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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 ‘Poetry’ Category

Rufus Thomas, Bill Haley, Alice Cooper, Flo & Eddie, Tiny Tim, Paul Williams, Meat Beat Manifesto, Alex Patterson

Friday, October 25th, 2019

My October feature on Medusa’s Kitchen – 1 long poem written with Lady, 1 haiku-ish, 10 fotos.

“Smith sends us his ode to his interview career, full of his usual bump and grind and look-backs into the past—rosy and not-so-rosy—with the help of his fine Lady. Thanks, Smith and Lady; you two kids keep ‘em coming! (And thanks for the pre-Halloween visions of yourself, Steven! Spooooky!)” – Kathy Kieth, editor/publisher Medusa’s Kitchen/Rattlesnake Press.

My adventures with Rufus Thomas, Bill Haley, Alice Cooper, Flo & Eddie of The Turtles, Tiny Tim, Paul Williams, Jack Dangers & Meat Beat Manifesto, and Alex Patterson of Orb – 1964-1997

https://medusaskitchen.blogspot.com/2019/10/let-there-be-light-momma.html

 

Lady’s latest – Rage

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019

Rage

We’ve titillated ourselves with our absolutism
as contrary as a self-mutilating Texas Chainsaw Massacre
creep zapping and eating his own scalp skin, fingers in the chili
It’s all of us, it’s some of us, it’s raw, raw, raw.

It’s enough when the lint and the dimes in the pockets
yield no dividends, no fountain of generous obliviousness,
it’s enough when the water is yellow and smells funny,
when your parents did not have enough money to fix you
and you do not have enough money to have kids to fix
and kids are in the prison of disregard – and in prisons
it’s enough to flip the burger
of a mind to something that can crank, crank this
into better shape, please, that mind burger. Eat it with
some red leaf lettuce, raw onions, local cheese. Fuck
the pink slime. Fuck the Russians, fuck my hate I want
to mash it with a morter and pestle.
I want to unfuck this fuckedness with big fat fists,
hope the saying of it is a cauterization and catharsis,
hope hope hope.

– Lady, 10.20.2019

 

66 Basho talked to me

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

66 Basho from The Complete Haiku
translated, anointed, introduction by Jane Reichhold
Kodansha USA 2008 – original artwork by Shiro Tsujimura
Basho 1644-1694
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Inside the temple
visitors cannot know
cherries are blooming

(36 of 1012, 1670)

~

Tomorrow the rice dumpling
will be just dead reed leaves
with a dream

(76 of 1012, 1677)

~

Scudding clouds
as a dog pisses while running
scattered winter showers

(86 of 1012, 1677)

~

On a bare branch
a crow settled down
autumn evening

(120 of 1012, 1680)

~

Dew on roses
the rapeseed flowers’ faces
become envious

(132 of 1012, 1681?)

~

The crane’s legs
have gotten shorter
with the spring rain

(136 of 1012, 1681)

~

Fully in darkness
grabbing a thorn
instead of a firefly

(137 of 1012, 1681)

~

Old pond
a frog jumps into
the sound of water

(152 of 1012, 1681-82)

~

Dew drips drips
wanting to rinse away
the dust of this world

(206 of 1012, 1684?)

~

Even a long day
is not enough for the singing
of a skylark

(304 of 1012, 1687)

~

In the middle of a field
with nothing to cling to
a skylark sings

(305 of 1012, 1687)

~

A peasant’s child
stops hulling rice
gazes at the moon

(314 of 1012, 1687)

~

Winter sun
frozen on horseback
the priest’s shadow

(332 of 1012, 1687)

~

On snow and sand
you can fall off a horse
drunk on wine

(334 of 1012, 1687)

~

First celebrate
the flowers in your heart
confined in winter

(341 of 1012, 1687)

~

With young leaves
I would like to wipe away
the tears in your eyes

(396 of 1012, 1688)

~

Early autumn
the sea and rice fields
one green

(443 of 1012, 1688)

~

Various grasses
each flower
an achievement

(444 of 1012, 1688)

~

Travel weary
how many days of this?
autumn wind

(447 of 1012, 1688)

~

Seeing someone off
his back looks lonely
in the autumn wind

(448 of 1012, 1688)

~

Spring departing
birds cry and in the fishes’
eyes are tears

(497 of 1012, 1689)

~

Heat threads
tie together
to hold the smoke

(498 of 1012, 1689)

~

How glorious
young green leaves
flash in the sun

(502 of 1012, 1689)

~

Fleas and lice
now a horse pisses
by my pillow

(531 of 1012, 1689)

~

Not permitted to tell
how sleeves are wetted
in the bathroom

(548 of 1012, 1689)

~

Small flower scraps
small red-beauty shells
small wine cups

(597 of 1012, 1689)

~

A clam
torn from its shell
departing autumn

(600 of 1012, 1689)

~

First winter rain
even the monkey seems to want
a little straw raincoat

(613 of 1012, 1689)

~

Not yet a butterfly
even as autumn passes
the caterpillar

(614 of 1012, 1689)

~

Winter garden
the moon and insects’ song
a thin thread

(616 of 1012, 1689)

~

Now children
come run among jewels
hailstones

(619 of 1012, 1689)

~

Butterfly wings
how many times have they flown
over the wall’s roof

(637 of 1012, 1690)

~

Day break
not yet lavender
the cuckoo

(645 of 1012, 1690)

~

Missing a wife
putting on bamboo grass
(unfinished)

(647 of 1012, 1690)

~

Don’t be like me
even though we’re like the melon
split in two

(659 of 1012, 1690)

~

A dragonfly
unable to settle
on the grass

(660 of 1012, 1690)

~

A wild bore
it is also blown about
by the typhoon

(661 of 1012, 1690)

~

At my house
the smallest of the mosquitoes
is my treat

(662 of 1012, 1690)

~

Soon to die
yet showing no sign
the cicada’s voice

(663 of 1012, 1690)

~

Drinking morning tea
the monk is quiet
as is the mum flower

(678 of 1012, 1690)

~

With lightning
one is not enlightened
how valuable

(685 of 1012, 1690)

~

Building a bridge
between snow-covered mountains
white egrets

(695 of 1012, 1690)

~

Year after year
the cherry tree nourished by
fallen blossoms

(709 of 1012, 1691)

~

Summer rain
where the poem card peeled off
a mark on the wall

(716 of 1012, 1691)

~

For a while
flowers are above
the night’s moon

(719 of 1012, 1691)

~

Loneliness
hung on a nail
a cricket

(738 of 1012, 1691)

~

The hawk’s eye
already it has darkened
the quail call

(752 of 1012, 1691)

~

Feeling holy
the leaves that stain
fallen leaves

(762 of 1012, 1691)

~

Memorial Service
five gallons of sake
like oil

(808 of 1012, 1692)

~

Year after year
the monkey wearing
a monkey mask

(816 of 1012, 1693)

~

Ice fish
their dark eyes are open
in the net of the law

(822 of 1012, 1693)

~

Baby sparrows
exchange voices with
rats in the nest

(891 of 1012, 1694)

~

Life’s journey
plowing the patch of rice field
back and forth

(934 of 1012, 1694)

~

Flowers and fruit
at the same time melons
at their peak

(941 of 1012, 1694)

~

Coolness
exactly as a pine in the fields
the shape of a branch

(944 of 1012, 1694)

~

Pine and cedar
to admire the wind
smell the sound

(963 of 1012, 1694)

~

Rippling waves
the fragrance of wind
in their rhythm

(964 of 1012, 1694)

~

My dwelling
the moon’s square of light
at the window

(980 of 1012, 1694)

~

Under a clear moon
the foothills’ mist
is the field’s cloud

(982 of 1012, 1694)

~

The color of wind
planted artlessly
in an autumn garden

(985 of 1012, 1694)

~

A cricket
does it get into the bed of
a wild boar

(998 of 1012, 1694)

~

How pleasurable
sleeping late in autumn
as if master of the house

(999 of 1012, 1694)

~

Autumn night
dashed to bits
by conversation

(1004 of 1012, 1694)

~

This road
that no one goes on
autumn’s departure

(1006 of 1012, 1694)

~

Ill on a journey
dreams in a withered field
wander around

(1011 of 1012, 1694)

~

Clear cascade
scattered on the waves
green pine needles

(1012 of 1012, 1694)

 

Smith – 9 poems, 10 fotos, Medusa’s Kitchen

Saturday, September 28th, 2019

“A big thank-you this morning to Smith from Cleveland (Steven B. Smith) for his musical, mythical land of poetry and his eye-popping visuals. “Cool Cat Copacetic”, for sure!.” – Kathy Kieth, editor/publisher of Medusa’s Kitchen/Rattlesnake Press.

http://medusaskitchen.blogspot.com/2019/09/sisyphus-rocks-n-rolls.html

1st foto below waaaay too large to show but I like the distortion… correct sized foto beneath it.

 

 

Smith reading 2019-02-19 at the Art On Madison gallery

Tuesday, September 24th, 2019

Seven month old fone video of my Art on Madison reading 2.19.2019, with guest appearance by Lady, hosted by John Burroughs.

Video volume is inconsistent due to ceiling heater cutting on and off, plus my soft speaking voice, and lack of a microfone – but it gives you a feel for the rhythm of the words. I had to use headfones to listen.

Friends have mentioned the best parts are Lady reading from the memoir at the end of her set, and me ending with mom’s death around the 40 minute mark.

Introduction by John Burroughs — 0 to 3:12
me reciting — 3:13 to 14:35
Lady reading — 14:36 to 27:13
me reading — 27:14 45:53
Q & A — 46:54 51:56

Watching it, there are moments of magic, but I need to be way less laid-back, and to add volume and texture to my vocal delivery… compensate for having part of my voice box removed in the early oughts.

But the words themselves are right fine. And the audience generous.

The two books read from are —

Where Never Was Already Is, 2018, Crisis Chronicles Press, 324 pages 244 poems 29 illustrations, $15
http://ccpress.blogspot.com/2018/04/098Smith.html

and 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, 2012, The City Poetry, 344 pages, $20
https://www.amazon.com/Stations-Lost-Found-Steven-Smith/dp/1477628290

 

old Provost, new Smith

Saturday, September 14th, 2019

Took this foto of a chair not there because Jim Lang frequently quoted “A day without Wittgenstein is a day without a chair” going back maybe 25 years. I never knew he was quoting a Terry Provost poem.

Interestingly, I shot this outside the Negative Space gallery at our monthly reading while Terry was still there – so I took this foto because of him while he was there and me not knowing it was because of him.

Reification

— Terry Provost

A day without Wittgenstein is like a day without
disappearing chairs, without
weaving cloth at an empty loom. Where
the dog fails to talk
to himself.
A day where it neither rains –
nor does-not.

How hot the taxing pursuit
of exactitude. A few millions upon billions of
electron volts exuding the threat
of electrocution, the guillotine-sweat of essence
from some Manhattan Project nuclear pile gone critical
beneath Chicago.

One day a new order of insects shows up
on the front page, as yet
un-named, as yet
un-begging the un-question of its un-filed
family,
genus,
and phylum. As yet both a coelacanth
and not.

Before there were alphabets there were no
spelling errors. Sure,
your pictograph of a wooly mammoth might
have resembled an Erymanthian boar, but the
terrifying, gory, Byzantine abomination of
orthography was as yet a buchstab
in some Phoenician-father’s eye.

Phonetic-Phoenicians everywhere,
and ere the iridescent wing,
a golf course gone to green in Phoenix
has made the snowbird sing.
When plumbing the unknown, the lyric’s a poetic
analgesic for bumps on your noggin.
Contusions acquired where confusing desires ride toboggans
near cobbled-walls where language
ends.

On a day without Wittgenstein
a dangerous virus,
not quite living, seeks
life’s essence,
and not quite understanding, speaks
what it does not quite
know. A petroglyph
a stone’s-throw away from
a glass-shattered house,
putting the sigh in
science, as you cast
bricks from the roof
of your mouth.

 

the 2nd coming mending wall

Thursday, August 29th, 2019

Strange – I pick these 2 poems for their moral implications, and find they were written within 5 years of each other, back in the WW I days – the war that ended all wars.

The Second Coming
by William Butler Yeats, 1919

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

~ ~ ~

Mending Wall
by Robert Frost, 1914

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbour know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
“Stay where you are until our backs are turned!”
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, “Good fences make good neighbours.”
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
“Why do they make good neighbours? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.” I could say “Elves” to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbours.”

 

free will on the installment plan

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019

Recent Facebook statuses:

~ ~ ~

I am what I is… not much mainstream involved.

~ ~ ~

Been thinking about joining the power structure. I am white. I am male. I am old. Of course I’m poorer than Trump’s chance of telling the truth, and I’m not a lizard-person, so there is that. Can one become a lizard-person? Are there apprenticeship programs? I do lie well, so I have the basic skill set.

~ ~ ~

I wanna be a kleptocrat.

~ ~ ~

Walking from kitchen to living room swinging my arms, my forefinger thumps against something… I look down to see a 3 inch black & pale wasp of 3-segments circle me slowly then move on, and my fingertip tingles with the might-have-been.

~ ~ ~

We’re back home from her eye operation, she’s sleeping… they lasered away 2,500 portions of her eye, reducing the edges of her retina in hopes of increasing blood flow so her retina doesn’t swell.

~ ~ ~

Watching roadkill before it becomes roadkill –
what do you want for Brexit?

~ ~ ~

The better root of the bitter truth
is the bitter route to the better truth

~ ~ ~

They always talk of darma,
but what of darpa… and their darkids?
People say the darmist things.

And when darma goes shopping,
does she drive her karma?

~ ~ ~

“We die. That may be the meaning of life.
But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.”

– Toni Morrison

~ ~ ~

Folk call me a cradle robber for marrying 27 years younger,
but she chose me, so it’s more like she’s a grave robber.

~ ~ ~

The 1950’s kids TV show was originally to be called The Howdy Dawdler Show, but the puppet star-to-be dawdled so long they found a puppet that would do his duty and changed it to the Howdy Doody Show.

~ ~ ~

We need to change the rules —
you can only shoot someone who has a gun.

~ ~ ~

I live in the addict.

~ ~ ~

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” – Genesis 3:1, New King James Version

If God made everything, how can the Snake of Eden be craftier than anything God made?

~ ~ ~

Spirit caged by skeleton
bone cased in flesh
free will on the installment plan

 

Lady poem – Days of Untrouble

Tuesday, August 27th, 2019

Days of Untrouble

Realizing my chimpanzee wants to scream
is a relief from assigning words
to my tantrums, monsters in the wild mind
mercury in my pinball machine

When in grace, I think it’s like this:
I unroll my tongue
I unzip my face down to my bowels
I unfold myself onto the clean slate of a table
a salty finger bowl of bled paint and jellied intestines
laid open to the gentle cauterization
of room temperature oxygen

Lips, eyelids, hand, chrysanthemum

You know, thoughts don’t have to do anything
feet are a stone cold path
a meadow runs through the holy cycles
of day, night, stars, gold, silver,
dew catchers, buttercups and
lightning bugs

– Lady, 5.25.19

 

last week’s ego

Saturday, August 24th, 2019

last week’s ego

“It’s time for Smith again (Steven B. Smith), hot on the airwaves (heatwaves!) from Cleveland! And a big thank-you to him for, as usual, waking us up on a Friday with his sharp-edged poems and visuals.” – sez Medusa’s Kitchen editor/publisher Kathy Kieth.

10 fotos 9 poems at Medusa’s Kitchen – http://medusaskitchen.blogspot.com/2019/08/dark-questionables.html

 

 
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