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

soothes present future past

Status Report 23

A gift of grass
soothes present future past
undarkens glass.

– Smith, 6.25.2015

2007-9 Oaxacan grass, $7 an ounce Oaxaca, Mexico

Up Coffee Mountain, Mexico

Tanetze, Mexico – walking hour down mountain to pick coffee

Up Coffee Mountain, Mexico

Up the mountain a mile to Oaxaca,
nestle in toke and sun and sky.

One mile higher for Tanetze
to pick coffee trees entwined with vine.

Rise before sun to big pot of brew,
chase ache and creak of cold and sleep.

Trudge hour down mountain to outpost for picking,
cloudmist rising from river below.

Two lizards fuck in sunlight on tree stump,
pineapples grow right out of the ground.

Cinnamon bark peels from trees,
bananas bunched bend plants down.

Lunch at primitive pole-built campsite
crude cooked over fire, and serious coffee.

Back breaking work standing slant landscape
way above clouds reaching for beans.

End day so tired back up the mountain
almost falling to nothing below.

Bed without dinner too tired to eat,
in cold and darkness to sleep till again.

Happy special picking own coffee
to buy later when carried to town.

– Smith, 3.25.2015

coffee beans drying on our hosts’ roof

Smith & Lady Poems March 2015 – Lady’s #25



Falling asleep on the bus
nodding off to cumbia beat
din of dreamscape, rumbling
carnival heart in the paper mache
garden of the world

Waking up at the stop
in the saddlebow of siddhasana,
like breathing suddenly clearly
wobbly fawn steps down to the street
new eyes delivered to daylight

~ Lady


Smith & Lady Poems March 2015 – Lady’s #17


The baby bighorn bounds in sundance
laughing with the kapok tree who imprisoned the devil
transforming weeds of his way, goatee to seed flowering cotton,
spirals of keratin horn winding wise and kind bodhi meditation
from animal eye of secret sacred inner mind, mystic medicine
cosmovision songs, sprung tongues of strange ones,
J-Men amen, the lamb comes,
ay… ay….

~ Lady


Black History Month Poems #22


Quetzalcoatl intercedes
from Earth to Venus, halmark of Nahua
rainy season, mandala of his dress
wrapping subject into

Snake and
most precious green bird shake
wind jewels of rain, lightning breaks
sky in two, loving the alien
under pyramids of sun
and moon

~ Lady


what would Jack do?

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

4:20, 4/20, 4/21 — poetry & pot

Oaxacan Gold, $30 per 1/4 pound, Mexico 2007-2009 – foto Smith

Lady & I will be part of tomorrow’s 55 poet 11 venue 4 hour Tremont Poetry Crawl.

Along with poets Shelley Chernin, host Cavana Faithwalker and the rarely seen Jim Lang, Lady and I will be reading for 10 minutes each at the Doubting Thomas Gallery Sunday April 21 from 1-2pm.

There are 16 other poets reading simultaneously at three nearby venues. Same scenario from 2:30-3:30 (14 poets, 3 venues), and again from 4-5pm (4 venues, 21 poets).

Somewhat of a dilemma because too many people I’d like to see reading simultaneously at different sites. Here’s schedule, poets, and sites: Tremont Crawl.

There’s a lot of mis-information floating about over the origin of 420 as the national day to celebrate and the daily time to smoke marijuana. The most common misconception being 420 is the California police code for a marijuana bust, which t’ain’t true. In actuality it came from four Marin county California kids who met at 4:20 every afternoon to hunt for an abandoned marijuana patch in the forest. They never found it, but they smoked a lot of weed in the process and in the process adopted 420 as slang for all things marijuana, and their hanging out with the Grateful Dead during their rehearsals helped pass it on to a much larger crowd. They even have letters from the 1970s to prove it to High Times’ satisfaction.

Origin of 420 >> How ‘420’ Became the Big Day for Weed Smokers Across America.

Our 15 months in Oaxaca Mexico were a toker’s paradise – a quarter pound of Kind or Chronic was $30. Every month I got a quarter pound of weed and a couple $2 grams of black hash; the last 4 months I also bought a couple $2 grams of opium as well.

Lady K

If Eve hadn’t given Adam that apple
I wouldn’t be smoking today
Even so
I tried to serve Sky God
but I was drawn to that old Debbil Weed
I became a happy pappy
papa puff daddy
gadfly to gladly
nouveau bohemian in old school crowd
Sir Laugh-a-Lot of Pot-a-Lot
to Queen MaryJane
Lady Day to Lady K
Kafka to a kiss

— Smith with Lady K, 2006

grass seed for sale Amsterdam 2006 – foto Smith

Thanksgiving as a time of progress

At Thanksgiving I think about the abundance that will be on the table, interacting with family members and the bustle of preparation. I think about pleasing people and pleasing my stomach. I think about symbolism and pleasing tradition while making progress.

I remember Thanksgivings past, the huge table and commotion at Grandma and Grandpa Ireland’s house. I imagine my Grandparents looking in on these words and looking in on us and helping when they can. I’m looking at a photo of them as young adults and I wonder what it was like for them–they must have been almost as responsible as they were when I knew them. I imagine them being much like my brother Jonathan and new sister Dedra setting up business. My grandparents were industrious.

And the holiday’s about giving thanks for the harvest. We have so very much abundance here that it’s a concern that we do not overeat. How fortunate we are. Even very poor people here quite often have enough to eat, although there is much to do to make sure that healthy food is affordable and accessible to everyone.

How can we work our harvest better? By making the healthy stuff more prevalent, by being more ethical in how we grow it and what we consume. By being kinder to Mother Earth so she can provide harvests for us in good health.

Reaching into the gist of the moment, putting my hand into the gist of the moment, what I’d like to do is really make stronger connections. Not to be poignant for poignancy’s sake, but to make progress.

Progress in our relationships–fulfilling the promise of how we thought we were going to be as capable adults now that we are older. Progress in my relationships. So Thanksgiving is not just a time to give thanks, but to show action concerning our thanks. To work on relationships. To use the dividends of our continuing maturity. To be what we can be.

I remember a family meal Smith & I were invited to in Mexico by a serious young man who practiced English with us. He addressed everyone around the table individually and thanked them for how they contributed to his life. This was during a dinner he put together because he was leaving Mexico to be a student in Canada.

I would like to do this at our gatherings, foster this kind of serious joy in recognizing each other’s importance. Perhaps some formality or format helps, even a game? We can foster this.

At Thanksgivings at my Aunt Jan’s and Uncle Jim’s, we have gone around the table and individually articulated what we are thankful for… can we take this opportunity today?

~ Lady

President Obama, Jill Stein, “Free” Trade & Peace

I’ve been wrangling with wondering who to vote for for President on election day. At this point, I think I’m voting for President Obama even though I have been donating to Jill Stein of the Green Party (see its progressive platform here).

The reason I am wrangling is because I believe that the policies of the U.S. have been unethical, particularly with respect to people, animals and the environment, and President Obama has not always chosen the ethical path in the decisions he’s made.

Presidency of the United States is not supposed to be an imperial position. Yes, we can be great, but as peaceful global participants who follow the rule of law and the innate law of universal ethics.

President Obama has not closed Guantanimo Bay even though he has made that promise. And he has not gotten us completely out of Iraq and Afghanistan, militarily speaking. Many private military contractors have remained in Iraq. And in a large percentage of his public statements he continues to unquestioningly use military rhetoric about honoring troops, etc. Potential war with Iran has been floated at various points, too, thankfully always stopped.

In addition, the state of the U.S. economy has been largely determined by our military aggression and harmful “free” trade agreements. “Free trade” sounds nice, right? Freedom being free & all? But as many people found out on both sides of the border between Mexico & the U.S., the NAFTA free trade agreement only served to weaken domestic protections of various markets in both countries to the benefit of elite “players.”

I remember when President Clinton continued pushing NAFTA (President Bush Sr. initiated the process). I blindly thought that President Clinton was just another nice Democrat like Jimmy Carter and that he was working on an agreement to benefit the people of the U.S. I remember reading about Pat Buchanan, of all people, railing against NAFTA and I so I immediately felt that it was OK to support it due to my distaste for Buchanan. I was incorrect.

NAFTA harmed Mexicans so much that millions of them had to leave Mexico to try to find work up here in the States. I stayed with a Mexican coffee farming family in Tanetze, Oaxaca, and they were affected by this for a while. Many of the men of the village had to leave because the price of coffee went down to a couple cents a kilo. Also the U.S. sent its subsidized corn down to Mexico, undermining the domestic corn producers, a significant cost. These are a couple anecdotal facts to serve as heuristic indicators of the types of damage a “free” trade agreement has tended to cause.

NAFTA was huge, had a huge impact on the way we live. A lot more Mexicans live in this area of the United States now and a lot of this was due to NAFTA. Not that I’m against immigration, but it did have an impact and there was a reason for it.

You’d think we would’ve learned not to have so much trust in these types of agreements but President Obama’s administration has been working on scores more “free” trade agreements.

In October 2011, President Obama signed three more agreements with Korea, Columbia and Panama.

And tomorrow through September 15, representatives from nine countries are working on the fourteenth round of negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). 

Critics of “free” trade agreements have tended to believe that the agreements are just negotiations that help transnational corporations and not the vast majority of people they affect–that the agreements tend to strip away the rights of people and the environment.

It’s important for us to ask questions of our President and to have long memories and really dig around and find out what the facts are. I don’t know of a single person in my casual circles who now thinks NAFTA was a good idea. So can we start asking about this tentative Trans-Pacific Partnership and find out what it would really mean for us, for people around the world, and for the environment?

I’m thinking that by voting for President Obama yet donating to both Jill Stein and President Obama, I am perhaps helping President Obama move towards the left by giving him some competition. This will move him and future Democratic presidential candidates to become more progressive, less warlike, and to better serve the broadest base of people and the environment.

~ Lady