penis, breasts, heart

two hats and a scarf hanging on wall hooks – foto by smith

looking at the internet, billboards, bus ads, wall ads and spam ads, it appears life in the usa comes down to how big your dick is if you’re a guy, and how large your tits are if you’re a gal.

the size of your body parts, your amount of disposable income, the brands your wear, and the status of your jewelry, clothes, cars, homes, spouse, watches decide how good a person you are, how great your life is, how worthy and important you are.

in the eternal war of mammon against spirit, today is MAMMON versus spirit, EVIL versus good, WRONG versus right NOW versus later, HELL NOW versus eventual heaven..

such shallow shit we share – and shouldn’t.

The Man keeps knocking
Down my front door
Wants to sell me some
Sorta social spore
Says grits & groceries
Ain’t enough
In the modern life
You need much more stuff
– excerpt from smith’s poem Bye Buy

on a less commercial plane, but still heavily invested in maybe money is my heart. i’m sitting here wondering why i’m so bloody tired. we walked a couple miles today, but nothing near worthy of exhaustion. so i took my pulse. my heart is beating 3 times, then skipping one beat. instead of 60 beats per minute (my average), my heart is beating 45 times a minute right now, which means i’m getting three-fourths of the oxygen my body needs and is used to. when you have 75% circulation, you lose a quarter of your oxygen and blood nutrients, the blood only removes 75% of your toxins.

the doctor in croatia 2 years ago said not to worry about my skipped beats unless it gets down to the 5 beats and a skip range.

sometimes i take my pulse and it goes 100 beats without skipping. it varies widely during the day depending on the time and how active i am. one night it was two beats and a skip when i was on codeine pain medicine, so i stopped taking that right there – which was a shame, because i’m a codeine man from way back. i find i begin to feel a decent energy level when it beats 8-12 times before skipping a beat. when it beats 60 times per minute, i feel unstoppable.

my normal heart rate is too slow to take medicine to regulate my heart, and our bank account is too small to afford an operation to install a pace maker. plus after the pain and trauma of my hernia operation, i really don’t want doctors to open my chest, break my ribs, and install a pace maker. besides, they were worried my heart wasn’t regular enough to survive the hernia operation – it was worrisomely erratic during it.

maybe my heart’s too big, too soft, too generous for this world. i am getting weary of the man wickedness in this world – if it weren’t for lady in my life, i’d just as soon not be here. she’s my joy, my direction, my goal.

the sad bad part of this is my heart skips worries lady. the uncertainty reduces her quality of life, stress strains her joy. and sometimes it gets me down as well. it’s no fun taking your pulse to see if you’re alive or not.

on the good foot, my mom Mother Dwarf had heart arrhythmia, and she died at 79 of something else entirely. she was overweight where i am thin and trim.

~ ~ ~

it took me 62 years to get my first book of poetry and art published, and i had to sleep with the publisher to get it done.

Zen Over Zero
Steven B. Smith
selected poems 1964-2008

69 poems / 22 collages , 78 pages, 6 x 9 inches, $12, through at
published by The City Poetry Press.

starburst (1987 collage in Zen Over Zero) – foto & collage by smith


The Dream of the Dishwasher

The scraps of food that he scrapes off the plates
are weapons of biological warfare
that only he can dispose of properly
The perfectly rounded plates and saucers are perfect models
for flying saucers in the science fiction novel he’s writing
The steam when he opens the dish machine
is reminiscent of the planet Venus
After eight hours a day of doing this
he is happy to return to the reality
of his imagination.

– michael ceraolo


dreams get lost in waking
sometimes it becomes unclear
which is which
I remember meeting but I wonder
if we have

a vision
of melting ice
reminds me of
thick glass swirled smoothly over
caramel covered liquid sugar
the scalloped edges of
discarded bottle tops
hidden in the sand
among dead fish and petoskey stones

I drag my toes in circles
and start to dig a moat
I build my castle without buckets
sand sticks to my thighs

your face is familiar but
it seems like there is something
I am not remembering
I never knew

now I need the bucket
to fill the moat
fresh gray water
splashes my calves
Michigan sun between two clouds

I thought time might bring it more in focus
I still have a bottle cap
but somewhere the fossilized stones were left
with other treasures I collected

Your name is lost underneath last nights late night shows
and the waters of lake Superior
I forget more-the more I remember
I remember more-the more I forget

Kimberley Diamond Bones

These are from Issue 1 of the City, August 2002.

the CITY DAILY – #1

Pray Bones – Smith


i have a buddha candle holder
he is sitting in the lotus position
the tea light goes in a slot
in front of his folded wing-like legs
when it’s lit it looks like
his crotch is on fire
& he casts the shadow
of his profile on the wall
he teaches me w/o scriptures
that though from the fiery loins
we may arrive
we are still merely shades cast
on the walls of the world

Rob Plath


There are eyes left to
Peal out walls old scuffs
But meaning sumthing in
The following (more) open
Hrs of dusk dawn morning twilight night
The eyes are in most rooms
The types who steal away
& All rooms the kind to
Stay inside buy.



a door handle might squeak when it has its moment to turn
or in the way the first quick release of kool-aid powder joins an afternoon kitchen.

or how the earth envelops every pet any child has ever buried and
your eyelids protect your eyes without requesting recognition or

pull your vision into an unquestioned prayer of arrival. like this –
the way your mouth opens like a curtain to the lights of an unexpected visitor and

closes like a barn door in the coldest month of winter while
your cows call to their calves and your hay awaits a season – you believe.

you believe. the way love can be a box or a paint can or
a counter and an evening breeze embraces a shutter or a chimney. you believe.

you believe without promises. without lacquer. and i believe.
i believe in the way of glaciers and ice cubes. the way i once had an agenda

then left it in a public restroom – loose pages on the floor scattered in the way
of humanoids and glyphs. i believe.

i believe in the way your evening rustles the paint chips of my side door
into the giggling lap of our fortune. in the way

one body might recycle the solitude of another. or how
greenery might wilt if left inside in the summer and my windows

are closed and my pot uncared for – roots exposed. maybe i believe
in the way of light bulbs or tablecloths. maybe

i believe in the way of dish soap or cardinals. maybe
i don’t know. but i believe in the way you believe –

how our feet are common verses sung in rounds and around any fire
sparked from the breath of nothing into warmth

or forgiveness. there’s something in all of this believing.
this belief. that stands at the height of the fierce eyes of godzilla or

the raised fist of a statue lost in reference. that stands
in the way of exchanges and fractions

rates and decimal points. that offers a talk over tea as redemption. in the way
each mile between kalamazoo and chicago has been named by an audience of

grasshoppers and squirrels (or has named them). or how love too
lives in the hands of each child who has held a wrench at eye-level

to examine its connection with monkeys. how love too
resides in a mechanic’s toolbox in the shape of a photograph

marked by age and gasket rings. how love too
is found in the hands of every carpenter or waitress every cashier or

academic who believes in the way you do – without folding. without mirrors.
in the way of moss on the north side of bark or an invincible army of laughter.

courtney campbell

Full issue available online at

bubble twistor core

oaxacan street graffiti – foto by smith

lady and i were talking, and i brought up bubble memory (a mid 1970s concept that didn’t last long). this lead to core memory and twistor memory for computers. bubble, core and twistor were all invented by the same guy – and all three were immediately replaced by cheap chips.

lady says, “I don’t even want to think about the engineering aspects involved.” she speaks like this because for 10 years she was an electrical engineer working with artificially intelligent neural nets. now she’s working with artificially intelligent me instead. i’m not as profitable, but i am funnier in my body electric.

i reassure her. “the scientists only pretend to create core and bubble memory. what they really do is sit around and draw up strange schematics to build wired creatures which work in the imagination only – then they go into their dark rooms out of sight, put on robes, sing strange chants to odd dances and sacrifice small animals to really make it work.”

electricity isn’t science, it’s magic. if we didn’t believe it, it wouldn’t flow.

belief is imperative. what is is simply the agreed upon. if enough of us stopped believing in the traitorous naked greed for power called john mccain and the slimy pile of doggy poo called sarah palin, they’d disappear.

every time i think of mccain or palin or cheney or bush, i think fondly of the tree shredder in the movie Fargo – which is a logical association since all four of them are shredding the american dream.

the lines between right & wrong – foto by smith

zen over zero & issue 23

cover of Zen Over Zero – foto by smith

lady’s combed through the last 44 years of my creative life to put out my first book. it’s also the first publication from The City Poetry Press.

Zen Over Zero
Steven B. Smith
selected poems 1964-2008

69 poems / 22 collages
78 pages
6 x 9 inches
through at

lady’s also published her 23rd issue of The City Poetry.
the whole issue is online at,
black&white hardcopy book available for purchase for $7.99 at,
full color hardcopy book available for purchase for $17.50 at

cover of The City Poetry issue 23, foto by smith – foto by smith


C I T Y   P O E T R Y   Z I N E – full issue online

IN THIS ISSUE: Kimberley Diamond Bones, Dianne Borsenik, E B Bortz, Hilary Brandt, Bree, C M Brooks, Michael H Brownstein, Courtney Campbell, Jeff Chiplis, Eli P Cimota, Jesus Crisis, Djuana, Jim Deuchers, KE, Michele Gibbs, Geoffrey Landis, Jim Lang, Max Uhler, Ronnie McGrath, Rob Plath, Jackie Sheeler, Smith & Lady, C@ptain Wallnut and Jason Williams. Cleveland Poetry Scenes is reviewed in this issue.

T H E   C I T Y   I N   P R I N T *

black & white: $7.99 at
color version: $17.50 at

C I T Y   P O E T R Y   P R E S S   presents   Z E N   O V E R   Z E R O

Zen Over Zero: Selected poems 1964-2008 by Steven B. Smith. 68 poems and 21 collages over 44 years. Purchase for $12.00 at

“Let’s face it Smith, if the song ‘My Way’ were written about your life, it would be lyrics by William S. Burroughs & music by Laurie Anderson, as performed by The Velvet Underground. The 45-RPM vinyl would have been a blue corrosion color rather than black, with Voodoo Lounge as the cover and ‘Voodoo Child’ as side B. And THAT my friend would be one highly collectible single.” – Steve Reynolds


Moon meat and Moses
Sucker song along
New lie highway
Old road alone

Need new lies
Old lie don’t do
New supposes
For falling through

New excuses
And pretty parts
To hide abusive
Hollow hearts

Toys for boys
Swirls for girls
Swine to enjoy
Hurled pearls

For Babylon baby
Ain’t another time
There ain’t no maybe
It’s this life’s the crime

And I’m doing time

Steven B. Smith

a man sans honor

the world according to john mccain – foto by smith

john mccain bases his fame, character and honor on being a prisoner of war in vietnam.

they say he’s a hero.

excuse me? the man was flying an airplane, dropping napalm on civilian women and children in an illegal war of aggression when he got shot down. after he was tortured by the vietcong, he made a traitorous anti-american video.

so his heroism is based on his failing in his task of murdering civilians, then making a treasonous film against his country after he got caught by the people he was killing.

this is a man worthy of respect?

as for his reputation for being an honest politician, folk forget that mccain was part of the keating five savings and loan scandal where he was caught trying to get the government to stop their investigation. he got off because there wasn’t enough evidence to try him, but the senate ethics committee determined in 1991 senator john mccain exercised “poor judgment”.

mccain claims he has honor, yet even though he was tortured by the vietcong, he rolled over in the senate and voted to allow the cheneybush beast to torture others.

mccain is slip sliding away from every honorable stance he once held, which implies they weren’t principles held so much as masks assumed for profit and political office.

he is also way too old to lead a country, and occasionally appears to be in the early stages of senility. and his famous temper tantrums are unbelievable, not something you’d want in a war-mongering president who has his finger on the nuclear button.

his choice for vice-president is a person who as mayor tried to get her city librarian to censor books, and as governor is currently being investigated for malfeasance in office – and she’s only been governor 2 years. she’s also a flat-earther religious-wrong fundamentalist anti-feminist who believes a woman’s place is 2 steps behind her man. her own daughter got knocked up because mom doesn’t believe in sex education.

and finally, he’s backed every crooked, illegal act dick cheney and george bush have committed against our country and the world.

the only two people possibly worse to have in office than mccain and palin are the two mass murdering war criminals currently holding that office – dick cheney and george bush.

ever since he was released as a prisoner of war, john mccain has been damaging this country. too bad the vietcong didn’t keep him. perhaps we could give him back, with sarah palin.

the world according to john mccain – foto by smith

i voted

our government – foto by smith

i have never voted. i tried to register in 1971 to vote against richard nixon, but i was a convicted felon and maryland didn’t allow felons to vote. since then, there hasn’t been anybody to vote for, and no one i despised enough to vote against.

but today i voted for the very first time in my 62 years. we sent off our absentee ballots today. i voted against the senile mccain and the venal sarah palin and the reoccurring evil of darth vader cheney and wet brain bush – and FOR obama.

it’s funny, i had to care enough to leave my country before i cared enough vote.

i’d love to vote third party, except third parties don’t yet work in america and are essentially a waste of one’s vote. vote third party, and you’re voting to keep the bad guys in. besides, i respect obama more than any third party candidate.

i know the voting process is crooked, has been heavily rigged by the republicans and corporations, so on one level my vote does not count. but i figure each vote against the corpoRAT house slaves known as the republican party is one more vote they have to counter, and the more votes they have to back out, the harder it will be to cheat their way to victory.

the current misadministration stole two elections to get in, has bankrupted our country financially and morally, has gutted our constitution and quality of life, has filled their pockets and their friend’s pockets with our money, has dumbed down our educational system, has destroyed the u.s. economy, has spied on americans, has murdered 5,000 americans, has murdered one and a half million iraqi civilians, and has been so malignant they’ve given evil even a worse name than it had. the only way to evaluate the cheney bush beast is to go back in time and compare them to adolf hitler and joseph stalin and the chicago mafia mob. this is the crookedest most evil government the united states of america has ever had. and considering how venal politicians have always been, that’s really saying something.

it’s interesting to note that the law of the land, the law created by the rich for the rich, states that treason and profiteering in a time of war are punishable by death before a firing squad. by their own standards, george w bush, dick cheney, rice, rumsfeld, wolfowitz, gonzales, and powell qualify to be shot. they’re all traitors to our country, they’re all profiting from the war. it’d be using their rules and their game to provide their fair punishment.

anyway, i vowed never to vote because it’s a fool’s game with the rich offering corporate puppet-A or corporate puppet-B for you to choose between. but the corporate dictators and their democratic and republican lackeys have gotten so evil, so out of hand, that i have compromised my non-voting stance and voted.

bottom line – if i can vote for the first time in my 6 decades of life, so can you.

we have to fuck these bastards, and fuck them good.

what anyone who doesn’t vote against mccain/palin is doing – foto by smith


ladyfest – foto by smith

my little lady is slowly, discontinuously walking around this morning with squinched up eyes and headache hangover pain. she had 4 glasses of wine yesterday, and she’s a two glass person at most. her pain takes me back to my drinking days and what i’m glad to miss. i’m in my 18th year of sobriety after bleeding to death from an alcohol-induced esophagus ulcer in 1991. i told her yesterday she would hurt today, but she said no, she never hurts. sometimes i wish i weren’t right. she’s sleeping it off, which is the best cure.

i used to get up each work morning and move through my half gallon of cheap gallo blanc wine hangover every tuesday through friday morning – on mondays it was a full gallon of gallo hangover – and go to work. i’d spend each work morning programming through my hangover pain – felt so bad that writing computer code while waiting for the pain to dissipate was the best i could do. got a lot of code written.

lady’s making a book of my poems from 1964 through 2008. titled Zen Over Zero, it contains 68 poems which span the last 44 years. should be available from in a couple days. she asked me to write a bio for it, which is one of the hardest things to do, so i consolidated my last few bios from myspace and and gave her this:

Here are some recent Smith bios.
Take your pick. They’re all lies, they’re all true.

~ ~ ~

Was born. Am living. Will die

~ ~ ~

I’m a fractal finding ambiance adjuster on the run from reality wandering the Earth having adventures with my beloved Lady.

~ ~ ~

Born in Bitterroot, raised on Paradise Prairie. Farm boy, car thief, Naval Academy, expelled for dope, high society marriage, armed robbery, jail, escaping the cops, illegal loft dweller, ArtCrimes, rat attacks, overdose, celibate, remarried, expat.

~ ~ ~

My life boils down to five facts:

I’m Kathy Ireland Smith’s friend, collaborator, companion, and husband.

I’ve been a poet 44 years, artist 43 years, ArtCrimes publisher 22 years, 6 years, Walking Thin Ice co-blogger 2 years.

I’ve run from the cops 10 times, got away 9.

My job is to show the sheep in the sheep pen there are better ways to live.

I’ve learned there is but one law – Do as you would be done.

~ ~ ~

for those wanting more, there’s 3,500 pages of Smith art, poetry, reviews, history and friends at, plus a thousand blogs of our traveling adventures at

~ ~ ~

Go thee, and suffer less
The Church of Not Quite So Much Pain & Suffering
The Irreverend Steven B. Smith & his beloved Lady presiding

oaxaca street art – foto by smith