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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 ‘Morocco’ Category

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


i, quotidian

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

foto by smith

George W. Bush, 2005
“See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.”

Joe Strummer of The Clash
(You have) “the right to free speech — unless you’re dumb enough to actually try it.”

“Everything begins with lucid indifference.”

Barney Frank
“For Republicans, life begins at conception and ends at birth.”

Milan Kundera
“The struggle of people against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.”

John F Kennedy
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

Benjamin Franklin
“People shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other.”

John Dewey
“Politics is the shadow that big business casts over society.”

Noam Chomsky
“Historians – part of their task is to shape our picture of the past in a way which is supportive of power interests in the present.”

IF Stone
“All governments are run by liars and nothing they say (about anything) should be believed.”

Ben Franklin
“There was never a good war or a bad peace.”

Thomas Jefferson
“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants”.

“We have art in order not to die from the truth.”

“Creating is living doubly.”

Noam Chomsky
“There has not in history ever been any answer other than, Get to work on it.”

Go thee and suffer less
the Church of Not Quite So Much Pain & Suffering

foto by smith


7 7 7

Saturday, July 7th, 2007

foto by smith

today is 7.7.07 – the day we find out what the new 7 wonders of the world officially will be. here are my choices:

1) the gullibility of the american people in believing vice dick cheney and george mama-boy bush are honest honorable people – or in cheney’s case even people

2) the stupidity of the american people believing demoscams have a spine or are different than the republicrats

3) that the rich have 98% of all the wealth and the rest of us have 2% and we haven’t killed and eaten them in retaliation

4) the fact that anything at all works right considering everything is built by the lowest bidder or by friends and cronies of the politicians

5) the internet

6) the adventures of smith and lady in love as they travel about the world in search of truth, justice and some un-american ways

7) world’s tallest bridge in millau france 1,122 feet from the tarn river to the top of the bridge

foto by smith

gotta use up my left over notes before we head to the frozen tundra of northern england to camp tomorrow. in no particular odor –

taxi fares in marrakech for the same route same distance vary by 250% if you’re caucasian.

in marrakech the bigger streets have 2 car lanes and a bike lane – yet there are 6 distinct streams of traffic flow, all powered by car horns. driving is a cooperative collaboration. our taxi got impatient and decided to pass everyone by using the opposing traffic’s 2 lanes. you don’t need no carnival rides in marrakech – just take a taxi instead.

the seussian palm trees in morocco have huge grape-like sacks of yellow ganglia hanging from the palm tops. looks vaguely obscene. i was thinking of making large jockstraps for their swollen pollen sack packs.

the first two pound british coin we received in change here in london had this engraved on its edge: SO MANY IRONS IN THE FIRE. i don’t get it, unless it’s ironic.

it was 100 degrees fahrenheit when we left morocco, yet we saw folk wearing winter jackets. it was 66 degrees here when we arrived in london, yet we see folk in t-shirts and bare midriffs. i’m wearing an american black t-shirt, a grey long-sleeved shirt mother dwarf made me, a black french pull-over, a black croatian sweater, and a black korean hat – and i’m still chilled. can’t wait to get up north where it’s colder. last august in grassington england, i almost froze to death in a sheep shit sheep field camping with the rainbow people.

we spent most of august 2006 here in the lewisham neighborhood of south london. we blogged a lot of great fotos. now 10 months later, we’re back walking through our old fotos.

we find we’ve changed considerably. england was the start of our traveling – we landed in london august 2 2006. we were timid, unsure, confused, overwhelmed, afraid, and definitely not in shape. now we’re in our 12th month of continuous world travel. after walking everywhere for those 12 months and seeing england, the netherlands, england, poland, england, croatia, slovenia, italy, france, spain, morocco, and now england again, it’s a whole new easier world here for us. the first time we lived in london for 3 weeks, we loved it. when we returned to london for 3 days last october to fly to croatia, we’d been in poland for 7 weeks where we couldn’t understand the people or read the adverts, and london was loud, unpleasant, aggressive. this time after 3 months in morocco, london is much more pleasant, enjoyable, attractive. it’s all relative. can’t wait to see who we are when we return to cleveland to visit after 14 months of overseas travel. you need old places to see who the new you is.

one big change is our 1st trip to london we carried 75 pounds apiece in our backpacks – on this our 4th trip here, we carry 33 pounds each. lady wonders how her 33 pounds of backpack can be so heavy when she used to carry 140 extra pounds of her own flesh on her frame – told her it’s all what you’re used to and how it’s distributed.

and so tomorrow we’re off (some would say WAY OFF). we go to begin again.

foto by smith

foto by smith

foto by smith



Saturday, July 7th, 2007

Art I made in Essaouira, Morocco. I left it here. I couldn’t find any art supplies in Morocco. I would normally apply liquitex over the surface which would give it some rigidity; wax alone is too delicate to get through customs without breaking.

These canvasses were made for me by our guide, who is also a carpenter. Usually I don’t use canvas; I find plastic or metal to use as canvas from garbage bins or the side of the road. Canvas is not very strong; it moves and flexes and cracks can form in the textured surfaces I like to build. So I prefer to use garbage instead.

Alcove where I left the art.


day after day after yesterday

Friday, July 6th, 2007

foto by smith

morocco’s still trying to break our will, but won’t. gotta respect a country that won’t give up without a fight.

past few days we withdrew a total of 10,000 dirhams from bank money machines. today we tried to convert them into 1,000 euros so we could pay our london and france rents for august and september. bank said no, we had to go back to where we got the money and have them convert it. walked to western union. they said no, try the bank where we’d just been refused. told lady not to worry, we could always convert them in london. she said no we can’t – it’s illegal to take dirhams out of morocco. we’re looking at losing $1,200 american dollars because of money laws we knew nothing about. we taxi out to the airport to try their conversion office. man said sorry, you need the receipts of where you got it. told him we got it out of the ATM machines. he said those receipts would do. we’ve been throwing the receipts away, but searched her purse and found enough to cover it. gave them to him. he found out we were leaving tomorrow so said can’t be done today, come back tomorrow when we leave. i’m getting tired of bureaucratic backwash telling us what we can or can’t do with our own bread.

tried to taxi back from airport. our first night in morocco, as we walked to the airport taxis, a cabbie asked if we wanted a ride. said yes. he took us to his cab – which was at the back of the long line of waiting cabs. before we knew something was out of sorts, he’d thrown our backpacks in his trunk and told us it was150 dirhams. all the other cabbies descended on him screaming cursing yelling pounding the top of his cab.

so this time to prevent a ruckus we went to the taxi at the head of the line. cabbie said 120 dirhams. told him we’d just taxied the same distance out to the airport for 80 dirhams. he said too bad. asked other cabbies for 80 dirham ride and several said yes. they all started screaming at each other. we got in one cab and another cabbie came over, open my door and demanded we get into his cab. our driver started backing up, the other cabbie hanging on to the door… finally let go.

we caused a ruckus the first time by not knowing the rules. we observed the rules this time and still caused a ruckus. there’s no way to win in morocco. we’ve seen a dozen screaming mad shouting matches, and they’ve all been between taxi drivers. no physical violence though. where’s Travis Bickle when you need him?

as we leave morocco and fly to london, which is where we began our journey last august 2nd, there’s two framing facts of coincidence… flying to mid-60s weather in london last august, we’d left the 100+ degree heat of chicago, and flying into the mid-60s weather in london tomorrow, we’re leaving the 100+ degree heat here … and … my first day in morocco was spent with vomiting and diarrhea from food poisoning i’d gotten from eating at the madrid airport, and here my last day in morocco i’m again suffering from food poisoning and diarrhea. i love it when the author frames the action like that.

day after day after yesterday…
arrived london yesterday. passport control guy an arrogant rude snot. we smiled anyway.

foto by smith


wall of bird

Wednesday, July 4th, 2007

foto by smith

woke up to a wall of birds chirping this morning at sunrise. tonight at sunset we heard them again. this place has an inner courtyard open to the sky and our window wall is 90% covered by ivy from the ground floor to the roof. we saw maybe 300 small finch-like birds fly from the sky and nestle in our ivy wall for the night. vociferous critters. they’re magic, right out of a fairy tale. that’s one of our open courtyards above.

foto by smith

lady k finished 4 art pieces in essaouira. they were too delicate to mail, so she left them on the ramparts by the sea to be taken home by whomever. this is her second free art offering – the other was pula, croatia. she’ll have her first solo gallery show this october or november in cleveland at the brandt gallery.

foto by smith

watched scorsese’s “aviator” film with leonardo dicaprio – great movie but sad. makes one wonder why anyone would ever want to be famous. the first dicaprio film to show me what a great actor he is. unlike any other film i’ve seen by scorsese.

used my usb memory stick at a marrakech cyber cafe and picked up 5 viruses. that’s 9 marrakech internet cafe viruses so far. good metaphor for morocco.

marrakech operates on a higher, faster, denser pitch than essaouira. of course marrakech is 22 times larger and more than 3 times older than essaouira. and this is a desert city while essaouira’s seacoast. more dirt, more poverty, more desperation, and hungrier more aggressive sales sharks here as well. marrakech is uglier, hotter, more demanding – depressing too. yet marrakech is much more interesting, packs more in each minute. shows you the dark side of the human soul.

i’m hashless in marrakech. was told one couldn’t walk anywhere without being offered hash, but i must look too old and lady too healthy for us to be approached here – although in essaouira we were offered drugs 3 times. maybe reality wants me straight. i could go to our ex-guide’s house and get some, but i don’t want to see him again after his show of greed our last day here 2 months ago. i’d rather be straight than enter that manipulative pit again. looks like my principles outweigh my need.

can’t wait to land in england tomorrow. of course that’s going to be a hassle too because england is on high terror alert, which means it’ll take an hour or more to get through passport control. our bags will be going around and around the baggage conveyor belt unattended while we wait to pass muster.

i’m off-flow today. the heat, the bad sleep, the greed, the need, plus moving to 3 hotels in 2 cities in 4 days have depleted me, have me thinking dark thoughts. my natural buoyancy is bounceless, my brain slow, my mind numb, my body sore, my will tired, my spirit less. the two bright points in my life right now are the lovely Lady K, and not being in Amerikkka – land of fascist KKKorporations, KKKristian fumblementalists, and KKKleptomatic war KKKriminal election stealing “vice” president and president pretend..

foto by smith


in the belly of the salmon

Monday, July 2nd, 2007

foto by smith

i am not inclined to eat in restaurants. i find the tables small and too close together, and the atmosphere false. but last night i found a way to enjoy it: get stoned before hand, then get to the restaurant early. our food and conversation were good, and we were 3/4s done before a second couple came in. two more followed. i’m an empath – i’m like a tesla coil for people, i pick up their discordancies. the more people around, the more turbulent the mental and emotional airwaves, the more i shrink into myself.

so tonight for our last night in essaouira, we got stoned and went to dinner even earlier. figured earlier in, earlier out.

sat down at 7:15. during our tasty waldorf-ish salad, a fiddler and 3 percussionists came in, started exotic ululating foot stomping song. waitress danced. band danced. customers danced. drummer ululated. we ate crab bisque soup during second song. whole band sang. bisque good. heavy drums in small concrete room loud. ululating loud. fiddle loud. ears ringing. conversation with my lady drowned out. dancer goes among tables extorting tips for band. at 9 our main course finally comes – tough tasteless fish and passable vegetable pastilla. cheese and crunchy sweet for dessert.

mediocre main course, lack of conversation, being held hostage for 3 hour dinner, and management making the fleeced pay for forced entertainment left a bored distaste in my mouth. did appreciate that between each native folk song by the band, the cook turned the radio on and played arabic techno. the band knew 3 songs. they played 6.

next day.
back in marrakech again. we found the ibis hotel too humdrum after what and where we’ve been, so canceled next 3 nights to stay in the shererazade riad inside the old city walls instead. by the time we start camping in north england next week, we’ll have changed addresses 5 times in the 9 days. bit much don’t you think. all the moving about coupled with the brutal marrakech sun has drained us. it’s at least 20 degrees fahrenheit warmer here than essaouira… saw one sign that said 113 degrees.

tried to buy straw hats because the sun here is so brutal. street vendor handed me 2 and said 140 dirhams ($16.47 US). i said too much, handed them back. he asked how much i’d be willing to pay. told him last time we bought 2 hats, we paid 40 dirham total ($4.70 US). he said ok, handed the hats back. because we’re gringos, he’d upped his price 350%. that one transaction pretty much sums up morocco.

must have had 30 friend requests on myspace today from false women asking me to pay money to look at naked pictures of them. told lady i had a load of slut requests… she replied “you have a slut glut.” say that real fast 5 times – it’s harder than “toy boat” or “rubber baby buggy bumper.”

next next day (july 2, 2007).
wrote down 3 lines to use later in poems – they’re almost a poem by themselves…

in the belly of the salmon
full moon in Marrakech
slapstick reality

foto by smith


olkiklk;kil;kjukl;lkjn lok,.koijm

Sunday, July 1st, 2007

foto by smith

lady cried today. walking around our last day on the west coast of africa, we came across 4 starving black kittens. could see their ribs and spine through their fur. they ran up to us pleading for food and affection. lady asked if we could bring them some food and water. i said no, they’re almost dead anyway, won’t do any good and might even prolong their suffering. lady sat on the sea wall, tears running down her face. i held her. the kittens came over and lay down at our feet. too much need and sadness for me, so i relented. we went and bought them some bottled water, 4 small yogurts, and 6 tiny silvery fish. came back, only 2 kittens there. their little teeth couldn’t get through the fish skin, so i placed the fish on rocks and stomped them with my heel to break the flesh. the kittens feasted away.

on the way back out, saw the 3rd kitten, so i found a plastic bag, picked it up and carried it to the fish. can’t touch the cats here because they’re all diseased. on our way back out again, found the 4th kitten. i left it where it was. figured i’d played cat god enough. the kittens took an hour of our day… it was a good hour. my rationale for helping the kittens is we made them happy and kept them alive for 1 more day… maybe tomorrow another soul will take heart and feed them again.

what a sad, unforgiving world this all too often is.

afterwards, we had coffee and pizza at an outdoor cafe. a pregnant black cat asked me for a bite. gave her a couple, and she lay down in the sun at my feet and slept. that’s 5 black cats laying at my feet today. sounds like good luck to me.

i constantly think i hear willie nelson singing here – the reedy slightly off-the-beat male arab singers sound very much like him. willie’s one of my 3 main want-to-dos – i want to get stoned with willie nelson, have bob dylan record one of my poems as a song, and do a word/foundsound collaboration with jack dangers of meat beat manifesto. it’s important to have goals – though my main goal is to make lady happy, and my second goal is to get our memoir of me published.

we have one small toke of hash left for today – i gave half of what we had to guests for their journey. looks like we’ll be hashless in marrakech tomorrow. or not – if we’re supposed to have some, it will appear.

the baby seagulls below are up on our hotel roof.

olkiklk;kil;kjukl;lkjn lok,.koijm

cleaning my keyboard created the line above. i figure it’s as germane as anything i write, so may as well leave it.

foto by smith



Saturday, June 30th, 2007

foto by smith

decided to move to a hotel for our last 2 days in essaouira instead of fighting fates and time… no use staying anyway once a place turns on you – never know when it’ll attack again. so we’re paying 5 times here what we already paid for 2 nights there. go figure. life is strange, reality stranger.

* * *
there are many paths, and they all lead to Pathsville.

* * *
MySpace advertising programs read the blog you click to read, evaluate it, and present 4 ads across the top which might inter-relate with the blog’s contents. at one site, the 4 ads offered were:
1 – Jesus Christ Loves You
2 – conversion to judaism
3 – Born Gay? pro/con
4 – Kick Boxing Manchester

* * *
my baby’s cummerbund and cherry pie – so come on cum bun, be my very why.

* * *
a note in lady’s handwriting in my notebook: “When I draw my breath it’s for a thousand inhabitants, each parsing their own slice.”

* * *
endaltated, i’ve a lazy bones jones. that’s why i’m blogging using leftover notes from my back pocket pad. purgatory panache. or would that be purge-atory? they purged a tory when they got rid of Margaret Thatcher and stopped Thatcher’s Tory rape.

* * *
Lite Verse

We come from light
We go to light
But what a heavy in between

foto by smith



Friday, June 29th, 2007

That there fly must be an upperclass fly. Because it’s far too expensive to let common house flies in this fancy hotel.

“I would think it would be even more difficult to segregate them. How can you even tell the difference between normal and upper class flies?”

By the fly by. Upper class fly fly by’s contain a certain *savoir faire*, classier, buzzier, more confident. That’s it. That’s all I know.

“Maybe it’s the acoustics in the upperclass room.”

No, because when they fly by you get a contact buzz, and I know the difference. I’ve had a few buzzes in my day.

“I think you’re right. I think flies are telepathic. I really do.”

Well, that’s what their eyeballs are for. All those little millions of facets on their eyeballs catch vibrations from every angle, 270 from the room. Peoples’ thoughts emanate; they leak weak energy which bounces off the walls and ceiling.

The fly picks up all this radar feedback, knows what yr thinking about doing, and triangulates where you’re coming from.

“Do you think flies are intelligent?”

No. They’re actually little microbots. They’re not real.

“What are the common flies like vs. the upper class flies?”

When common flies regurgitate their stomach acids onto their dinner plate, they splatter all over the table cloth. Upper class flies, it’s like little regurgitative sips, delicately applied to their prey.

“Kinda like bank fees. I want to set up my own exploitation scheme. But a benevolent one. So really, the flies are telepathic, but it doesn’t matter.”

It’s not really telepathy; it’s programming, systems analysis.

“I could believe that. They say they put a wire in a cockroach’s brain and made it turn left or right.”

I’ve seen that done with religious fundamentalists.


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