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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 February, 2009

rear view mirror

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Viva APPO – foto by smith

Blue Christ – foto by smith

Revolution now – foto by smith

Masked Madonna – foto by smith

Fascism – foto by smith

Red flag – foto by smith

Anarchy – foto by smith


STEPPING INTO THE NEXT DAY – from Oaxaca to Cleveland

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

We’re packing up and getting rid of stuff, and the last couple days here seem like slow water going down a drain in a dirty sink.

If I think too much about life again in Cleveland, I’m overwhelmed. I don’t know what it means. So I’m really not thinking about it too much. I don’t know how long I’ll be there. Maybe a year, maybe a few months, maybe the rest of my life. Depends on our whim & circumstance & tolerance for risk. I’ve decided I don’t have to know what’s going to happen, and that makes me feel free, as though the future is an unknown gift. All I have to do to receive it is step into the next day.

I’m looking at the avocado tree outside. A few months ago we couldn’t see any fruit. Now we’re in the dry season and the leaves are less lush, and I can see at least a hundred clustered near the top. It’s a holy tree for us, a pivot of meditation that dominates our living room window.

Steve’s cooking coffee in the other room. I hear him shuffling around, clinking mugs, stirring milk. Now he’s shuffling up the hall with both our mugs. Mine’s clear glass – metaphorical for wishes of clear head. His is bright yellow – his fourth “sunshine” cup in Oaxaca – he keeps breaking them accidentally.

I’m sitting down at the computer as I do every morning, actually, the whole day, unless I’m up on the roof reading. It used to be that everything on the computer was very interesting and I was happy to dig in the garden of myself. But I’ve had too much time gardening and have fostered some huge contest-winnable pumpkins, weird radishes, giant carrots, ginger witch hands.

I keep thinking I want to make sense out of this 15 months in Mexico. I know my perspective has changed here – and I wonder why – is it this place, or is it more the path I’ve taken, or is this what it means to be 36 years old?

I am dealing with reality on a moment by moment basis lately.

There is some letting go and acceptance of randomness now. To try to plan for the future is too hard, too painful (especially since I don’t believe humanity has much of a future), so I’ve kinda given it up. I used to be very future oriented. I remember talking with a good friend about my fears and seriously speculating about creating a commune. I remember freaking out about the hurricane in 2005 and buying lots of food to store, overreacting, thinking civilization was breaking down. (Well, it did break down, but it happened in New Orleans, not Cleveland. Or is that so?)

I guess I’ve learned that to dwell on contingency plans for the future is to worry, and the pain of worry ain’t worth it.

Maybe this experience has been more about me than learning about another culture, about filling up my eyes. I am more baffled by Mexico than ever, and I’m not a diligent student. I don’t care about facts. I care about my eyes. I am happy to have unpeeled my ears to a small extent, that I can have very simple conversations.

I’ve learned some humility in my journeys through skepticism to spiritualism to skepticism again. I’ve learned that I am fragile in the short term but resilient over the long run. I’ve gained some richness through the parallax of perspectives of insanity/sanity, sickness/health, tripping/straight, fogged smoking days/months of stepping out of this, medication withdrawal/freedom, talking/not talking/talking again, laughing/not laughing/laughing again, singing/not singing/singing again.

I have a bud of faith that I didn’t used to have.

Steve looks outside and sees beautiful colors and fruit trees. If I relax, I can see them too, otherwise I’m overwhelmed by a sense of scarcity or sameness, dry tortillas, concrete floors, dirt floors, people having to use wood fires for cooking. There is a gate on our street that is usually open and it’s a yard of rubble with shacks. Hardship impresses me more here than in Morocco, probably cuz Morocco was just so totally alien, or maybe cuz we’ve been here longer.

I hope I can continue to live in the moment, laughing, singing, letting everything go by without strain, or if there is pain, to let myself into a quiet moment, distracted by the static of existence.



fool moon fear

Friday, February 27th, 2009

stuff – foto by smith

From 1990 through 2000, global warming greenhouse gases increased less than 1% each year. Since 2000 when the world began actively trying to reduce greenhouse emissions, they’ve increased 3.5% a year. We decide to get cleaner, get dirtier instead – around 400% worse.

Way to go Earth.

When I think of the future, I keep my surface cool but there’s dark things running beneath howling fool moon fear like death and life and the never ending in-between. I catch glimpses of these strange critters and think best not to follow too closely because these equations have no balance, no ending, no answer, are quicksands for hope.

I have a world view but no world pew or world tool so all I can do is work on me, help Lady, and try to do no more harm than I’ve already done.

As Mister Rogers sang, “Brighten the corner where you are.” Makes your life better, makes the lives of those around you a wee bit lighter. That’s about all we can hope for. The rest is spreading gloom and encroaching doom and real life reel live sci-fi disaster movies without any Steve McQueens or Paul Newmans to save the day or show the way.

Quien sigue? / Who’s next? – foto by smith


for those who died in b&w

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Mickey Mice – foto by smith

Prey Has No Name

We fish with human face
such depths of want
and need
heart drums beat
to pulse blood hope
in womb warm wonder

Lying lizard in the sun
in spring full breadth
of coiled light
our brain bridged push
mute witness
for those who died
in black and white
before elective gray

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

yesterday’s restaurant lunch lizard – foto by smith


the adventures of lady & smith

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

balloonboy – foto by smith

The adventures of Lady & Smith, soon to be no longer broadcast from foreign shores.

Getting things picked up, packed, mailed, given away, tossed, cleansed for our fiftieth-some move since 2006. Our fridge and furniture have been traded for our final two weeks rent. Plants gone, art gone, books gone, spices gone, smoke gone. Getting white and empty in here. It’s the awkward stage where we’re gone in our minds but still here in the flesh. (Although my body still revels in this sun and warmth).

What an odd three year story arc it’s been – Cleveland England Netherlands Poland Croatia Italy France Spain Morocco Mexico, and now back to Cleveland to live. I spent 29 years there–46% of my life. Looks like I’ll stay at least one more.

Once back, perhaps we can begin to put our journey in perspective. 31 months, 10 countries, 21 cities, 3 continents. Not sure how we’ve changed, but know we ain’t the same.

After all this, I figure Cleveland will be just one more foreign city to report on.

We watched Stranger Than Paradise last night. Wanted to see the actors standing in the blowing snow looking out at the iced-over Lake Erie to prepare us for returning to Cleveland winters. The scene where they drive by Tremont into Cleveland showed our old studio flat. Interesting scene because they’re supposed to be driving from the east, from New York City to Cleveland, yet in that scene they’re coming from the west, which is ass backwards.

redhand – foto by smith


concrete TV

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Concrete TV – foto by smith

I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.” – Groucho Marx

According to Nielsen, the average American watches 151 hours of TV a month, an increase of 3.6% from last year. That’s five hours a day. WikiAnswers claims it’s 8 hours 11 minutes per day. Nielsen also says teenagers (12-17) watch 103 hours each month, while senior citizens (65 and older) watch 207.That’s a lot of tube boobs. Since Lady and I watch zero TV, some boob must be watching a lot of tube to take our slack.

I prefer to read books. Here’s one I recently found educational – a masturbation manual:

Masturbation Manual – foto by smith


duck-billed platitudes

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

revolucion – foto by smith

“You can fool some of the people some of the time – and that’s enough to make a decent living.” – W.C. Fields.

Lines stolen from the first year of our blog:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Making love to the same woman day after day is deja vulva.

The deeper the cleavage, the slipperier the slope.

Women wear falsies, men wear false he’s.

Either heal the Bush-Cheney furor, or heil the Cheney-Bush Fuhrer.

America – the land of the greed, the home of the grave.

It doesn’t pay to beat a dead hearse.

You gotta go where the go flows.

Know need to no, for the eye will never be full.

The doing is the essence, the done but distant dream.

The Great Crespo (one of my many secret identities) – foto by Lady



Sunday, February 22nd, 2009


when I close my eyes
I sort rarified contrails from fogs
discern minnows in the shallows
now you see it now you don’t
magic eye patterns
thought mandalas in my inner ear

now that I have thoughts I am lucky
or is it just chaff
I can no longer fool myself
the empress has holes in her underwear

the interstitial space of life is
your partner’s breath in the bathroom,
the rasp of toilet paper
a tree coughing in the woods

everybody knows everybody’s lonely
‘cept for me & you
we don’t exercise Christmas with caution
I hope you still like me cuz I like you,
highest priority

if I could just catch the kite I wouldn’t be so mediocre
if I could just hold on to the kite
I’m scared that if I float away I lose my anchor
I lose my algebra

(truth is what you really think & you hurt our feelings) or
your nihilism removes yourself preemptively from pain

You refuse to explain yourself &
I respect that. There is an expectation
of academic freedom (ironic). There is
‘maturity’ vs. truth, mature truth,
refusal to be ridiculous,
ridiculous exceptionalism vs respect
vs approximate workable solutions
in the world
but yr sayin no to kown town
yes is ubiquitous
soft mouthed mothings

you got a faint contrail of pain
in yr ego

step into that next room to be sincere
step into that next room again
step into that next room again
endless sceptic russian doll stitches
in fabric of rationalizations

(but do you really care, o yes I do,
if you were friend who is next to me
if only I had the time & you were my neighbor
instead of a reference to an idea)

to be regarded then disregarded
it’s all understandable
people are not the same
everyone is special
no equal sides, no equal angles
do you like what I like, then I like you
& especially if you give me presents

stop stepping in the same place
consider the dividing line:
when hands were feet & arms were legs

lady k


leave it to beaver

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

June Cleaver – foto by smith

I’ll start this week leaning on my wife’s words – another dynamite poem from my Lady love.


I’m sure I’ve heard this poem before

June, where were you
when Ward came home?
It is your time again.

You were chopping delicately
saying Yes, dear
and your lips were so gothic

I imagine you with
on the chocolate line
instead of that fatty

or with the Beatles in

swallowing swords
strings of pearls coughed up from
your stomach

or in some Edward Gorey Story

Or in some place where
they would worship
your breasts
build temples to them
twin towers
to capitalism
and the American Dream

and you and Lucy
that kook
could go to some other Jazz club

cuz Ricky is so
dominating so

or maybe you just sit in a back
room on chintz cushions
reading Ayn Rand
in Black Frame Glasses
which are back in style again
like noire, nukes, and intellectualism
and you would be in black
with black on black shadows
and the pearls

I can imagine a lot of things for you

and it is much better than just
Beaver        Cleaver’s


yes dear – foto by smith


Formulating Future

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

future flow – foto by smith

Formulating Future

My psychotropic trauma
began before my Mama
cloned in chromosome
the she in me.
Back before my Poppa
anted up in oughta
spared my need
with better seed of he.
Genes for seeking others
genes for tricking brothers
flow from seed to breed
to heed or flee.
Being nice or naughty
isn’t all about me
but a creed to be
properly unscrambled
programmed reassembled
leaving bleeding weed
on bead of thee.
To rise above my wiring
I try to tame desiring
by letting Eden be.
Original sin Ma may be
to our current crazy
more than lately hazy
leads from sea to troubled see.
So seize ya on the downsize
hope you see in upside
the making of our maybe
lies in we.

past perfect – foto by smith


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