one of Cleveland’s legendary literary characters

found this unseen Feb 2019 CoolCleveland blurb while searching to see if “Where Never Was Already Is” has been used by anyone else on the searchable net — it hasn’t.

“Poet/publisher/memoirist/event creator/world traveler Steve B. Smith is one of Cleveland’s legendary literary characters.

He’s been part of virtually every underground literary scene/event in town for decades. From 1986-2006 he was the publisher of Artcrimes, featuring 577 poets and artists during its run. The most recent works in his copious catalog are his 2012 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 and 2018’s Where Never Was Already Is featuring 244 poems and 29 collages spanning 54 years of his work.”

. . . Lady’s poem 4.30.2023 . . . My Cleveland Dog

. . . Lady’s poem 4.30.2023 . . .

My Cleveland Dog

Rasping, oxygen-burning pants are
Drawn from his voluminous white whirled chest
Hideous octopus suckers
Stud his maroon jowls

“Dog boy,” husband says
“Dog boy, yeah”

Dog bows his orange lion head
Husband tousles and cradles his ears
It stops and dog galumphs into a heap
On the carpet

Dog’s a lion, a magnificent warmth
for a bleary rainy Sunday

“Dog walk walk dog,” I say, and he’s up!
Massive weight – big dog –
Prances his skittles of nails
On the foyer floor

I harness him one leg
Then the other, good dog,
And slam the witches’ bells
on the door

I turn to check the door handle
It’s sure in its mechanical mind
It secures the damp entrance to house
Littered with new and bruised
maple flowers

We’re up and out!

Dog bumps nose to
Broken robin egg looks like
sugar shell Easter candy

What is it, Dog? Dog dog?”
Whimsical, not urgent
Wind chimes from behind the house

We walk the red brick road

Blocks away
Another dog barks mystery
And the sound of dog is brick

Wind chime temple bells softer
Now in the cotton batting
3pm of the day

Our living room clocks
Stagger tocks then chase each other
Or race each other

Our dog slops up laps of water
From the metal of his saliva bowl
An unrelenting repeat of seasons

– Lady

(Bio — Lady is a stubborn woman who lives on a red brick road in Cleveland next to the zoo with her curmudgeon poet husband, dog and two cats.)

Smith & Lady travels more or less Aug 2006 – Mar 2009

Smith & Lady travels more or less Aug 2006 – Mar 2009

We first left with 70 pounds of backpack each — returned with 35 pounds each . . . quickly learned you REALLY have to want something in order to carry it on your back.

>>>>> to chiplis (1 mile)
>>>>> to chicago — (312 miles)
>>>>> to london — (3,954 miles)
>>>>> to north england — (250)
>>>>> to london — (250)
>>>>> to amsterdam — (221)
>>>>> to london — (221)
>>>>> to lodz poland — (719)
>>>>> to krakow poland — (204)
>>>>> to lodz poland — (204)
>>>>> to london — (719)
>>>>> to pula croatia — (788)
>>>>> to zagreb (122)
>>>>> to pula (122)
>>>>> to trieste — (54)
>>>>> to venice — (71)
>>>>> to pula — (125)
>>>>> to beziers — (914)
>>>>> to barcelona — (156)
>>>>> to madrid — (314)
>>>>> to marrakech — (652)
>>>>> to essarouira (95 miles)
>>>>> to marrakech — (95)
>>>>> to london — (1,432)
>>>>> to braithwaite — (250)
>>>>> to london — (250)
>>>>> to marseille — (623)
>>>>> to albeilhan — (120)
>>>>> to paris — (393)
>>>>> to albeilhan (393)
>>>>> to barcelona — (156)
>>>>> to nyc usa — (4,083)
>>>>> to cleveland — (402)
>>>>> to mexico — (1,946)
>>>>> to cleveland — (1,946)
>>>>> to mexico — (1,946)
>>>>> to cleveland — (1,946) = 26,499

online tap water quality check by zipcode

Cleveland tap water quality test results for the Tremont neighborhood per the (Environmental Working Group) website.

Bromodichloromethane exceeds the standard by 125 times
(cancer causing)

Chloroform exceeds the standard by 30 times
(cancer causing)

Chromium (hexavalent) exceeds the standard by 5.1 times
(cancer causing)

Dibromochloromethane exceeds the standard by 36 times
(cancer causing)

Dichloroacetic acid exceeds the standard by 12 times
(cancer causing)

Nitrate exceeds the standard by 2.5 times
(cancer causing) *

Nitrate & nitrite exceed the standard by 7.3 times
(cancer causing) *

Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) exceed the standard by 157 times
(cancer causing)

Trichloroacetic acid exceed the standard by 11 times
(cancer causing)

Go here and type in your zipcode to find your neighborhood’s ratings

* don’t know why they have Nitrate and Nitrate & Nitrite as 2 catagories

Cleveland Cleavage

Cleveland Cleavage

Fleshly crease nigh nipple to neck
filled with sweet and sweat and scent

Jiggle jam compressed along
eye line song I long to roam

Cleavage is an isn’t impression
one nothing created by two tensions

A front-fleshed crack
to remind of ass smack

My wife is my breast friend
front and back and either end

– Smith, 8.11.2017

May 20 Lady Poem

The coaxing of the robin before dawn
and incidental whish of raft of car on the
subliminal freeway

Train half mile away like some
thought from the land’s integration
with man

A few more rafts of cars like the wind
picking up, now someone waking up

And I’m cheered by coffee on this
Friday morning regrouping of my wits
anticipating weekend’s freedom like a
calm Christmas

~ Lady

In C by Terry Riley, 1964, 42′ 03″


Looking out our 3rd floor window at the sycamore tree next door, its new spring leaves are exploding in wee bursts of yellowgreen, giving a whole different view and ambiance to life . . for the better.

It’s so fast. The buds break, there are wee peeping of green, than WHAM, tree’s suddenly nothing but leaves and I have to weave and bob my head to see the traffic lights through them so I can bet on the red/yellow/green.

We need to slow this down, so I offer Season Savings Time.

We’d turn spring to half speed, so the new green glow would last twice as long, day after day of slow grow green, endless flower blooms, achingly sweet soft breezes caressing Cleveland cleavage in endless just-warm-enough sun.

Then summer and fall we’d go back to normal time, and of course having to balance the equation, we’d speed winter up twice as fast and get it over with.

But now I reflect, fall is magic too, and summer here frequently brutal, so speed summer up by 25%, speed winter 75%, slow fall 50%, and we’d have it all, with even Goldilocks happy.

Especially since Winter now is basically 6 months, Spring maybe three weeks, summer endless, and fall all too short.

Speaking of timing (musical, that is)…

In C by Terry Riley, 1964, 42′ 03″

plunk plunk plunk plunk
pluck punk plunk

each step in journey a journey
each journey in journey a step

night chimes in soft sun on daylit porch
coffee dark with hot opium steam

a catching of the carousel
with a scratching of the rote

tunnel down and loop back heart
bouncing brave on rubber rung

sung in song such simple sayings
singing swaying in sun

run run run run, run run run more
till bottom drops out of floor

– Smith, 5.2.2016

Can’t remember whether I came across In C, Terry Riley’s 1964 recording, in 1968 or 71, but it’s my favorite 42 minute musical composition (performances can vary from 15 minutes to 2 hours), although actually it is one of my favorites of any length – definitely in my top ten tunes along with Yoko Ono’s Walking On Thin Ice and Leonard Cohen’s Everybody Knows.

Here’s a 10 minute taste –

“In C consists of 53 short, numbered musical phrases, lasting from half a beat to 32 beats; each phrase may be repeated an arbitrary number of times. Each musician has control over which phrase they play: players are encouraged to play the phrases starting at different times, even if they are playing the same phrase. In this way, although the melodic content of each part is predetermined, In C has elements of aleatoric music to it.[4] The performance directions state that the musical ensemble should try to stay within two to three phrases of each other. The phrases must be played in order, although some may be skipped. As detailed in some editions of the score, it is customary for one musician (“traditionally… a beautiful girl,” Riley notes in the score)[5] to play the note C in repeated eighth notes, typically on a piano or pitched-percussion instrument (e.g. marimba). This functions as a metronome and is referred to as “The Pulse”. Steve Reich introduced the idea of a rhythmic pulse to Riley, who accepted it, thus radically altering the original composition by Riley which had no rhythm.[6]” —


the red white black & blues


piece of mine from 1997

Thinking of the execution of Tamir Rice, executed by disgraced white cop Tim Loehmann less than 2 seconds after arriving at the playground.

Red White Black & Blues

The shooting cop, white
The black boy, dead
The pooling blood, red

Ain’t no justice blues

– Smith, 1.7.2016


just call me 2 poet smith

Got called 9 tonight to read tomorrow at the Tremont Arts & Cultural Festival six blocks down the street. Said I can’t cuz I’m reading tomorrow for BeatStreet Cleveland 2015 at the Barking Spider (ain’t that a cool name for a venue?). He said when? I said 3-ish. He said this is noon and you get $25 for 25 minutes. Said I’d be there.

Never had a two-feature day before poetry-wise.

My laptop with my poetry master files is in the repair shop so have to cut and paste as I read making sure I’m family friendly.

So – noon tomorrow I’ll read 25 minutes (followed by poet/musician Shawn Mishak) outdoors in Lincoln Park in Tremont in Cleveland in Ohio >>> Tremont Arts & Cultural Festival 2015.

and around 3:15 i’ll read 15 minutes at the Barking Spider, followed by 10 rather impressive poets, some of whom go back to the 60’s (as do I) >>> BeatStreet Cleveland 2015.

wee Audrey & Aidi and poemz aplenty




We took the first hour of 4 and manned the SPACES Gallery poetry tent across from the West Side Market yesterday. Folk would walk up, we’d ask their name, a few questions, then write a free poem for them. We wrote 18 in an hour, so we each had 7 minutes max to question, write, fotograf, and give. Fascinating process . . . fast, fun, little time for depth, more a process of impressionistic reportage.

It was a blast, especially due to the two children who received poems — our 1st customer was Audrey, 4-yrs old, who also took our spaghetti squash I’d drawn a funny face on.

Our first 4 folk had names starting with A, as did numbers 6, 7, and 12 so the A’s, about 4% of the alphabet, took 39% of our output.

Thanks to SPACES staff Mimi Kato and Marilyn Ladd-Simmons for their prep work, hosting, direction, and encouragement. And thanks to our friend, teacher, ceramicist, and neighbor Angelica Pozo for asking Lady & I to participate in this.

Pedestrian Poetry by the People, Smith shift, 2015

SPACES Gallery hosted a bazaar tent where folk could sit,
tell us their name, a bit about themselves. and we’d write
a quick poem for them. Lady & I had first shift 10-11 in hot
sun under blue sky in open air square across from the West
Side Market. First of 18 seekers was 4 yr old Audrey who
took the free spaghetti squash with a crazed face I had
drawn, then asked me to write “Sally” across the front.


Audrey who loves spaghetti squash
She named her “Sally”
It’s a beautiful blue day
Just as beautiful as Audrey



Bright as month
of river running
sun shining
birds winging



A beautiful day
Sky-high with potential

Fresh start at the
West Side market

Weekend like going to
a restaurant & sharing
a bunch of appetizers

What more of a great
Start to September
Could one want?



Because she said
she would
as she walked
in the sun

we did

(she was wearing a t-shirt that said
I Said I Would So I Did)



Mitzie & Amie on a
hot as balls day

Bright blue sky
without even a trace
of contrail

Hot – like summer
finally purchasing claim
on its season

Today we have not a
care in the world



Al & Amie & April
& Mitzi walking park
in sun with poem
people . . . .
may your flux be fine



While you’re in Cleveland
Catch the poetic wind by
Like spiders strapping themselves
to a string of web
& leaping – wind carrying
them to a destination
Cool little city on a hot day
Bright blue promising sky
Like a present for everyone
– travel



Gorgeous name
carries wind of promise
adventure pure
in lands of sun
and shine
and light rain

(he mentioned after his name has to do with the sun)



It is a day
of special names,
beautiful names,
people flowers flowing
in market square . . .

sun rising


What a treasure to meet
an adventurer – Lily from
Sky high in blue clarity
Crepes in hand, sweet-or-savory?
All I can do is draw from
my own memories of travel –
& of living in an unfamiliar
And then the pleasure of feeling
it slowly becoming my own



Blake from the up-down city of
Detroit – visiting the up=down
city of Cleveland

Both cities laden with urban
decay for urban explorers –
cities of salt, rust, and some
unmown grass

Promises in new construction,
kindled interest – monied interests –
we hold our own pockets open &
hope! For kinds of rain.



For family & friends
and southeast side
excursion to the Market
and gathering of clan
circling the falling
to catch up with laughter
& learning in sum



Eating bread from Market
in her stroller fair
blue eyes target
beneath golden hair



Artistic neighbors meet at
beloved community spot –
Market Square – food,
tents, people with a bit of
spare time

Megan & Aidi – sharing a
memory in the making Aidi
will remember the rest of
her life – these similar
moments – time with
Mom, the community of
female friends



Steve to Steve
from Tampa to Cleveland
may your flux flow
and feel be fine
cuz any friend of Rafeeq
is fine to find



Welcome back, welcome back to
the puppy dog people of Cleveland
salt of the earth, prone to hellos
& self-deprecating answers
How familiarity is like a warm
bath, a kind of indulgence –
& maybe you are thinking, “Oh –
I can come home again – &
this is what it’s like!”
again couple



From Toledo to the Market
with marriage down the road

Sun & sisters & folks
& friends
from art to food to friends
to Cleveland



Familiar – from another northern
Ohio city – Toledo! So happy
to meet you, neighbors!

Like sausage gravy & biscuits –
Like where one is comfortable –
Sampling the degree of
separation from here to there –
Thinking – “We should do this
more again!”
Thinking – “So many places in
Taking life like seizing the day

– Smith & Lady, 9.5.2015


us with Amie & Mitzi – foto by Mimi Kato of SPACES Gallery




















After our shift, Lady asked Mimi Kato to write a haiku in Japanese for Lady’s next online issue of We are going to take time to test time to see how we find out what it means down the road.


Mimi Kato