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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 ‘Croatia’ Category

you can’t go home again

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

Isolation – foto by smith

Roundelay away we stray.

Looks like we’re moving back to Cleveland this spring after 32 months living outside the U.S.

Lady’s been talking of moving back awhile now. She’s isolated here, needs to be around younger people, have a viable art & poetry scene. We were talking of San Francisco or Seattle, but family and a job lead us back to Cleveland.

I’m isolated here as well, but then I’ve been isolated for 62 years now – place don’t make no difference because it’s the people I’m walled off from no matter the country, city or century.

Returning is going to be exceedingly odd because I left Cleveland AND the U.S.A. in both my mind and body August 2006 with nary a thought of ever returning to either. At least my cosmic script writer still has a sense of humor and the absurd.

Knowing we’re going, each day I look deeply into the colors and contours of here, the most beautiful place I’ve lived except for my 7 years being raised on a 40 acre farm on Paradise Prairie outside of Spokane Washington in the 1950s. Both southern France and the Istrian tip of Croatia were beautiful places to live as well, but they were culturally even more disadvantaged than Oaxaca.

Not looking forward to this, but relationships and marriages require compromise and right now Lady’s needs outweigh my own. Plus I’ve lived most my life and have become who I am while Lady is young, still living, still becoming. (Actually, she’s very becoming.)

I’m looking forward to the poetry and art. Cleveland has the best poetry scene we’ve seen anywhere in our three years of travel – including London England. And it’ll be good to make art again. I’ve made a dozen pieces in our journey through 10 countries and 22 cities we’ve lived in during that time, but the art desire was attenuated because I knew we’d be moving on again and I’d have to leave the art behind – my ego is too large to be comfortable with that.

I’ve fond memories of the cities we stayed in along the way – in chronological order: Cleveland, Ohio USA / London, UK / Leeds, UK / Grassington, UK / Burley-On-Wharfsdale, UK / Amsterdam, Netherlands / Lodz, Poland / Krakow, Poland / Liznjan, Croatia / Trieste, Italy / Venice, Italy / Abeilhan, France / Barcelona, Spain / Madrid, Spain / Marrakech, Morocco / Essaouira, Morocco / Keswick, England / Marseilles, France / Paris, France / New York City, New York USA / Oaxaca, Mexico / Tanetze, Mexico.

Not a bad run. And this will not be our last – get some more money and a wee bit of security and we’ll be off again.

Light at the end of the tunnel – foto by smith


our daily layers

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

hot surface – foto by smith

Here I am at my normal morning trouble point.

I’ve finished my morning ablutions, drank my 1st cup of eye-opening life-giving Mexican coffee purchased from the mountain woman with whom we stayed twice to help pick her coffee from her trees (so maybe we’re occasionally drinking some coffee beans we actually picked), answered my 1 email, spot checked the news to see what lies the evil corporate empire has defecated on us since last night, glanced at the blogs I follow of others, and read the few comments left on my blog.

Now it’s time for me to blog, and of course I have no blog.

Lady started this blog on end of June 2006 while I was recovering from my nose polyps removal and cancer biopsy operation (polyps are gone, cancer is clean). Since then we’ve lived in 10 countries (4 of them twice) and have blogged 1,232 blogs with between 2 to 3,000 fotos of our travels.

Lady and I have been together 3 years and 2 months, and we’ve a daily blog of our life and times for 2 years 4 months of that. Well, almost daily – for our three months of living in a small fishing village on the tip of Croatia facing the Adriatic we had to bus a half hour into town to blog, and our two weeks of camping in the North England rain we had to walk an hour through the mountains to blog, so in those cases we only blogged thrice weekly. But I blogged two-three times a day in our two months in Krakow Poland, so that should keep my average up.

In our 38 months together we’ve moved 50 times, living in the U.S.A., England, Amsterdam, Poland, Croatia, Italy, France, Spain, Morocco, England-France-Spain-U.S.A. a second time, and now for the past 11 months in southern Mexico.

Here in Oaxaca is my favorite place I’ve lived since I moved from the farm to the city in 1960. It’s not the most important place I’ve lived since then though – that’d have to be Morocco. One month in Marrakech and 2 months in the old walled city of Essaouira on the Northwest coast of Africa was the most amazing adventure I’ve had because it was like going through the looking glass to an ancient time before electricity, cleanliness, antibiotics. There’s nothing Western about it, it’s more like Old Testament times. Morocco also kept trying to kill me with multiple attacks of dysentery, which kept things interesting.

The one thing daily blogging in a multitude of countries, cities and cultures has done is made me a better, faster, more thoughtful writer. The other thing is it has given Lady and me an online diary record of our daily existence, with fotos.

The funny part is when Lady started this blog, I asked her why. I couldn’t fathom why anyone would want to blog. And now I’m addicted to my daily noise.

Still, it is hard to blog every day, to think of something to say. No one’s interesting every day all the time. So here’s my bogus non-blog of a blog today. Of course my non-blogs aren’t really a problem because I always have interesting fotos for eye candy to keep you distracted from my lack of content. Tomorrow I might just have something real to say.

Or not.

shadow slant – foto by smith


tedious tendon

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

thumbs – foto by smith

i lost the full use of my right thumb. it swings and swivels but won’t bend. i’ve gone from opposable to semi-opposable. i’m moving down the evolutionary ladder. but that’s cool – i hear there’s a lot of room at the bottom.

i was cleaning sage last month for MadManMax’s handmade sausage. 10 pounds of ground pork&fat sausage-to-be means a lot of sage. the endless circular cleaning picking pull and tug twixt thumb and forefinger aggravated my arthritis. i’d been out of anti-inflammatory pills for three days and was hurting, and this hurt way more. finished the task anyway, being macho mindless and male. haven’t been able to bend my thumb since. the tendon that pulls the thumb tip down won’t contract. can’t flick my bic. lady thinks i’ve lit so many lighters these past 40 years with that same thumb tendon i done wore it out.

now that i’m short-thumbed, i can’t ride shotgun on the sage coach no more.

it was good sausage though. they say when folk tour a chocolate, wine or ice cream factory, everybody wants a taste of the product afterwards, but after seeing how they make sausage, no one will touch the stuff.

one of my worst food moments was eating blood sausage outside zagreb croatia. i ordered it because it’s so over the top – they cook the animal’s meat in its own blood, in my mind adding insult to injury. the poet in me made me try it. it tasted good, but the flesh was soft, pale, odd, felt regurgitated, pre-chewed. made me queasy. had to force myself to swallow. kept thinking i tasted blood. ate half, smeared the rest around. that night i lay in bed thinking i had to vomit it out of me, i did not want it in. messed with my mind. what started as poetic metaphor turned barbaric. lady had wild boar that night, and it was delicious.

all thumbs – foto by smith


dog water soup

Saturday, August 9th, 2008

street art – foto by smith

monday december 4 2006 liznjan croatia excerpt from blog:

i wonder when the dog days are? last night our 2 dog friends came over – big black male thumper and little brown female bambi. we sat and talked and played, then lady gave them a pan of water. they lapped and lapped with their little doggie tongues, drooling their little doggie drool back into the pan. this morning lady wrote a sentimental poem about them, while i tossed their dog water and put the pan on the stove to be washed.

then lady makes soup for lunch – and of course she uses the unwashed unrinsed dog pan. never had dog water soup before. didn’t taste too bad, tho i do wonder how many canine genitals and anal orifices their two tongues have licked lately.

leftovers anyone?

tin lizard – foto by smith



Wednesday, April 4th, 2007

foto by smith

A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving. – Lau Tzu (600 ~ 300 BC)

the one aural constant in our past 5 months in croatia and france is the crowing of roosters. it is a magic sound. i grew up on a farm on paradise prairie in washington state in the 1950s, and the sound takes me back to more innocent, hopeful times. it’s a beautiful, evocative sound, metaphoric. brings to mind the new day, beginning light, ending darkness, hope, possibility. and thanks to peter denying christ 3 times before the cock crew, it hearkens as well of betrayal, cowardice, and mythology. it is double edged – befitting a sound which separates night and day – although we’ve discovered roosters start crowing way before dawn, and keep crowing all day long. basically if they’re awake, they crow. america prints the sound as cock-a-doodle-doo, while croatia uses ku-ku-ri-ku… this made me curious, so i looked up this list of world rooster sounds:

Afrikaans: koekelekoe / Albanian: kiki ri ki / Catalan: kikkirikí / Chinese (Mandarin): gou gou / Croatian: ku-ku-ri-ku / Danish: kykkeliky / Dutch: kukeleku / English: cock-a-doodle-doo / Esperanto: kokeriko / Estonian: kikerikii / Finnish: kukkokiekuu / French: cocorico / German: kickeriki / Greek: ki-kiriki / Hebrew: kukuriku / Hindi: kukru:ku: / Hungarian: kukurikuuuu / Indonesian: kikeriku / Italian: chicchirichí / Japanese: kokekokkoo / Korean: kko-kki-yo / Macedonian: kukuriku / Norwegian: kykeliky / Polish: kukuryku / Portuguese (Portugual): cocorococo / Russian: ku-ka-re-ku / Spanish (Spain): kikirikí / Spanish (Argentina): ki-kiri-ki / Swedish: kuckeliku / Thai: ake-e-ake-ake / Turkish: kuk-kurri-kuuu / Ukrainian: kukuriku

started two books of short stories by Julian Barnes and Martin Amis. in each, the first story was so good, i got excited. second story was mediocre, so quit. the 2 excellent stories were Interference by Barnes and God’s Dice by Amis. started 3rd book of stories by John Updike – each story impresses me and keeps me reading on – the man has some chops. folks who can write even 1 fantastic story impress the heck out of me. may i be as worthy some day.

continuing with talent – the mySpace online world is showing me how many truly talented creative people there are out there in art, music, word, attitude – the whole shebang.

shebang – now there’s an interesting word… wikipedia says Shebang is a word meaning “any matter of present concern; thing; business” (1869). It is most frequently used in the phrase “the whole shebang”, which first appeared in written records in 1862. “The whole chebang” [sic] was used to mean “a building and everything in it”. Later, Mark Twain used it to describe a vehicle, as well as “any matter of present concern”. It is suspected to originate from the French word char-a-banc, which is a bus-like wagon with a lot of seats, but no specific connection has been proven as of now.

anyway, i used to brood about not being famous for my art – but i see from mySpace there are thousands of artists out there just as talented as i. however in poetry, i hold my own. more folk make good art than write good poetry. i’ve always said art is easy, poetry hard. and so far no one out there seems to have a back story as rich as mine (here’s a taste… read Back In Black In White Film Noir which was published last month by The Delinquent in england).

If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading. – Lao Tzu (600 ~ 300 BC)

foto by smith


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