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

Sun Ra

Sun Ra


My brother, a man of few words
goes across the street to pick up
a Mexican lunch and after he’s full
he gives me his bag of
leftover fresh tortilla chips
a kind of intimacy


Tetras – their movement’s squared off into binary digits
flicking 90 degrees like an object suddenly stimulated in a child’s mobile
half of them draw straight lines one tetra length long
various vectors and tangled orthogonalities

They cloud in their favorite spot, the hollow on the right side of the tank
between the lake rocks and the bookcase
The ones on the edge more quick, shooting long tangents,
unsure what they define
and when they thin they scatter
the cloud loses its mind

When a tetra’s alone, it’s adrift
without the ballast and balance
of its companions

The reflection
from the fishtank’s bubbler
goes up at the same rate
looping like contained
stars on a strip
of quicksilver


Lyle Lovette says
stars shine on water
sun burns on sand


Jupiter is rising
in the ring of Saturn
to celebrate the equivalence
of the days forthcoming

Polly want a polysaccharide?


Staircase at night
Low piano note
Comfortable noir


I’m going to get a beer
husband goes off to urinate
we’re a pair

The romance of
cyborg man and
atomic eye woman–
the title of our
next book

“When the rising sun
hits the army tents it’s a tent, son,”
he says, then, “s’n will be gone
before eight”

I say, “Astute observations for hire”
He says, “Call me Am….. Astute Man”

then “I was born on the border of
Tolerance and Intolerance,


Were my face an owl
thought not thought but
regard for thock of my
feeling, a mirror bent
down from a tree


I’d be a
calm caravan
plodding crucible of mothered feet,
shadow liquid in its shifting
under witnessing stars

Retiform filter
gold sifting loaded loam
easy, like a cold ripening apple
thinking about the sun
in the night

~ Lady

6-25-2016 Lady Poem

Learning’s germ for fertilizing
eyes and ears, a head a heart, a hand,
a pen’s milt on action’s platform,
and it goes around again

~ Lady

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

Black History Month Poems – #28


I wanted to write a poem a day during Black History month because I was initially thinking of my lack of poetic response to the sad incident of Tamir Rice’s death. I decided to address the tragedy in some of the poems and to make the bulk of rest of the poems about respecting diversity and the global community. This ended up being a fun project.

Here’s my poem for today, and then the entire set of poems…

Feb. 28, 2015

Not just scattered pick-up sticks
rather chromosomes zipping themselves
into groovy patterns of repeating meaning
in the juice, heartbeat historicity
talking in the tabor drums
cheerful piping lungs of birds
making balcony seat comments
on the now of national geographic herds
where zebras race in stripes, dash into dots
of flamenco dancing swirls, the ecstasy
of sommeliers digesting traditions of the
indigenous saying ole to raise the blood
of mariposas genuflecting
to bulls

~ Lady



February’s starting
like a washrag
with grief

Call the sacristan,
dainty it, give it

Cloud from salt,
prepare a minister
for vestments


Tamir dropped
like a rag doll
in two seconds

Video with no sound

The camera, horrified,
had to watch this movie
and it did so, dutifully
doling out chunks
a faithful guardian

Lungs knocked out throat
silent pungent scream wheezing
burning sympathy goads many
to do something

Please come all
to gentle tableland
of understanding


During training
did he feel protocol
for ninnies, standing petulant
arms crossed massaging ulna,
civilized learning unable
to penetrate
the thick mantle
of the heavy dream
in which he swam?

He came down
hot in the cruiser
like a deft metal shark
he thought

Hero being launched
quick clinical bravado
tight rubber band of
“pragmatic” action
he thought

He took Tamir “out”
with a shot, more heat
hot breath, stance dancing
’round car
pulse panic

Him and his shoulder
unthinking, unthinking
blood death
flailing such

~ Lady


The Valenciennes lace on grandmother’s coffee table was a
meditation mat to rest my eyes on as I listened to her

home spun
stories–that both related–because she was my grandma–

and didn’t
relate–because it was hard to imagine her a neotonous

young girl.
Her narrative’s cadence a candle of beautiful hands

guiding me back
in time, bobbined memories of our ancestors’ escapes,

spooling out the underground railroad. I remember her

folding the
lace, a whole drawer of it in the credenza. Here, feel.

They appear
delicate, but they’re sturdy.


Wagoner focuses his attention,
steering clay where it wants
to go

Wagoner wheels there irrespective
of Samsara, of forced casting

Rolling into specificity

Going somewhere’s
what wheels do


Like merchants muttered 10 xu = 1 hao, 10 hao =
1 dong, Thich Nhat Hanh walks a mile in his own shoes
counting breaths and steps, always arriving
appreciating attainment

The Big Dream, great glob, what-is-ness,
moderated suffering like a dash of spice for
happiness, good recipes for que sera,
gathas for que esta

Being with his steps, his constant reunions,
praying for everyone to have breath,
to have that arriving breath,
to have the human right
of happiness


Yardman works in the starlight
twinkling thoughts like wives’ eyes
switch on lines in rhythm with his heart
signaling dawn, “lo-ove, lo-ove,” loaded
like a train faintly blows



Cupid flies on a zephyr
from Lagos, ruby lips homing in
to set things better

Collective psyche poses
modern dancer static fingers
splayed in stance, tender by the
velour waiting for the shape
of change, Leda and
her heat to shine


Shaman thinks with his needle
draws a topographical map
over his sailor’s skin

Conjuring land,
water feeling land,
wind sending emissaries
of birds

A reader of swell over fetch,
the whips of birds’ returns,
the eyes of stars

Waka long
and home strong fast
wind abeam wood
and cloth

Who did this?
We and what’s wrought
on the pondering cords of the sewn
of our sought found by water
watched by winds
and the stars


I want life a musical
dance party family gatherings and
circles of hugs, Hava Nagila and ethnic fusion
dashing dervishes backspinning breakdancers
twelve day Christmases jugglers throwing torches
advent box calendars and harlequins
in repose


King hailed angels
of the moral order
amaranthine beatitude
to our ears

Our keys
are launched by dream
like cacheted letters
carried on the stately talons
of a giant eagle
casting wings

A promise
of our conscience
has come due


Indigenous Americans
are the stateliest people
my eyes romance
in the photos

Chief Thunder Hawk
sits in sepia-solemn 19th century
business clothes or indigenous
cummerbund, two feathers
stick up
like a peace sign

His fingerprints
saved Father DeSmet
hands in it friend Sitting Bull
Treaty of Fort Laramie
violated by the U.S.
in favor of
Black Hills

respect for dignity
of the indigenous
in the liquid reality of money
the anchored reality of land
and the spiritual reality
of human rights

A glacial wait, the court award
a hundred years’

The Lakota shuffle consensus
to pan out amongst themselves
and the legal process
to spill a billion and
sacred hills
into their palms
and under their feet
somehow secured


The Morrocan men I met
had some echt fatherliness, the
responsible gentleness of which conjured
femininity to my European-American

Homegrown walks
through the neighborhood, children
dancing like dolphins alongside, tell me
a story, give me an apple, sing me
a song

Musicians in galibiyas played
a music box of sound on walks back from
parties, their late night returns adjoining
the sacred hour of early morning spiritual
commuters pattering like the shine of
ecclesiastical chandeliers

At the mosque the soaring moan
curtain of woon–call to God, call to Allah–
meet us like the slow and peaceful glide
of the crane to his nest in
the minaret


Hard to say the when and where of
such and such’s from, could’ve been carried
from Mesopotamia to North Africa
or vice versa

Manufacturing’s a melange,
numerous raw attributions dug out of the dirt
by happenstance or planning, gleaned
or traded learning

To know the when and where of it’s
like ascribing butterflies to words fused into
interstitial glass and ground in the crucible or
baked to efflorescent faience

The sum greater-than-its-parts
like the sun shining through a stained glass
mosaic, oculi omnium panoptic glaze melded
to transcendence of the curio that is loved
and examined


In the picture
an African-American in gaiters drives
an Indian motorcycle with a Winter-Weise
platform sidecar carrying a gigantic Macon
Pure Milk Company bottle, the legend
of the motorcycle as hailed as the
chrome of a Coca Cola label
packed in spangled spurs

Critical musings like Leonce Gaiter’s
spill my stomach and heart like airless
horror, my testimony of which’s like
showing off having touched a sore,
see if it still hurts

Privilege leaps around my mind
caffeinated dolphins bobbing and
wading through a swirl of rose petals,
not knowing how to be both totally correct
and compassionate at the same time,
a whimsying finger dallying over
a plate of appetizers
the candy of
gigantic mashup

I wonder–do Native Americans
identify as “Indians,” and if one must
deliberate and be educated, where does
that leave the ignorant and those mired
in the labyrinth of the narrative, those
who haven’t yet pulled up
their boots

And why use “white trash”
and “hillbillies” yet deride Indians
for castes


Ease my rust to work
like habitues of a roost solace
long drawn cello of a tree
round its ring of winter

Bustling passerines
grip and ease the branching itch,
massaging strong dry taloned

Things I want to right in me,
tapping natural activity, kindling
with the green release of
sparkling spring


Ichthyology studies stars like a mystic
traces the embossing of runes, icthys,
quintessence caught, slow bubbles
in the magnum mysterium

Water is the right of fish,
our living ancestors,
wet starshine

Ganga spreads her arms,
munificence exploding
into coruscations
of life

We’re not separate from our
Great Lakes, big heart of this continent
pumping arteries of our neighborhoods,
and the neighborhoods that are solely
the fishes’ and other, drier
wild things’


A coriaceous book spine narrative
given jacktars, romance of masculine flounce,
marking skin with punishment proud tattoo
on roses of muscles, scrimshaw feast
for eyes

Drinking, flogging, religion and rocking courtship
of creaking boards and shifting stances, wind whipped
sunburned toughs blooming sails, tugging feel
on rope

In actuality
there was the ladening of burden
dispensed unequally on the cast of fraternity,
the clenched taking of it, muscle taxed,
mind gritted, hollowed out until what’s left
either’s hulked husk or honed bone
body polished to an ivory knife
pushing abacus’s possibility
of mutiny


Marcus Aurelius
sacrifices white animals
at the citadel to Jupiter,
grandeur of cloth-draped
witnesses described in
stone tableau

A shepherd rests,
anonymous thinker
at the temple on the hill
upon a kaolin plate

carved from bones
and clay
dug from marrow
of the big raw

It’s a common denominator,
manufacturing leveraged on
material extracted from
Mother Earth’s back,
her teeth ground to dust
for our lithopaned


Man rests in door
at a church in

Solar profile
of his Adam’s apple,
generative lips, jangle
of hand, veins dangling

Dust dances lit gold,
describing three dimensions
man, thought and living rock

Woman pumps water into her jug
sloshes wet the walk back home
coffee grounds of soil, labium
that yields us, air’s pant
made thirsty
with the trickling

. . .


Our own hand rumbling o’er own hand
for rededication of the temple, living for the love light
candle by candle like the Maccabees but and also
slo mo ballet toeing tiger dragon aerial
dancing the guaguanco chicken squawking chimango
caracara mambo Mulatu Astatke rumba
community carnival conscientious of all
like the girl scout law

. . .


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

. . .


A koto chord splays
like a kiri wood door opening
the resonant center
of the universe

A woman bends in her obi
over a just so stand of flowers
petal rich colors against the shoji
very domo very

. . .


Rufus Buck gang,
African American, Native teens
machine packsaddled horses, clomp
bouncing shadows under hat in stark
relief like introspective phases of moon
running free as the authority of
sparrows’ ink to take back
this occupied land

. . .


Black history in Cleveland
my association of Black with civic
life, adulthood, urbanity–

The mental landing pad of
Public Square, stony-faced quadripartite sphinx,
history in concrete or ticker tape glyphs
from 19th century newspapers

Feeling it out
in the snow of words, some sense of
being in it, the staking claim in work and mire,
pencil and paper, trading figures
and invention

George and Hanna Peake
first African American settlers
arrive with half bushel of sepia silver
like a pail of liquidity, invent
hand mill for grinding corn
ready to exact hi-fidelity
from swamp

Settlers arriving
into almost naked cosmos with
long chains of teaching, clothing
minds and hands, relationships
with native people
of the land

. . .


Raconteurs relate trickster
beings empowering themselves with cunning
escapes, Brer Rabbit, African American fables,
rabbit escaping chain, rabbit escaping Yama,
rabbits springing from hand like ripe water
releasing jewelweed

Alex Haley lays down roots healing
robberies of the unwillingly transplanted–
griot helping ancestors rest–ash and shadow
decanted into sweet cleansing waters of an
oasis’s arms raising baby to celestial bodies
and the crescent moon

. . .


Walking’s borne on the
sacroiliac joint between flank and sacred
like a fugue in constant conversation with its
ups and downs of cadence on the steady wings of
an angel bearing weight of the refugee,
soul sitting at seat of the spine
both making its way and at

. . .


Not just scattered pick-up sticks
rather chromosomes zipping themselves
into groovy patterns of repeating meaning
in the juice, heartbeat historicity
talking in the tabor drums
cheerful piping lungs of birds
making balcony seat comments
on the now of national geographic herds
where zebras race in stripes, dash into dots
of flamenco dancing swirls, the ecstasy
of sommeliers digesting traditions of the
indigenous saying ole to raise the blood
of mariposas genuflecting
to bulls


Black History Month Poems #18


A coriaceous book spine narrative
given jacktars, romance of masculine flounce,
marking skin with punishment proud tattoo
on roses of muscles, scrimshaw feast
for eyes

Drinking, flogging, religion and rocking courtship
of creaking boards and shifting stances, wind whipped
sunburned toughs blooming sails, tugging feel
on rope

In actuality
there was the ladening of burden
dispensed unequally on the cast of fraternity,
the clenched taking of it, muscle taxed,
mind gritted, hollowed out until what’s left
either’s hulked husk or honed bone
body polished to an ivory knife
pushing abacus’s possibility
of mutiny

~ Lady




Sometimes it is obvious
what stimuli react to,
comment on

Other times,
less obvious

is satisfying at times

can be had–

Pause, and feel

have elements of taste
we can feel in our mouths

wants to be listened to
and felt

Typing is satisfying

a tunnel
into understanding

~ Lady



Hands pushing through,
hands typing, hands as adept agents
of the worker, the be-er, the doer.

How much of the brain is devoted
to processing signalling for the hands?
A handsome amount, I’m sure.

Can the hands send signals
back to the brain to tell it what to do, too?

Can the brain be hands searching
& working like the interplay of
interdependent co-arising?

What if hands are
butterflies that ameliorate
the hurricanes of thought
our mindscape?

Such that the weather
of what we endure is made
gentler by the process of the
hands, mindful hands

Such that when
fierce wind would whirl
without engagement
but only destruction,
the tip and tangent of this wildness
would be felt by hands,
felt and recognized
and turned just so

Such that the
turning just so
tickles the fierceness
tugs the rein of
this animal,
employs it,
transforms it

A conductor
signalling an

A potter
making a pot

is the key meme

into utility

~ Lady



I will prophecize
and I encourage you to do so, too
but wait… before you do it

Let’s think about what we want to see
& let’s prophecize that…

I prophecize
flowers springing open
gentle velvet unfolding
sproinging normal seasons
budding ad infinitum
until the sun’s old age
this planet

I prophecize the return
of robust populations of bees
tending zest
from pistol to stamen
love nuggets
pollen accreting on
hairy working legs

I prophecize
restoration of habitat, species–
curating every grain and drop
via mind, lab, hand, even nanobot
connecting communities of roaming
fish, fowl, ruminant corridors ensured
wide open plains, too
deserts turned to prairie
fertilized to forest footfall
wolves making more tall growing
trimming just enough deer

I prophecize awareness
educated holds
securing true truth
the aggregate eye unblinding
empire will have to get dressed
saying will have to say what it
purports to be and be that–
the competition of the ego,
the striving to be seen best
transforming baser nature
to cooperation
relief, rest, all of us
heaved atop the true top:
the infinite plateau
for the most successful,
which is, innately,
the gentlest

~ Lady



All the important stuff that happened–
your birth in a toilet bowl as Reality said,
“Get to business, Thurm, swim!”

The seriousness
of losing your mom
who you couldn’t remember,
of not being cared for by your dad
and stepmom, the loving arm relief
you found in grandparents

How you did your jobs as a teen

You drove Grandma in a coal truck
to the prom, attracted her by
decorating your Model A
with polka dots

Billowing signposts that
should be marked by heralds
birds holding words on
floating ribbons unfurling
into filigree wallpaper scene

You and Grandma atop an elopement cake
the amazingness that you had children–
were you amazed? And then all the
policies you adeptly enacted for them,
the children, the adopted children
and the cousins taken in–
folding napkins for this one
putting silverware in order for another
the steamy comforting clatter from
warm yellow lit kitchen crescendo-ing
cymbals pacing domestic scene

Not enough room for all the family?
You built your own house, and
added on additions

Ideas that came via some kind of
hard work and grace to help your hep
with coworkers, bosses, underlings–
“How to Use Humor to Help the Team”

Learn lesson, apply knowledge
when necessary

Daily reports to bosses on a typewriter
written with amusement, the intelligence
of the clatter and splash of type…

You dropped out of high school
and got your education via the font of
civilization–the Cleveland Plain Dealer–
and experience

Cognitive therapy for family members
via example of your memoir–
typesetting the nuts and bolts of it

You wrote about your mistakes
(few though they were)
that would make you
smoke a cigarette in shame–
but this was good, Grandpa
and I left the burrs in,
the things we wouldn’t say now
because Mind has progressed
in some ways

I want people to know
have them see the light through thicket
know the good though the rough

The polishing of your promise
the possibilities for anyone
everyone and all

~ Lady