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keep singing same old song, with new verses


front of Smith’s reading book of poetry – collage & foto by Smith

Yesterday I gathered 270 of my poems from 1964 through 2010 into a handmade book for open mic readings around town and then made cover collages for them (see above, below).

I arranged the poems alphabetically by title, which amazingly changes everything because the poems no longer carry the expected weight of theme or quality or likeability or chronology — and of course this way I need neither index or contents. Reading alphabetically also leads to some delightfully unexpected juxtaposition of style, mood and subject matter.

My last handmade poetry reading book was five years old and about one quarter the number of poems, which means I’ve got much more ammunition for the open mics now. Plus I’ve not seen many of them for a decade or more so am getting a whole new appreciation of some of them. For example, Lady really likes this anti-TV one.

In the Temple of the Echo

In the Temple of the Echo
in the moment of the mind
in the error of the airwaves
in the arrows of the kind
lies a hurting healing
taking pleasure from the tried
to forgotten shadows
on the ladders of the blind

Oh take me to your leader
to the maker of this slime
and at their feet I’ll wallow
worshiping the awful
waste their shallow taste
brings life’s kine
Sheep sadly settled
graze government gray
cheap and badly saddled
approved payments pay
in first born chattel
less than cattle
while TV mentals
televise mime
breaking elemental
rights of mine
mind to mind

Hey in there . . .
anybody home?

– Steven B. Smith, 4-9-2005

Reading through them I feel good, will happily be judged by my own words past, present, future.


back of Smith’s reading book of poetry – collage & foto by Smith

One Response to “keep singing same old song, with new verses”

  1. Jesus Crisis says:

    like your poem a lot

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