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Archive for February, 2012

Mother Dwarf, Lang and me

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Mother Dwarf & Smith – fotos by Jim Lang

The top 4 fotos were shot by poet-artist-potter-photographer Jim Lang. I was pushing Mother Dwarf to the Brandt Gallery for the opening of her one-woman show . . . probably her Lost & Found show in 2004 — she had five solo shows between her first at the age of 68 and the last just before her death at 79.

I looked up and saw Lang and lowered my head and said to Mom, “There’s Lang . . . should we run him over with the wheelchair?”

She laughed and replied, “No, too many witnesses.”

The fotos below are of Lang. Met him in 1986 when he submitted art to my first issue of Artcrimes. Have read poetry and published with him many a time and place since. He’s one of the good ones.

Lang, Lang, Lang-Smith-Lady – 1st 2 fotos by Smith, last by poet Wendy Shaffer



Monday, February 27th, 2012

Price checker – foto Smith

Mere Image

I sit on sidewalk
hand out
watching well clothed groins
asses pass
their eyes averted
purses closed
wallets clutched
change clenched in unforgiving fist
afraid to see
me as mirror
of coming future
current failure

— Smith, 2.26.2012

Gaunt – foto from Internet, artist unknown

Written as a poetry challenge for Blackbird’s MySpace blog which showed a foto of a hollow-cheeked man sitting on a city sidewalk with his hat out asking for help. Great foto, lousy situation; from the style of the dresses and hat, I’d say the foto’s from the 1930s. (foto just above).

Have – foto Smith


Carl Sandburg, from War Poems [1914-15]

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

Think of mom – foto Smith

by Carl Sandburg, from War Poems [1914-15]

In the old wars drum of hoofs and the beat of shod feet.
In the new wars hum of motors and the tread of rubber
In the wars to come silent wheels and whirr of rods not
      &nbspyet dreamed out in the heads of men.

In the old wars clutches of short swords and jabs into
      &nbspfaces with spears.
In the new wars long range guns and smashed walls,
      &nbspguns running a spit of metal and men falling in tens
      &nbspand twenties.
In the wars to come new silent deaths, new silent hurlers
      &nbspnot yet dreamed out in the heads of men.

In the old wars kings quarreling and thousands of men
In the new wars kings quarreling and millions of men
In the wars to come kings kicked under the dust and
      &nbspmillions of men following great causes not yet
      &nbspdreamed out in the heads of men.

— Carl Sandurg, 1878-1967

Boy did Carl ever get this one right. The poem is 97 years old, yet his “new silent deaths, new silent hurlers” prediction could easily describe our predator drones with which we kill folk by remote control using video game joy sticks.

Why war hex? – foto Smith


“Send me a postcard, drop me a line”

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

USPS middle finger postcard collaboration – foto Smith

Jef Scharf’s Possibly the last postcard Show last night at Gallery Wolfy Part II was absolutely brilliant both in content and context. He inventively hung the cards straight out from the walls so you could see both sides; and a plethora of fine cards they were from a large number of artists, including Brute Force from NYC. Outside of our own Two Dead Smiths, Two Live Smiths show two doors down from Gallery Wolfy Part II, this is the most exciting, pleasurable and mind-expanding art show I’ve seen in ages.

Jef’s going to keep hanging any postcards that come in between now and the next art walk reception on March 9th, so if you want to hang with the best, make a couple cards and mail them in.

Possibly the last postcard Show
Gallery Wolfy Part II
2676 West 14th Street
Cleveland, Ohio 44113-5216

February 24th until March 24th
Opening February 24th 5pm-7pm
Reception Tremont art walk Friday, March 9th 5pm-7pm

More info available at

One of my postcards became collaboration with the U.S. Postal Service — they pulled the middle finger loose in transit so it’s now standing up from the surface of the card giving the viewer the finger. (foto above).

A lot of the cards are from Musician / artist Brute Force from NYC, who played down at Pat’s in the Flats last night in honor of Chiplis’ 15th or 60th birthday (depending on how you count – he was born on February 29th so only has a real birthday every 4 years).

Brute Force had a single on the Beatles Apple label; it was produced by George Harrison, but EMI refused to distribute it because it was filthy. The lyrics are about the King of Fuh and I guess all the references to the Fuh King were just a bit too much for EMI, so the Beatles had 2,000 copies of the single pressed on their own. (see 1st foto below).

According to Wikipedia “Brute Force (born 1940) is the pseudonym of Stephen Friedland, an American singer and songwriter. He wrote and performed with The Tokens in the 1960s and wrote songs for Peggy March, Del Shannon, The Chiffons and The Cyrkle (to name but a few).”

Postcard show taste 2 – fotos Smith


The Last Postcard Show (2nite)

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Postcard show taste 1 – foto by Jef Scharf

Jef Scharf blog & PR for tonight’s postcard show (in which Lady & I are included):

Possibly the last postcard Show
Gallery Wolfy Part II
2676 West 14th Street
Cleveland, Ohio 44113-5216

The postcard show is coming together and here are two shots of the basic feel of the thing. It will be a beautiful show and I will post some more images soon. A press release was sent out that looked something like this:

Possibly the last postcard Show
February 24th until March 24th
Opening February 24th 5pm-7pm

After Party at Pats’ in the Flats
performances by Brute Force & The Rainy Day Saints

Tremont art walk Friday, March 9th 5pm-7pm

Gallery Wolfy Part II will honor Deltiology, postcards and the people that still actively send them. Anything mailed to the gallery will be displayed so that both sides are visible or tiled to create an artwork. Postcards sent to the gallery will be available for purchase and cards designed by some of the more noted artists for future use will also be for sale. There will be a small amount of vintage postcards on display as historical examples of the art and because they are pretty beautiful.

The postcard has been used to send brief a message and picture to friends and loved ones since 1869. The earliest cards evolved out of hand delivered and adorned envelopes. Since the days of the Lipman postal card, colorful images illustrated world landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower for the traveler to mark a place and a thought in time. The United States Postal Service has struggled to remain the remarkable institution it has been in recent months. The Post Offices expects 252 of it’s 461 processing centers be shuttered before the end of the year. Mail will become more and more difficult and costly to send and receive but until then let us celebrate the postcard with it’s simpliest function and form.

Some of the artists that have chosen to create and mail for the show are: Reed Anderson, Jeffry Chiplis, Brute Force, Lee Ranaldo, Steven B. Smith, Maya Hayuk, Donna Henes, Anna Haifisch, Jo Meinke, Tamara Wyndham, Sto, Willa Johnson, Wendy Collin Sorin, Scott Helmes, Harley Spiller, Members of the Pro Failure Movement, Fred Cray, Talk Normal, Daniel De Cullá, Eva Peck, Aro Friedland, Holiday Anderson, Mark & Katie Deering, Ana Benaroya, Lady Smith, John Bennet, Lauren Thykeson, Anna Banana, Akiko Ichikawa, Roscoe Johanna Poethig, Audrey Anastasi, Melody, Beegu, Koala, Daniela Jauk, Amy Reid, Dr. Sara Mednick and “Your Sister”.

Jef Scharf for
The Director, Sales, Art Handlers, and staff of Gallery Wolfy Part II
February 22nd, 2012

Gallery Wolfy Part II is a storefront and art space in the Tremont neighborhood dedicated to aggrandizing the senseless, selfish, and occasionally interesting phenomena called art.

Brute Force is a legendary musician Steven Friedland who has written for The Chiffons, The Creation, The Cyrkle, Peggy March, and Del Shannon, played in The Tokens, played on the shows of Dr. Demento & Zacherle, has been produced by Geo. Harrison for Apple Records. In 1969 one of the most inspiring and noble acts was an expedition with best friend Ben Schlossberg to swim the entire Bering Strait, a “Cold War” stunt was aimed at drawing attention to “the closeness of the Eastern and Western hemispheres.” His music is available on BarNone Records

The Rainy Day Saints are simply one of the best bands in Cleveland.

Jeffry Chiplis will also be celebrating 15 years of birthdays at Pats’. (It is really his show and we are headed there because we have Chippy and Brute Force in the postcard show.)


PS – Chiplis was born on February 29th . . . thus is either 15 years old or 60, depending how one counts.

Postcard show taste 2 – foto by Jef Scharf


One Summers’s Sigh

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Defend music – don’t listen to Smith – foto Smith

Recorded a song today using a 1965 poem with a 2012 chorus. Same writer, 47 years between verse and chorus; 19 when I started, almost 66 when finished. Got to be some kind of record. Now if only I could get paid by the hour.

I’d classify this song as an urban stumblebum rhythmic blues — aka One Summer’s Sigh.

Music, mix, recording Peter Ball of Apartment One; words and voice me.

One Summer’s Sigh

Once upon one summer’s sigh
Not many tears ago
I took to bed a butterfly
And love began to grow

To follow her I sprouted wings
Full wondrous to behold
For they had many mysterious things
Entwined throughout the gold

  So I’m looking in my heart telling it to wait for me
  While stumbling in the dark for lack of better bait to be

We soared upon a silvered kiss
Flew high through emerald rays
I sipped her sated green abyss
And bled in blues the gray

We wove the autumn’s amber wave
Till sad we breathed the dread
That forms in lack of somber weave
Such is as love is led

  Looking in my heart telling it to wait for me
  Stumbling in the dark seeking better be to be

— Smith, 1965-2012

There are 40 Ball & Smith songs at, and I’m in the process of turning them into free downloads.

PS – I finally found my “better be to be” when Lady walked into my life 6 and a half years ago.

LovE – foto Smith


additional envy

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Additional envy parking – foto Smith

I experienced such a huge case of envy awhile ago I had to rent additional parking space for it; but fortunately I misplaced my key and forgot the lot and lost it all, so am happily envyless again

Om – foto Smith


Salve in saving see

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Silver lining – foto Smith

Knot Thought

I’m catching the worry disease
wondering what’s what
if something I undid
would make a different here
or thought thought bad
could space itself reshape
so hop from was to was
letting present slide
lost in if and when
instead of being
high mountain spring
newly sprung
flowing freely
down fresh firm form
found slanting
in rush to bottom
of problem
salve in saving see
instead this misery
of what-if be

— Smith, 2.21.2012

To go – foto Smith


Dead/Live Smiths show taste 2

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Miles to Go, 1999 – assemblage & foto Smith

75% of the fotos I took of our art show after we hung it and on opening night are unfocused. This is rare . . . it’s like reality doesn’t want me showing the show.

But here are a few of the remaining focused ones anyway. I’ll shoot the show better March 3 when we have our Saturday afternoon 5-feature poetry reading with open mic when there will hopefully be sunshine to help . . . I’ll become the Sunshine Shooterman Donovan sang about back in 1966.

4th Dimensional Family Art Show
Sacred Pulp
Two Dead Smiths, Two Live Smiths
Mother Dwarf Smith, 1926 – 2005
Cat Smith, 1957 – 1987
Lady K. Smith, 1972 – ?
Steven B. Smith, 1946 – ?

Show closing reception Friday March 10, 2012
Mastroianni Arts
2688 W 14th St, Cleveland, OH 44113
(in Tremont, 2 blocks south of Lincoln Park)

Poetry reading Saturday March 3rd 2-4pm
Kate Sopko, Cavana Faithwalker, Wendy Shaffer, Lady K and Smith
Plus music by Straw Man and open mic

Wendy Shaffer will be selling her brand new book of poetry “22 Years” which just arrived from India and is published by Lady K’s City Poetry Press

For 10 large fotos of the more 64 pieces in the show, go to

Show closes on my 66th birthday . . . then I move the poetry, art, memoir, etc to a side burner and start working on reversing my own inner and outer darkening decay — maybe learn how to play harmonica in the process. There’s stuff to be done; who knows how long the window remains open.

The memoir is in Lady’s hands now anyway . . . it’ll be published whenever she finishes the last edit and decides it’s ready. It’ll be published through her City Poetry Press.

Acid Snow, 2003 – assemblage & foto Smith

The Owl & the Pussycat, 2011 – assemblage & foto Smith

T.V.O.D., 2005 – assemblage & foto Smith

T.V.O.D., 2005 – assemblage & foto Smith

WPX5 for Bird, 1996 – assemblage & foto Smith

Mountain Music, 2005 – assemblage & foto Smith

THIS, 1994 – assemblage & foto Smith

Burning Down The House, 2000 – assemblage & foto Smith

Burning Down The House, 2000, detail – assemblage & foto Smith

Burning Down The House, 2000, detail – assemblage & foto Smith


3 Smith fotos on new Crisis chapbooks

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

Only Human by Definition by Jay Passer – foto Smith

Three more of my fotos are being used as covers for Crisis Chronicle Press chapbooks . . . this will make 6 of 18 of their publications so far with my cover fotos (2 of which included my foto on the back as well).

Believe there will be many more down the line since I’ve blogged between 750-1,000 fotos a year for the past 5.5 years, so I’ve got a lot of bait out there to catch artists’ eyes.

Only Human by Definition is a collection of 18 poems by Jay Passer. This 20-page chapbook, saddle stitched and lovingly hand-assembled using high quality mauve and gray cardstock with white pages, was published on 6 February 2012 by Publisher / poet John Burroughs of Crisis Chronicles Press. John manipulated this foto, turning it into a negative.

Only Human by Definition – by Jay Passer (CC#18).

Desire Lines by Chansonette Buck – foto Smith

Burroughs press release:
Crisis Chronicles Press is very busy this month. We already published California poet Jay Passer’s Only Human by Definition on February 6th and are planning to release two more chapbooks very soon: Primer for the Vanguard Youth by RA Washington on Monday the 20th and Desire Lines by Chansonette Buck to celebrate leap year on the 29th. Buy now and I’ll mail them as soon as they’re together.

(Smith note – all these books are $5 + postage and all are high quality and handmade).

Primer for the Vanguard Youth by RA Washington – foto Smith

This will give me five Crisis covers in a row and 8 of the last 10. Forgive my bragging but this makes me proud, tickles my fancy, escalates my oscillation.


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