many apple is Minneapolis and Lady’s quest

reflection of Frank Gehry’s glass fish, Minneapolis – foto Smith

Oldenberg – foto Smith

Edgewater – foto Smith

unicorn lady – foto Smith

Christopher Shillock & Lady at St Paul Monsanto GMO Protest – foto Smith

Walker Sculpture Garden – foto Smith

Smith & Lady at St Paul Monsanto GMO Protest – foto Christopher Shillock

in Smith I trust – foto Smith

Is it not Quest, but Story?

(I didn’t know my reality was in holding mode, initial conditions mode left to mold. It was waiting for me and I didn’t know. I swear I didn’t know it.)

(And we left the country in 2006, and we initiated our big Quest even though we didn’t know we were on one… well, if only to make art and have adventures in a kind of artistic and for me, initially, mostly secular way. Zzzzzzzz…..)

(And I found crazy sane magic, non-secular magic. I found ghosts. I thought I was crazy and not. I am not crazy, OK? I am not. I am one of the most lucid narrators in this glob, this moshpit of whateverness that we’re making into i-care-for-it-ed-ness.)

Where is this going? The Quest.

We were invited to Minneapolis to participate in a reading last weekend about outlaw poetry–“Wanted.” It felt like kindling the Quest again to me–our combined part of the Quest.

(I plucked fistfuls of clover and distributed them to poets and passers-by. The men who go to work and eat at the pantry on our street, West 14th. I wrote letters and sent them to grieving folk and prisoners. I would rather write letters for the purpose of poetry and celebration because I don’t want anyone to be sad circumstance. An abundance of letters to help along happiness.)

(I helped with the production of Matter Ring. The reading being named “Wanted” and the book by friend on mattering topic jives.)

And we set out.

I drew a picture of myself, a version carrying the shield of clover, bees abuzz around me, Excalibur truth wielding. Me, fairy, part of God/Reality.

I found out stuff about clovers and the pernicious nature of the idea of dualism. Clover in Illinois saving the environment, Shamrock in Mentor not-so-much-saving-it. Businesses wielding the shield of clover. Clover itself always good.

And I forgot about the “we” part and thought about the “I” part, and on my BIG TO-DO LIST is to figure out the we part in this picture. I am thinking/have always thought that Smith is Merlin. And I am quester, and I am Lady-of-the-Lake.

I found out about clover lawns and am ever an enthusiast of permaculture.

Bees! The story!

The story is that in short, there were storytellers there, and this is kind of a detective story and a quest. Aren’t all? And isn’t the search for the Holy Grail a detective story? And isn’t it about the land, how we are the land, how we are royal?

I worship Your Royal Highnesses the Bee Queens. Who knew that people were at the mercy of bee queens and their workers? Is it a matter of pulling up the fabric and seeing the relationship at that point? Can all points worship all other points and be worshipped as well?

The story is a winding stream that we are helping be healthy with many habitats for wildnesses. Streams buttressed with living carpet, plant blanket. The outlaw part has something to do with the story… living in nature but following higher law, law of out-of-dooredness. Marijuana figuring prominently in so many outlaw poets’ tales.

What is the spirit of plants–what is the spirit of clover and what is the spirit of marijuana?

. . .

A bee inspected me yesterday when I went outside. It hovered there, and inspected me. It tried to come inside, too.

. . .

Is it then not Quest, but Story? Is writing Story the Quest? What is it, from what point do I pick it up this big gob, this kaleidoscope?

~ Lady

only poets would drive 1,576 miles to read 45 minutes

Rich Patterson on guitar, Tabatha Predovich & Christopher Shillock on mics
Lady’s & my art on wall – foto Smith

Road Running

After dripping 5 bags of blood into me
Doc 2 turns to 1 and 3 and sez
“Where’s it going? Where’s it all going?”

3 shrugs
“I donno, let’s try one more and if it doesn’t work
we’ll go in and look.”

Not exactly what I want to hear.

But the 6th worked
and the 3rd day I rose again and walked home
perpetually sober.

Told Mom it was insect blood, animal, snake,
female blood moon blood immense menses
blood from turnip rock
blood in track of my own track and trek
Neal Cassady, Dean Moriarty
revisions of Cody
blood sweat and tears for fears.

And is true
there’s a blood rush in road running
pushing the line
seasons of Willie Nelson
and Road Runner too
doing his Wile E. Coyote don’t be do.

And a dash of James Brown’s get down old school
feelin’ good dancin’ fool
thickened with Trane’s blue water
feelin’ pain but pushing gain for gain again
on the go man go van go land go
of buzzing fuzz
pedal pushed low
so fast is fine is flux is flow
for find mind ride on the Mobius Strip
of Cleveland Minneapolis Cleveland road rip & reading
hip lip trip
1,576 mile long loop leap
last 13 hours at wheel
in 765 mile road real deal.

— Smith, 5.29.2013

We had a magic 4-day trip out to Minneapolis to read in the Slam Factory in the basement of the Gamut Gallery with Christopher Shillock, Tabatha Predovich, David Daniels, and Scott Vetsch.

Two days driving out and once there it was go-go-goville. Minneapolis is a few thousand folk smaller than Cleveland but it’s hugely alive, vibrant, so Chris took us everywhere in the morning then afternoon we accompanied Lady to the World-Wide Monsanto Protest in St Paul then back for dinner and by the time I was to read I feared my magic might be gone, I was dragging my feet, falling my face, croaking my voice, slurring my words, but it all flowed fine, at least for me.

Special thanks to JP who set up the Slam Factory, an underground art and music driven venue. This flows back to the old Beat basement coffeehouse milieu.

yesterday post:

Well I haven’t lost my road run moxie after all. Drove from Minneapolis MN to Cleveland OH in thirteen and a half hours – 766 miles averaging 57 mph. Neal Cassady would have been proud of me, especially since we made 3 gas, 2 piss, couple coffee, 8 toll, lunch, dinner and snack stops along the way. Plus Lady drove 3 hours and she obeys the speed limit, so you can imagine the fine edge of running 10-20 mph over the limit while constantly looking for cops, which is difficult when night falls and you lose your clues. Went through 3 radar traps at 9, 10 and 13 over, but they didn’t bite. Was a good 4-day road run and reading. We met good people and read at a great underground venue, thanks to poet host Christopher Shillock.

Poets are crazy. Who else would drive 1,576 miles round trip to read for 45 minutes?

Claus Oldenberg’s 1,200 pound Minneapolis cherry – foto Smith

On the Quest again, still

Where’s my Life Help button? – foto Smith

Took an hour to drive through Chicago yesterdfay, and that’s only because we were lucky to hit the 3pm traffic rather than the after-work rush, although can one call it a rush if no one’s moving? But we regained the lost hour due to a time zone change I’d forgotten, so it’s almost like we’re already here when we’ve hardly left at all.

Lady’s been taking fone fotos of odd moments, like the windshield-wiper wiping, and trying to post them to her FaceBook wall, but the reception’s not good or fast enough. Says this road trip to a far city in a new state in a strange country to show some art and read from our book is a quest.

Also says she’s fairy, was told in a dream. My first thought was fairies are small like Tinkerbell, but then flashed on Cate Blanchett as a Lord of the Rings fairy, as well as my own 7-foot sculpture titled Tinkerbell, so why not. This world could use some extra pixie-dust.

So she’s fairy and on quest without good connection to post quest steps.

And it ties in with the Gamut Gallery whose basement we’re reading in Saturday night in Minneapolis because the current show upstairs is a fairy land, so of course my fairy Lady and I would be reading in the basement. I’m more underground Orcish or beneath bridge Troll anyway . . . she’s Lady, I’m scamp.

Actually her and my 7yr8mo relationship has been (and is) quite the quest, of magic, in adventure. If we ever get this memoir jump-started, I can start writing the tale of what happened next. Already know a perfect place for it to end — with our 1st book busting loose. Now just have to manifest that.

Tinkerbell, 1996 – sculpture & foto Smith


small piece of Lady’s art – foto Smith

We’re driving to Minneapolis for Saturday’s poetry and memoir reading and one-night art show.

Here’s the Gamut Gallery’s press release.


MINNEAPOLIS–May 25, at 8:00 p.m. 2013, Christopher Shillock presents four poets, direct from the underbelly. Self-confessed art criminal “Smith” and his domestic partner in crime “Lady K,” will read from their new book “Stations of the Lost and Found: A True Story of Armed Robbery, Stolen Cars, Outsider Art, Mutant Poetry, Underground Publishing, Robbing the Cradle and Leaving the Country.” This memoir of Smith’s journey from lawless provocateur to known Cleveland artist, brings the authors’ crime spree all the way to Minneapolis. Here they will be aided and abetted by two local literary miscreants and works from a great outlaw writer of history, François Villon.

Tabatha Predovich and Christopher Shillock have created a musical, literary adaptation of some of Villon’s fifteenth century poems; Shillock will read his modernized, artistically translated lyrics. Also in accompaniment to the authors’ readings, Smith and Lady K will show their “assemblages,” which are mixed-media, found-object works on canvas. These visual pieces were inspired by the same themes the artists were driven by in their writing.

Steven B. Smith has been a poet for 50 years, artist 49 years, publisher of ArtCrimes 28 years, editor of, 11 years, blogger 8 years, singer & lyricist 3 years. Public radio’s WCPN reports Smith as “one of the 70’s artistic renegades and anti-establishment types who proudly wore the banner of criminal and terrorist: Smith is something of an underground legend in the Cleveland art scene.” (September, 2012). He’s also called “the ultimate insider of outsider art” (Northern Ohio Live, 2005). “funny and poignant, but with rough edges worthy of a tetanus shot.” (Scene, 1996); “equal parts artist, poet, publisher, eccentric, gadfly. lightning rod, underground cultural icon” (Deep Cleveland, 2006)

Kathy Ireland Smith, a.k.a. Lady K, is a poet, publisher, artist and surreal photographer from Northeast Ohio. She and her husband Smith spent 31 months of traveling in 10 countries on 3 continents from 2006 – 2009, you can follow their adventures at Kathy is also founder and editor of The City Poetry (, a cutting edge art and poetry zine based in Cleveland.
Paul Singleton is the author of “The Punk Rock Bible”, a work-in-progress posted on under the pseudonym vishnu666. He drives a cab in Minneapolis and made himself indispensable to the early punk scene in Minneapolis.
Scott Vetsch was a member of the Minneapolis All-Star Poets. His book “Hauling Ass: Cab Driving Poems” was featured in the program “Streets of Minneapolis” He is the son of the notorious “Ma” Vetsch.

Christopher Shillock is a poet, philosopher and radical, whose 80’s activism “led him to the losing side of every factional dispute.” He attended Haverford College, received a MA in Philosophy from CUNY in 1972 and studied comparative lit. at the U of M. He writes in three languages, translates poetry in seven. Shillock now lives the creative life as radical act. He received a Verve Grant in 2003 and continues to work in various media, locally and around the world.

François Villon hails from Medieval Paris. He went to the gallows three times and received a pardon every time (France really respects its poets).

-The Smiths’ Book is available here:
-Tickets are sliding scale $5-10, no one in need turned away

Gamut Gallery
1006 Marquette Ave S Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 701-8272

the two of us – foto Smith

Fairyland is Everywhere; There is a Mountain

“First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is.”
~ Donovan


Elgin Watch Father Time

Dear Beings of the Universe/Good Luck Charmers,

The moon is full. We are on the Quest. We set off this morning, our little quest within the big Quest. We are going to Fairyland, which is good because I am not just Lady, I am a fairy. We will tell the beings in the basement under Fairyland our stories from Stations of the Lost and Found.

This Fairyland we’re going to is in Minneapolis. On the way, we are stopping in Elgin:

  • Much of Elgin is in the county of Kane.
  • Elgin National Watch Company’s logo features Father Time.
  • Elgin has a Symphony Orchestra and some examples of homes in the Queen Anne style.
  • The Indian Removal Act of 1820 and the Black Hawk Indian War of 1832 led to the expulsion of Native Americans who had settlements and burial mounds in the area.

So that Act was 193 years ago, basically, two or three lifespans ago, roughly 8 generations ago. How could one possibly justify the expulsion of Native Americans? What were the settlers thinking? And so overtly, too: the Indian “Removal Act.” It led to the Trail of Tears. Interestingly, many ethical Christians protested the act.

So there’s this potpourri of information that one can dig into—what parts of it apply to the Quest?

What I know:

  • I am a fairy and we are going to Fairyland.
  • I was asked to ask Brahman to stop the suffering of Samsara. This is part of my long quest and what I was told in the Dream.
  • I am Lady of the Church of Not Quite So Much Pain & Suffering.
  • Native Americans figure.

I like time and the thought of going West on a quest. East, too, but I’ve been more East than West.

Peace & blessings & love,


P.S.: I would like to leave you here with a Bree poem from the new Matter Ring:

The Riser

east-of-the-sun-west-of-moon-webYou are the bartender salting the rim
of the earth. You are shaking things up,

good company.

You are the hostess the whole room
rounding while we straighten our shirts
in the mirror moon easily makes
of your eyes,

good company.

The salesman on the ready, always, you
make something out of us, like it was
no thing, this us. And this is us waiting.
We are what we make of each others army.

And you time things right, ever the
doorman, you of the first infantry, opening
into us, you also pull away from us, and off
of us rise.

~ Bree



Getting through it is what a woman’s period is about—getting through the end of the cycle, bloated, sloughing, cleansing. How the blood blooms, body aches and then svelteness after the sloughing. Like our sight of the moon showing more and more light then sloughing it off.

But a moon when full is like a bright plate, a pendant, something resonant.

A woman when sloughing off her blood? What’s that? Is it just that we do it together? Is it just about cycle?

A woman when sloughing off her blood, a woman when aging through the cycles, she’s not always so keen on it.

The moon, though, the moon is always keen.

A woman is kind of like a tide and a beach and a powerful beachcomber, a powerful self-grooming beach. Not a bitch, a beach.

There are many metaphors for a woman, but I am working on conveying some kind of idea here about grooming and aging and here we have again the thing about the woman and the moon.

Perhaps just the getting full and release and the similar period of time—that’s it? But as far as cleanliness, the moon is always pretty clean and keen.

A woman picking through her mind can be keen. A woman letting herself recognize her framework, her bones, the beauty of her bones and how the tissues hang on them, a woman can love how her tissues hang on her bones. A woman can love how her tissues billow on her bones. A woman can love how her tissues firm and slacken and slacken and firm on her bones. A woman can have so many expectations for herself and make them happen.

The moon takes whatever comes, actually. The moon is slowly battered over and over but what we see from here is bright silver patina.

Women, they are battered as well, we all are. I’m not talking about assault, I’m not talking about violence—there’s been enough of that. What I’m talking about here is the battering of the days and nights. What I’m talking about here is the battering of being through so many cycles. And the upside of the cycles is renewal, there’s that, too.

Let’s have gentle means round these circles, let’s take them tenderly. They seldom ever end.

~ Lady

Smiths, memoir, Minneapolis, Gamut Gallery

Poet, Philosopher, Radical Christopher Shillock – foto from his websites

It pays to be nice to poets

Couple years ago a Myspace friend — Christopher Shillock, Minneapolis poet philosopher revolutionary with punk political street cred I admire — messaged me he was visiting Cleveland and were there any open mics.

One of the cooler places to read is the basement of Mac’s Backs Books. Co-owner Suzanne has been hosting readings since the early 1980s. She’s a selfless supporter of poetry . . . had she not bought so many poet’s books and given them such sweet deals for the past 34 years, she might be rich by now, that is if anyone CAN ever get rich running an independent bookstore.

Suzanne immediately added him as a third feature for that week’s reading, Lady cooked us dinner, and I drove him to the reading. Next night he took me to dinner where we were both unmasked as dangerous facades with soft pussycat centers, which is pretty amazing considering his black leather jacket and wild hair coming across like someone you’d not want to disrespect in a dark alley (and there are even a few folk who fear me, go figure).

For the curious, there’s his blog,
an older bio,
a glowing newspaper article
and his Facebook page

After Lady published my memoir last year, Chris offered to set up a book reading/one-night art show for us in Minneapolis. I’m really looking forward to this, going to a new city to read before an audience of strangers.

So take it to heart and be nice to strange poets . . . you never know when they’ll be nice right back at you.

Poet, Philosopher, Radical Christopher Shillock with sweet innocent Smith
– foto from his websites

Borderlands: Poetry On the Edge today 2-4pm

Three faces have I – foto Smith

Poet Louise Robertson and I are reading today down in Mansfield at Borderlands: Poetry On the Edge, Main Street Books 2-4 pm:

A week from today Lady and I are the featured readers at the Gamut Gallery in Minneapolis, MN (data to follow tomorrow).

Main Street Books is at 104 North Main Street, Mansfield, Ohio 44902, (419) 522-2665

From Face Book:

Borderlands is a poetry reading series composed entirely of Ohio writers. This month’s reading features Louise Robertson and Steven B. Smith.

Louise Robertson lives, raises her kids, works, and is involved in the poetry scene in Central Ohio. She holds a BA from Oberlin College and an MFA from George Mason University.

Robertson’s publication credits include many small press journals (including a feature set of 6 poems in the Jan. 2011 Pudding Magazine), a couple anthologies, one chapbook produced by a reading series, and a law school newspaper. Additionally, Pudding House Publications published her chapbook Teaching My Daughter My Language. She runs Rewriting Ovid Publications, a very small press with a growing set of high quality authors.

A passionate advocate for the presences of live poetry, she has organized and helped organize numerous poetry events such as the Writer’s Block First Draft show, the Poetry Forum at the Rumba Cafe, and the Women of the World Poetry Slam.

Robertson’s awards include, more recently, the 2009 and 2007 Columbus Arts Festival poetry award after having placed 3rd in the 2006 Columbus Arts Festival competition. She also placed 2nd in the 2006 William Redding contest. She won an honorable mention in the 2005 contest from Perigee. Her most prestigious academic award was the 1992 Mary Roberts Rinehart award. She took 3rd in the 1991 Virginia Downs competition. She also received the Mary Cotton Fellowship and a general academic fellowship while getting her MFA.

Steven B. Smith is a poet, memoirist, photographer, blogger and collage/assemblage artist who makes his home in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio. He’s been writing poetry for nearly five decades, and for more than twenty years he published the famed “Artcrimes” journal. He created a massive online art/poetry archive at, and a wide array of his poetry and collages have been published in the critically acclaimed book “Zen Over Zero: Selected Poems 1964-2008” (The City Poetry Press). Smith and his wife Lady have traveled the world extensively, creating and living art in places like Croatia, Morocco, and Mexico, while blogging about the best, worst and most unique bits of their journey at They’ve also collaborated on a book about Smith’s life entitled “Stations of the Lost & Found — A True Tale of Armed Robbery, Stolen Cars, Outsider Art, Mutant Poetry, Underground Publishing, Robbing the Cradle, and Leaving the Country,” published in 2012. For more information on Smith, read his bio at Check out his musical collaborations at >

Poet – foto Smith

Be excellent to each other

Lately I keep thinking about the movie “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.” In the movie, they find out that in the future they are worshiped and the whole of future society is based on them. The motto of the society is “be excellent to each other.”

I love 80s expressions like “excellent” and “awesome.” I love thinking about the hearty innocence and doggie gusto of Keanu Reeves. Yeah, he’s kind of bland, but he’s still *excellent.*

I am on a quest. My quest is to be as excellent as I can be in all the little nooks and crannies of the Thomas’s english muffin of my life, the big, most excellent, vegan-butter-and-raw-honey-whole-wheat-toasted english muffin of my life, the english muffin of my life that is delectable yet leaves one wanting more life to live!

So for the past two years I’ve been beating myself over the head with activist efforts without letting myself have the teensiest toe-dip in the actual tangible parts of what it is I would affect positively with my activism.

That’s changed recently. I am working on tangible, immediate results in addition to abstract work.

There are two things we’re picking up: volunteering at the APL doing dog-walking and working on protecting the watershed. So rather than only sitting and talking, Smith and I are out there doing fun stuff and getting exercise and being with each other, helping save the world and being and feeling excellent.

Volunteering at the APL is such a joy–to be with the dogs in the field, being so happy, witnessing happiness. Their walks of temporary freedom also temporary respite for me. It is so nice for the dogs to have the walks–they are treated well and they get out quite a bit, but even so the majority of their time is in the little cages.

I have noticed, though, that some of the dogs who are more shy or who have some physical problems (like Dozer, a sweet, blind dog) have been there for probably quite some time. One dog doesn’t like a leash, so I don’t think she gets to go out very much at all unless someone really pushes her. I’ve been working on a relationship with her and have just sat in her cage to work on keeping her social but she won’t even let me pet her yet.

It makes me think that when I adopt a dog, if that happens in the future, I will adopt one that is shy or has some kind of physical issue, because it will help prevent animals with these problems from having to stay too long cooped up.

This morning we’re going for orientation on the new watershed volunteer gig. This is kind of neat because it’s a new project for the Cleveland Metroparks, a new watershed program in Parma. The more I read the more I read about new programs for reclaiming and restoring the health of land, and I am so enthusiastic about being a part of this, putting my hands into the loam of it, seeing stuff grow and be protected and secure.

~ Lady