Friday Night

A delirium of talk
from my head to my heart
tight burn hollows of shoulders
dog breath, a panicked cat
bird in the throat
bird in the ear
bird in the eyes
bird brain
Friday night

~ Lady

Lady poem 7-17-2016

The colophon of a book
of the paradise of my life – would
I let myself enjoy it – includes block print bees,
fruit trees, pineapples, haystacks and
wheat wreathes, mint juleps and distillations
cultural and otherwise, figures in almanacs
rendered into prizes for specimens shown
at a county fair

We could walk into this streaming sunshine logo, me and thee,
holding hands up to the curlicue of a wooden arch drizzled
in vine, ducking under leaf and grapes and other emblems
of harvest and civilization

Or we can walk into someplace wild named only
by calligraphic monks and keepers of words
glossy books of birds come to life

Summer morning before it gets hot
swallows divebombing us in plucky cheer
us alien in overgrown grasses of a nature
preserve, new eyes of animated stick figures
a children’s drawing taped
on my office cabinet

Lady Poem 6-15-2016

A bit like a nun up from
clean starched sheets worshiping
royal yellow emperor sun unfolding
its robes into the new day to the
plunking strum of Eralio Gill’s harp
somewhere out there a rose garden
in here blessed routine looking out our
green window I write poems, I visit my own home
live my canon law, the right to gently
carpe diem calmly ignore the coaxing
traffic whooshing outside which
wants me bureaucratic
quickly washed and frantic

I’ll sit in a breakfast lifestyle while
husband clinks ceramic plates on the table
and shuffles his slippers on the slate floor

My eyes are fresh in the homeland
perpetual novelty of butter
jam honey on toasted bread

~ Lady

Ten years married to the sweetest prize I ever tried to lose


Status Report 193

Ten years married
to the sweetest prize
I ever tried to lose

I wanted to be alone
in my twentieth year of celibacy
and she was way too young

My unwelcome mat
said GO AWAY in large letters
as she knocked my door

Finally gave in
knowing it couldn’t last
tried the ride

Ten years later
no one doing it better
we still walk as one

In what is but beginning

– Smith, 3.18.2016

We were married by a witch in the afternoon 10 years ago, and that evening hosted a group poetry reading at the benefit auction for the 25th Street Book Store at the punkish Inside Outside Gallery in the end of the building, then afterward invited the poets and artists and audience up to our studio for a wedding celebration party.


The Cauliflower of the Wild


Conversation with Wife 22

Your closed computer made noises last night,
bongs and dongs.
“Bongs and dongs?”
I meant bongs and gongs.
“I prefer bongs and dongs.”
I won’t touch bongs and dongs.
“Do you do bongs?”
I do do bongs, I don’t do dong.

“I wonder who first made yeast bread?”

“That cauliflower we stole from the field
in Croatia by the sea, remember how good it tasted
The Cauliflower of the Wild?”
Wasn’t that by Jack Lunchean?

She says
“I need poems for my Spring issue of The City
so I softly sing
My bedroom springs don’t work no more
I’m falling to the floor.
She turns to the group
“That’s what happens
when he gets his 3rd cup of coffee.”

“We’re like dogs with money waiting to be fed.”

– Smith, 3.5.2016


Lady’s art in progress

virtual valentine

workingladyLady working on art

Be Mine, Virtual Valentine

Dawn soon to break
on love’s one winter day
but I say away
to just one
because love’s every day
mine to you
you to me
we to cat
cat sometimes to us
sometimes tooth blood claw
love driven to be forgiven
so happy me with you
happy you to me
happy three we
fine fluxation be

– Smith, 2.14.2016

catwatercat waiting on water

one soup to rule them all


One Soup to Rule Them All

I don’t cook
though I played one for six months
in County Jail lockup 1970
but wife is stressed and stretched and strung
with work hell so I’ve begun
making one large Dutch oven soup a week
to help feed and ease my she.

I’m good at it, find it fun.

My one recipe fits all –
for today’s chili
pour 1/4 cup olive oil in Dutch oven pan
finely chop 4 medium onions
4 carrots
4 stalks celery
11 sprigs parsley
add to pan
saute over medium flame with lid on
stirring frequently
add 1 pound fake meat soy protein mix
cook and stir 20 minutes
add 2 small cans kidney beans
1 small can black beans
1 large can diced tomatoes
couple shakes MSG, salt, black pepper
4 capfuls cream sherry
bit of water
pack of chili mix
bring to boil
lower flame and simmer 50 minutes
fill a blender with cooked beans and veggies
pour back in
add frozen corn
simmer 30 minutes

Same basic flow for black bean soup
but replace chili mix with cumin
and fake meat with nothing
or navy bean soup with bay leaf and thyme
and smoked salt
or potato soup with spice of choice.

Soon I’ll can the cans
cook dry beans
cut and cook tomatoes.

Best navy bean soup I’ve had.
Pretty good chili.
Fine black bean.

Secret is simple –
more finely chopped veggies than you’d think
and slooooooow cooking.

Nature and chemistry do the rest.

– Smith, 2.9.2016

Lady has taken over the small family web design business, and trying to get a handle on scheduling 2-3 others, plus admin, plus customer relations, plus doing most of the billable coding is beating her down until she figures out the proper mix.

So I’ve also taken over most breakfasts with egg & muffin sandwiches alternating with oatmeal . . . the oatmeal’s extra tasty slow-cooked with milk, vanilla, and raisins, and sweetened with brown sugar and local maple syrup.

I already handle the laundry and dishes, as well as assorted shopping chores and errands, and usually the catbox. And I normally drive so Lady can work on her laptop or catch up on sleep in the passanger seat.

In a few weeks I’ll be 70. Strange trip. Started writing and singing blues lyrics at 56, took up romance with Lady at 59 after 20 years celibacy, and now becoming a cook in my late 60’s.

Who’da thunk it?



to the 9’s


Status Report 78

It’s to the nine’s
cuz nine nine every September
brings another year with my Lady love
this being the tenth
our 1st decade
of love
playful companion for mind and body
body and soul

Strange daze of enigma and maze called Kathy
I named her Kafka’s Lady
which became Lady Kafka
then Lady K
as strange diluted to sane
as we looked in the mirror through day’s play

I plotted how to kill her stalker psycho Sam
should he appear with knife in hand
then killed my throat cancer instead
sold the studio
dispersed possessions
stored the art
took off
2 backpacks 10 countries 3 continents 31 months
England Holland Poland Croatia Italy France
Spain Morocco US Mexico
came back full of poems
fotos, art, love
and like enough to cheat death for you
since I’m heading for 100

I’m with the one I want
and the one I want’s with me

As I said before
it’s you or nobody Lady
and I prefer you

– Smith, 9.9.2015

Lady and I took up 10 years ago.

Gave her a ride to my reading of 9 short pieces on mom Mother Dwarf’s death two and a half months earlier, and afterward she came up to see the art and stayed, even though my unwelcome mat said GO AWAY and I was in my 20th year of self-imposed celibacy, proving once and for all that art and poetry can not only get you laid, but can catch a wife.

She brought drama.

There was her stalker psycho Sam who wanted to kidnap her and keep her in his closet and talked of murdering me because I took her away.

There was the firefighter poet who’d she’d left her husband for and now had left him to play the field with a cracked psychologist and psycho Sam and another old bearded poet and the occasional stranger . . . all who went away after me though none of them thought she was better off.

Two weeks later she moved in. Six months more we married, a day after her divorce was finalized. Four months after that we’d sold my studio, given away most the stuff, stored the artwork, and took off for Europe and Africa and Mexico for 31 months.

By the time we’d gotten back, we’d finished 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 (available online for $20, or $15 from us).

Now it’s time to write book two.

So happy 10th year of taking up, my love. Got a ways to go.

ladysmithjoyce2poets Lady, me, Tim Joyce – foto by poet M.J. Arcangelini

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

now sitting willing in waiting sun


Spaces presents
Pedestrian Poetry by the People
today Saturday Sept 5, 2015 from 10am-2pm at the open air Market Square Park across from the West Side Market.

Lady & I have the first shift from 10-11am in the Spaces tent. We’ll be sitting at a typewriter and type a free poem for anyone who sits down.

Here’s the schedule of poets:
10:00am – Smith & Lady
11:00am – Lee Chilcote, RA Washington
12:00pm – Dianne Borsenik
1:00pm – Christine Howey, Jayce Renner

Facebook event page:

Status Report 75

Wife is younger by two decade seven

The pluses are endless,
the love true

but two darks brew

I’m older sooner sicker frail finder
hence death is due to brew reminder

and she wonders how I can just sit and silent toke
and stare out window betting traffic color light
while she stresses struss of work
of life of love of irk
and I tell her truth
I did my stressin’ struttin’ fretful fussin’
in those 27 years of older
got most of it over
and done
now sitting willing in waiting sun
and her use

– Smith, 9.5.2015