12 hours, but 14 seems more likely, 16 not unrealistic. those are long days. add in eat and sleep and it don’t leave much. our driver drank a can of red bull and ate a sugar lollipop driving us back – a sugar speed run.

the ride up was up down in around mountain after mountain. after we got high and dry enough, the mountains became covered in cactus forests which gave way to over-abundant green even higher in the cloud forests. huautla is tucked in amongst mountains within mountains, a town of 33,000 flung and strung down mountain at a 45 degree angle. you stand in town and look down at clouds, across through mist at more mountains.

in retrospect, i doubt the wisdom of a group of people going on a spiritual quest together – too many needs, too many egos, too many directions to go with too little give and take. one of the folk who didn’t go was a zapotec shaman. he backed out because he didn’t feel comfortable spiritually with one of our group. unfortunately he was our key to the journey – without him, we were just four gringos and a mexican american. since we lost our guide, we become our own.

next morning, we asked the hotel manager where we could find a curandero* (shaman, healer) to conduct a mushroom ceremony. he offered to take us to one of his relatives. we had to split up because we had to find some feminine napkins, so 3 of us taxied to a store while the other two said they’d taxi to the curandero’s, scout the info, and we’d all meet back at the hotel to evaluate. our taxi decided we were going to the curandero’s house even though lady kept telling him to take us to a store. at the house we finally got him to go where we wanted. got the napkins, then had to fight with the driver again because he wouldn’t take us back to the hotel – took us instead to the markets because he thought we needed to buy stuff – because that’s what gringos do. finally convinced him to take us back by promising we’d maybe come back later and use him if we could.

back at the hotel, our friends return and the woman informs us she’s paid $21 a piece for her and her friend and they’ll be staying at the curandera’s house that night for the ceremony – and oh, it’s a small house and there’s really no room for us. says she didn’t reserve a place for us because she “wasn’t sure what our plans were.” i want to tell her what i think of her, but this being a spiritual journey, i keep my mouth shut – although secretly i’m pleased because i’ve been dreading the thought of tripping with her.

three of us cab into centro and ask a young lady if she knows where we can find a curandero. she says sure, takes us through twisty climbing alleys of market stalls to the main government building in town. the front is painted with portraits of maria sabina (the curandera who turned on the beatles, bob dylan, donovan, timothy leary, albert hoffman in the 1960s) and mushroom fantasies. this is where the curanderos stand on the steps waiting for customers. there’s dozens of stands selling feathers, incense, candles, chicken eggs and other accoutrements of the mushroom ceremony in front of the church next door. it’s too early for the shamans to be out because the ceremonies start after dark, so she takes us through more alleys to a curandero’s house. as children watch tv, a lady explains she can arrange shamans for us but it’ll be $70 each (perhaps because her curandera mother is world famous). we find this too steep, so she says they can sell us each a dose of shrooms for $10 a piece and we can do them ourselves in our hotel rooms. we go for this and a curandero comes out with three folded banana leaf packets of shrooms, says eat a third, wait thirty minutes and if you don’t feel enough, eat more. gives us his phone number in case we have emotional problems during the night.

our friend cabs back to the hotel while lady and i wander the town. i follow lady as she leads us from one terrace of the town down to the next. the town is nothing but terraced flat spots chopped into the mountainside. finally we’re wandering through car-less streets with burros tied up, old wrinkled women washing clothes by hand, chickens, ducks and dogs. we look down the mountain and can see our hotel. lady finds a dirt path heading down and says “let’s take this, it’ll take us where we want to go.” i’m thinking she’s mad, but it’s a long way back up to where we were so agree. path gets steep, muddy, we’re in sandals, tired, but going the right direction. go by a tin shack. a boy runs out after us, asks if we want to buy mushrooms. i laugh because i’m on a side of a mountain on a very steep path i don’t know where it leads and i’ve got our previously purchased shrooms in my bag, mushrooms we found after a good bit of effort and trouble and suddenly this young stranger has run after us trying to sell us the very thing we came to town for. we say no, but now know we should have said yes. but then this was before lady discovered HOW VERY MUCH she likes mushrooms. the path gets wetter, muddier and steeper (red clay sticky slick mud) but eventually crosses a wee stream and comes out on the highway by a small waterfall, almost at the hotel.

back at our hotel, our friend seems kind of sad after the day’s stresses and says he’s going to wait a night until he gets back to oaxaca to take the shrooms in familiar friendly surroundings. lady and i decide to stay an extra day. i tell her we can also wait until oaxaca if she’d feel safer. she says she can’t wait, she’s too curious and wants to KNOW. since this is her first psychedelic trip, i offer to not eat any mushrooms so i can be there for her. i figure this will make her feel safer, and she goes for it.

that’s our first 24 hours in huautla – pronounced WOWt-luh.

* curendero / curendera – A Mexican man / woman who practices healing techniques inherited from the Mayans

Huautla looking east from hotel roof – foto/collage by smith


flesh of the gods

Monday, July 21st, 2008

acid cat, cleveland graffiti – foto by smith

heading out for a 5 hour van ride to Huautla (WOWt-lah) to see if there’s any magic for us on the mountain. if we find teonanacatl (“flesh of the gods”), we will consume & commune. if we consume & commune, we will change. if we change, who will we be?

love the doors of perception.

i’m keeping my enthusiasm damped for this because i’ve learned over 40 years of drug exploration and 62 years of adventure you can never count on anything happening beforehand – we’ve got to get 7 people together to van 5 hours to an unknown city, find a shaman with mushrooms, etc. if it happens, i’ll be ecstatic. if not, i’ll understand.

here’s a taste of THERE IS A MOUNTAIN by Donovan which he wrote about going to Huautla for mushrooms:

The lock upon my garden gate’s a snail, that’s what it is.
First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is.
Caterpillar sheds his skin to find a butterfly within.
Oh, the snow will be a blinding sight to see as it lies on yonder hillside.

i’ve shed my old smith skin hundreds of times along my 22,762 day way, each time for a truer shell to grow within – rather like a spiritual hermit crab moving from small restricting shell to better fit. this time i plan to go to the other side, look back at my me on this side, see what can be discarded, what can be enhanced, what can be healed, what is broken.

here’s an LSD dream i had in the 1990s in cleveland – in my dream we conquered death, but then the rivers filled with fish who wouldn’t die until there was no room left for the water, so we brought death back:


The gods died.
But for the fish
We brought them back.
Returned mortality
To the horse’s eyes,
Gods to antique brass.
My voice raised
In bell and chime
Laughter light on lip.

2006 collage for Lady – foto/collage by smith



Sunday, July 20th, 2008

photo by lady

I am
like a rat
in a fur hat.

“Oh, are rats
really trapped
in fur hats?
Is that how
you trap
a rat?”

I’m a
rat hat trapper
from way back,
rat hat trapping
on the wet rat

smith n lady


flow surf flux follow

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

sidewalk lizard – foto by smith

i’ve set myself a goal to work as one with flow. to accept outside as is instead of trying to force my is on it.

today i washed dishes, then started to rinse – no water. thought, “how interesting – stochastic reality,” and smiled. next time lady walked by i asked her to check and we had water again, so i rinsed. nothing is guaranteed here – just because an action begins doesn’t mean it will complete.

first two days back i undressed to stand under empty shower, next two days got wet. day follows day down here, but shower does not follow shower.

tomorrow we go up mushroom mountain. see how flow flows, follow the flux.

That’s all flux. To each their groan
Throw another fetus on the fire
I’m off to search for tract home chippies and radioactive flesh

– excerpt from Stations of the Lost (for Lenny Bruce)

100 years of solitude – foto by smith



Sunday, July 20th, 2008

There are logical, logistical *reasons* to hold bizzness the right way. It’s actually cheaper to hurt the fewest no. of people possible – now and in the future – it’s a better bizzness bottom line – corporations should realize that they’d make more $ in the long run & have a longer run. That’s *Smith* economics. When I run the world with *Smith*-eck, 10 % the gross world product will be set aside to buy marijuana all over the world, for everyone, all over the world. We’re gonna mellow Earth out.

‘Fact, we’re gonna have drug police do random drug tests, make sure u got drugs in yr body. If you DON’T, they’ll send you down to the marijuana mines – for a second offense, we’ll send you to the poppie fields.

smith by lady


the numbers make me numb-er.



Saturday, July 19th, 2008

Thinking about blogs, about citizen journalism, about fringe thought, about authority, about people who are sanctioned through the academic/economic system.
   Someone complained to me about citizen journalists and the unreliability of blogs. I agree with this to an extent, but I am also excited about the possibility for real democratic expression and education via blogging. This possibility does not exist in the MSM.
   The standard complaint of establishment journalists and editors that there is no “vetting” process for blogs. Then I thought of what the New Yorker’s doing with blogs. They now have their regular contributors blogging… and they’re boring! The New Yorker itself has become boring to me since I’ve started reading blogs. Could be that something has to be really uniquely oriented towards my interests now for me to invest time in it.
    Blogs tend to be more nuanced than what I read in magazines, commercial websites and newspapers. And bloggers of news do not pretend an air of objectivity; these are people who care and dare.
   The New Yorker has positioned itself as the epicenter of “reasonable” commentary in recent years. The recent cover cartoon satirizing the characterization of Obama has got them on my mind. Smith opines that the cartoon was in bad taste, but I am ambivalent. If they say it is satire, so be it. I have other gripes about the New Yorker. It aspires to soar above mediocrity and dive down into the nitty gritty, but in reality its commentaries are snobbish edicts from on high. My interest degraded ever since the magazine started marketing itself in movies. I loved Adaptation, but I don’t like the elitism they’re pushing. ‘Course, I have a grudge against them; they fail to send courtesy emails after I submit poetry. It’s like sending poems to a giant Wall.
   The latest thing that has me going is the tone of Hendrik Hertzberg’s article about Obama’s measures for political expediency. Many justify Obama’s flip flopping with the excuse that Obama is just a politician, and this is what politicians do to win elections. But when is enough enough? The FISA bill, which Obama ended up SUPPORTING, is eviscerating the fourth amendment! The establishment excuses the Democrats for everything because they’re supposedly on “our” side. But the Democrats adopt all the positions of the “other” side such as continuing to finance the war in one country, helping to dismantle the constitution, refusing to impeach the president, and shilling for yet another corporate war that will knock the rest of civilized infrastructure from under the country’s feet, the dividends falling to the vultures. They are de facto, with the other side. They are worse, actually, because they say they are going to do all these progressive things, knowing all the while that they WON’T.
   There’s a jokey, “Ha ha, that’s the way it goes, you gotta eat this if you want us to win” sentiment. Meanwhile the Bill o Rights burns.
   Hertzberg writes (in the article about Obama), “It was inevitable that the boggier reaches of the blogosphere would eventually smell betrayal. In contrast, what bloggers call the MSM – the mainstream media – seldom trades in the currency of moral indignation. Although the better newspapers have regular features devoted to evaluating the candidates’ proposals for workability, the MSM generally eschews value judgments about the merits.”
   I totally disagree with this characterization of the MSM as an objective source, and frankly, the world needs more moral indignation. Here are several examples that support my case: the scandal about newspapers and tv news using Pentagon propagandists, war generals, as “objective” analysts for the Iraq war; the policy of several news networks’ use of two pro war people to counter the position of every anti war person; the news blackout and ridicule of 9/11 conspiracy theories, which do have some basis in fact; the framing of debates by limiting the scope of debate and the people who are “allowed” to debate (recall Dennis Kucinich’s difficulty in this area.)
   One notable exception to the New Yorker’s recent style: they sponsor Seymour Hersh’s concerned coverage of Abu Graib and the drum beat for war with Iran.

   …and that’s all the breath I have for today’s rant, folks.


bat christ & the agent of chaos

Saturday, July 19th, 2008

oaxaca political graffiti – foto by smith

saw Batman: the Dark Knight tonight. it is dark. very dark. and bleak. and brutal. and brilliant insistent hostile aggressive with none but the nastiest dark sides of humor and it never lets up. don’t think i like it but i certainly did enjoy it and do respect it. Heath Ledger as The Joker is truly off in his own world, moving speaking thinking in discontinuous fragments. his was a brilliant final performance – as great as Jack Nicholson’s Joker was, this is superior.

Batman sacrifices his happy human future and takes the city’s suffering upon himself–in essence becoming Bat Christ–while The Joker claims to be an Agent of Chaos (thus becoming my under skin brother). good metaphoric ending after a continuous montage of movement violence explosions chases fist-fights gun-fights car-fights helicopter-fights and of course they all crash and break and explode. i like it more now than while watching it because i’m away from its incessant pace and can more appreciate the metaphor. there wasn’t much in-between in the film, no down time or plot set-up time. pretty much razzle dazzle hip hop and gone, with a lot of sick slick slipped in. well acted and a perfect metaphor for our violent murderous times. the darkest “hero” movie i’ve seen. definitely its own creature.

oaxaca street art – foto by smith


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