Vinaigrette Vignettes


Vinaigrette Vignettes

Just had a brain spasm. Lady and I are together most 24/7/260. Sitting here reading, I listened and tried to locate her. Nothing. Looked up. Computed situation: daylight – late afternoon – is she running? taking bath? nap? hair? at work? – wait, am I supposed to be doing something? or have done by now? – brain jerks along until “Saturday” cog finally pops in place and I realize it’s monthly Rufus poetry workshop day and Lady and Kimmy Bones went on afterward to Root Cafe to share mindroot – so all runs well, grid girds time’s purpose and place cuz Lady is located in thyme and taste and I am not the designated flux-up, so surf go flow well.

And the Godz laugh.

You really cannot trust anything, no matter how competent and solid looking it appears. For more than 6 years each time we’ve turned on the kitchen water and moved the faucet to the right, it unscrewed a tiny bit at the base. Today I turn on the water, move the faucet, and it falls off into the sink, and I get a face full of shooting geyser. Woke me right up with a laugh. Special moment. Reality has a sense of humor. Sometimes.

Friday night in the basement performance space of Guide to Kulchure’s used book store I was going to read the last line from an 8 minute libretto Akron poet Steve Smith had written for an operetta Rob Jackson wrote about killer Gary Gilmore. Akron Smith read in Cleveland last winter and some folk went thinking he was me, so Rob thought we could play with the two Steve Smiths by having Akron Smith sit down without reading the last line and I’d stand up and recite it instead.

This was to happen at 7:30. Things went bad, music computer files went missing, the later acts went on first, and at 9pm I had to leave to take Lady home for her 7:30m bedtime, so poet Ray McNiece said he would pretend to be me and do it in my place. My line was “Gary Gilmore is a human building demolished, slumped in a box, a wrecking ball for a tie tack, the sun embalmed and glassy to the mourner’s eye.”

While waiting, Lady went down the street and had her nose pierced.




visual editor test


star warp

(drilled holes in a rubber garbage can for compost, held can bottom up to sun, put camera inside, shot fotos . . . they all turned out.

2 vignettes and a poem

cat noir
(this foto is in color)

My My

Cat on chest,
purr at ear,
fur in face —
humming heart.

– Smith, 5.30.2015

~ ~ ~

Vignette 1.

We brought flowers home from the Chiplis’ garden, put them in a vase, whereupon MandyCat jumped up on the table and started noshing on the rose, so we put them in the living room on the bookshelf and moved the chair so she couldn’t get up.

Mandy came in, smelled the flowers, her eyes immediately focused on the bookshelf. She walked back and forth at its base, sat and looked up, looked at the chair, looked up again, walked over, jumped up on the chair and tried to reach the flowers. No go. She tried climbing the wooden chair arms and back, but it didn’t work. Jumped down, sat and looked awhile thinking, then walked to the side, gathered herself, and leapt up to the flowers and started chomping. Quite a leap for a 13 year old cat – about 5 times her height.

It was fascinating to watch another lifeform think things through successfully . . . at least until I moved the flowers to a non-accessible site.

If there is spirit or mind or soul in us, the same is in animals in whom I have observed thinking, planning, playing, loyalty, anger. Seen a slew of videos where injured animals come to people for help, in spite of us being their normal enemy. I’ve read of dolphins protecting people in the water from sharks. I’ve seen inter-species animal friendships. I know the birds we feed out front every morning are here at 7 for seed, and if it’s not out there at the time they expect it, they let us know. I saw a film of a Russian bird who slid down a steep roof sitting on a lid, then at the bottom picked the lid up in its beak, flew to the top and rode the lid down again over and over in play.

Humans are arrogant in self delusion thinking only we have thought, mind, soul, intelligence . . . and we are exceptionally cruel to all that isn’t human . . . even exceptionally cruel to most humans, as well as the planet. We are a mean, thoughtless, short-sighted species, and yet so many of us are good and kind and caring.

There’s the Native American parable of how we each have two wolves inside us, one vicious, one good, they are fighting each other, and the one that wins is whichever one we choose to feed. I see a lot of folk in the news these days feeding the bad beast. Since I’ve fed both in my time, I can tell you it’s easier and better for both doer and done to feed the good.

I am an animist, believe rock, tree, mountain, sea, earth all have spirit that must be respected. Even manufactured items have personality, character, can help or hinder flow depending on how we interact. Seek bad, find bad, feed good, see good, become good.

~ ~ ~

Vignette 2

At home I am vegetarian, partially because I know how much growing meat damages the planet and how cruelly the animals are treated and how eating them poisons our body, and partially because my wife is the cook and she’s vegetarian (sometimes vegan), but out in the world I frequently eat meat.

Today I got the urge for a hamburger so rode my bicycle down to the Scrapyards for a 5 Guys burger, which I’ve had before and liked.

Well, it smelled unpleasant and tasted so-and stunk my hands and face with the stink of dead flesh. Must have washed my hands 15 times before I got rid of the scent. Then the meat sat lumpish in my stomach and I realized my body is moving on from meat while my mind still worships it.

Leaving 5 Guys on my bike, I debated going to Walmart for a package of cookies, but they’re essentially the Great Satan feeding off taxpayer money, so decided to come home. Walking while straddling my bike trying to get from curb to street, the bike tipped, my right foot went a foot down to street while my left foot and the bike stayed on the curb, and I hit the pavement sideways fast and flat. Some aches and scrapes and minor blood and thankful for my luck it wasn’t worse. Pickup passenger few feet away casually said “You okay?” “Yup, thanks for asking.”

Thanks to Lady Luck, who’s been awfully good to me these 69 years, I’m still banging my way through.

I ache in more places, which reminds me of that great Leonard Cohen line on aging — “I ache in the places where I used to play” from Tower of Song. That man reduces great sweeps of life to such short sweet velvet strokes of poetic wisdom.




of part of an agrarian past
holding baskets of now
heirloom produce–
the tomato
and smiling forever

Or in tall, dignified finery
in an ancient hall, kind of slow
and lacking in color

Or in an exhale
let into relaxed
and painless air
sans worry

And there’s us
too often with our calculators
days locked inside brains

Or better sometimes, looking
and listening

All of it, living and past–

to everything on the backdrop
of the cosmos – deeper and deeper
starry mirror

clumping together
bits of moving dust
in sentient host

~ Lady


Neon Repoetry by Chiplis, + reading

Neon Repoetry by Jeffry Chiplis

Here’s some shots of Jeffry Chiplis’ Neon Repoetry art installation at the 2nd annual Slavic Village Rooms to Let Art Installation. Also shots of the poetry reading he asked us to host, plus a fine bunch of other artists’ installations. It’s a fun viewing, both in person and online.

Rooms to Let is when Slavic Village is going to tear down a house and add the land to the land bank, but before they do they let artists come in and do pretty much anything they want. One artist even cut a hole in the roof.

These two houses were at 3810 E. 71 St, Cleveland, Ohio.

If anyone knows who the ?? artists are, let me know and I’ll update the site.

Click here for Chiplis’ Neon Repoetry 2015
and here for 13 more years of Chiplis found neon/argon sculptures.

I have another 12 guest artists on available for viewing as well, including Mother Dwarf, Daniel Thompson, Lady K, bree, Jim Lang, Terry Provost, Russell Vidrick . . .

detail of Neon Repoetry by Jeff Chiplis




Roses spilling blooming fountains
blossoming from hand, ribbons dangling down
tokens appreciating life during rites
of life

Where did roses come from? How is it
they are so beautiful, so cultivated?
Did The Universe know they would be
prized and make them, these queens
of flowers?

Or is it just that we decided–an elevation
of taste like chrysanthemums
in Asia?

Birds sing signalling redemption,
this new day, this new season
deliveries of fresh dawns
relentless freshness

And their lungs,
so many varied synrinx whistles
warbling signature songs through
music box throats–

What shape the key but
a kind of sheer permeating cheer?

~ Lady


Hairball Hereball Whereball?

Hairball Hereball Whereball?

The cat is throwing up again,
probably been reading the news.

I understand how she feels
on overdose of current clues.

In ignorance there’s much to gain
since bliss has mass appeal.

But self defense demands I peek
to catch the warning shots.

Yet my help continues plot,
is this what I should seek?

Perhaps we need to let it break,
then build again from new.

Starting good, we could make it great,
do unto them as you would you.

– Smith, 5.21.2015

Soothe Forsooth

in land of blind, one-eye is king

Soothe Forsooth

Some on some this world stacks high
with people, things, and chance

Ofttimes bringing cloudy sky
which is why we do the dance

The dance of holding hope to chest
enlightening one’s load

Cherishing sharing with the rest
helping righten long wrong road

For weight of weary worries one
unless one’s not alone

From chance to act to is to done
such nothings make us known

– Smith, 5.20.2015

Frivolity of form,


Plan of Attack

Frivolity of form,
enjoying the journey,
awaiting arrival.

Cuz can’t stay one way forever.

It’s the process, not the point.

And we’re all going one way,
though many directions to get there.

Ticket, ticket, who’s got the ticket?

– Smith, 5.19.2015


So Sez Seuss

3 Buddha

So Sez Seuss

Doctor doctor gimme the news
I got a bad case of normal view.

Earth getting hotter all round town
cost going up less we get down.

Might have to hunt and lock the rich
to cure their fatal finger itch.

Need more clowns to make us laugh
since logic’s dead and flag half mast.

Save the flowers, help the bees,
say some thank yous if you please.

Back your friends and help a neighbor
nod and smile to a stranger.

Plant some trees to shed some leaves
and as for food eat locally.

Let loose anger, hold tight hope
hug your spouse, be less remote.

Maybe don’t eat that life form meat
cuz causes gas ozone deplete.

What goes out rounds right back in
so don’t shout but send a grin.

I mean if we don’t get some class
we’re going to bite ourself in ass.

Listen now, talk less later
or there won’t be no alligator.

Stack the deck with nice and better
else our future bites the bitter.

– Smith, 5.18.2015

1 Buddha