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excerpt from Serial Suicide chapter of SotL


sober Smith June 2011 – foto by Lady K
probably the gentlest foto ever taken of me

Commercial:::::::Lady K, Mark S. Kuhar and I are reading poetry tonight at 7:30 pm in the Serafino Gallery in Little Italy as part of their current Outsider Art, Underground Poetry show in which we also have 36 pieces of art displayed. Serafino Gallery 11917 Mayfield Rd. in Little Italy, Cleveland, OH 44106 · 216.721.1025

Well, I’m done with my final rewrite of Stations of the Lost. Now give it to Lady for her final go-thru and we’ll get it online as a pay-per-print on Amazon within a couple months. After that, I’ll figure out how to turn it into an e-book for cheap download as well.

After rereading the entire thing, I think I can predict what many will feel after reading it — you won’t like me very much but my what an interesting story.

Here’s the first half of the “Serial Suicide” chapter; the second half, which we’ll skip, is even more of a downer.

April 21, 1991 while watching the movie Mortal Thoughts downtown with Mom, I started swallowing small amounts of liquid, which was odd because I wasn’t drinking anything. An alcohol induced ulcer at the base of my esophagus had hemorrhaged and I was swallowing my own blood. I came home scared and didn’t tell Mom.

While Mom was downstairs in her space, I lay in my loft for fourteen hours vomiting blood into a bedside bucket, passing out, coming back, all the time my little computer brain computing, saying, This is serious, you’re going to have to go to the hospital. But hospitals mean money, and I was poor, with no health insurance. I’d vomited blood the previous December for four hours, but managed to stop it through will or luck, so I thought maybe I could stop it this time too.

For the first six hours I thought, Right now I can get up and drive to the hospital.

Couple hours later, more lost blood, more unconsciousness, I’m thinking, Well now I can take a bus to the hospital because I’m too weak to drive anymore.

Later it became, Now I have to call a cab.

Each time I’d start to lose consciousness from blood loss, I’d think, Is this it? But each time I worried about Mom who still needed my help and company, so I came back. All through this, I collected the blood in the bucket and wondered, What art piece can I make with a bucket of my own blood? Buckets of human blood aren’t easy to come by, so this was a seriously unique art supply.

Finally I couldn’t do anything but weakly call over and over until I woke Mom. She called EMS. I was too heavy for them to carry down from the loft because I weighed ninety pounds more then from all the wine and food. I rolled out of my water bed, crawled on my belly across the floor and slid like a seal head first down the loft stairs where they put me on a sling-chair and carried me into the ambulance, where I immediately disappeared into unconsciousness. When I returned to this reality after an indeterminate period of time I looked at the nurse and croaked, “Wow, nice to be back,” and threw up a huge amount of gelatinous blood. It looked like pre-chewed Jell-O as it quivered in her tray.

Oh, I was gone. I mean, I left my body. Before–in the fourteen hours of vomiting blood—I would occasionally lose consciousness and there’d be a nether region where I was aware I might not come back, and then I’d worry about Mom and return. But down in the ambulance I zoomed right past that point. I was gone. When I regained sight, it was literally, Wow, I’m back, and it felt good, I was glad.

I officially quit drinking the next day in intensive care the third time they shoved the tube up my nose and down my throat—the first two times I gagged it back out with my throat muscles. I decided right then if I lived I would never have a tube shoved up my nose again due to alcohol. Haven’t drank since.

The docs dripped six units of blood into me. After five units, one doctor turned and asked, “Where’s it going?” A friend inquired later if I knew what type blood I’d received; said no, but that the next time I’d gone downtown, I’d bought a five hour boxed set of James Brown music.

Back home, Mom had dumped my blood bucket because the rot smelled bad. Everyone’s an art critic.

After I stopped drinking, Mom admitted, “It was so bad living with you drinking I was thinking of moving out.”

“Where would you have gone?”

“I had no place to go, but I couldn’t have stayed with you the way you were.”

I got a call from Dick Head right after I got out of intensive care.

“I can’t drink anymore or I’ll die,” I told him.

“Then why don’t you die!” he screamed. “I’d rather die than not drink.”

** excerpt from chapter 39 of “Stations of the Lost – a true tale of armed robbery, stolen cars, outsider art, mutant poetry, underground publishing, robbing the cradle and leaving the country” by Smith & Lady


drunk Smith 1984 – foto by Smith

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