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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 March, 2009

1985-6 smith clevebland rag-o-zeen collages

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

Smith collage from 1980s Clevebland Rag-o-zeen – foto by Smith

Found some more of my old collages in Dick Head’s Clevebland Rag-o-zeens from 1985-86. I’d make the collages out of colored scraps, Dick Head would Xerox them in black & white, then print them on multi-colored paper.

Here are four of them – have another nine for later blogs.

I’d churn these things out in half an hour upon request back then for free. Now I’d want money, unless I got the collages back. I told Dick Head each time I wanted the collages back, but he always traded them to a gay lawyer for a 6-pack of beer – the same lawyer I bought my coke from (he’s since died of AIDS and is way beyond prosecution). For some reason I kept making these for Dick Head every issue he asked knowing full well he’d give them away even though I always insisted I had to have them back. Wonder where they all are now.

My 30 year Cleveland past is sneaking out and crawling all over the carpet.

Smith collage from 1980s Clevebland Rag-o-zeen – foto by Smith

Smith collage from 1980s Clevebland Rag-o-zeen – foto by Smith

Smith collage from 1980s Clevebland Rag-o-zeen – foto by Smith


unnotable notes

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

Mexican cake icing – foto by Smith

“Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.” William Congreve

I’ve heard a lot of good Mexican music, but none of it in our 15 months in Mexico. Down there the best I heard was Cuban jazz. Most Mexican music we heard was Mariachi horns, pumping oompa-oompa accordions, the soap operatic wailing whining vocal pyrotechnics ala our current popular overwrought diva wave of Celine Dions and Mariah Careys, and clumsy over-produced counterfeit country music.

The CIA has been using American music as a torture device to break the spirit and minds of the “enemy combatants” they’ve illegally kidnapped and are torturing and murdering in Guantanamo Bay Prison. Perhaps our CIA should switch to Mexican music instead.

Here in no particular odor is a list of American music the CIA has used to torture:

AC/DC (“Hells Bells,” “Shoot to Thrill”)
Barney the Dinosaur (theme song)
Bee Gees (“Stayin’ Alive”)
Britney Spears
Bruce Springsteen (“Born in the USA”)
Christina Aguilera (“Dirrty”)
David Gray (“Babylon”)
Don McLean (“American Pie”)
Dope (“Die MF Die,” “Take Your Best Shot”)
Dr. Dre
Drowning Pools (“Bodies”)
Eminem (“Kim,” “Slim Shady,” “White America”)
Lil’ Kim
Limp Bizkit
Matchbox Twenty (“Gold”)
Meat Loaf
Metallica (“Enter Sandman”)
Neil Diamond (“America”)
Nine Inch Nails (“March of the Pigs,” “Mr. Self Destruct”)
Prince (“Raspberry Beret”)
Queen (“We Are the Champions”)
Rage Against the Machine (“Killing in the Name”)
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Saliva (“Click Click Boom”)
The “Sesame Street” theme song
Tupac (“All Eyes on Me”)

[ thanks to Peter Ball of the music group Apartment One for sending me this list, which he got from “Music As Torture” By Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal, 2-14-2009 ]

Mexican cake icing – foto by Smith


life is not cinema

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Life is not cinema
but if it were–

were I cast as the lead actress in your movie–

I’d give you the moon & the stars
I’d find shelter in your arms
we’d eat popcorn

as the closing credits scroll by
the top of the sky



parking places, gibbous moons, horse shit, moon blood, tides, cold breath

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

gibbous moon – foto by Smith

Friday and Saturday nights, our art community of Tremont turns into Restaurant City and the parking places disappear as the rich suburbanites flock to our expensive trendy eateries and leave their SUVs with the valets to stable, groom and feed. It makes me realize I must not be in a movie because in movies, there’s always an open parking space wherever The Star needs to be, and here I have to drive up and down around and around looking for one well-fed empty space to place our car. Or maybe I am in a film but I’m just not the star–perhaps I’m more sidekick or comic relief, or Lady is The Star and I am merely her unparkable consort.

In film there’s a continuous gibbous moon because there’s always a full moon hanging in the sky no matter how many film days pass. It must wreck havoc with Earth tides because there’d be this tsunami wave of high tide water following the full moon around the world. And fool moon crazies would be ramping and raging through demolished city streets in full moon madness constantly as the world was washed in vast floods of menstrual blood because monthly women would bleed all the time since it was always That Time Of The Month.

Another difference between reel and real life is no matter how many horses in the streets or how many cattle stampede through town, there’s never any horseshit or cow patties around on the ground. This is probably because all the shit is stored in Washington D.C. in the politicians mouths.

In older movies, there’s seldom any blood when anyone is shot and never any bullet holes in the clothes. The dying hero always manages to hang on just long enough for his lady love to cradle his head in her lap, her warm wet vagina so close as he explains the plot and how to vanquish the bad guys before he gives a slight hiccup and genteelly turns his head to the side in death.

Film world is also warmer because even when the actors are at the North Pole or in sub-freezing blizzards, there’s never any cold cloud of breath coming from their warm mouths or nostrils.

Reel world is nicer as well: curmudgeons become soft and emotional, problems resolve themselves in simplified story arcs, bad guys repent, true love is revealed, financial problems are resolved, lottery tickets win, and we all live happily ever after in spite of the dark nastiness that enveloped us for the first 90 minutes of plot.

I wanna live in movie world, I wanna be a celluloid creature.

Hollywould – foto by son Smith


quadruple whammy

Monday, March 16th, 2009

Cleveland closed – foto by son Smith

1) I may disappear shortly, blog-wise (I know, you were hoping I’d disappear corporeally as well). My less-than two-year old two-hour battery now holds only 14 minutes of charge when fully charged, and every time I reboot, the computer tells me I have to buy a new one. This is the second Dell laptop battery to die in the past 3 years. What kind of company sells you a one year battery for a $1,000 computer? I’d answer that, but my profanity might get out of hand. Dell computers suck big time. I will never buy another Dell product of any kind. My wife’s Dell laptop batteries died twice too, so she trashed it and bought a Compact.

2) The Dell laptop batteries also overheat and burn your lap.

3) The power cord connection is bad as well, keeps losing contact and reverting to battery power – and if I don’t notice it, 8 minutes later the computer light starts flashing red and the machine turns itself off. I know it’s the Dell computer port that’s defective because I just bought a brand new power cord – my 4th Dell power cord in 3 years.

You can see why I’ve such a lousy opinion of Dell computers.

4) And finally, our mysterious magic internet WiFi connection has disappeared as well. Don’t know where the signal came from or where it went. We found the connection floating through the air when we first stayed in Chiplis’s little 2-room love shack out back in 2006 after we sold our studio. It was still here when we visited the states in 2007 and 2008 and for our first 11 days back this time. So we’ll have to find a library or coffee house to connect.

This doesn’t bother me too much because things are getting complicated and harder to write about, but Lady needs the net to do some web work she’s being paid for. We have to find our own place, get our own connection, live our new life in this strange, colorless, cold land.

the story’s never ending – foto by son Smith


life in the last lane

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

Cleveland winter window 1 – foto by son Smith

Cleveland winter window 2 – foto by son Smith

Cleveland winter window 3 – foto by son Smith

Cleveland winter window 4 – foto by son Smith

Cleveland winter window 5 – foto by son Smith

Cleveland winter window 6 – foto by son Smith


face, not place, is base

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

“No Exit” by Mother Dwarf Smith – foto by son Smith

We made the monthly Tremont ArtWalk rounds tonight, and our first stop half a block around the corner at the Doubting Thomas Gallery, my 24 year old art past struck again. Performance artist Frank Green is selling off his art collection and one of the pieces he has for sale is a fine assemblage by my dead mom–Mother Dwarf–while another in a rusted cake pan is one-third of a triptych of mine from the mid-1980s (the other two portions of the triptych were destroyed somehow).

Also saw Dick Head at Green’s show, and 4 days ago in another part of town I chanced across some of my old artwork in a couple of Dick Head’s 1985 Clevebland Rag-o-zeens. My old art past is Mobius strip looping around in some Twilight Zone infinity flip. These seem to me to be omens saying I’m supposed to be here.

I first met poet artist punk musician publisher performance artist Dick Head in 1983. There was a pounding on my 4th floor warehouse fire door. I opened it to my first view of Dick Head. He whined, “Do you have any drugs?” “No,” I replied, “but if you find any, come back.” An hour later he was back pounding on my steel door, with drugs. Not a bad foundation for a 27 year friendship.

Robert Ritchie a.k.a Dick Head – foto by Smith

Sometimes I forget how long I’ve been in Ohio. Moved to Chagrin Falls in 1977 when I was 31 (moved there to be with another man’s wife), then to Solon in 78, downtown Cleveland warehouse 81, Tremont 85, Europe 2006, Africa 07, Mexico 07, and back to Tremont 09 at 63.

Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four?

Started life in Idaho in 1946. Then Washington state, Oregon, California, Tennessee, Maryland, Hawaii, Virginia, Florida, Connecticut, Michigan, Arizona, Ohio. And of course the England Netherlands Poland Croatia Italy France Spain Morocco Mexico Ohio loop just to keep things interesting

No wonder place has seldom been my identity.

“No Exit” (detail) by Mother Dwarf Smith – foto by Smith

“As Above, So Below” – 1/3 of triptych by Smith – foto by Smith


cleveland oaxaca

Friday, March 13th, 2009

Cleveland – foto by Smith

Oaxaca – foto by Smith

Cleveland – foto by Smith

Oaxaca – foto by Smith

Cleveland – foto by Smith

Oaxaca – foto by Smith

Cleveland – foto by Smith

Oaxaca – foto by Smith

Cleveland – foto by Smith

Oaxaca – foto by Smith


clevebland rag-o-zeen

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Smith collage for Dick Head’s Clevebland Rag-o-zeen, 1985 back cover – foto by Smith

Over at musician/collector friend’s place, he brought out some 1984-85 issues of Clevebland Rag-o-zeen put out by Robert Ritchie a.k.a. Dick Head, a punk musician artist poet publisher performance artist and professional self abuser who’s amazingly enough still alive. There were two front and one back covers by me.

Odd how the past loops around 24 years later.

I didn’t think so at first, but our moving back was a good idea. The cold and faster life of shock and all invigorate.

Something’s going to happen. Something’s already happening.

Smith collage for Dick Head’s Clevebland Rag-o-zeen, 1985 front cover – foto by Smith

Smith collage for Val Seeley poetry book by Dick Head – foto by Smith


life: constant compromise

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

through a glass darkly – foto by smith

My blog readership has dropped 50% since we returned to America. Apparently it’s not what I say but where I say it that interests folks, the surface and not the content.

Last year a literary agent replied to our request for representation by saying if I’d reduce my memoir Criminal to a non-fiction book proposal, she’d take a look at it. I did, sent it to her, and never heard from her again – not even a no thank you. So our one nibble slipped the hook. If only one of them would read the book I feel we’d be fine – there’s no other true story even remotely like it.

There is an artist in Hollywood we met in Krakow who wants to turn my life story into a movie, but he has no financing so we’re trying to come up with a script to shop around. We met him when he was the leader of the Urban-Jellen Test avant-garde cabaret garage rock n roll band in Poland in 2006. His movie name is John Mann, while his rock name is Blue7. He had us read our poetry as part of his opening acts for four different concerts. Repeatedly reciting poetry from memory before a rock audience is a definite thrill.

Right now Blue7’s working in the art department on Iron Man 2. He’s also worked over the years as an art director / storyboard artist / creature and visual effects design / animation director on such films as Superman Returns, The Missing, Cliffhanger, Stuart Little, Long Kiss Goodnight, Mimic, The Fast and the Furious, Mars Attacks, Godzilla, We Were Soldiers, Plant Doctor, Species, Outbreak, Bedazzled, The Girl With a Tail (which he also directed), XXX, Star Gate, Random Hearts, Night At the Museum II, The Getaway, Message In A Bottle, Men In Black II, Star Trek IX, Insurrection, The Specialist, and Clockstoppers. Oddly enough, I’d seen all but 7 of these 26 films. Check him out at, or just type in John Mann at and click on the first link.

If you want to watch The Girl With A Tail (13 minutes) click here WARNING – the film is adults only and a wee bit macabre. Blue7 is also a visual artist, and his art is viewable at

Blue7 left America right after 9/11 to live in the mountains of Thailand for a couple years while he painted. Then he took off for a couple more years to form and lead a rock band in Krakow, and now he’s back in Hollywood working movies. He and his gorgeous wife Magda visited us in Morocco.

As for the rest of my literally dozens of literary agent inquiry letters I sent out, 25% bothered to say no, while the rest just ignored me.

I’m an unknown writer trying to get my odd anti-social story told in a hostile time via overwhelmed literary agents while the publishing industry is tanking along with the rest of the world economy. Bad timing.

But I will prevail.

As for being back, it’s starting to wear at me. The cold aggravates my torn groin muscle (an injury which will not heal that I incurred trying to pick my soon to be dead overweight mother up off the floor in 2004), and all the money going out to reestablish life in America is deeply discouraging. But as Lady pointed out, life here is also stimulating. Tomorrow night is the coolest monthly open mic poetry venue around at The Literary Cafe; the next night is the monthly Tremont Art Walk (and Tremont is the coolest, edgiest art neighborhood in Cleveland); the day after that is the monthly open poetry mic at the Brandt Gallery; and the following Tuesday is the monthly reading Lix & Kix at 806 (where Lady and I will be the featured poets in May). This is the stuff we returned for, food for the mind, heart and soul.

And it’s almost spring, so heat, green, flowers, trees, and butterflies are just a calendar page away. And the money flow will slow once we’ve found a place to live and stocked it. Then I can start making art again, which will soothe my inner angst, and I can return to sending out paper pleas to more literary agents. Even if nothing happens, I’ll still be doing, and doing is the key to inner ease.

It’s odd right now though because I have to talk myself into each day. And I can’t get too down because I’ve a lovely Lady who has enough on her plate and doesn’t need any extra worries from me.

And I did a good thing yesterday – I had a wee bit of weed left over from my birthday and I decided not to smoke and stuck to it. Let’s hear it for logic, discipline and will power. It’s even better because one of my longest friends is stopping by today and now I’ve a wee bit left to share with him.

Life: Constant Compromise.

25th Street, Cleveland – foto by smith


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