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Archive for July, 2011

Oaxaca (wuh-HAWK-uh)

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

Collage I made and lost in Oaxaca, Mexico – foto by Smith


On roof in shade under blue sky
sun hot
wife asleep in chair
with empty beer
me buzzed
white rose petals
once pink
slip from bud
fall to floor
woodsmoke in air
mountains surround
clouds in between
opium seem

— Smith, 7-31-2011

Oaxaca is pronounced wuh-HAWK-uh. It is a mile up in the Sierra Madre mountains in southern Mexico, not far from where John Huston filmed his father Walter Huston and Humphrey Bogart in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre in 1948. We lived there from December 2007 through March 2009 when we moved back to Cleveland.

There. I bound myself to write 31 poems in 31 days in July, and I wrote and posted 32. Interesting process — wrote stuff I never would have written, posted stuff I’d never have posted . . . a lot of which worked, so it was a rewarding exercise. Still, I doubt I’d do it again — my poems tend to be slippery critters, don’t liked to be ordered to perform.

It’s not often you can illustrate a poem with a foto, but the foto below shows the roof, the wife, the beer, the chair, the shade, the sunlight, the sky, the rose . . . and me buzzed behind the lens, of course.

Lady on our roof patio Oaxaca Mexico January 3, 2009 – foto by Smith


Unfettered Folly

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

Weathered would – foto by Smith

2-fer-1 — new poem + new song uploaded.

Unfettered Folly

Rocks roll
wills wail
sorry soul
gone to hell
didn’t hafta
coulda changed
you know I ax’ya
not to range
but blame don’t walk
and talk don’t shame
when aim won’t work
and chalk can’t chain
you walk your cell
a day at a time
knowing full well
you did the crime
of being born
of buying in
full face forlorn
fool human sin
bad design
not my fault
get on the wire
to the Keeper’s vault
it’s His work
it’s His line
He shouldn’t shirk
my misalign
an even deck
is all I ask
what the heck
I can do the hack

— Smith, 7-30-2011

And here’s a new Smith / Apartment One song collaboration: Onward Ho . . . my words and voices with Peter Ball’s music, mix and recording. It’s the 1st song at

Clearly – foto by Smith


Body & Soul

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Soul – foto by Smith

Body and Soul

Sneezes, yawns, stretching
feel so fine, as does laughter
in spirit/ flesh flare

— Smith, 7-29-2011

Body – foto by Smith


Busride Mountain, Mexico, 2008

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Back of the bus – foto by Smith

Busride Mountain, Mexico, 2008

Burros in streets tied up outside houses.
Live chickens on seat next to me.
Small pig further up, by the dog.
Back of bus bouncing.
Seats hard.
Wife sick.
Pregnant woman vomits out window again.
Same overwrought cd plays for five hours.
Baby wails.
Children on road in rain hold up bags of fruit for sale.
Rest stops are asking the driver to stop to piss on road.
Waterfalls cascade down mountain.
Mist rises from clouds below.
Road half-washed away.
Passing on blind curves.
At each curve a shrine for those who missed.

— Smith, 7-28-2011

Mexico mountain mist – foto by Smith


Hand Jive

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

4 fingers – foto by Smith

Hand Jive

Why four fingers
and not three
or two and a tentacle?
nobody talks fingers
it’s all opposable thumbs
without which of course
certain things wouldn’t do
like hammers
axes, pole dancers
no children skipping rope
tieing knots
unzipping zippers
without the gripper
bye beatnik cool snap
thumbing a ride
unbuttoning clothes
and it’s not easy I suppose
for those all thumbs
to compose
Gogol’s “The Nose”
though that’s more finger territory

— Smith, 7-27-2011

The Nose by Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol, a satirical absurd Russian short story from 1835-36

Johnny Otis – Willie and the Hand Jive, 1958

Eric Clapton – Willie and the Hand Jive, 1974

Opposable thumbs – foto by Smith


The Parse & Shuffle

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Oxidizer – foto by Smith

The Parse & Shuffle

Salamanders are moist and sticky
regenerate limbs
the only vertebrate to do

I’m sweating sticky moist
Mom said I regenerated my foreskin
I am not a salamander

What I need to regenerate
is my child eye innocence
to view true again

Decades dull the edge
scar the heart
off the aim

The door perceived
I cannot reset see
I am experienced

I sit in the dark
watch the traffic light change
bet on the color

— Smith, 7-26-2011

Go – foto by Smith


Two Truths in Want of Fiction

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Ghost window – foto by Smith

Two Truths in Want of Fiction

There’s a ghost of a chicken’s squawk
In the small dog yap penned across the way
Been barking two years now
Guess it’s got nowhere to go

There’s an urgency beating at me
Beating at me beating at me
An urgency beating at me
And I ain’t no drum

— Smith, 7-25-2011

Ant farm – foto by Smith


Livin’ Learn

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

Push – foto by Smith

Livin’ Learn

Just cuz it did don’t mean it will
Or if it could, can can’t fulfill

— Smith, 7-24-2011

Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle – foto by Smith


The Shape-Shifter’s Serenade

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

Cassandra – foto by Smith


Weather report should
report whether tomorrow
be fair or despair

— Smith, 7-23-2011

There, that’s it, a surreal senryu, today’s claim for a poem.

Since 1964 I’ve written anywhere from a couple poems some years to 94 in others, and everything in between — and from 1975 through 1985 I wrote none at all, just did a lot of art and drank.

But I’ve been on a roll lately and decided to try to write a poem a day throughout July.

The first 21 days went smooth as a politician’s fingers in your pocket.

But I woke up dry yesterday and had to fake it by writing a poem about the well being dry (a decent though definite second shelf attempt).

Today I woke not only dry but busy, so went through last year’s back-pocket notepad and came up with the skeleton for this one, plus another dozen one-liners I can maybe seed some poems around.

I also found another surreal shorty in my lines-2-b-used file.

The Shape-Shifter’s Serenade

I used to date Miscellaneous
until she married
and became Mrs. Ellaneous

— Smith, 7-23-2011

Maybe they can count as today’s poem, even though the second sounds more like a standup comedian’s one-liner; so does the top one now that I reread it . . . perhaps in a skit by Steven Wright.

Here are a few Steven Wright lines for those not in the know:
“Support bacteria – they’re the only culture some people have.”
“When everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.”
“If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?”
“Eagles may soar, but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines.”
“Dancing is a perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire.”
“Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.”
“Shin: a device for finding furniture in the dark.”
“Join the Army, meet interesting people, kill them.”
“When I’m not in my right mind, my left mind gets pretty crowded.”
“Boycott shampoo! Demand the REAL poo!”

Only 8 more poems to write, but I don’t think I’m going to make it because my muse and style run more toward letting poems happen on their own — or at least on them insisting on a bit of birthing aid — rather than sitting down and writing them on a self-imposed schedule.

No parking – foto by Smith


Well Rung Dry

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Kathy’s Klown – foto by Smith

Well Rung Dry

Bop on down to the bubble machine
To get myself a bauble
Sign say nothing there to share
Sorry for your trouble

No poem in my Poem Box?
No wit in my Wittier?
No candy in my Chimney Sox?
No pretty in my Prettier?

You’re on your own kid
No entertainment here
Our hep hop hid
Our time kill mere
Backside this tarnished mirror

— Smith, 7-22-2011

Well rung dry – foto by Smith


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