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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 January, 2010

normal rockwellian

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

current view of farm I grew up on 1953-1960 – foto by Stone Ranger

Here is a portion of chapter 1 of Criminal by Smith & Lady.

This describes life on a 40 acre farm 9 miles south of Spokane Washington where I lived from the ages of 7 through 14 (1953-1960). It was a time of Norman Rockwellian innocence for me. Yet the first thing I did when we moved into the city was steal 13 cars.

~ ~ ~

On a farm, you plant the garden, and it grows. You milk the cow at six o’clock in the morning and six o’clock at night. You feed the chickens once a day, the pigs once a day, the rabbits, ducks, geese. You feed the cows some grain while you’re milking, and they graze in the field the rest of the time. Once a week you shovel the chicken shit. There’s more work when there’s killing to be done, but it’s not all that bad, except for cleaning the pig pen. Pigs are bad because they seriously stink. And they’re smart. If they can find a way to screw you, they will. They’re hefty critters too, a lot larger than people realize. And fast.
      I watched my father kill pigs and calves and lots of chickens. He’d chop the chicken’s head off on a stump, toss the chicken to the ground, and it’d run around headless, blood spurting from its neck. To pluck them I had to dip the dead chicken into boiling water. Hot wet chicken feathers smell horrible, and I could never get all the tiny pointy pin feathers out of their skins. Fried chicken sure tastes good though.
      I cleaned the chicken shit out of the chicken coops. It’s one of the nastiest jobs there is. Chicken shit gets dry and dusty, so as you shovel it, you breathe it, you wear it inside and outside your clothes. Another nasty job is moving hundred pound bales of hay from field to truck to hayloft. You’re hot, you’re sweaty, and all the sharp hay shards get inside your nose and clothes and itch and scrape and poke. Inside your nose and inside your clothes—sums up chicken shit, sums up hay baling.
      Farm life was too much work for me. I don’t like to do things, especially at specified times. My one exception was milking the cow early in the morning. It was my favorite work. You’re sleepy, it’s still dark, you lay your forehead on the warm concave curve of the cow’s flank, and start going squish-squish! squish-squish! into the milk pail. To milk a cow, place both hands loose fisted around two teats of the udder, thumbs upward. Close your thumb and top finger together to block the milk from escaping back into the udder, then one by one bring the rest of your fingers together top to bottom into a closing fist to squeeeeze the milk out. First left, then right teat. The teat skin is normally dry and scaly, sometimes with small sores and scabs, so occasionally you need to rub ointment into it. If you irritate the cow too much, she’ll pick up her right back hoof and plop it down into the milk pail. The milk is quite warm out of the teat and froths as you squirt more and more into the pail. We had two cows because a cow dries up when pregnant, and then uses her milk to feed her calf. We bred the cows alternately so we always had milk to drink and a calf to kill. The breeder puts his whole arm up the cow’s anus to fertilize her.

We had free ranging cats, a miniature collie dog named Lassie, and a good natured white German Shepherd called Tippy. The worst smell in the country is when your dog comes back with skunk all over him. Soap and water won’t wash it off.
      Because of the dirt country roads, we were mudded-in every spring, snowed-in every winter. Our first year we had to use the outhouse out back. We were poor, but we ate well. We had our own garden. We had beef, pork, rabbit, chicken, goose, infrequent duck and frequent venison. We ate chicken eggs, goose eggs and duck eggs. We churned our own butter and drank our own whole milk, which was one quarter cream on top. We sold a gallon of fresh milk for fifty cents, a pound of homemade butter for fifty cents, rabbits for fifty cents a pound. I used to kill rabbits. I’d hold them by their hind legs, put the club behind their head, push their head down a little bit, then qwack! them, slit their throats, pull their skins off like a coat, gut them, sell them, eat them. Rabbits squeal if you don’t hit them just right, a high squeeee. And just like the joke, rabbits fuck all the time. If you want to grow a lot of meat fast, buy rabbits, although sometimes the parents eat the babies.
      The rabbits were supposed to be cameras. My first year in 4-H Club, I took photography. For the second year, I was required to have a dark room to develop my pictures and we couldn’t afford one, so I killed rabbits instead.

I walked a dirt road mile one way to a two-room white-wood school house. Two mad horses chased me each day as I walked by their field. Nearer school, vicious dogs tried to bite me. Though terrified of the path to school, I liked being there.
      Grades One through Four were in one room, Five through Eight in the other. Thirty-six students total. One day in class I sat at my wooden desk sucking on the top of my pen. The pen cap came off and ink filled my mouth and I swallowed it. I went into the supply closet and read the back of the India Ink bottle. It said Poison. I went back and sat quietly at my desk, watched my classmates in silence while I waited to die.
      We had two teachers, a husband and wife who lived in a cottage on the grounds. The husband gave me a single shot 22-caliber rifle when I was eleven. I saw a bird flying against the wind, shot straight up and killed it. I felt small and unclean when it fell from the sky. The only thing I killed after that was a bumblebee. Put the gun barrel right up against it, pulled the trigger, and blam, no more bumblebee.

My first brother Jay died from colic our first year on the farm. “Colic” sounds like a dog collar for Lassie, or a college for collies, or a country boy’s cowlick. They all fit too since we did live in the country in the midst of hay and wheat fields, had a miniature collie named Lassie, and set out salt licks for the cow.
      Jay Curtis Smith was born late 1953. He cried nine months, then died. Seven year old me did not know the baby I’d looked in on that morning was dead; I only saw a very still, sleeping baby. Mom was acting odd, but moms frequently don’t make sense, so I said goodbye and walked my purgatorial mile of aggressive horses and angry dogs to the two room country school house up the lane.
      After I got home that afternoon, Mom said, “Jay died last night.”
      “Can I see him?” I wanted to see what death looked like.
      â€œSorry kid,” Mom said. “You can’t. He’s gone.” I felt cheated. I’d seen a dead baby, but had looked with the wrong eyes.

– Excerpt from Chapter One, Criminal by Smith & Lady.


view of top of cow barn and pond I used to play in from the top of my tree on our 40 acre farm in 1960.
In the foto at top of the blog, the barn is all the way to the left
and the tree I’m in taking this foto from is the tallest tree on the left half of the foto
foto by Smith, 1960

 

book whore

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Criminal by Smith & Lady – foto by Smith

Last month I finished a serious rewrite our memoir of my life–Criminal by Smith & Lady–and laid it aside so I could come back to it with a fresh eye and see what was there.

I picked it up a few days ago and was disappointed — I’d read a few pages and put it down underwhelmed. This happened three times, but finally the book picked up and started working. Relieved, I went back and re-rewrote the first 15 pages and now it all moves along quite nicely and I have faith in the validity and value of my own life story again.

I followed Stephen King’s advice: he says each rewrite should cut 10% from the book. King said this knowledge came to him hard because he tended to add 10% with each rewrite. I’ve got the book down to 325 pages, or 103,000 words.

The foto of the book above is a private copy we had printed to see how it looked and worked as a book–and once we saw it, we started massive rewriting. My recent rewrite was the 22nd edit of the book since Lady gathered everything together and created it during our three months in Croatia in 2006-7. That the book exists at all is due to Lady K’s vision and determination. Its eventual sale will be due to mine.

One of the flaws in recent memoirs is the number of bogus false lying made-up life stories. We don’t have that problem because a lot of my life can be documented via police reports, newspaper articles, friends, witnesses, and my private journals from 1968-1993.

We’re looking for a literary agent, and a publisher. We’d like millions of dollars up front of course, but we’re willing to start off with a measly few hundred thousand.

Here are the title, contents and prologue.

~ ~ ~

CRIMINAL
A True Story Of
Armed Robbery, Stolen Cars, Alternative Art, Mainstream Poetry,
Underground Publishing, Robbing The Cradle, And Leaving The Country

by Smith & Lady

~ ~ ~

ONE
Paradise Prairie — 13
Bone — 19
The Bridge — 23
Car Thief — 27
High School — 33
The Misfits and the House of Mavericks — 39
Memphis — 43
Prep School — 47
Naval Academy — 51

TWO
Kicked Out — 59
Calvert Street — 65
Robin — 73
Journal Entries — 77
Ray — 89
Journal Entries — 93
My First Armed Robbery — 99
Journal Entries — 103
My Second Armed Robbery — 107
Mind Fuck — 109
Prison Journal — 115
Charles Street — 131
Nulvoid — 143
Journal Entries — 149

THREE
Michigan — 168
Another Man’s Wife — 177
White Trash High Rise — 183
Regional Art Terrorist — 187
Wilcox — 195
Celibacy — 199
Violations — 205
Smith vs. the Lizard Police — 211
Art — 213
Poetry — 217
Daniel Thompson — 229
ArtCrimes — 233
Dead Cat — 239

FOUR
Running from the Cops — 245
Mother Dwarf — 249
Serial Suicide — 253
There Are No Monsters — 259
Wrong Address — 265
Freedom — 269
Programmer — 277
First Freefall — 281
Lab Rats — 283
Ash to Ash After — 293
The Flow — 299
The Church of Not Quite So Much Pain & Suffering — 303
Cancer — 309
Create Your Own Reality — 313
Why Not — 317
Selected Press — 321

~ ~ ~

P R O L O G U E

Smith 2010

1950s
farm boy cow milker chicken/rabbit/hog waste remover
hod carrier

1960s
paper boy
car thief
house wrecker
sailor
electronics technician
poet
USNA midshipman
artist
hippie
life insurance salesman
husband

1970s
chemist
armed robber
prison cook
bankrupt
graphic arts salesman
Bethlehem Steel extra man
snow cone flavor delivery man
college graduate
newspaper film/music critic
milkman
avant-garde theater manager
women’s shoe salesman
divorced
computer operator
drug dealer
carnival laborer
adulterer
church janitor

1980s
programmer analyst
drunk
condo owner
publisher/editor
celibate

1990s
near dead
sober
european traveler

2000s
unemployed
cancer
remarried
expat


rare foto of smiling Smith – foto by Smith

 

haiku redux

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

chair legs – foto by Smith

I received 4 haiku comments on my New School of Household Haiku blog yesterday, and they’re all pretty good.

~ ~ ~

keyboard sits quiet
room is dark with morning words
I hear the church bells

– Stone Ranger

~ ~ ~

i do the left shoe
& then i do the right shoe
ev’ry fuckin’ time.

– fake dada [sumbitch]

~ ~ ~

shivering inside
not liking the ice and snow
Michigan cold sucks

– Rune Warrior

~ ~ ~

Gazing out the win-
dow I see naked trees and
no heat from sun

– Jack McGuane

~ ~ ~

Plus I added this to a commentor’s comment:

it’s funny – i never wrote haiku until february 19, 2005 when i was lying in my bathtub soaking and toking and reading Lao-tzu’s Tao Te Ching and i lost my hold and the book fell into my bath water. the following haiku appeared in my mind and i broke out laughing and got out and wrote this down:

Holy Water

As I lie reading
‘Tao Te Ching’ drops in bathtub
I soak in Tao juice

haiku are easy to write, but so hard to write well. i’ve got a hundred or so by now and maybe 10% zing zen.


chair legs – foto by Smith

 

the new school of houshold haiku

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

cherry blossoms in winter – foto by Smith

The academics tell me haiku has to be about nature and the four seasons – no overt man or man-things except by metaphoric extension. Yet as I read the greats I see they frequently break these rules —

Bashō (1644-1694) writes of drinking enough to go to sleep, of sleeping during the day, of an entire family standing around a grave . . .

Buson (1716-1783) muses how slow the day in the city goes, how lovely his lover’s “white fan” is, how cold wearing borrowed body armor can be . . .

Issa (1763-1827) talks of a priest giving a sermon at a crossroad . . .

Shiki (1867-1902) writes of looking back down the road just traveled and not seeing one recently met, of walking home in the dark after fireworks, of offering a ten year old boy to the temple, of noon naps.

Now maybe these are bad translations, but the old masters appear to violate the “rules” American academics have laid down for genuine American imitations of Japanese haiku. (My source for this is An Introduction To Haiku – An Anthology of Poems and Poets from Basho to Shiki by Harold E. Henderson, 1958).

So screw rules. Nature was important to the Japanese because that’s what they had back then. Nowadays we’re mostly an urban living household dwelling world, so I’m starting my own school – call it The New School of Household Haiku. We’ll include whatever sounds, sights, seekings, soothings, sorrows arise around the house and city as well as urban and modern philosophical ponderings. Nothing is excluded, as long as the 5-7-5 three-line syllable count is observed — and even the 17 syllables is but a suggestion because both the Japanese and Jack Kerouac used 17 syllables only as a starting point, not destination’s end. Do as can be done is the rule of my school.

Here are a few practice household haiku from my new school of use and you.

~ ~ ~

Household Haiku

The cherry blossom
And the spoon on the table
Which is not haiku?

The moon is okay
But not a moon-faced old man?
How does this honor?

Outside my window
Strange sounds swish through the night
Metal beasts in heat

Black tea to rouse me
Beatnik tea to mellow out
This tea life I lead

The baseboard heater
Too much electricity
But heat is so nice

The silence sizzles
As the moon hangs over mind
Hear inner hollow

They say I can not
So I’m going to start the School
Of Household Haiku

Not haiku nature
But haiku around the house
Zen hid in shadow


om – foto by Smith

 

snoetry poetry goetry

Monday, January 18th, 2010

5 poets: Lady K, Wendy Shaffer, Jean Brandt, Lester Allen, John Dorsey – foto by Smith

We fed our cat early Saturday and drove east to Erie Pennsylvania to be two of 36 featured readers (plus an hour open mic) in a 12 hour poetry reading.

As Lady and I set off, we passed a sign saying “ERIE PA” and I said, “Hmmmmmm, eerie pa . . . scary ma . . . and strange siblings — it sounds like YOUR FAMILY.”

“Do you really think my mom is scary?” she asked with a tentative edge.

“No, but since I started out with ‘ERIE PA,’ I had to go to ‘scary ma’ psychologically, and once you have eerie pa and scary ma, it just naturally leads to ‘strange siblings’ — that’s just the way my brain works. It’s all about the word play, nothing real about your family.”

But I can see how she could hear my words as some sort of dark judgment on her family, especially since Freud says there are no jokes. (Her family is actually quite nice to me and very easy to get along with, even though I’m four years older than her mom and 5 years older than her dad . . . in fact, Lady says I should be going with her grandmother because while I’m 27 years older than my wife, I’m only 20 years younger than granny).

My brain leaps and plays before I know it, without asking permission or giving me a heads up, so I speak before thinking or analyzing how my surreal statements might be taken by others. I’m not used to being believed, especially when I’m aiming more for droll, dry, absurd, sardonic. Who knows how many folk I’ve left angry along the way due to some surreal one-liner I dropped in their lap.

On many levels, communication between life forms–especially humans–is fraught with peril. In fact it’s darn near impossible. When we say anything no matter how innocuous, others hear our words from within their own self-centered needs, tics, fears, insecurities, beliefs and misperceptions.

But I can’t worry about others, cannot control how they hear or think or where they’re starting from. I’m a decent person – I mean well, try not to hurt others, try to be polite and non-aggressive. But when words start playing Surreal Tag in my head, it’s best to let them out at once before they corrupt what little I’ve left upstairs.

Anyway, we drove two hours, stayed for 7 of the 12 hours of scheduled Snoetry Poetry, drove two hours back. An 11 day just for us each to read 12 minutes. Poets are crazy. But it was worth it – heard some good poetry and gave a reading that felt tight for the first time in years. Back before we left the country in 2006, I’d finally gotten some power and magic in my readings. . . I’d watch the room go silent and people start to pay attention within a poem or two. Our readings in London and Krakow reinforced this, but my last major reading was in 2006 and I lost my magic in the last three years — had good words but a lackluster performing style. Finally this reading I recaptured my mojo and am back in the game.

Lady got some of the loudest applause and vocal cheers — she read her long poem The Swim and a couple outrageous selections from our unpublished memoir of my life titled Criminal.

Found out later I was filmed while reading and appeared on the Channel 12 WICU-TV’s news at 6 and 11 pm, but I can’t find anything on it online.

All in all a good place to have been. Thanks to poet/hosts Diane Borsenik and John “Jesus Crisis” Burroughs for including us. They host a monthly reading called Lix & Kix with featured poets and open mic every third Wednesday here in Cleveland at the Bella Dubby coffee & beer bar in Lakewood.

Here is the list of poets in case you know any.

Snoetry – 12 hours of poetry and music:
A Winter Wordfest in North East (near Erie), Pennsylvania,
on Saturday 16 January, 2010
at The Last Wordsmith Shoppe (which unfortunately is closing due to poor sales)

Lester Allen (upstate NY)
Mary Biddinger (Akron, OH)
Dianne Borsenik (Cleveland, OH)
Kent Brown (Jamestown, NY)
John Burroughs (Elyria, OH)
Cold Heart Youth (Erie, PA)
Nabina Das (Ithaca, NY)
DubbleX (New York, NY)
Aleathia Drehmer (upstate NY)
John Dorsey (Toledo, OH)
Christopher Franke (Cleveland, OH)
Steve Goldberg (Cleveland, OH)
T.M. Göttl (Brunswick, OH)
Sammy Greenspan (Cleveland Heights, OH)
Michael Grover (Toledo, OH)
JJ Haaz (10-string guitarist, northeast Ohio)
Clarissa Jakobsons (Aurora, OH)
Chuck Joy (Erie, PA)
tj jude (originally from NC)
Lady K (Cleveland, OH)
Zach King-Smith (originally from CT)
Lara Konesky (Columbus, OH)
Joy Leftow (New York, NY)
Berwyn Moore (Erie, PA)
Brian Morgante (Erie, PA)
Zachary Moll (Monroeville, OH)
Alex Nielsen (Toledo/Cleveland, OH)
Dan Provost (Worcester, MA)
David Schein (Jamestown, NY)
Wendy Shaffer (Cleveland, OH)
Dan Smith (Cleveland, OH)
Steven B. Smith (Cleveland, OH)
Carolyn Srygley-Moore (upstate NY)
Sherman LS Royal Stewart (Cleveland, OH)
Vladimir Swirynsky (Cleveland, OH)
Cee Williams (Erie, PA)

The reading was in North East, Pennsylvania which is a misnomer because the town is in north west PA, near the Ohio border.

One of the best performers was Wendy Shaffer, the poet cat lady who loaned us one of her 15 cats while we live in Cleveland. Her “Not Me” poem–which says while some women may try to conform and not make waves, she won’t–had her throwing back her head and screaming NOT MEEEEEEE as her final line. She would be a hard poet to read after. I’ve never seen her give a bad performance. She’s definitely one of my all-time most-amazing poet favorites ever.


poet & cat lady extraordinaire Wendy Shaffer – foto by Smith

 

whorl turn

Friday, January 15th, 2010

violencia – foto by Smith

I wrote this one from what I perceived to be the mindset of the previous Vice-President. It’s nastiness is not my own.

As The World Turns

Slant the shade
Dim the blight
Dampen shame
Skim the light
Play the game
Place your blame
It’s best to screw
Your partner right

No need to kiss
Or cuddle coo
Ain’t making love
We gonna screw
Screw the good
Screw the weak
Screw the hood
Screw the meek

No good guy here
No humble geek
I do you ill
You touch my cheek
No turn of head
For second blow
I knee you now
I lay you low
I lay your life
I lay your wife
I lay your dog
I go hole hog

Don’t mess with me
For don’t you see
It’s how I’m made
I don’t work right
This step aside
For weaker scum
It ain’t my stride
I’m different drum
I’m psycho cur
I’m whiskey fun
It don’t occur
I’m making some

I do my do
I deal my deal
You slow my pace
Ain’t no appeal
No human race
Can help you heal
For once I done
I be done deal
So no more nice
Call me ice
Pick to the heart
The darkest part

– Steven B. Smith, 1-26-2005


take heart – foto by Smith

 

me myself i

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

the blizzard of id – foto by Smith

Found this on the last page of my back pocket notepad – three different entries fill the one page, yet flow into a found poem self portrait.

Me = need
Myself = logic
I = ego

I’ll piss any where
but I like to shit at home

Each night I go to bed wiser
knowing more of what to do
tomorrow but tomorrow
forgets —
is this my life
over&over?


The Big Necessity
The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters

by Rose George – foto by Smith

 

the ravelled sleeve of care

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

body mind – foto by Smith

“The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep.” – W. C. Fields

I am no longer the sleeper I once was but still manage to get the job done right most nights, so I was somewhat taken aback to come across a pretty plethoric plague of online articles, studies, and advice on sleep and sleeping. Here’s but a fractal fraction of a taste.

Not Guilty By Reason Of Sleep

Feng Shui, A Solution For A Good Night’s Sleep

Sleep Boxes: Coming To An Airport Near You?

Sleep. . . And Get Rich

In Bed With Someone: Do I Sleep Better?

“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?” – Ernest Hemingway

Should Couples Sleep In Separtate Beds?

Eat More Bananas, Get Better Sleep?

Lack Of Sleep Increases The Risk Of Colds

Sleep Better, Golf Better

Retirement (And Money) Can Improve Sleep

Warm Skin, Cozier Sleep

“The serpent, the king, the tiger, the stinging wasp, the small child, the dog owned by other people, and the fool: these seven ought not to be awakened from sleep.” – Chanakya

Get Sleep, Get Smart, Get Sane

Energy Drinks Stealing Sleep And Sanity

Could Sleep Aid Your Contact With The Divine?

Want To Be More Creative? Just Sleep On It

Older Women Sleep Better Than Men

“Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.” – Noam Chomsky

Women Prefer Sleep, Water To Sex

Wake up, women: Sleep is a feminist issue

The Scent Of Sleep

Who Needs Sleep?

My Top 10 “Don’t” List If You Want Your Beauty Sleep!

Teens Who Don’t Get Enough Sleep Risk Depression and Suicide

“Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine.” – Saint Thomas Aquinas

Want To Be Smarter Than A Fifth Grader? Be A Better Napper Than A 2-Year-Old

Top 10 Sleep Mistakes And Their Solutions

Is Sleep All It’s Cracked To Be?

How Sleep Is Like Steroids…Without The ‘Roid Rage’

Stormy Weather, Stormy Sleep

“I have never taken any exercise except sleeping and resting.” – Mark Twain

Sleep Is Sanity

How Sleep Smart Are You?

Sleep Late On Weekends To Fight Fat

Nap vs. Caffeine vs. More Nighttime Sleep?

How Sleep Improves Memory And Cultivates Genius

Sleep Tips: How To Sleep Better, Lose Weight, And Live Longer

When I woke up this morning my girlfriend asked me, “Did you sleep good?” I said “No, I made a few mistakes.” – Steven Wright

The Girlfriends’ Guide: Sleeping Single Terrifies Me

Sleep Challenge 2010: The Good, The Bad And The Coffee

‘Don’t Go To Bed Angry.’ Oh, Really?

STUDY: Sleep Helps Us Let Go Of Negative Emotions

3 Things About Sleep I Wish I Had Known Years Ago

Sleep Deeper With Better Nutrition

“Life is something that happens when you can’t get to sleep.” – Fran Lebowitz

Sleep: Most Adults Get Insufficient Rest

How Late Did You Sleep In This Weekend?

Sleep: Mother Nature’s Weight Loss Drug

The Young And The Sleepless

Pooping Where You Sleep: Bad for the Economy

Whatever Gets You Through The Night

“Better to sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian.” – Herman Melville


sleeplessness – foto by Smith

 

winter candy

Sunday, January 10th, 2010



winter candy – fotos by Smith

 

dead elvis 2010

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

Elvis foto taken in Krakow Poland – fotos by Smith

Elvis turned 75 yesterday – that’s 42 live Elvis years plus 33 dead Elvis years.

Dead Elvis made $55 million dollars last year, $403 million these past 10 years, and $4.2 billion just while he was alive.

John Lennon said “Before Elvis, there was nothing.” Of course he also said that another name for rock n roll would be Chuck Berry (whom Elvis admired greatly).

I saw his first appearance in 1956 on the Ed Sullivan show and wasn’t all that blown away (of course I was 10 years old) but when I heard the first few notes of King Creole, I was “gone gone gone, jumpin like a catfish on a pole.”

Here are a few more quotes from other famous people.

Elvis is the greatest cultural force in the twentieth century. He introduced the beat to everything, music, language, clothes, it’s a whole new social revolution — the 60’s comes from it. – Leonard Bernstein

I think he maybe just got a little tired of repairing all the broken hearts in the world. – Tom Waits

I wasn’t just a fan, I was his brother. He said I was good and I said he was good; we never argued about that. Elvis was a hard worker, dedicated, and God loved him. Last time I saw him was at Graceland. We sang Old Blind Barnabus together, a gospel song. I love him and hope to see him in heaven. There’ll never be another like that soul brother. – James Brown

If life was fair, Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead. – Johnny Carson

You know, Bush is always comparing me to Elvis in sort of unflattering ways. I don’t think Bush would have liked Elvis very much, and that’s just another thing that’s wrong with him. – Bill Clinton during the 1992 presidential campaign.

When I first heard Elvis’ voice, I just knew that I wasn’t going to work for anybody, and nobody was going to be my boss. He is the deity supreme of rock and roll religion as it exists in today’s form. Hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail. I thank God for Elvis Presley. – Bob Dylan

Before Elvis, everything was in black and white. Then came Elvis. Zoom, glorious Technicolor. – Keith Richards

The Postal Service is being wasteful in spending nearly $300,000 to promote its Elvis Presley stamp. To break even, they would have to sell more than one million stamps to collectors who do not then use them. – Ralph Nader, just a few months before the US Postal Service announced it had made a record breaking US$31 million on the strength of some 120 million unused Elvis stamps, out of the 500 million which were sold, the most for any commemorative stamp in US postal history.

That Elvis, man, he is all there is. There ain’t no more. Everything starts and ends with him. He wrote the book. – Bruce Springsteen

A lot of people have accused Elvis of stealing the black man’s music, when in fact, almost every black solo entertainer copied his stage mannerisms from Elvis. – Jackie Wilson R&B singer







Elvis fotos and occasional collage by Smith

 

 
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