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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 ‘Poland’ 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



Thursday, September 25th, 2008

ladyfest – foto by smith

my little lady is slowly, discontinuously walking around this morning with squinched up eyes and headache hangover pain. she had 4 glasses of wine yesterday, and she’s a two glass person at most. her pain takes me back to my drinking days and what i’m glad to miss. i’m in my 18th year of sobriety after bleeding to death from an alcohol-induced esophagus ulcer in 1991. i told her yesterday she would hurt today, but she said no, she never hurts. sometimes i wish i weren’t right. she’s sleeping it off, which is the best cure.

i used to get up each work morning and move through my half gallon of cheap gallo blanc wine hangover every tuesday through friday morning – on mondays it was a full gallon of gallo hangover – and go to work. i’d spend each work morning programming through my hangover pain – felt so bad that writing computer code while waiting for the pain to dissipate was the best i could do. got a lot of code written.

lady’s making a book of my poems from 1964 through 2008. titled Zen Over Zero, it contains 68 poems which span the last 44 years. should be available from in a couple days. she asked me to write a bio for it, which is one of the hardest things to do, so i consolidated my last few bios from myspace and and gave her this:

Here are some recent Smith bios.
Take your pick. They’re all lies, they’re all true.

~ ~ ~

Was born. Am living. Will die

~ ~ ~

I’m a fractal finding ambiance adjuster on the run from reality wandering the Earth having adventures with my beloved Lady.

~ ~ ~

Born in Bitterroot, raised on Paradise Prairie. Farm boy, car thief, Naval Academy, expelled for dope, high society marriage, armed robbery, jail, escaping the cops, illegal loft dweller, ArtCrimes, rat attacks, overdose, celibate, remarried, expat.

~ ~ ~

My life boils down to five facts:

I’m Kathy Ireland Smith’s friend, collaborator, companion, and husband.

I’ve been a poet 44 years, artist 43 years, ArtCrimes publisher 22 years, 6 years, Walking Thin Ice co-blogger 2 years.

I’ve run from the cops 10 times, got away 9.

My job is to show the sheep in the sheep pen there are better ways to live.

I’ve learned there is but one law – Do as you would be done.

~ ~ ~

for those wanting more, there’s 3,500 pages of Smith art, poetry, reviews, history and friends at, plus a thousand blogs of our traveling adventures at

~ ~ ~

Go thee, and suffer less
The Church of Not Quite So Much Pain & Suffering
The Irreverend Steven B. Smith & his beloved Lady presiding

oaxaca street art – foto by smith


emergency magic

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

street carnival stripes – foto by smith

Friday, October 13, 2006, Krakow Poland

the sunday we moved in here for 5 weeks, we walked 30 minutes with our still too heavy badly packed backpacks, arrived at agreed upon time of noon. no one answered the office buzzer. lady went looking for pay phone while i watched the packs. she came back, phone-less. i’m looking about to see where we can spend the night, so we can work it out monday after office opens, when young bubbly blonde lady walks up, asks if we’re trying to get in. she whips out her cell phone, makes 3 calls, talks like the wind – then buzzes the cleaning woman, opens the door, picks up lady’s backpack, carries it up the stairs to our flat, has the cleaning woman give us her keys until the office opens monday, tells us to have a good time, and splits. she said she’d stopped by to tell her boss who lives in the building she had to take 2 days off. her name’s Dianna. personally, i think she’s either an earth angel, or is from the future and came back just to help us. some say time is an illusion, it doesn’t exist, that past, present, future are 3 ways of looking at same thing.

magic is real.

for example, couple weeks ago, at the kitchen table, sitting across from lady, i told her i was going to find some grass. she asked how. so i said “marijuana, marijuana, marijuana,” 3 times quickly, evenly. rapped once on the table with my knuckles, and replied “there, i’ve manifested it. it will come.” then looked about mock seriously saying “well, where is it?”

next morning, walking up the street here in the old jewish section, i heard someone say “smith.” turned to empty street. lady walked back to open internet door where a rock n roller we’d just met stepped out. i asked if there were any chance of finding grass. he reached into his pocket saying “here, somebody just gave me this. it must have been for you” and handed me a bud.

i said it would come, half believing it jester gesture, half believing it real. and it came. i’m surprised, but not shocked. you cannot count on this type of magic happening, but you cannot discount it either. it all depends on your attitude and how playful reality is feeling

street carnival stripes – foto by smith


limbic low

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

Limbic Rock – assemblage & foto by smith

some days the reptiles rip your limbic brain into mutant metaphor and lick the juicy parts. other days the daze aint bad.

the limbic system is our second oldest flesh, our longest inner enemy, our reptilian brain containing survival programs from our primitive past – the lizard lusts learned and liked in ancient licking.

limbic brain wants to do what limbic brain wants to do when limbic brain wants to do it – that’s its basic logic flow.

it kills, flees, eats, sleeps, fucks. it’s the border brain between our ancient brain stem which keeps us going and our newer higher brains telling us how. basic behavior brain, it drives and is driven by emotion. it only reasons when deciding whether to flee or fight. ethics, morality, friendship, metaphor, could, should, would mean nothing.

lizard brain wants to sleep in hot son on rock, eat flies, have lizard sex, kill what it can and flee what it can’t.

many folk live in lizard land, although there’s more males than females because the female brain is wired for expression, not aggression: “when studied in states of relaxation, men idle in the evolutionarily ancient reptilian areas of the limbic system which give rise to unsubtle active expressions of emotions like aggression and violence, while women rest in a newer higher region related to symbolic forms of expression like gestures and words”.

men growl, women talk, men kill, women cuddle.

societies need be judged by how they deal with the human lizard in us all.

Almost Persuaded

I’ve been told too many truths for justice
Or torment in limbic loin
To look for form or function in future satin

I crow denial thrice
Return to green for growing
And look to lust for life in logic’s other loggerjam

the B-side – foto by smith


BEAUTIFUL JUNK: new issue of the City (poetry, art, photography webzine)

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

the City, Issue 21: BEAUTIFUL JUNK

– Current issue:

– Interview: Gary & Laura Dumm
– Poetry, Art & Photography

Photo by Peter Dell

some sample issue snips, juicy bits:

by Bree

I want to get cursed
And not care
I want to be chosen
And refuse


by Andrew Boerum

This is a great birthday ship
you told me to sail around in
But you didn’t mention anything
about baseball

Will there be baseball there
on the birthday ship? Or where
the ship will eventually dock…
will there be baseball there

Also, even though this is a
great birthday ship you’re
telling me about I need to know
several things before I agree
to accept it


by George Wallace

i am a cutout pilgrim boy. you
are a cutout pilgrim girl. i am
holding a cardboard blunderbuss
and wearing a stovepipe hat and
a shiny buckle is on it. you are
wearing a white apron and have a
white bonnet and one loose
string is falling from it.


City Contributor Yuyutsu RD Sharma,
a Nepalese poet, is reading at Mac’s
Backs in Cleveland March 27, 7 p.m.

the City poetry zine is edited by Kathy Ireland Smith.


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