Blog Home Agent of Chaos City Poetry Zine Buy Stuff!
...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 October, 2011

Cliff Notes

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Welcome – foto by Smith

Cliff Notes

Life is like the leaves
breath and chance and sweet romance
in and out we weave

Finish my coffee
feed the cat to stop her squeak
fix her wanting wheel

My progress raises
some questions of gestation
and delivery

I figure that grass
is herbal meditation
for slowing the fast

While coffee’s flowing
liquid speed in legal form
sanctioned by the law

But that’s just within
what’s the jive around and bout
out in nature’s hood

Spring sprungs from brown ground
first pinks and yellow sparkles
then the reds and whites

Summer steeps in sun
lazy licks and likes and fun
with your special one

Fall autumn red leaf
yellow tree drops one gold tear
grass green with envy

Winter smacks us low
nasty ice and biting snow
nowhere nice to go

— Smith, 10-31-2011

Inner outer we – foto by Smith


I’m Not as Bad as All That

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

Self portrait – foto by Smith

This is a Frankenstein’s monster of a poem with stanzas stitched together in spite of how they feather because it’s the way the words came out my brain.

I’m Not as Bad as All That

You know you can’t be a total rat
when you have a cat purring in your lap
and it doesn’t get old
when your wife still wants to hug and hold

It’s the simple pleasures
that grow in glow to future treasure
the niceness of now
expanding exponentially somehow
into eternal internal wow
that puts the zing in Zen
the now to when
the then in been
the in to end

Friends to send fondness
Freud to eschew hostess
feet fueled by mostess
method by madness

So please allow me to amuse myself
I’m a man of stealth and pain
older I get
less I know
faster I go
losing most of what I’d gained

— Smith, 10-30-2011

Cat autumn – foto by Smith


Garbage begone

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

Lot closed – foto by Smith

12 years ago the world’s population reached 6 billion people.
Monday, we hit the 7 billion mark.

It took millions of years to reach 1 billion people in 1800.
Took another 130 years to reach 2 billion in 1930.
30 years later: 1960, 3 billion.
14 years later: 1974, 4 billion.
13 years later: 1987, 5 billion.
12 years later: 1999, 6 billion.
12 years later, 7 billion.

The way things are going, in another 12 years we’re likely to have 0 people polluting the rest because Mother Earth will say “Goodbye, game over, sorry you came, don’t let the door hit your ass on your way out, won’t miss you now you’re gone.”

“People who need people” are ruining the earth, her animals, plants, air, earth, water, people, our nest, and each other.

Plus it’s getting real hard to find a parking place. When’s the Rapture going to come so all the good pure moral folk will be lifted up to Heaven to make more room for the rest of us? Oh, wait, there are almost no good pure moral folk walking around, so the Rapture’s not going to do us much good room-wise.

On a sour note, I found these senryu in my poems-2-b-maybe-used-someday file. Never posted them because they’re all down, sad, negative, and I’ve been trying to reduce my sadness contribution to our cultural gestalt lately because the ripples one sends out affect and effect the WMQ — the World’s Misery Quotient.

13 Sad Senryu in Search of Sense

Feeling uneasy
I’m worry worn and weary
train wail in the night

I walk this earth floor
sad, creaky, and tumbled sore
dumb as stumble bum

My sacred shadow
secret shade unhappy in
misery and angst

Each man an island
Every woman inlet
War is unmixed match

Greed, covetousness
envy, sloth, anger, and pride
Satan’s seven ins

Each in birth arose
Seven sins approacheth
Seven sins come close

Atavistic shit
post-apocalyptic chic
let’s your rile rip

Restless want within
wrestles with way, when, and why
steeps itself in sin

Good doesn’t just come
Sometimes the wiring’s wrong
And our filters fucked

If I don’t know now
I gotta learn it later
or go round again

You can smell madness
It pours from the pits, the eyes,
the words that ring wrong

Sacred sacrilege
mostly plastic and wrapper
go garbage begone

We ain’t talkin’ if
society’s got to change
we be talkin’ when

— Smith, 10-29-2011

The walking dead – foto by Smith


Fast Flux & ScareCorps

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Sunrise – foto by Smith

Fast Flux

My life’s strange lately
fast, fractured, fractal
no consistency or underlying grid
to get a grip on
no platform for planning
or traction
it’s all Now! Important! Immediate!
yet constantly changing mutating
“This is happening”
“Oops, no time, can’t do”
“Time to go”
“That thing”
Thought it went can’t
“It changed”
go where don’t know
see hear foto
tulmultuous tableaux
strange brew
able few
who do
zoo due
socio-politico hoodoo
voluntary voodoo
for new view
true blue
us to

And that’s just exterior
Interior weirder
Wrong rung in would

— Smith, 10-28-2011

We need help making ScareCorps scarecrows from 1 to 3pm Monday afternoon October 31 in Public Square for a 5pm Halloween display. We are protesting corporations and City Hall’s not allowing Occupy Cleveland to camp (the new “permit” doesn’t allow for tents) in the Tom Johnson NW quadrant of Public Square per our legal right.

No experience necessary to join in. We need all the hands we can get. Plus it’ll be fun.

We need enough straw, burlap, twine, paint for faces, etc. to make twenty “ScareCorps” to lay as sleeping figures around the quadrant. We’ll write a corporation’s name on each “sleeping” ScareCorps. I’m figuring we can use old pillowcases with blown up balloons inside for their heads and burlap for torsos. Arms and legs optional, depending on creative input.

Sunset – foto by Smith


Okey Dokey, Smokey Grey

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Banksy rat, London trash can – foto by Smith

This is my third and last Smokey Grey Private Eye story, which I wrote five years ago in Croatia. The original version seemed to go a bit awry, although the last third’s rather sweet with Lady sitting down and talking with Smokey. Hopefully this rewrite flows better.

Lady wrote two more Smokey stories in Morocco — The Case of the Wet Bandysnatch and Smokey Grey and the Great Rat Mythsssss, plus a vignette titled Smokey Grey, segue #1: Irony Board. I’ll check with her about posting them. Like these three, her’s are built around our actual conversations, but have an entirely different flavor.

About time I did some new Smokey stories, see what he’s been doing these past five years. He’s one strange dude

~ ~ ~

Okey Dokey Smokey Grey

Ever since he’d worked with the sentient plant stalks of Pod Central on the Fennel case, Smokey had a bad pack of pod puns running around his brain. Like, do pod people listen to Peter, Pod & Mary? Did a pod perv pound Peter Prod for pod porno? Could a pod piper placate a pickled pepper’s pink peccadillo?

It made him tired sometimes. He found himself watching folk more closely, trying to see if they were pods, or people. Strangely enough, some seemed both. So far he’d found three pod phylum: Plant Pods, Pod Pods, and People Pods.

Then there were the strange defectives, the none of the aboves. Smokey thought of them as the Pod Won’ts because they chaffed at hive behavior and mocked the mass ought they were taught. They could also mask their musk of must — unlike their counterparts the pod wannabees, humans who wanted to be pods; and most times wishing was enough, hence the passive packs of Pod People plodding along.

Pod Central was run by the Plant Pods (the good guys), while their adversary Pod Centrum was run by Pod Pods (waaaaaaay bad). Centrum also controlled the TV programming. Most humans didn’t know of either camp, but did watch TV, so were part of the poop.

Part of Centrum’s policy was to hunt down and destroy all pod defectives, lest they infect the sheep and make them bleat. Smokey thought he’d met one of their best weapons, a failed pod they let run free in order to trap defectives who gathered around him.

His name was Radish. Smokey knew him because he attracted good smoke. They’d met in Amsterdam and talked awhile while sharing some White Widow weed laced with black gungy hash. Radish was the only person he’d met who smoked as much as he did.

At the time, Smokey had been researching a case for the Demoplants – they’d hired him to trace Pretend Bushit and Vice-Torturer Chainy’s diseased roots. Turned out Chainy had been a mediocre Plant Pod working in Pod Central who’d soured and defected to Pod Centrum. Plant Pods gone bad were the worst because once they went to the dark side, they became tubers. Bushit was just a sad pliant momma’s plant that couldn’t grow right in sunlight because his brain cells wouldn’t glow, which made him dangerously susceptible to the dark tumor Chainy’s machinations.

In his investigation, Smokey discovered Central used birds as information collectors and messengers, while Centrum commingled with the rats of Rodentia for the same service.

He was following a blue bird following a black rat which was keeping tabs on Radish when Smokey first saw Lady K in Sektor 7. The sight of her lifted his weighted heart in unknown ways, so he kept following them on his off hours. Not stalking exactly, just . . . watching.

He overheard Radish telling Lady about being a Judas Goat for the Pods; how he was a defective pod, but *they* let him run free because other defective pods were attracted to him and they watched to see who responded and weeded out the non-programmables. Lady insisted she wasn’t defective, merely efficient. He said she certainly had efficiently escaped her pod sektor. She asked if he were going to take her in and he said no – her efficiency interested them, they were letting her run free to see if her defectivity had any potential military applications. She asked how they knew she wasn’t a viable pod and he explained she’d never worked right pod-wise, ever, not even as a child. She’d always been rogue: had lost her assigned weight, assigned husband, assigned profession, assigned possessions, assigned prejudices. And now she was unpredictable, couldn’t be run for guilt nor money; she had even stopped watching the same brain planners’ daytime TV, which was the final tip-off straw that broke the camel back in the haystack because not watching TV was definitive proof of defective podhood.

She was first attracted to Radish when he’d claimed Republicans tasted just like chicken (because they were) and that the voters would rise in November and eat them all because Radish had promised them one in every pot. Radish said he was sad he was being used as magnet for defective pods, but was glad he’d escaped Podville where everyone watched pod TV and TV talked next pod day at pod work over pod walls in pod buildings with pod parking and hot pod dogs patrolling their pod premises.

Smith and Lady K’s joking brought to mind Freud’s saying there are no jokes, so Smokey checked around. Radish did indeed appear to be a free range defective pod Won’t-Be whom Centrum should have sent to the Brain Camps years ago for root chopping and replanting but hadn’t; definitely Judas material.

Normally Smokey didn’t care and wouldn’t have interfered; but there was something naive, sweet and innocent about Lady K. He thought of her as the Woman from the Elf Woods; wanted to save her. Perhaps save himself in the process. Maybe even get laid. But more than that, he wanted to help her. For free, no strings attached. Smokey felt he should at least tell her what he knew, but didn’t know how to go about it. He was fairly shy and socially inept for an old dude who’d been around, so he kept following them, discreetly.

Sitting in yet another coffee shop (Radish seemed as enamored of coffee as he was of weed), Smokey watched as Lady K got up and walked over to his table, sat down and said “That’s your third cookie this morning. You have quite the sweet tooth. Why do you eat so many sweets?”

“They’re ready made food units. I don’t have to prepare them, they’re there when I need them.”

“Then why not eat carrots, apples, toast, bananas?”

“Toast is good, but it has to be prepped – needs cooking, buttering, leaves crumbs. I like bananas; they come with built in wrappers to keep your fingers clean. Carrots and apples aren’t real food, don’t satisfy, while apples are slimy, juice the fingers.”

“So what do you eat?”

“Coffee, cookies, ice cream, candy, pizza.”

“But that’s so bad for you.”

“No, that’s a misconception. We’re all the same thing – protons, electrons, quark by-products. All this difference is illusion. Doesn’t make any difference what I eat except for convenience.”

“Then you could eat rocks.”

“Yes, if I could get my mind in the right place. Rocks are the same stuff we are, they just move more slowly. Actually I need to get to the place where I can absorb what I need directly from the air. That’d solve my problems.”

She searched his face awhile, then said “You’ve been following us for a week now, and I need to know why.”

So much for discreet. He sipped his coffee, watched her. She was even more attractive up close, didn’t appear angry. She watched him back, polite, waiting.

“Mostly you,” he finally sighed. She sat there, silent. “You tug at me and I don’t know why, or what to do about it. But if that were all, I’d not be following you like this. I’ve stumbled across stuff you should maybe know.”

“Such as?”

“Radish. This is awkward. He has a checkered past.”

She laughed. “I know, he told me… said not only does he have a checkered past, he has a checkered present. Mentioned stolen cars, two armed robberies, a year in jail, drug use, adulteries. He says he’s the danger side of possible, and I believe him.”

“What about his being a Judas Goat for the Pods?”

“Told me that too. Not sure I believe it.”

“You okay with this?”

“Radish honors me, treats me with respect, tells the truth, is interested in what I do, and listens to what I say. Makes me laugh. Loves me. I never know what he’ll do or say next. You must know how unusual that is with men, being one.”

“Yes. I don’t respect many men. Or women. Do like plants and animals though; and children, as long as they’re someone else’s and go away. Okay. I’ll stop following you, leave you two alone.”

“What’s your name?”

“Smokey Grey.”

“Don’t you think I’m a wee bit young for you?”

“Way too young. Can’t help that. But I can still help. If you need me, call.” He handed her a Go Thee & Suffer Less card from his Church of Not Quite So Much Pain & Suffering after writing his number down.

She held the card, looked at him, watched his face awhile, silent. Smiled. “Okey dokey, Smokey Grey,” and walked away.

Smokey watched her disappear. Looked down, saw a cookie crumb. Ate it. Looked around. Saw a black rat watching him. Looked about for the bird.

— Steven B. Smith
written in Liznjan, Croatia 11-2006
rewritten Cleveland, Ohio 10-2011

Bluebird – foto by Smith


The Bluebird of Happenstance

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Choice – foto by Smith

The Bluebird of Happenstance

When things go when then
wishing is like clutching wind
but the game’s still rolling
as the genes keep going
due DNA diligence
so we do today in day after day
our daily sorrow
for carrot-stick tomorrow
and the old Get Yours Later After You’re Dead dance
but somehow they all want paid
upfront and right now
in advance
plus your fone#
longitude latitude
the jibe of your jib
and foreskin unfold
notarized in triplicate
with bondage
& 1st born

I’m more in the bluebird of happenstance
see what you can see
then referee
kind of be

Choice of action chooses answer
Wrong redaction looses anger

— Smith, 10-26-2011

Ghost of tomorrow – foto by Smith


According to Court, Cleveland violating 1st Amendment

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Cleveland violates 1st amendment – foto by Smith

The Occupy Cleveland legal folk really need to check this out because according to this 2000 court case, Cleveland is depriving us of our civil rights and freedom of speech and is in violation of the law.

~ ~ ~

Sign sez:

The court concludes the 1st amendment does not allow the city to prevent any orderly political protest from using public sleeping as a means of symbolic expression

Metropolitan Council vs. Safir, June 12, 2000

This case law protects Occupy Cleve!
Don’t tread on our rights

~ ~ ~

Here’s the actual decision. It is cut and dried in saying the protesters are right, the city is wrong. We can take Cleveland to court with this.

Cleveland violates legal freedom of speech – foto by Smith


Bad Brew

Monday, October 24th, 2011

What a web we weave – foto by Smith

Bad Brew

It’s not possession but possessing
that’s the rub
to oppose obsessing
obsession ain’t no good perfume
just bad brew

Old Testicle sez
nothing right or wrong
but means and method make it so
so moderation sometime saint
sometime sin
sometime just the waiting bin
if in and out allowed to twin
the told and false the tale to spin
within its web of glitter glow
to sticky wick our wings
and keep us below
and slow

— Smith, 10-24-2011

Bar code be – foto by Smith


I only eat dead frogs when I have to

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Robert Ritchie Memorial Service 10.21.2011 – foto by Smith

Friday night’s candle-lit Lincoln Park Memorial for punk poet artist Robert “Dick Head” Ritchie was one of those magic moments that give life depth.

Everyone told their Dick Head stories and I learned Robert was way weird way before he started doing drugs and alcohol. When he was nine, he put on a show in his backyard; he stood before his audience of neighborhood children and poured battery acid on his bare arms and laughed as the kids ran screaming home when his flesh began to bubble. For an encore, he rolled broken thermometer mercury down his arms and let the kids watch it absorb into his skin.

I ended my eulogy with this dead frog poem intestine story:

When fellow artist Wilcox was told of his death, he said, “Well as much as he could be a pain in the ass, he certainly did provide color for our little scene.”

That he did. In fact he gave me the best night of poetry in my life. Robert got us a reading gig at the Old Brooklyn Tavern in the early 80s. I had good poems but a seriously boring reading style and was ignored by the crowd. Then Robert laid down a clear plastic drop cloth, went back to change, and came back out wearing nothing but an octopus tied around his waist, it’s tentacles and his penis hanging down, swaying. He held a big stuffed green frog in his left hand and a butcher knife in his right as he started shouting:

I only eat dead frogs
when I have to
lifes a bitch not a bore
Im a slut not a whore
live for lust
loves a drag
I only eat dead frogs
when I have to

Art is free
but paint cost money
The galleries are full
of commies faggots & more
I dont let it get me sore
Cus I only eat dead frogs
When I have to

As he finished, he ripped open the belly of the stuffed frog with his butcher knife and the cow intestines he’d sewn into the frog the night before spilled out all over the plastic. And the noisy crowd that had ignored me went totally silent, all staring open-mouthed at Robert. Now *that* is about as fine as performance poetry gets.

I didn’t always like Robert, but I will miss him. In his own weird way, he was an innocent, a child of Pan amongst the stilted.

Robert Ritchie Memorial Service 10.21.2011 – fotos by Smith


Occupy Cleveland arrested, scattered, regrouping

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

temporary remains of Occupy Cleveland day 17 – foto by Smith

Notes from Occupy Cleveland Live Video Feed 10.21.2011

more than a dozen cop cruisers
five police vans
and an EMS vehicle arrive
cruisers block off streets
police drag couple people off
arrest and toss into van
SWAT team shows up in riot gear
not used due to non-violent crowd
200 people chant “LET THEM GO! LET THEM GO!”
begin arresting civil disobedience protesters in park
massive police presence
black shields black helmets black truncheons black boots
not used because crowd peaceful
chants of “So this is what a police state looks like”
“Occupy. Organize. Together we are one they cannot divide”
“Shame Shame Shame”
11:10pm rate of arrests speed up
“The whole world is watching”
protesters discover undercover cop filming them
cop runs away like coward
video sound disappears
I hear firm foreign female voice crisply say
“Governor Bashir is missing, refusing to engage in multiple debates”
Google and find it’s from Australia
sound returns
everyone in park arrested
for trespassing in a public park in Public Square after curfew
around a dozen busted
Erin arrested last
four cops carrying her face down by arms legs
over 100 protesters march to Justice Center
to demand accounting
appears closed
11:38pm video replaced by live Occupy Wall Street NYC march
11:59pm peek shows live foreign protest footage in sunlight somewhere
whole world protest
await next crisis point 6am when last permit runs out
7am no live Occupy Cleveland video
drive down with hot cocoa
seach 4 quadrants of Public Square
check Old Stone Church who’d promised sanctuary
no answer
go to Justice Center
go to police station
get visiting hours
protesters in jail until arraigned Monday morning
after Friday night arrest
back to Public Square
organizer Ben sitting alone on bench
foning for data
a dozen stragglers trickle in
drink our hot cocoa
plan today’s marches
plan more protests
more occupation
more civil disobedience
newspaper and TV news show up
we leave
await stage 2
power to the peaceful
shame on police clearing park for Huntington Bank
praise citizens standing on their legal rights
vote Mayor Jackson out of office
and put him on trial for class warfare
malfeasance in office
violating Constitution
and treason

— Smith, 10.22.2011

Whoa. Went down this morning to give the occupiers hot cocoa. Everything’s been cleared away. Here’s yesterday’s scene

Occupy Cleveland yesterday – foto by Smith

Here is this morning.

Occupy Cleveland this morning – foto by Smith

This work crew putting up the Christmas lights for Huntington Bank is why protesters were kicked out of park and arrested.

Occupy Cleveland this morning – foto by Smith

Last night’s Memorial for Robert Dick Head Ritchie in the park was special. Blog it tomorrow.

Here are a few more random Occupy Cleveland pics.

Occupy Cleveland day 17, regrouping


Copyright (c) 2009 Smith & Lady
Designed by Lady K