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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 the ‘Bio’ Category

what would Jack do?

Monday, August 5th, 2013

detail Smith sculpture – foto Smith

What would Jack do?

Reading Jack Keroauc’s truth-disguised-as-fiction “Tristessa” (1960) which I hadn’t known about until I bought it used from Guide to Kulchur for $5.

Kerouac was my main driver of yearning for adventure and travel ever since my 17 yr-old self read “On the Road” in 1963 and it inspired a fire to go to Mexico and smoke dope.

Took me four years to find marijuana, two more months to put a needle in my arm, 44 years to hit Marrakech and six months more for Mexico.

Now I read his adventures and think, hmmm, getting drunk, done that . . . smoking grass, yup . . . joy riding, yes . . . mainlining, been there . . . smoking opium, of course . . . hash in Morocco mushrooms in Mexico, uh huh . . . walking Zen trail, still dabble.

But the one thing I did poor Jack didn’t was pass through the maelstrom of alcohol and needles and snorting and sniffing and popping.

I ended up drinking myself to death 22 years ago and haven’t imbibed since, stopped needles 14 years ago, quit cocaine three years later, and discovered a couple years ago during my hip replacement I no longer enjoy pills.

So I’m down to 2 cups strong coffee daily and grass anytime I have the chance. Last did LSD in 1985 and magic mushrooms down in Mexico 5 years ago, though I’ll do both again in ten years or so.

Find that Jack’s words which excited my 17 yr self now seem tame, shallow, but still the initial thrill that primed my adventure pump by showing there was more out there than suits, suburbs, TV.

What he did and wrote was important because he did it first and he did it well. He hopped the Beat train before it left the station, before it even had a destination. Unfortunately he drunkenly stumbled off part way thru the journey to go home, live with mom, drink himself to death, losing his mad holy light while railing at those still riding, especially the (to him) free loading hippies who hadn’t earned a ticket.

That’s the second thing I did Jack didn’t – I stayed on the train. There’s a third string we have in common . . . we both drank ourselves to a bleeding throat ulcer which killed us, except I rose the third day and walked home sober.

What he did isn’t lessened by later because we’re all weak and constantly stray quit fail walk away, so thanks Jack for the journey. You are my original light, and I cherish your burnt-out bulb. You turned America to the possibility of leaving the sheep pen and having exotic adventures. You also showed us failure.

Both are lessons to use.

2 from Guide to Kulchur – foto Smith

London, 2006 – foto Smith


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

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

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


Fairyland is Everywhere; There is a Mountain

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

“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



Smiths, memoir, Minneapolis, Gamut Gallery

Monday, May 20th, 2013

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


Be Guns Begone Begun

Friday, April 26th, 2013

danger – foto Smith

Be Guns Begone Begun

13 I put the muzzle of my single shot 22
against a bumblebee buzzing flower
and BAM
no bee to be
rather or not no question

14 I was shot at by an irate owner
who objected to two kids stealing his car
out of his attached garage next to the picture window
he was sitting with his back to
while watching TV
as we rolled his car down the driveway
hoping he wouldn’t hear
but he came out yelling
then dashed back in
back out with a rifle
and started shooting
I mean, we were in it of course
so he was shooting at us
but still it was his metal between

23 I robbed two stores with a gun in my belt
made me feel big
until I saw the second clerk’s fear
her not knowing I’d not hurt her
me knowing I’d lost

Which led to more running from cops
but for once getting caught
with twenty gunned cops
pointing pistols at me
and a year in prison

67 sees both ends wrong
violence do or done
downs all
force don’t purify course

— Smith, 4.26.2013

don’t play with guns – foto Smith


me and Shakey(speare)

Monday, April 1st, 2013

screen shot – foto Smith

Was on the English news site Guardian and to the left of an article on Shakespeare, they displayed an Amazon ad for my memoir “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” by Smith & Lady.

At least they have us in appropriate company. to buy on Amazon. to buy on CreateSpace. on Facebook for fotos, art, raw material, extracts, and reader comments.

One side note — this book is my life from 1946 through 2006, but it is really Lady’s book because she’s the one who insisted we needed to write it now, not later. She also started it by gathering my true stories and poems together and then interviewing me for more. She created the initial manuscript and then we spent 7 years passing it back and forth 40 times or so, each of us editing, deleting, rearranging, adding.

Check out the Facebook link to see the good words being received from readers. Maj Ragain said he’s never read anything quite like it, that it had crept into his dreams.

A few comments:

Wednesday Kennedy: your book is my toilet reading Steven Smith it’s terrific.
I can pick it up on any page. I love your book so much Smith. I just went to the toilet and read another paragraph it was only a wee …ahaha. a poo and I can get through a whole page. your book gets better with a second read and on the loo i can really relax into it ahaha.

Mary E. Weems: A real page-turner, downstairs in my front room laughing my ass off—instead of exercising which was the plan before I opened you to read for about 10 minutes…, my friend, wow….

And a fine write by book and paper artist Melissa Jay Craig (aka Filed Marshal May Midwest): Stations of the Lost and Found, co-written with his lovely and talented wife, Lady K, is utterly, at times even painfully, honest. It’s all there: outrageous drug use, armed robbery, sex, adultery, his near-death by alcohol…and, perhaps glossed-over a tiny bit: redemption. A Next Chapter needs to be written, definitely.

I liked this book, A Lot. Much more than Kerouac, to which it has been compared. Yes, Smith is my friend; I’ve read earlier versions and have known some of the stories for years (and have lived through some as well, though I learned some new things, like about the LSD). This is the best telling ever, no question, and I think I would have liked it if I didn’t know him or the stories. Smith’s own blurb about the book is much, much better than anything I can write; so please read it here. He has led one strange life. The oddest thing about it, though, is that Smith is – and has always been – one of the most morally sound people I know. And absolutely one of the funniest. One story that didn’t make it to the book is something another friend told him years ago (the second thing that comes to my mind after ‘brave’): “Smith, if we just went by the facts, none of us would be here.” Read this book; it’s truly true and stranger than fiction.

Smith’s brain – foto Smith


The Next Big Thing: the Smith sequence

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Stations of the Lost & Found – foto Smith

Here’s my section of The NEXT BIG THING, a chain-blog where an author answers a list of questions about one of their books, then asks five writers to answer the same list, with everyone blogging their answers with links to the previous few blogs.

I was asked by poet/publisher Bree. You can read her answers at Bree’s blog, as well as Bree-tagged poet John Swain’s answers at Swain’s blog.

My foto was used on the cover of John’s book, and Bree has published both of us, so we’re all incestuously poetically entwined.

Q: What is the title of the book?

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 by Smith & Lady.

Q: Where did the idea come from for the book?

After Lady moved in with me in 2005 I started telling her my past adventures and she said there was a book there. I said yes I know, I’m going to write it someday, and she said “No, there’s a book right now” and started collecting my past into a manuscript.

Q: What genre does your book fall under?

Memoir, autobiography 1946-2006.

Q: What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

It’s too late for Humphrey Bogart or Robert Mitchum to play me and Lauren Bacall to be Lady, so Edward Norton for me, Lady Gaga as Lady, Sean Penn for my brother Cat, Donald Southerland as Space Ranger, Gertrude Stein as Melissa, and Rip Torn as Jude Wilson . . . Chiplis can play Chiplis.

Q: What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Good gone bad gone good.

Q: How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Started collecting fall of 2005, began editing in Croatia winter 2006; then passed the manuscript back and forth over three continents for editing 40-50 times before publishing it back here in the U.S. in 2012.

Q: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I have more — and more outrageous — life stories than most.

Q: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Here’s the back cover blurb: “Drug orgies, massive refindings of reality, the acceptance of interdimensions. Errant life scout, cultural adventurer, perception tester, court jester, inner seeker, reality adjuster, flow surfer, servant and searcher of Other.

“Born in Bitterroot, raised on Paradise Prairie, farm boy, car thief, Naval Academy, expelled for dope, society marriage, armed robbery, jail, illegal loft dweller, Artcrimes, rat attacks, overdose, celibate, remarried, expat. Ran from the cops ten times, got away nine.”

In a way it is the story of the U.S. since the end of WWII, at least the underground creative road less traveled anti-barcode America.

Reader comments, book excerpts, extra fotos, and some raw material available at FaceBook at

Book may be ordered at or through

Amazon has a nice feature where you can “look inside” at the contents, the first 6 pages, or my favorite which is “Surprise me” . . . it even lets you “search” the book for specific words. Heck, hit “Surprise me” often enough and you might get the whole book eventually for free.

Q: Is your book self-published or represented by an agency?

We self-published it via CreateSpace as print-on-demand, but are looking for an agent to get it professionally published.

back cover blurb – foto Smith


Junk It, Kick It, Spit On It (for Steven B. Smith)

Friday, January 4th, 2013

A hard way to go – foto Smith

Here’s Mark Weber’s 1989 unflattering poem on me as a drunk. I drank myself to death less than 2 years after this, woke up in intensive care. Sober since.

Junk It, Kick It, Spit On It (for Steven B. Smith)

I don’t think there was
anybody in the Tremont bar last night
that didn’t relate
to what you were going thru

we’re concerned, but yeah
go head on
kick the shit out of everything
burn all the money
and the papers
in your wallet
break every glass you drank out of
kiss everybody
roll on the floor
bark like a dog
throw chairs
pronounce: “I’m not sure this
is worth selling out for”
sleep on the bar next to your wine
tie Amy Sparks’ shoe laces together
ask the microphone if yr a democrat
or a republican
stand there teetering
drunker than drunk

how in the fuck did you
ever get home
last night

— Mark Weber, 1989

Coulda been me – foto Smith


Asking for Compassion, Common Ground

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Sometimes I make deals with God/Goddess, and then I think, “well, that deal isn’t necessarily mine to make, but if You feel this is a good proposal, please run with it as best You can.”

And I look for other people to make concessions. I look for them to make concessions, to give ground, so we can move forward.

I make concessions in the way I live to better match my point of view, to lay the groundwork to help my ideals become reality, hopefully insofar that they are wise. I shop union stores as much as I can muster, I bike as much as I can muster, I reduce my driving and I handle multiple chores at once when I do drive as much as I can muster. And there are other things.

There’s still room for improvement–I can still bike more; I can eat less sugar. But I do what I can with a healthy dose of pushing myself beyond obsolete boundaries.

I guess the question becomes: what happens if a significant portion of the population holds a different point of view than I do–that their ideals don’t match mine significantly? Then in that case where can we at least find as much common ground as possible?

You see, I have a big favor I am asking of reality. And that favor is to see things from my point of view when it comes to the sentencing of the Cleveland 5 (some say the “Cleveland 4” because one of the people is testifying against the others, but even so, I believe in compassion for all, am not judging, am not judging).

I do not wish for these young men to be sentenced the extreme amount that some in our government have been asking: life sentences. That would be very very sad because some in the government actually created the plot and facilitated and pushed the carrying out of the plot for which the young men are being sentenced. If that is not entrapment in a bad sense, what is?

The sentence one of their lawyers is asking for is much more reasonable: 5 years.

So I’ve been wondering what can I do to give ground on my point of view about some issues so that other people will give ground on their issues? What can we do to be less extreme?

I’ve always considered myself pro-choice for the most part, but I’ve noticed that conversation about the details of what that means tends to be heated, so much so that I’ve just kind of held the issue at arm’s length and not engaged in discussion. Interestingly enough, I’ve experience far more anger from the “pro-choice” side of the issue than from the “pro-life” side, but this is probably because I tend to talk more relaxedly with people who tend to be “pro-choice” and tend to have more of them around me.

I am willing to make a concession, and that is that I can see that it is reasonable for people of sound mind and capabilities who are over 18 years of age to do better to prevent themselves from getting pregnant (except in the case of rape), and that these people should act more responsibly–and possibly that the right to an abortion regardless of circumstance might be something that we can reconsider.

(And yet I adamantly believe that children (people 18 years old and younger) do not have any obligation to carry pregnancies to term, and people who have been raped.)

Since I make this concession to seeing the “other” party’s point of view on abortion, will the “other” party see my point of view? And where can we find common ground on the anti-war issue and being pro-life?

~ Lady


Score Chord

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

Rocky road – foto Smith

Score Chord

It’s been a fair where
and I’ve had a few was
sparks still arc
life’s a fair lair

Art, poems and friends
all over the place
even made amends
for much of my pace

My here to where
is to steer clear of fear
no goal but to be
see what I see

Try to be fair
keep my step smart
my head in the air
start from the heart

Of course I’ll fail
but what a fun trip
seems I’m but blip
a bump on the trail

So that’s my tale
since losing my tail
stopping the ale
accepting my flail

My story plot line
has more ups and downs
and surreal clowns
than most ever find

Went the wrong way
yet ended up right
what can I say
I’m blessed with the light

— Smith, 11.11.2012

2 dozen Smiths – foto Smith


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