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...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 May, 2012

Big Bam

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

KS & the Ferns – foto Smith

I like this one. Recorded it today with Peter Ball . . . his music, mix, recording, my words and singing.

A nursery rhyme from our time … BIG BAM on Many more Ball & Smith musical musings at, all freely downloadable. It be an odd lot of assorted oddities..

Big Bam

Whatcha gonna do when your oughts run round?
Whatcha gonna do when your thoughts dip down?
Whatcha gonna do when your heart ticks tight?
Whatcha gonna do when it’s not all right?

Darned if I know. Do you?

It’s not the fall but the getting up.
It’s not the fail but the making up.
It’s not the fault of the other folk
If you’re the butt of some cosmic joke.

Ring around the rosy pocketful of money
Ruining rusty time has gotten all sorta musty
Government not trusty, all our air gone dusty
If we don’t break through we’re gonna all fall down

All fall down

Forget the outer, it’s the inner view.
Regret’s your master unless you renew.
They say yesterday gone round the bend.
But tomorrow chance to make amend.

Yea go for it. Yes. Do it

It’s here and now, this not that
No matter what jumpstarted this act.
Work in to out till sparkle clean
Then start fixing this social machine.

And boy do it need fixing

Run around the rotten, good time forgotten
Government still plottin bad air for our coffin
Stealing from our pockets much much too often
It ain’t so swell at the bottom of this well

It ain’t so swell at the bottom of the well
It ain’t so swell down bottom of this well

Mary had a little lamb
Turned into a piece of ham
Doesn’t matter what I am
It’s all because of Big Bang Bam

All because of big bang bam
Thank you mister ma’am

whatcha gonna do
whatcha gonna do
whatcha gonna do
just whatcha gonna do

— Smith, 2012

Many more Ball & Smith musical musings at, all freely downloadable. It be an odd lot of assorted oddities.

Pre-butterfly – foto Smith


Far too fast the sun

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Double shadow – foto Smith

Far too fast the sun
Day driving shadow shadow
Till life but blurred sum

— Smith, 5.30.2012

Flash pass – foto Smith


from Abeilhan to Coulobres via Lady K

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Lady in Abeilhan, France – foto Smith

Here is an early video short from Lady K, her second I think, from April 2007.

It was delightful: we were living in the south of France in a hilltop village and walked to the next hilltop village through vineyards (from Abeilhan to Coulobres) where I lay in the sun, my head in her lap, in front of an old stone church, and babbled a 33 year old poem.

It is two minutes forty-seven seconds of sweet gentleness . . . Being in South France >>> by Lady K.

The Corporate Mean

The promised land of milk and honey
Hides the men of scars and shame
Who came they say to slay their dragon
Yet slayed to stay the same

Sleep creeps like Jason’s wool
Down shelf enchanted eyes
Devolved from Mammon’s muse
These self selected wise
Inside their phantom rooms
In fairy tale castles
Devoid of viable dooms
As integrated assholes
They sway
Illusion’s lies

— Smith, 1974

Beziers, France – foto Smith


day-after-a-great-creative-event blahs

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Waiting for the audience beneath Chiplis neon art display – foto Smith

Got the day-after-a-great-creative-event blahs.

It’s inevitable . . . I work myself up for a reading or art show, they turn out great, I feel fulfilled, light, spacious for the rest of the day, then wake the next morning as everyday human with no event, no audience, no hey-gang-let’s-get-together-and-put-on-a-show.

Rather like the postpartum blues, only my children are ephemeral hours-only creatures who slink off to Yesterville as soon as the mic and lights are turned off and the doors locked.

But at least they linger in folk’s memory minds, affected hearts, my own accomplished columns, and FaceBook fotos posted by folk I often don’t know.

Some folk were thinking Poetry at Pat’s in the Flats was my gig. Not so. I was just the lucky selected Master of Ceremonies. In fact this was the first one of these things where I didn’t read my own poetry, except for briefly reciting Grease Your Grill while one poet who’d ridden his bicycle 20 miles in from Willoughby had to get a drink to whet his poetic whistle before performing.

No . . . found-neon sculptor Jeff Chiplis and Brandt Gallery owner Jean Brandt were talking after the Sacred Pulp poetry reading Lady and I organized in March; they saw how much fun I had as MC and decided to find me another gig. They both know Pat from Pat’s in the Flats since the 1980s and thought of her place. Jean pretty much set up all the logistics and suggested the musicians while I found the poets with the help of Lady K.

It was a great time, great place, with one of the most power-packed open mic lists I’ve encountered. Fun and populous enough to do again in 3 months.

I’ve found when reciting Grease Your Grill (especially from memory when there’s more physicality in my ununciation), the ladies always laugh more than the men when I say “Lady let me lick your lime,” and the whole room always breaks out in laughter at the last line.

Grease Your Grill

I’m an oven cleaner baby
Come to scrub your grill
Yes this oven loving man
Mean to steam your grill
Get the heat back baby
Flame and fire the thrill

I’ll rub your rust off lady
Get your grid to shine
Rid this mood of maybe baby
Lady let me lick your lime
Make much meat that might be
Moistened by munching lightly
Juicy, prime

Gonna grease your grill
Put the heat back baby
Then, send you the bill

— Smith, 2004

Musicians Tom Orange & David Imburgia – foto Smith

Chiplis found neon sculpture – foto Smith

Katie Daley, one of the two best poets in Cleveland
in my biased judgment – foto Smith

Wendy Shaffer, one of the two best poets in Cleveland
in my biased judgment – foto Smith

Feel for the place – foto Smith

Shelly Chernin reading – foto Smith

Pat’s in the Flats
down in Cleveland’s industrial flats – foto Smith


2morro Sunday May 27 11-3pm Poetry at Pat’s in the Flats

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

Poetry at Pat’s in the Flats 5.27.2012 – foto Smith

We pulled some data from the internet to create bios of our seven poets and 2 musicians headlining Poetry at Pat’s in the Flats tomorrow Sunday May 27, 2012 from 11am-3pm.

If tomorrow’s gathering is a success, this will be the first in a quarterly poetry/music series organized with support from Brandt Gallery.

~ ~ ~

Our MC Steven B. Smith was born in Bitterroot, raised on Paradise Prairie. Farm boy, car thief, Naval Academy, expelled for dope, high society marriage, armed robbery, jail, escaping the cops, illegal loft dweller, ArtCrimes, rat attacks, overdose, overdose, overdose, celibate, remarried, expat. —

~ ~ ~

Mary E. Weems, PhD, is a poet, playwright, author, performer, and imagination-intellect theorist. She is currently the Poet Laureate of Cleveland Heights (April 2007 – April 2009). Dr. Weems is the author and/or co-editor of several books including Poetry Power (Silvermoon Press, 2003), her educational text Public Education and the Imagination-Intellect: I Speak from the Wound in My Mouth (Peter Lang, 2003), Working Hard for the Money: America’s Working Poor in Stories, Poems, and Photos (Bottom Dog Press, 2002), and a book of poems An Unmistakable Shade of Red and the Obama Chronicles (Bottom Dog Press, 2008).

~ ~ ~

Katie Daley is a poet, performer, and teacher. Katie Daley has hit the road countless times to bring her word-music to theaters, schoolrooms and nightclubs across the US and Canada. As a backup plan, in case she ever runs out of poetry gigs, she keeps a suitcase in her trunk overspilling with circus outfits and confetti. —

~ ~ ~

Jim Lang is parts: artist, poet, photographer, potter, philosopher and Cleveland’s current reigning curmudgeon. He has a new chapbook titled “Coyote Moon” published by Nightballet Press.

~ ~ ~

R.A. “Rafiq” Washington is a poet, artist, entrepreneur and musician into rock, hip-hop, free jazz, poetry, novellas, art shows, book publishing and is the guy behind Cleveland Tapes, a hip-hop label whose recordings are sold via Web site ( and in independent record/book stores. His latest chapbook is “Primer for the Vanguard Youth” published by Crisis Chronicles Press.

~ ~ ~

Christina Brooks has been an integral part of the Cleveland poetry scene for years, which is amazing since she lives in Detroit Michigan. She recently had her chapbook “A Thousand Voices – a city shaman’s notebook” published by The Poet’s Haven Chapbook Series.

~ ~ ~

This will be Christopher Green‘s first feature reading so I don’t know a lot about him except that he’s a delightful young man who’s been my brother-in-law for the past six-plus years. His poetry is slice-of-life and economically consciously concerned. He follows this up philosophically by refusing to have a car and bicycles everywhere.

~ ~ ~

Wendy Shaffer is a veteran of the Cleveland Poet scene, Wendy has been involved with such projects as the annual Thompsonian reading at Shaker Lakes in remembrance Cuyahoga County’s Poet Laureate Daniel Thompson, the Women and Words series of the early 1990’s, and went on the represent Cleveland on the Poetry Slam Team to San Francisco and Boston, to name but a few.

Wendy will be reading from her recently released book of poetry 22 Years: a book of relationships, family, friends, money, soap opera, sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, love, life, and one’s self. Between her habits of nasty men and assorted debaucheries lies the philosophy of good waitressing and bleach, from a woman of age with an honesty from an adroit practitioner of the language who has lived her without apology.

~ ~ ~

Tom Orange, PhD, has designed and taught introductory and advanced literature and writing courses at four nationally-ranked universities: (Cleveland State, Georgetown, George Washington and Vanderbilt), including “Literature and Jazz,” “Postmodern American Poetry,” “American Women Poets in the 21st Century,” and “Introduction to Creative Writing.”

Appearances in print and online poetry journals including Ambit, Anomaly, Big Game Revue, Boog City, Court Green, 88: A Journal of Contemporary American Poetry, The Gig, Phoebe, The Poker, Primary Writing, Queen Street Quarterly, Rampike, Sulfur, Typo, and Wheelhouse.

3 poetry chapbooks: American Dialectics (Oxford, OH: Slack Buddha Press, 2008); A Day in Switzerland (Schaffhausen [Switzerland]: Dusie Press, 2006); 25 Poems (Washington, DC: The Interrupting Cow, 2004)

~ ~ ~

These things are known about Davide Andras Imburgia: he was an itinerant coffee worker, a South American adventurist, and gravitates to sound. He has described himself as a woollybrained unprofessional journalist interested in noise, spirituals and as a stranger in a strange land.

Poetry at Pat’s in the Flats 5.27.2012 – foto Smith

Pat’s in the Flats calls itself a “Working-man bar by day, blue-collar rock-club at night.” From an online user review by M.M., “Pat’s, and Pat herself, are Cleveland institutions. I’ve been coming here on and off since the 1980s and have had some of the coolest times of my life here. If you look up at the record covers posted on the wall you’ll see 20-25 years of underground Cleveland music history, right there. And then if you cast your eyes downward you’re likely to see a couple of the people who are on those record covers, in their 10-20 years older incarnations, staggering around with beers in hand. Pat has met all those people in person, served them drinks, in some cases gone to their funerals. She’s truly the grand old dame of Cleveland punk and, now that Mitzi of Mitzi’s has passed on, probably the last great lady of the 1900’s Cleveland bar scene.” —

~ ~ ~

Sun May 27 11-3pm Poetry at Pat’s in the Flats at 2233 West Third Street (at the bottom of Literary Ave Hill, in Tremont). Doors open 11am, sandwiches for sale 11:30, poetry/music noon to 3. Pat’s is a bar so alcohol likely for sale.

(the 1st 2 chapbooks below use my fotos for cover art)

Primer for the Vanguard Youth by R.A. Washington – foto Smith

A Thousand Voices by C.M. Brooks – foto Smith

Coyote Moon by Jim Lang – foto Smith



Saturday, May 26th, 2012

Poem I’m working on for Dianne’s “End of the World” anthology with the thought that the end of the old world is the beginning of the new–not literally the end of the world but the beginning of a new era of possibility and better vision.


It is always
the beginning again when
I hold a peach,
fruit born of dirt
something that tastes so luxurious
appears as such life
the veins of plant fruit beneath the skin
the little hair fuzz on the skin
the juice dribbling down my chin when I
bite into it
all the typical stuff said about peaches

Perfect and individual
fruit, dirt, riches

Sweeter than pie
Healthier than hot dogs
Tastier than lots
of food

(All those goodies that we make
just to have goodies
but they don’t even
taste as good)

Mama vagina

Economically, they say to
remember the fundamentals

Peaches are riches

When I eat a peach
I taste the button
bite into basics
remember what’s delicious

This is kind of what I mean

Remember the fundamentals
and use when appropriate

Peaches are riches

So we’ve got our peaches
and we are in day zero.

But it’s not just going back
it’s new day.

It’s new day because we know
by virtue of our recorded history
by virtue of our memories

So there’s a recorded history
and memories
So it’s new and old depending
what you want to juggle
tarless and tireless

Let’s say it’s new because
we are deciding
it’s new

It’s new because we’re deciding
we’re peach eating
cherry pickers
getting to the quick
pit of the trick
that’s going to get us through



Vision minnows

Seeing the windmills
through the rubble
on the road

Remembering the fundamentals
appropriating the new
and using that, too.

~ Lady


Bye Buy version 2

Friday, May 25th, 2012

GlowSmith – foto Smith

Here’s another moldy goldy oldie song from Ball & Smith from 7 years ago. Began recording 10 years ago and am still sublimely unknown to the music world, for many a valid reason.

This is a multiple-tracked version of Bye Buy with me on me and Peter on Peter on Peter with loops and such like added

Click on Bye Buy (version 2) . . . or if that doesn’t work, cut and paste ““.

Bye Buy

The Man keeps knocking
Down my front door
Wants to sell me some
Sorta social spore
Says grits & groceries
Ain’t enough
In the modern life
You need much more stuff
Made me want to crow
And flap my thing
Chase the hole
Outside wedding ring
So I cut my hair
De-furred my face
Gave the Man a chance
To show a better place
Where the air was clear
The water free
The fair folk there
Accepting me
But when they pursed my lips
To kiss an ugly place
The Man above unzipped below
I said sorry sir I gotta go
Get out of my face
You can keep your fairs
Your free fatted Fraus
The lure of your lair
Is lacking in now
I’ll take the stair
It’s quicker somehow
Cleaner too
Thanks to no you
You can unstab my back
Cuz you’ll need your knife
Rat back to the pack
That leads your life
It’s hit the road Jack
Be ass & back
Or tap tap taps brutal bell
I bye buy’s black burden
I lay down your load
You ain’t no at
For this gone cat
As for is
You’re due your due
You can go to Hell
Be your own fondue
Drink dropping lake
Eat rising grape
Work rolling rock returning
Dirt burning

— Smith 2005

To hear it more as it sounds when I recite it to audience as a poem, try Bye Buy . . . or if that doesn’t work, cut and paste ““.

Music, mix, recording by Peter Ball; words and voice Smith.

You can hear and download free 40-some Ball & Smith songs at and around 200 of Peter’s collective at

More oldy goldy moldy riffs to follow.

Heart jag – foto Smith


Lady sound

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Sunshine Lady – foto Smith

Here’s a collage Peter made from one of his own songs preceded by snippets of poetry Lady K had recorded years ago at his place.

Gives you a taste of Lady’s voice and poetry.

Lady Shanghai #1 . . . or if that doesn’t work, cut and paste ““.

Music, mix, recording, some words and vocals by Peter Ball; some words and voice by Lady K.

You can hear and download for free 40-some more Ball & Smith songs at and around 200 of Peter’s collective at

More old goldy mold to follow.

Shadow Lady – foto Smith


Mutant Smith’s Unknown Nipple

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Reigning Sound – foto Smith

13 months ago I started putting my songs on Now in the category for local blues bands, I’m #11 with 2,405 online listens (2,404 of them are probably me listening to me). There are 44 tunes available for free listen and free download.

I started jamming with Peter Ball of Apartment One in 2002 after he’d been at me for 20 years to record with him. I resisted because I can’t sing or carry a tune but Peter convinced me with enough joy in your heart everything is possible.

We have a very strange process. I bicycle over to Peter’s with my words. Peter starts playing music and I start vocalizing. I have no idea what music he’s going to play and mostly neither does he; and he has no idea what’s going to come out of my mouth and neither do I.

It’s a one-time once-through live jam, although lately we’ve been going back over and adding another track or two of my vocals and 3-4 tracks of his music.

Some of them turn out right fine; others are too strange for words; and more than a few are cringe-worthy but still interesting, sort of like watching road kill dry.

I’ve blogged only a few of the 44 songs online and decided it’s time to post some of the stranger experimental pre-song stuff. By pre-song, I mean we used to just record my poems as songs, but lately I’ve been adding choruses to make them more like songs.

According to my bio on the site, “I met Peter in the Warfarin mines beneath the Cleveland Warehouse District in 1982. I was serving time for bad taste, while Peter was the entertainment director. He needed a monkey to front his tin whistle band and I applied and got the job.”

All music, mix and recording by Peter Ball, with words and vocals by me.

So here’s one of our earlier attempts >>> Unknown Nipple . . .or if that doesn’t work cut and paste

Unknown Nipple

Your nipple
Though we’ve yet to meet
Must surely seek to touch
My tongue’s erectile tissue
Which seeks south to nether musk
Past inward looking navel
Which wise in eastern ways
When rocked in western rhythm
Knows what in Maya may
Be only sleek illusion
Wonders reaped and sown
In peaks before the valley
Down treasure’s traveled road
Where promise wraps forgiven
Its penis premised trap
Where truth in life is hidden
And minor deaths enact
Their furtive nightly burden
When joy it should be danced
And future fear forgiven
Like past purveyed by chance

Your eyes so solemn watching
Your lips promised pursuit
Your soul silent searching
Your heart no kindness fused
To form for wanting giving
To life its lift and shine
My love it spurts in wanting
Your flesh your spirit wine
Within your skin whenever
Blessings cross my brow
Profane in sacred wanting
Pure light enough for now
But o o unknown nipple
O mind of supple bliss
O soul unsullied, simple
On me bestow your kiss

— Smith, 1992

You can hear 199 more of Peter Ball’s “Apartment One” collective at, and 40-some of our own collabs at

3-D Rolling Stone Cover – foto Smith


Bird in bind, bird in hand

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Bird in hand – foto Smith

Lady feeds the birds a variety of seeds each morning before her 2 to 4 mile run.

She also waters the flower seeds she planted to pleasure the bees, and fills her little bee bath with water. A bee bath is a shallow pool with rocks so the bees can walk from dry rock to rock and sip at will without getting their little bee feetsies sopping wet.

This morning she upped the ante. While I was watching from our 3rd floor window waiting to see her re-seed the bird feeder in the tree below, the birds darting about in anticipation, I hear her come up behind me and softly say “I need your help.”

She had a small bird in her cupped hand. The bird’s feet were tangle-tied together with a few long strands of grass and some small flower vine. The bird didn’t move at all, stiff with fear.

We gently cut the grass and vines away; she took it back out and off it flew. I wonder what tales it will tell its avian tribe about the fearful giants who not only feed it but saved and set it free.

So I’ve got my own St Francis of West 14th Street here who specializes in bees and birds but will include any and all life forms beneath her protecting wings.

Broken Bird

I took in bird
with broken wing
and set it right
gave time to heal
then let it sit a spell

But broken wing
broke the bird
though strong
it sits and yearns

I’m thinking worm will
work its sway
with time and want
and bird will well its way

— Smith, 2010

She she – foto Smith


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