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Archive for October, 2011

Dick Head 2nite, Occupy Cleveland 2day & 2morrow

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Robert Ritchie Memorial tonight – foto by Smith

There will be a memorial to Robert “Dick Head” Ritchie tonight at 7:30pm in Lincoln Park, Tremont (aka the closest West Side neighborhood to downtown Cleveland, Ohio).

This afternoon we’ll be down on Public Square supporting the upcoming possible troubles for the Occupy Cleveland occupiers. Their protest permit allowing camping on Public Square runs out at 6am tomorrow morning.

But trouble could start tonight at 10pm because that’s when Cleveland’s downtown 10pm curfew goes into effect. The curfew seems illegal to me; just how does a politician decide that the citizens they represent are not allowed to be in their own public park after certain times?

Anyway. It is my understanding Cleveland has decided NOT to renew the protesters’ camping permit. From what I heard at last night’s meeting, it appears Huntington Bank, which is paying for the Public Square Christmas light displays, doesn’t want the dirty protesters to mess up their pretty light display and maybe scare away the visiting suburbanites and out-of-town tourists. Seems to me for the sake of not displeasing a Corporation, city council will deny its citizens their legal right to protest.

Some of the protesters may not be leaving. Don’t ask me which ones because I don’t know. That is between them and their conscience. If I were not achy and creaky in my bones and married with cat, I would be down there myself being civilly disobedient.

So folk, we REALLY need your support today. Starting at 1pm there’ll be a music and speechifying party celebration down in Public Square. Everyone who shows up will be one more person City Council, the Mayor and Huntington Bank will have to factor into their decisions.

If you wish to be most effective as a civilian people shield, show up at 10pm tonight when the curfew runs out and/or 6am tomorrow morning when the protest camp permit expires.

The city is threatening to confiscate their tents and possessions tomorrow morning unless we the people speak out now and loudly. You can also call your city council person and Mayor Jackson as well to let them know you want our government to reflect the will of the people and their Constitutional right to protest the actions of their government.

There is a bit of good news. The Old Stone Church, the oldest building on Public Square, has a long history of siding against social injustice and has offered to let the protesters occupy their church if the cops kick them out of Public Square.

Have no idea what’s going to happen. We’ll find out when we take tomorrow morning’s food down to them and see if they’re still there. Can’t be with them tonight because I’ve got to give Robert’s eulogy in the park.

Occupy Cleveland day 16 – fotos by Smith


Personal appeal on behalf of the universal, long term and immediate to participate in events today, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow and the days after that.

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Dear Friends New and Old, Family, Artists & Poets…

On behalf of the spirit of compassion, kindness, unity (yet with infinite individual voices), I ask for your help (via direct participation, spreading the word, and/or thinking and meditating) on three events pertaining to two seemingly distinct movements:

1) The Climate Issue, especially at this moment the Keystone XL Pipeline(stopping the building of and very soon, the extraction of oil from tar sands).March and Rally Sunday, 1 pm, starting at CSU.

And please, there’s this event Monday from 6-9 pm near Case Western to help people understand nonviolent civil disobedience (the event Sunday probably does not involve civil disobedience). Even if not planning civil disobedience in the future, if you have a friend or family member who might be, this training is useful because people who do participate in civil disobedience benefit from having help if they are incarcerated.

2) The #OccupyCleveland movement today and/or tonight, Friday, Oct. 21.

Please Occupy Today and/or Tonight. Occuping Tonight helps, as the “permit” for using Public Space is being expired by people who have no actual authority to expire it, as all space is Public Space, particularly Public Square. There is a group of overnight occupiers who need our support as there is the possibility that they might be arrested tonight for civil disobedience. Main events start at 1 p.m. and include food, music, and speakers. At 10 p.m. the curfew at Public Square starts.

And if you are not able to Occupy Public Square tonight (like me), then Occupy Today. And if you are not able to be seemingly physically present in Public Square today, please spread Word. And if you are too shy to spread Word, please think kindly about everyone on the planet.

A value of the Occupy Movement is that it tends to maintain a visible, persistent presence of concern. The people who are actively participating in this presence ask for time and for consideration of the complexity of this unity in which we live. I ask on behalf of you as my friends and acquaintances to please understand that we who identify immediately with the Occupy Movement and who are working for it are working with two main ideals of process which might seem to at first to be opposing poles. The two main ideals of process are individuality and unity. The end results desired are happiness, health and sanity. The intermediate vista involves as much kindness as possible while grappling with complexity and seeming contradictions, such as how does one deal with the concepts of unity and class consciousness simultaneously. The bounds are time and practical deadlines of effective thresholds with respect to particular tangible issues the movement can help.

Fundamentally, at a scientific level, all this that “you” see before you is unity–buzzing unity

We can see ourselves not only as margins, but as centers. We are each at the center of a canvas. We are the centers. We are the center of a moving canvas. Our skins are illusions which trap identity temporarily. Skin is just a focal point for movement of temporary persistence. Fundamentally, we are very much interconnected, very much one. Even if talking about spirituality makes one nervous, one must admit that the human animal is a bundle that extends into the air, into the water, that the human bundle is not so much a bundle as a smear of leaf in rain. That the smear is a pigment dot in a pixelist painting. That the smear is related to all the other smears. That if one opens ears and sees with eyes and remembers and perceives, one can see that the wind of sentiment is a universal wind with currents and eddies and turbulence–or maybe even a river. Many metaphors apply.

Having said all this shtuff, I feel that it is our very real responsibility to deal with the news that a person might have been raped by another person while staying overnight last Saturday night.

I believe in the ideal of truth and transparency, and I believe in full disclosure to an ethical threshold based on faith and reason.

I also believe in appealing to a greater understanding of complexity and human frailty.

I ask for compassion and help.

I ask for compassion and help and I have witnessed much compassion on the part of people who are participating daily and nightly in the Occupy Cleveland movement. I visit the overnighters every morning to bring hot water and sometimes food, and to get news for the daily digest as best I can given the complexities of humans.

I’ve witnessed overnight occupiers give homeless people shelter under the main tent so that homeless people can get out of the wind. I’ve witnessed overnight occupiers helping homeless be part of the movement and regain responsibility and participation.

Tonight is Robert Ritchie a.k.a. Dickhead’s celebration of life service. Smith and I are attending. Robert Ritchie was a friend of Daniel Thompson. Daniel Thompson was intimately involved in humanitarian issues and grappled with complexity. There are metaphors that apply to this situation–some themes: involvement, passion, heart, complexity and simplicity, and life and death. LIVE!

I ask you all, poets and artists, to be part of this movement in a very tangible way. LIVE!

Poets and artists are part of the divine, and a tradition of the divine, and a tradition of being carrier waves and ways of change. Be part of this voice and action, and understand it, and grapple with complexity. LIVE!

This is my personal appeal on behalf of the universal and immediate.

Peace and much love,



Doonesbury’s fluid flux facts + Occupy Cleveland day 14

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Ugh – foto by Smith

From yesterday’s Doonesbury comic strip:

Fact: The top 1% in this country grab 24% of all income.

Fact: The 400 richest Americans own more wealth than half of all Americans combined.

Fact: There are 244 millionaires in Congress. Last year, lobbyists spent $3.51 billion getting their attention. 10-19-2011

Kinda funny this doesn’t concern more folk.

We need to occupy people’s minds as well as our cities.

The Occupy Cleveland people ran out of water and propane last night and are low on food and need donations this morning.

They also need access to an industrial drier because all their clothes and blankets are somewhere between damp and wet.

They have 3 large canisters of propane but need some sort of hose coupling that would let them refill the small canisters from the large ones, if anyone has one.

And of course they need blankets, warm clothes.

Any little thing you drop off is really appreciated because it lets them know those not occupying appreciate what those that are doing.

They’re occupying for themselves, their own needs, but they are also occupying for us, because we’re all getting screwed by the powers that be — the Corporations.

Here’s their official NEEDS list:

Here’s their most current list of items that the Public Square occupiers need. Drop them off anytime during the day.




Wash laundry
Hand sanitizer


Long Underwear
Warm coats


Any and all food donations are welcome
If needed, cook food before you bring it
Vegetarian dishes
Cooler Ice
A tea kettle that whistles

Medical Supplies

Cough and cold medicine


Water Proof Storage Bins
Willkie talkies


The American dream – foto by Smith


The Man in the Grey Fennel Suite – Smokey Grey #2

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Private Eye Smokey Grey – foto by Smith

Here’s the second of my three Smokey Grey Private Eye short stories. This one’s my favorite.

The Man in the Grey Fennel Suite

“Gray day, Grey. Whaddya say?”

Smokey looked up from his 5-herb salad. “Not much. Do I know you?”

The answer was obvious from the guy’s uncomfortable way with words, the awkwardness with which he held himself, and his suit which looked to be a sticky dried gray highlighted in hints of glaucous green and yellow, with a whiff of anise. The man himself looked out of focus, neotenous.

“Does anyone ever know anyone? Or themselves? No. I need to hire you.”

“Then I probably say no. What for?”

“To follow my life.”


“Why not?”

“It’s the why knot – I’m a private, not a peeper.”

“No, no – wrong root here. I’m not sure who I am. Or what. I know nothing before waking up two sun specks ago in this ill-colored bad smelling suit.”

Smokey glanced at the suit. It could fit better. “Why me?”

“The web in the room said come down, see you, you’d help.”

“Spider or cyber?” No answer. Suit seemed confused by the question. “OK. Why not. Let me finish, and we’ll go up.”

Watching Smokey eat his parsley, chive, basil & dill salad made Suit uncomfortable. “Do you have to eat that? Isn’t that plant cruelty? Shouldn’t you be eating meat? Or women?”

When they arrived, there wasn’t much in the room – a few scattered umbels of small yellow flowers, some seeds, a Mouse Moth flitting from flower to flower, a burned stalk, a broken web, something that could be a floss farm over in the corner. Smokey tasted a seed – fennel. Hmm, Prometheus used a fennel stalk when he stole fire from the gods, so the burnt stalk was likely fennel too. That explained Neotenous’ suit color and smell. This was starting to stink of plant magic.

Over by the bed was a golden green mound of what could be ground grass or plant pollen. Smokey went over, bent down, sniffed.

His head filled with sweet green licorice pure potent unprocessed fennel pollen with overtones of acid. Sound started pulsating, chopped up, running backward. His vision faded out and in and out in vibrating black and white checkerboard squares. He lost his balance, fell onto the bed, into blackness.

Great Green Grey Stalks with yellow flower mouths and fibrous voices approached Smokey through his hallucinations. “Excuse our lack of manner, Mister Grey, we are sorrow for tricking you. The Pod Golem with you requires aid. We do not know enough yet to program him. His mission affects both flesh and plant. We are losing Bumble Bee. Soon not enough Bumble Bee to dance the plant. No dance, plant die. Plant die, earth die. Earth die, man die. All global warming global warning. Only seven growing season left before too late. After seven season, not enough ice to turn back. Much sun, small ice. Small ice, big ocean. Big ocean, less city, less food, less land, less man, less Fennel. All problem. We create Pod Golem to send out global warning, talk to press, politicians. Please steer Pod Golem. We learn from him, make more. Make each better until best. Send thousand out, million, hives. Talk. Educate. Lobby. If no progress in 3.5 growing season, send out new Pod Golems – saboteurs, assassins. Global warming will stop. Or man will. Fennel will not die. Fennel must live. We ask you, Mister Grey, because you respect plant spirit, commune much with marijuana. Tell us what you need to help send Pod Golem on his way. You can talk to us by sniffing pile pheromone dust. We will see need in your brain pan. Goodbye for now, Mister Grey. Until next blooming.”

Smokey came to, a warm buzz in his brain. Good stuff. He definitely looked forward to next blooming.

Fennel Suit was watching. As Smokey wondered what to tell him, Suit reached into his pocket and handed him a spliff. Grey lit up, toked, offered the joint to Suit, who recoiled in horror blurting, “No, I cannot consume plant,” then plucked the Mouse Moth out of the air and ate it. “Is okay for you because this plant volunteered to be consumed by you. The Cannabis Clan holds you in high regard. As do the dust mites because your smoke makes them happy.”

Smokey smoked, thought, thought, smoked. The problem appeared manageable. Get Pod Golem a decent suit that didn’t smell, get him a large amount of money, show him how to wine and dine and bribe politicians, how to tell the truth while making it sound like a lie and lie like truth, then turn him loose in Washington D.C. as a Lobbyist. Let him learn the ropes, get the feedback back to Pod Central so they could upgrade their Golem Lobbyists, and repeat the process. After they bred out the bugs, no reason they couldn’t flood the earth with lobby Golems to bribe the world to walk the path of life instead of greed. He’d show them how to buy good government. That the world would not end would justify the means. And if it didn’t work, well, he had no problem with Plant Pod Assassins weeding out the disease; he might even help.

Smokey was already thinking he needed to sniff more pollen, tell the Pod Central Stalks that Pod Golem needed money, lots of it. Figured the plant kingdom knew where enough silver hair and golden earrings were buried to make it work.

Smokey smiled at Fennel Suit. “Tell you what I’m gonna do…”

© Steven B. Smith 2011
written 10-2006 in Krakow, Poland
rewritten 10-2011 in Cleveland, Ohio

Smokey Grey on the case – foto by Smith


Robert Dick Head Ritchie; born ?, died 10-12-2011

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Robert “Dick Head” Ritchie one year ago – foto by Smith

I’ve been asked to give the initial eulogy for Robert “Dick Head” Ritchie at his memorial service this Friday 7:30 pm in Lincoln Park. Guess they figured one ex-bad boy poet artist should send off Cleveland’s all-time champion bad boy artist poet.

Dick head was a punk poet performer publisher druggy alky artist-provacateur, probably from the late 1970s because when I met him in 1982, he was already in full anarchic bloom. Thanks to Robert, I read poetry and showed art at dozens of dark underground punk clubs where I wasn’t very well received..

When I finally bleed to death from alcohol and woke in intensive care in 1991, Robert was the first to call to see how I was. When I told him the doctors said I couldn’t drink anymore or I’d die, he screamed into the fone, “Then why don’t you die! I’d rather die than not drink!” I decided to live and haven’t drank in twenty years, while Robert continued on his wet path. I guess we both got what we wanted.

I met Robert in 1982 when there was a loud banging on my metal fire door in the downtown warehouse where I was living. I slid the door open and there was a drunken Robert whining, “You got any drugs?” I said no, but come back if you find any, and within the hour he was back, with drugs.

Robert was the reason Mother Dwarf and I got our first answering machine because when he got falling down drunk in the wee hours, my fone was the only number his brain could remember, and we got many a call. He was also one of only two folks Mother Dwarf didn’t like, and she liked everybody; Jack Micheline was the other.

I asked him why he called himself Dick Head and he told me that’s what his grandmother always called him.

He was a great cartoonist, a good artist, not the best father or husband, and he often failed as a human being. But he was loyal to friends, always happy to see you, generous with his drugs and alcohol and possessions and art, usually interesting, always original, and frequently funny.

He always told people I was his mentor . . . sometimes sincerely, sometimes sarcastically, although with Robert it was difficult to differentiate. Over a period of 25 years he published my poems and collages in Clevebland Rag-o-zeen and I published him thirteen times in Artcrimes.

He lived decades longer than most of us thought he would, abusing himself all the way; yet he died in his sleep on a friend’s couch, so I’d say that’s the best that can be expected and he won that game. As obnoxious as he could be, it’s amazing someone didn’t beat him to death. I believe he was in his mid 50s, but looked older, wizened, elfin.

It had to be hard being Robert . . . interesting yes, strange, much adventure in places most folk won’t go, but a hard road to walk nonetheless.

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. Believe I’ll tell my dead frog cow intestine story Friday night.

Here’s a video of Robert reciting Ooey Gooey at the Literary Cafe in 1992. This is about as sober as I’ve seen him.

This is Robert’s 5 minute avant garde piano solo at the Literary Cafe in 1992 (it actually works for me because it’s realtime emotion with a great ending).

And finally a video of him at the end of his opening set for Jim Carroll at the Babylon A Go-Go in 1991; he says he’s too drunk to continue, takes off the rubber breasts and loin cloth (which is all he’s wearing), dons a leather jacket, picks up his poetry and leaves the stage.

Robert & me, Tremont art walk October 2010
me wearing his handmade t-shirt I just bought for $10
fotos by Lady K


Rocket, rope, and water

Monday, October 17th, 2011

We cast each our own shadow – foto by Smith

The way my life keeps going faster and even seems to be speeding up reminds me of a repeating nightmare I had after getting out of juvenile detention for stealing cars in 1960.

The dream begins beautifully. I’m slowing floating down a gentle stream with sunlight slipping through the overhead leaves so it’s a slow strobe-light ride through alternating soothing shadow and sudden sunlight. But I’m not floating in or even on the water — I’m floating above it, 10 feet up in the air. I’m not flying because I have no control, just floating above the water following its flow. And I am ecstatic, pure happy, peaceful.

Then WHAP without warning I’m frantically hanging onto the end of a rope dangling from a rocket hurtling through black space and the turbulence is whipping me violently about and I know I simply cannot hold on any longer even though I do when WOOSH I’m back floating over the stream and I feel relief and glad but it doesn’t last because just like that I’m whack back behind the rocket, the entire dream WHAP WHOOSH back and forth over and over again until there’s no longer any relief when I’m floating over the gentle water because I know the violent rope awaits so I’m in constant fear until I wake up scared.

I had this dream at least three times, and in each repeating one I was immediately terrified to find myself floating peacefully through sunlight and shadow above sun sparkled water because I knew turmoil lay ahead.

There’s a lot going on in our lives right now, as there is in the country, the world, even the Universe — the scientists say the universe is expanding much faster than theory accounts for; they’ve also changed their minds about nothing being able to escape from a black hole; and now they think they’ve maybe measured something faster than light, which Einstein says is impossible but we Heisenbergians know all things are true.

Yesterday is no longer adequate preparation for today.

I find living in interesting times leaves less time for lazing about, soaking in sweet sloth, doing nothing with abandon, which is my natural mode. I’m a lazy activist tending toward hermithood, but I’m married to a manic activist who needs to save the world, and at times our multiple complex activities amid our weird recent mechanical malfunctions and financial stresses remind me of trying to walk that old rocket rope.

So if this is that dream, where is my sun dappled water? And when do I get to float downstream? It would be better for me this time around because I would enjoy the floating over water no matter what, even knowing the rocket lay ahead; and I could withstand the rocket rope rush because free floating sun shadow water waited down the way.

Guess that’s the difference between my being 14 and 65.

Shadows we shape – foto by Smith


2 protests for the price of 1

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

Oct 15 protest against the Keystone XL pipeline – foto by Smith is NOT a political blog — it is a blog of Lady’s and my life, love, art, poetry and adventures. It’s just Lady has turned into an avid activist for Mother Earth, so politics and protests have been creeping into the blog rather a lot lately. Of course if one is aware, then these are difficult times not to protest.

Lady K organized her first protest march yesterday. She and co-organizer John Clark got 30 folk to protest against the Keystone XL pipeline for an hour in front of President Obama’s reelection headquarters in Shakers Square.

As soon as we got there, security arrived in the form of a tall thin black dude who looked, acted and sounded like Samuel L. Jackson. He was cool. Told us what the rules were as far as his job was concerned, and once we reassured him that we could work within his rules, everything got pretty friendly. He even helped us expand our protest territory. As we left, he thanked me, said we were the nicest group he’d ever worked with.

It’s funny but as anti-authority and hot-headed as I can get around police, I became the nice-guy rule cop for the group, enforcing the legal boundaries of our protest action. I was smiling and friendly with everyone and didn’t have a single hassle with us or them. I guess we get what we project.

Most of our group were students who drove up from Oberlin College. A few were from the Sierra Club – they were feisty and older and immediately wanted to challenge the authorities, but Lady and I talked them out of it. The Oberlin students wrote a fine letter which listed our concerns, which we all signed and presented to Obama’s staff along with 67 petitions protesting the Tar Sands pipeline after the demonstration was over.

A fine day, a fine turn-out. Next week same place will be over 800 people protesting the Tar Sands. Good luck with Shaker Square security handling that group.

Just for the record, the Canadian Tar Sands project in Alberta Canada has forcibly removed the natives from an area the size of Florida. They’re going to scrape away the earth from the entire area just like in mountain top removal mining. This process uses and contaminates incredible amounts of water, produces 5 times the amount of global warming gases than normal oil drilling does, and the fuel they produce burns dirtier than normal oil.

Plus they want to run the pipeline from Alberta down through America to a Gulf port in Texas. The pipeline they are in the process of building is already leaking extensively, and this leaking pipeline is going to cross the largest aquifer we have in America which produces water for 30% of the US — the chances of tar sands oil leaking into our water supply are very high.

This is a major disaster on every imaginable level. They’re trying to justify it by saying the tar sands oil will supply America’s oil and gas needs, but in fact none of this oil will be going to the American market — it is all to be shipped overseas.

Lady’s co-organizer John Clark was arrested in the civil disobedience actions in Washington DC last month with their leader Bill McKibben, an author, educator and environmentalist. Their arrest foto was snapped and appears in this month’s issue of Rolling Stone, so John is ecstatic. John’s just over Bill’s left shoulder, in a suit with his head turned to his left. John is still wearing both arrest bracelets proudly more than a month later.

I feel encouraged that younger adults and the students are getting fired up. It took the Vietnam war protesters a whole 10 years to actually get things going big enough to catch folks attention; and it seems now 10.5 years after illegally invading Afghanistan, folk are finally starting to wake up to the money and lives war wastes, not to mention how Corporate greed is crippling our country’s economy and people.

John Clark with arrest foto in Rolling Stone – fotos by Smith

This morning I spent a couple hours washing dishes for Occupy Cleveland (day 11 of occupation). We took hot water and clean dishes down to them and found they were out of propane and water so dashed out and got 4 small propane canisters and 2 large containers of water.

So if anyone’s reading this, they need more propane, more water.

Tomorrow I hope to post the second Smokey Grey Private Eye short story: The Man in the Grey Fennel Suite

Oct 15 protest against the Keystone XL pipeline – fotos by Smith & Lady


Smokey Grey, Private Lie

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

Smokey Grey, Private Eye – foto by Smith

Here’s the first Smokey Grey Private Eye short story. I’d forgotten how odd and silly it was. Stay tuned for Smokey 2 and the Pod People (my favorite of my 3 . . . Lady also wrote 3).

~ ~ ~

Smokey Grey, Private Lie

Grey looks out at the cloudy unfocused day. He has vagina juice on his glasses, but he’s not sure if the smear is inner or outer fog or last night’s lady. It wipes off, so it must be lady. The day’s still gray.

Smokey lives alone in a dark room illuminated by two strips of red and green neon and the lonely glow of a computer screen somewhere deep in the dead steel city. He is rumpled, weary. He used to have friends, but drove them away. Used to have dreams, but they died – dreams of external fairness, internal peace. He no longer expects peace in this life, or even reason.

He does have one friend left, an alien he recently met at a bar, even though he no longer drinks. The alien has an expandable head which accordions out to give thought more room, but he does this only at night so no one sees. He’s not sure he believes.

Smokey knows no one tells the truth – only a truth, their truth, and even so they always lie. He also knows that flesh fails, always, but can be fun until it does.

He is lazy, stubborn, persistent, odd, old, his voice gravelly from forty years of smoking grass. He’s never solved a case. He’d unsolved some though: proved an honest man wasn’t; showed an untrue woman true; found a dead tree lived.

His office on a vague, nondescript road in a nowhere building with no desk, no secretary, no case load, no debt job to jab, just piles of old files unsolved and unsolvable, was being detoxed, so he sits on a bent bench in a neglected park and lights his last joint, taking his first slow toke of the day while watching the squirrels play with a dog, the dog play to a man, the man playing in shadow like dead smoke.

Something in the interplay of the dog and man reminded him of the Lost Whisper Tribe, the way they kept things unformed, never vocalized wire to strand, mean to maim, or lean to lame. And that reminded him he needed more grass.

The stuff he was smoking now was three-time-running grass. Yesterday, grassless at his kitchenless table, he’d said “Marijuana Marijuana Marijuana” three times quickly, evenly, then rapped once on the wood table with his knuckles and said “There, I’ve manifested it. It will come.” He’d looked about in mock seriousness and whispered, “Well, where is it?” Smokey talked to himself a lot; answered himself too.

Today while walking to the park, someone shouted “Grey!” When he stopped and turned, a dude he’s met at last night’s Urban-Jellen Test concert stepped out of an internet door, so Smokey asked, “Any chance of finding some smoke?” The guy reached into his pocket and said, “Here, somebody just gave me this. It must have been for you,” and handed him a small gold-green bud.

Three-times-running was an old metamorph breath trick he’d learned researching the Lost Whisper Tribe legends. If you whisper softly same phrase right way same way same rhythm same roll three times spaced slightly, three heart beats later the words will form themselves in the air and you could hear them softly speak themselves. The same logic worked with reality – project three quiet visions out into the Universe and watch them unfold. Anything can happen if you’re Jung at heart . . . especially if you’re too Jung to be a Freud.

Trouble is, you couldn’t do it twice, or even count on it working the first time because reality gets prickly when taken advantage of, and starts playing tricks, unnice ones. He’d learned that from Sham, his alien friend who claimed he used to be a reality adjuster, had sold unreal estate, but he’d given it up to come to earth to play right cheek in an acoustic buttocks band.

Sham was the only one besides himself he could talk to anymore.

The dog came up and sat at Smokey’s feet, sniffing his smoke. “Ganja,” the shadow man called, “Come here, girl.” The dog stayed, staring at Grey while Grey watched the shadow man, intrigued. He got up and walked over. The dog followed.

“Ganja her name?” Smokey asked. Shadow nodded and said, “I was wondering if you could help me with something.” Smokey nodded back, trying to get the man in focus, but the shadows kept moving. “Depends. What you need?”

“I went to see the Quantum Mechanix production of Chopin last night, expecting a piano recital. But all that happened was a man came out on the stage with a large pie pan and showed it to the audience. Then an amorphous individual came out with a negative review of the previous night’s performance and waved it at the audience. A third person came out dressed in a tuxedo and went to the piano to play, but was prevented by a woman with an ax, which she then used to chop the piano into small bits. Never did hear any Chopin piano music.”

“What’d you think of it?”

“Different, sort of interesting actually. And the sound the piano wires made while being destroyed were rather special. Reminded me of an old John Cage performance. What did they mean?”

“Well, the Quantum Mechanix is a comedy group; they deal in the surreal, dada, science. They were playing with Quantum Physics and the Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle which states reality is all states, all things at once – it doesn’t become any one thing until you ask it something, and then it collapses into the answer you expect. Like Schrödinger’s Cat experiment: put a cat in a closed box with a bottle of poison gas and a radioactive isotope. If the isotope decays and an electron hits the bottle, it will break, releasing the poison, and the cat dies. But the isotope may or may not decay, so until you actually ‘ask’ the question ‘is the cat dead or alive’ by opening the box and looking, the cat is both dead and alive and every state in between. It’s your asking reality to give you an answer that reduces the cat to the single state of dead or alive.

“The Quantum Mechanix were playing with Chopin’s name, showing it to you in all of its states. The word Chopin looks like choppin’ but sounds like show-pan. The first man was ‘showing you a pan’ – and since it was a pie pan, there were overtones of showing a pie at a fair, and of course harmonics of the mathematical pi as well. The next person produced a pan – a negative review – of the previous show, so it went from ‘show pan’ to ‘show the show pan’ or ‘show pan of show.’ The potential piano player was stopped from playing by the chopping of the ax, so his ‘would’ of playing was chopped short. And of course the lady chopped the wooden piano, so you have her ‘choppin would’ as well as ‘choppin wood.’ It’s all absurd, surreal nonsense.”

Shadow stood, silent, looking at Smokey, then said, “Rather a long way to go for a short distance.”

“Oh I don’t know,” Smokey replied, “it is rather interesting. Take Quarks for example… Quarks create all the building blocks of the universe – protons, neutrons, electrons, voltrons. But, when they’re not creating stuff to build us, they disappear, go away, cease to exist in this universe. When they’re required to make more stuff, they come back. So where do they go when they’re gone? How do they know when to come back from wherever they aren’t? Fascinating stuff.”

“Where do you think they go?”

“Decatur, Illinois.”


“Why not? They’re caterers of a sort. Must make noise. Have to be somewhere when they’re nowhere, and Illinois is as close to nowhere as I know.”

They watched Ganja take a crap.

Shadow said, “You should check that out. I know you’re almost out, and that’s good shit.” Then the sun came out, banishing the shadows, and he vanished.

— © Steven B. Smith
written in Krakow Poland 2006
rewritten Cleveland Ohio 2011

Smokey’s world – foto by Smith


Razors of the Lost Arch

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Razors of the Lost Arch – foto by Smith

Here’s our show tonight at Razor’s Edge Spa & Salon in Tremont.

Lady got the show, titled it Razors of the Lost Arch, picked the pieces, and hung it. It’s up Oct 14 – Nov 4, 2011. (Love the title.)

Her recent blog —

“Razors of the Lost Arch”
Opening Reception October 14, 6-10 p.m.

Enjoy assemblage art by Smith & Lady, eat stuff and bring poetry to read! Poetry starts at 7 p.m. with a “chime in” open mic format. Mystical, environmental and visionary poetry a plus to honor the salon, the spirit of the movies and the book, “The Razor’s Edge” by W. Somerset Maugham.

Razor’s Edge Salon & Spa
2673 West 14th Street
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 615-7074

It may be that if I lead the life I’ve planned for myself it may affect others; the effect may be no greater than the ripple caused by a stone thrown in a pond, but one ripple causes another. — The Razor’s Edge, 1944.

Speaking of art and olden days – 100000 year old art studio uncovered/

Razors of the Lost Arch – foto by Lady K



Friday, October 14th, 2011

Moving on doesn’t mean moving away,
‘cept from apathay
‘cept from moving up
Moving on is lateral
Moving on is not up or down
Moving on is like being in this plane where you found
you had no retirement savings,

Moving on is like you woke up out of this
dream where you had your sofa and your van
and your mortgage and your busy kid life

Moving on is like you woke up out of this dream
and you found yourself skimmed
blood in the mud
all that comfort you thought you had
all that comfort that was something for you
that dental plan
the perfect teeth
the skin problems, treated

And then they sold this, they sold that

They sold this and that and told you it was
all for jobs and progress and global stuff
like 99 points of light

They sell this and they sell that and they say
oh, it’s all free trade, they thinking
oh maybe we’ll think it’s fair trade they’re talking
about like those expensive but ethical chocolate bars
in the checkout line we you dare
to care…

Fair, free? Freedom, liberty?


Who are “they,” anyways?

They are “them.”

They are them, sure, that 1% with mouthpieces
They are them, sure, that 1% who’ve equipped
our sons with guns

They are them, sure, that 1%

Where are they in their fine houses with
their long driveways and shaded yards
quiet living room after living room
with all these cabinets
with all this glass
with all these things
but no one is living in the living rooms
except for people who clean them from
time to time and maybe little collections
of dogs who shit on the carpets.

Them and Us, Us and Them. And, is the thing.
And, is the thing and it’s like glue.
Without us, no them.
Without them, no us?


99% plus 1% equals 100%.
53% plus 25% plus 22% plus 1% equals 100%.

100% – 1% = 99% but that would be 100% again.
100% – 53% = 47%, which still equals 100%.
100% – 25% = 75%, which still equals 100%.

The math of violence.

100% can equal 1% distilled and detoxed.
This country needs a colonoscopy, doc!
This country needs a vegan diet, doc!

What is the one hundred percent?
The one hundred percent is ONE.
The one hundred percent is a vessel
The one hundred percent is a vessel that contains
ninety-nine percent and one percent
The one percent swishes around in the ninety-nine percent
The one percent swishes around in the ninety-nine percent
and becomes saturated with the ninety-nine percent
The sentiment of the ninety-nine percent,
so I hear,
at this point,
is 53% plus some 25% plus some 21%
This equals ninety-nine percent

And there is the ingredient of the broad swath of opinion
in the sentiment of this ninety-nine percent
It’s not, “this too shall pass.”
The sentiment of the ingredient of the broad swath of opinion
of this 53% plus some 25% plus some 21% is
“We cannot bear this anymore.”

We cannot bear this anymore
like that movie title “Something’s gotta give”
Something’s gotta give doesn’t mean giving up
Giving up gave up a long time ago
Giving up gave up and got up
Giving up gave up, got up, and is moving around
Giving up had a position which was flat on the ground
Giving up said, “What? I’m still here?”
And it saw that it was on the ground.
And giving up saw it needed to eat and drink
and got up and started moving around.

Giving up gave up while got got more
Got got more until there was no more got to be get
Got to be get was got by the ones who could no longer be bought
by the ones who were skimmed by their chins
and when there was no more left to trim
when austerity made even them, thin
when rice was no longer an option
when mud became the option
Giving up found itself in the mud
Giving up found itself in the mud in the position
which was flat on the ground
and Giving up said, “What? I’m still here?”
And Giving up got up and saw that it needed to eat and dring
and Giving up got up and started moving on.

Moving on never moved away, moving on stayed.
Moving on is a solution that works within
the vessel within which it whishes,
within which it is contained,
within which is is captured,
within which it is occupied.

It is occupied by virtue of being.

It is occupied by virtue of being 100%
no matter what

Because trimmed here and there
it is still 100%

It is always 100%

We the 99% and we the 1%
are the hundred percent.
We are the one hundred percent.
We are the one hundred percent.
We are whole.
We are ONE.



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