shiftless harmony wrong

page 10 of work-in-progress Reset – collage & foto by Smith

Zen leaves me shiftless
Longing for the harmony
Of what’s right and wrong

page 11 & page 10-11 spread – collages & fotos by Smith

dork patrol


Dork Alert Dork Alert Contact the Fool Killer – we got to the Feed The Gays benefit to read our poetry a weeeeeeeeee bit early today, in fact a whole thirty days early. I got the date right but the month wrong – it’s on March 27.

Good thing it wasn’t today too — we’ve 8 to 10 inches of snow and more coming down so no one would have come tonight anyway.


number nine number nine number nine

page09 of work-in-progress Reset – collage & foto by Smith


Dork Alert Dork Alert Contact the Fool Killer – we got to the Feed The Gays benefit to read our poetry a weeeeeeeeee bit early today, in fact a whole thirty days early. I got the date right but the month wrong – it’s on March 27.


Only managed to do one collage last night and I was lucky to get that. Need more of a stash of images and words to play with. Was thinking these last 43 collages would take two weeks, but now I’m thinking more like a month — which is cool because what else do I have to do in this endless Cleveland winter of white, gray, ice, snow, cold, and high heating bills. At least I got wife and cat to keep me warm.

We’re opening the Feed The Gays art, poetry and music benefit over at the Bounce/Union Station night club today. Benefit begins at 5 and runs through 10; Lady and I are reading from 5 to 5:45.

Bounce / Union Station is located at 2814 Detroit Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44113-2708, (216) 357-2997.

Feed The Gays is the second annual benefit put on by The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Alliance (GLASA), a student group at Cleveland State University.

*note – in the collage above, the words may be too small to read — they read more or less moving from left to right: Boredom, Vigilance, Pensiveness, Adoration, Ecstasy, Rage, Fear, Annoyance, Distraction, Surprise, Apprehension, Loathing, Amazement, Grief, Disgust, Sadness, Terror, Anger.

page 8-9 spread – collages & fotos by Smith


Even a shape
has a feeling,
an angle
a corner.

is close to
but on the other side of

I hope, I hope.
“Social astuteness,”
I mutter to myself.

has always been a fetish–
covetable. My subconscious
is my foil.

Cognitive dissonance is
I smosh down one thing,
another pops up
to take its place.

The zebra represents
transcendence and
obfuscation of

How conscious
are we
of constructing

our nests?
And aren’t possessions
a way
of decorating the nest?

I want It as It is.
“Keep Feeling Fascination”
plays in my head l
ike the doppler trail
of a car…

might be one of my favorite
animals. Rats are
more interested in novelty
than drugs.

Reminiscent, reminiscent of…
the stairs to the loft…
my favorite movie,

It chings for me,
remembering madness
with nostalgia,
the balm of work.

Wearing a marketing hat lately
has given me
a new respect
for the art.

a sentimental

– Lady K

strange and stranger

page 7 of work-in-progress Reset – collage & foto by Smith

Only did two collages last night, but they’re even stranger and more intriguing than the other nine because they’re composed almost entirely out of images I cut from a 1983 psychology school book. That makes 11 collages, five days — only 43 more scrapbook pages to collage. Might be slowing down some because I’m running out of raw material, plus creative part of brain is taxed.

I didn’t do much collage / assemblage art after Lady K came into my life September 2005 because her existence and our leaving the country took up most of my time. I didn’t do much art in our 31 months of living outside the U.S. because we either had to leave what we created behind, carry it with us, or mail it home.

Lady did a lot of art in England, Poland, Croatia, France, Morocco and Mexico. Some she mailed home and the customs and postal people in the various countries broke it in passage; some we carried in our backpacks, and most she gave away. I think of her first art show as being in Pula Croatia when she displayed 6-8 pieces on the 3,000 year old arch in the city center, letting the passers-by take what they wanted. She did the same thing in Essaouira Morocco in an alcove by the sea.

I brought back one collage I made in Croatia, one from France, and one from Mexico (where I left another half dozen pieces that were among my better efforts over the last few years but were simply too three-dimensional to mail or move).

*note – since the small blue words around the head in the top collage are too small to read and are important to collage’s meaning, they say (from bottom going counter-clockwise): if and only / ought / but / should / must / if / and / only / but / ought / should / must.

page 6-7 spread + page 8 – collages & fotos by Smith

pages 4, 5, 6

pages 4, 5 and 6 from work-in-process Reset – collages & fotos by Smith

Last night’s three collages (above) seem to be getting stranger, which is okay since this is a book of dreams, perhaps my version of Carl Jung’s Red Book.

I’ve never done a project like this before, have absolutely no idea what’s next. . . I don’t even know what the collage I’m working on at the time will look like when done, much less what’s further down the road.

I don’t normally do this sort of art because book art is almost impossible to show to a mass audience, unless you go one person at a time.

But none of that matters because I’m feeling real good about creating again – have 9 collages in the past four days and around 120 senryÅ«/haiku stanzas in the past 4 weeks. Lady’s right – the misery of living in the poverty and freezing cold of Cleveland is indeed inspirational art-wise.

Plus I’m a week away from the final revision of our 327 page 103,292 word memoir of the first 60 years of my life titled Criminal – A True Tale Of Armed Robbery, Stolen Cars, Alternative Art, Mainstream Poetry, Underground Publishing, Robbing The Cradle, And Leaving The Country and I will be shopping for literary agents again in an effort to get it published.

I have a loving wife whom I love, a most extraordinary cat, and am creatively happy – now where’s my fame and fortune?

over view of book so far (minus page 6)
back – front cover
inside front cover / page 1
page 2 / page 3
page 4 / page 5
collages & fotos by Smith

sleep seep

inside front cover of Reset – collage & foto by Smith

I’m really getting into creating small 8″ by 6″ collages for the collage books Lady K picked up. Did one the first day, two the second, and these three last night. Only 48 to go.

The book (Reset )is beginning to look like a discontinuous quantum surreal comic book of dreams, especially since the inside front cover and the back cover both contain the same haiku:

Sometimes sleep slides us
One trouble to another
With but dream between

pages 2 and 3 of Reset – collages & fotos by Smith

ghost in the hologram

back cover Reset – collage & foto by Smith

The Meme Machine by Susan Blackmore suggests my ‘conscious self’ does not exist, that in fact my body/mind does whatever it does, and then one half second later creates a ‘story’ that’s fed to my conscious me so I’ll believe ‘I’ decided and did what’s already been done.

Her basis for this is intriguing – the mad scientists wired test subjects and watched their brains while they did complicated tasks.

The scientists figured they’d see the brain sections light up in three distinct stages:
1 – We make the decision to do the task,
2 – Our brain figures out how to do the task,
3 – We do the task.

Instead they discovered that
1 – Our brains figure out how to do the task,
2 – We decide to do it,
3 – We do it.

Our brain-body begins an action before our self is aware we are going to do anything, and our ‘self’ we think is running our show is actually always lagging one-half a second behind whatever our body-mind is doing. Our ‘self’ is a passenger, not the driver.

But that’s okay because not only is my me not the real me, we also live in a hologram.

The recent article “Our world may be a hologram” reports scientists accidently found evidence the Universe is composed of discontinuous holographic chunks where the space time continuum breaks down (like a newspaper foto breaks down into disparate dots if you look at it too closely), and there’s low-level low-level cosmic noise where the clumps clatter about.

One scientist had previously predicted this noise should exist in theory and what it would look like if found. A second group of scientists in search of gravitational beams — totally unaware of the first guy’s theory — dug two 600 meter trenches at right angles to each other so they could split a laser beam and send half the beam down each trench and back; once the two halves were recombined into a single beam, they could study it for changes expected from gravitational waves. They didn’t find any graviton action, but did discover an inexplicable rumble in the low registers they could not get rid of and could not explain.

Finally the two groups met, exchanged data, and their analysis suggests we live in a hologram, that our entire universe is a hologram.

So, not only is my ‘self’ a fake story told to me by my body-mind, but I am also a projection living in a three-dimensional hologram representing some distant two-dimensional master program. All hail our Master Programmer. I am holographic code in some cosmic game boy.

I figure the half second lag between my body-brain action and my knowledge of same must be the time it takes the Master Universe Holographic Entity Program to update and refresh our Universe’s contents — sort of a half second cosmic screen refresh.

Shakespeare would have loved this stuff, what with his we’re all masked players upon the stage. We do seem to be reading other’s scripts.

I wonder where free will comes in in all of this. Can holograms adlib?

(Here’s the article if you’re curious.

page 1 Reset – collage & foto by Smith

front cover Reset – collage & foto by Smith


Reset – collage & foto by Smith

Lady K bought half a dozen expensive hard cover 8″ x 6″ notebooks for 50 cents each from a dying bookstore last month. They are high quality products with thick black pages, hard pressed board cover stock and heavy wire binding. She thought they’d be ideal for us to collage. I finally started collaging mine last night with the cover above. Each one has 25 pages which means counting covers, I can do 54 small collages in it.

Lady K also just published her 24th online issue of – this issue has 17 pages consisting of 33 artists and poets, 15 images (some with text), 30 poems, and one review of Yuyutsu RD Sharma’s book of poetry “Amsterdam Spacecake” by a NYC college professor.

In rough order of appearance, this issue’s contributors are: Bro Vic, Cathleen Daly, Geoffrey Landis, Steve Goldberg, Jesus Crisis (aka John Burroughs), Nick Traenkner, Charles Spano, Steve Thomas, Mary Weems, Wednesday Kennedy, J Williams, Max, Jerie Green, George Wallace, Andrew Boerum, Mike Finley, Kimmydbones, Joe Balaz, Mark Kuhar, Christine M. Brooks, Cheryl Townsend, Herbert, Marcus Bales, Heller Levinson, Michael Grover, Jim Lang, Larry Smith, Mary Hughes, Peter Leon, Andrew Boerum, Robert Scotto (with Yuyutsu RD Sharma), Lady K, and yours unruly Steven B. Smith (I got in because I’m sleeping with the publisher).

She’s added a new feature this issue — readers may now leave comments on individual entries.

View new City Poetry at

Creature from the blue lagoon – foto by Smith

cold. . . miserable. . . and thrice poor

glassy eyed – foto by Smith

I didn’t give Cleveland her due due in yesterday’s blog.

Not only was she chosen by Forbes as the city with the worst winter weather as well as the most miserable city to live in, Cleveland was also judged the poorest city in the nation in 2004, 2008 and 2009. So we end 2009 the poorest city and begin 2010 as the most miserable city with the worst winter weather.

Cleveland’s just rolling in awards.

My wife Lady K and I are miles apart in our life philosophies, yet oddly enough we both chose to move to Cleveland in our thirties — me in the 1970s, she in the 2000s.

We are wired differently — she is skittish, often worries, frets for the future and is frequently unsure of both herself and today, while I am a more mellow fellow, a free flow-er, mostly hopeful about the future even though I suspect we’re all doomed. I live in today while she worries more about tomorrow and the validity of what she said, wrote and did yesterday. I’m also essentially lazy while she’s driven. One could say she’s humble while I’m arrogant.

I’m mostly grasshopper; she’s partly grasshopper with a serious side serving of ant.

I suspect one major cause of our difference is generational – I am from the first bubble of the baby boomers while she is mid Gen-X. I grew up in a much more innocent time — not that it really was innocent back then because the same shit that goes down today with war and murder and theft by those in power and corporate malfeasance and racism and sexism went on in the 1940s and 50s too, but most of us didn’t know it then because TV was in its infancy and we believed what we read in the paper media and heard on the radio and saw in the movies.

I was born in 1946 and grew up in gentled times, pre-information flow times, on a 40-acre farm in Norman Rockwell Land, raised by poor but loving and playful parents. As a result, I am a cock-eyed romantic optimist who has since developed a sincere veneer of cynicism due to my real-life real-time experiences with folks and systems along the way.

Lady was born in 1972. She’s the MTV Generation, Scooby Doo, big 80’s hair. She was born into TV, raised on computers, grew into internet. There weren’t many nice lies left in the world by the time she came into her faster, meaner, more dangerous and stressful environment.

I formed my optimism in more hopeful times, she her paranoia in an era tinged in atomic armageddon. . . I had the hippies, she the geeks and goths . . . I rock n roll, she the boy bands . . . I ran with the flower children, she was born out of them. . . plus there’s our differing exo-skeleton situation — I’m tall, male; she’s short, female.

We are both the product of our own distorted envelopes, our displaced times, desperate trials, disparate trails, and differing nature nurture notations.

And yet with all that there’s this — we’re each each other’s favorite person.

sunset striation – foto by Smith