word worth

Lady reading 5.19.2009 – foto by Smith

The 12 poems I read / recited last night at our reading are on-line at the Crisis Chronicles On-Line Library, which is run by poet John Burroughs a.k.a Jesus Crisis, who along with poet Dianne Borsenik were our hosts last night.

They may be read at

We had two dozen in the audience, which isn’t bad for a poetry reading here in Cleveland Ohio, Conservative-ville USA. Don’t believe I’ve ever had more than a hundred folk in an audience, and frequently under a dozen, and once only one in my 30 years of reading. So much for fame and fortune.

Our reading was video-taped and will be online at YouTube in a couple weeks, so I can see how I did. Our last reading was October 2007 and I felt a wee bit rusty, a wee bit anti-climactic. Lady was wonderful, of course.

Today we go back to the Cleveland Food Bank for our second day of volunteering.

And that’s life in this particular fast lane in this particular moment swinging around this particular sun.

poetry – foto by Smith

less more more less

1990s collage – foto by Smith

In 1800 there was but one city with a million people (London).
In 1960 there were 111 cities with more than a million people.
In 1995 there were 280 cities with more than a million.
In 2008 there were more than 300.

In 1975 there were five mega-cities.
(A mega-city contains more than 10 million people.)
In 1995 there were 14 mega-cities.
By 2015 there will be 26 mega-cities.

Global population in 1946 when I was born into this vale of fears was around 2 billion. 63 years later there are 6.77 billion (none of them sired by me), an increase of 4.77 billion people and 239% in my own time.

So maybe there are enough people around to fill our poetry audience tonight for our first feature reading since we returned to America 3 months ago. I figure thousands will show up, along with hundreds of agents and publishers and film crews. We’ll probably become famous overnight, collect an entourage of sycophants and start wearing bling and long faux fur coats while drinking shampaign and snorting cocaine lite.

Stop by and see for yourselves.

Lix and Kix Poetry Reading for May
Kathy Ireland Smith and Steven B. Smith
Visible Voice Books
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
7 pm
1023 Kenilworth Ave
Cleveland, OH 44113 USA
(216) 961-0084


I always wonder whether anyone will show up for my readings or shows. I remember a poetry reading on my 50th birthday: there was myself, poet laureate Daniel Thompson, 3 other poets, and one person in the audience. Still, it was a good reading. Sometimes less IS more, but even so I want more More.

cover of 1970s private journal – foto by Smith

feature creature

Smith postcard from 1990s – foto by Smith

Tomorrow night Lady and I have our first featured poetry reading since returning to America.

Lix and Kix Poetry Reading for May
Kathy Ireland Smith and Steven B. Smith
Visible Voice Books
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
7 pm
1023 Kenilworth Ave
Cleveland, OH 44113 USA
(216) 961-0084

(In Tremont right across the street from the Brandt Gallery, or half a block east of the corner of Lincoln Park and Civilizations coffee shop.)

This will be our first featured reading since 2007.

Followed by an open mic.

1990s postcard to my mom – foto by Smith

wild side of life

detail Smith journal cover late 1970s – foto by Smith

When I went out this morning for the Sunday paper, I met a stoner on the street who when he heard I’d been down in Mexico for 15 months suddenly said he had some “kind” and would I want a taste and pulled out a small bushy plump bud of marijuana riddled with golds and greens and little tiny sticky hairs.

I didn’t really want to because I have to do manual labor this afternoon and the two don’t mix, but it was so pretty and unexpected it would have been a shame not to add it to my database of experience, so indulged.

Had two tokes. It was good, gentle in taste, kind to the throat, very effective, and of course quite expensive, prohibitively so. Were I working and collecting a weekly paycheck, this is the way I would go. As it is, I enjoyed the treat but passed on the purchase. My drugs these days tend to be two cups of coffee first thing each day.

Clearing out our 3 year self storage I found this description of a drug test I took in 1997 which led to my getting fired as a computer programmer consultant to BP:

“This time I worked three months and reluctantly agreed to sign up for another twelve months to forever as real people employee with benefits. Reluctant cuz they demanded drug test and nasty forms filled out Gestapo-wise. Tried to pass drug test. Took bus out to Broadway porno shop and bought Vales Original Formula De-Toxifier for $35. Hadn’t done any chemicals for a week. Bought this product cuz guy I was transitioning told me his brother had passed four times with Vale’s. This was July 13. Drug test was July 17. De-tox box said I needed to be drugless for two days. Drug test was four days away.

“Went home and took two black speed pills and one tall (talls are yellow oblong opiate extreme pain pill marvels). Two hours later dropped another black, another tall. Each speed good for eight hours, each opiate for seven. Two hours later took two blacks and one tall. I love to be able to maintain a high, although these drug amounts push beyond high into more an amiable chaos wave amenable to manipulation.

“Sunday just smoked. Monday began 48 hour detoxification regime 17 hours early. No coffee no diet coke no candy no vinegar and found it takes three days to get over coffee depression (marvelous drug). By the time of my drug test my urine was designer water clear. Thought I would pass.

“Walked out of test, took two black speeds, one tall, smoked a joint and went for a cup of coffee. It was a gorgeous summer magic day out on edge of county with trees and birds and sunshine.”

The page ends there, but the story doesn’t. Week later I got a call from a doctor in California who said “We found marijuana in your blood. How did it get there?” “Second hand smoke?” I answered. “Not in these concentrations. This is the highest we’ve seen.” Two days later I was fired.

I don’t understand. They were looking for drugs. They found drugs. Wouldn’t that mean I passed?

1997 was my last big drug binge. Alcohol free 18 years now, chemical free 12. These days a rare third cup of coffee is living the wild side of life.

detail Smith postcard 1990s – foto by Smith

time lies

My tee-shirt, Krakow September 2006 – foto by Smith

What 32 months hath wrought.

My tee-shirt, Cleveland May 2009 – foto by Smith

Once more, with feeling

My inner tee-shirt – foto by Smith

kitchen made

kitchen Lady – foto by Smith

Lady decided she needed to give back to the community so volunteered us to help out once a week at the Cleveland Food Bank which collects, sorts, cuts, chops, makes, bags food for charitable agencies to pass out to the poor.

Today was our first day, and was spent in the kitchen.

Our task was to take four-foot long 40-pound bags of processed turkey breast and turn them into one pound chunks of meat which we bagged in ziplock baggies and boxed 50 bags to the box. They wanted 1,000 baggies of meat and ended up with 1,250.

It’s only a two-hour shift, but it is intense, fast and tiring, but at least we get to wear fashionable duds (see fotos).

Each week we volunteer, we’ll be doing a different task, so should learn a lot.

kitchen Smith – foto by Smith

spam a lot

Schrödinger’s cat – foto by Smith

Either my dick has gotten bigger or else the email spams telling me how small it is have decreased because I get far far fewer messages these days about my inadequacy than I used to.

I’ve probably still a small wee willy because the number of young slut spam emails wanting me to view their naked flesh has also decreased dramatically.

No more big dicks, no more loose women – what’s happening to the lowest common denominator internet spam sludge I’ve come to know and hate?

Come to think of it, there are way fewer illicit drug emails too. Screw the dicks and sluts–who needs em–but less drugs is serious bidness.

I still get the occasional Nigerian bank scam proposal though. I’m figuring on using all the stolen funds they’re promising to buy me a bigger penis, some looser women, and a buncha them drugs.

my inner trickster – foto by Smith


bevel mirror me – foto by Smith

A friend asked if I could teach how to take fotos. Yes and no. The trick is your eye: how you look, notice, see. Nothing technical involved except a small self-focusing digital camera that’ll fit in my front jeans pocket so I am ALWAYS ready to shoot.

I do a lot of thought experiments, like how light hits water and refracts and bounces, or how light can overpower detail turning it into whitewash or silhouette.

Take these fotos for example – easy experiment. Just find a mirror with beveled edges. This mirror here has multiple bevels in each corner. I point the camera into the mirror with the lens looking directly into a bevel or two almost touching the glass so the camera sees me in the mirror through the edged glass. Never have any idea what will appear, especially since I can’t see what I’m taking. Usually I get one or two successes and multiple failures with each attempt, but this time a whole bunch came out well.

more bevel mirror mes – foto by Smith

no chickens

Red wheelbarrel – foto by Smith

The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

– William Carlos Williams, 1923

Red wheelbarrow – foto by Smith