Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Twixt Ape and Angel

—Poems and Artwork by Smith (Steven B. Smith), 
Cleveland, OH


Just yesterday it was yesterday 
Now it ís already today

Confuse not mercy with weakness
Confuse weakness not with an upset liver
And confuse not an upset liver with love
It is the shape of the silence
Which defines the sound
Like winter rubbing against summer
Each refines the other

Only certain curtains can be drawn
The rest must be endured
The souring sermons
The centered self-serving
The lion’s den Christians in Coliseum stands
Twixt ape and angel wandering
Torn between the knowledge
And the need

Do I worship the moon or sun
Or yet the blooded one?
I bloat and smell
Decay in age
The focus runs

 Say It With Safety


She tells me in sweet pre-slumber
"You are my rock."

Yes, I am made of obduratium
I am rock, sometimes roll
sometimes Sisyphus, sometimes hill
roll myself up myself to roll back down
I am not clone, I am not clown
I am Sisyphus with rock inbound.



I greatly enjoyed the learning curve
when I first found the female form.

The sacred gathers in ritual of release,
in clean sheets, in freshly made bed,
in bathed bodies, in dream's ease.



December of ’68 I was lying on LSD on my bed downtown Baltimore.
Walls, floor, ceiling, doors all painted flat black.
Metallic mobiles and assorted assemblages hung from the ceiling
turning at will in low green and blue light.
My future wife walked in and sat so she could see me in the mirror.
So and so just got married she said.
That's nice.
Watch her reflection watching me.
So and somebody else also married.
More silence.
Watch her reflection evaluate my reflection's reflection.
Even through the LSD I could see she wasn't talking what she was saying 
so asked.
I just want to know what's going to happen she screams
stalking into the living room.
I lie there amid my hallucinations and resentfully realize
I'm too weak not to marry her.
Another's strong needs always overrode my indifferent apprenticeship.
20 minutes later she skulks back to the bedroom.
OK I snap.
OK what? she snaps back.
We'll get married.
Six months I finalize
feeling sure the artist within will wither once reduced to marriage,
suburban boxes, the upperclass hypocrisy rampant in her family and friends.
We had a rich wedding in a high Episcopal-cum-Catholic cathedral.
Reception held of course at the country club.
None of my freak friends came.
The day of the wedding
I put all the trash left from moving in the middle of the floor
smoked the last of my grass
took off all my clothes
and slowly danced naked about the trash
sprinkling it with my box of monosodium glutamate
and chanting unknown chants of sorrow.

 Black Star 1


I leave broken crumbs on the snow
to find my way back from the House of Love
with its flash of honey and taste of more.

But it does no good because birds become
love agents cleaning scene sublime
so I climb love's stairs to see what's there.

There's flesh of course in nipple and breast
and time spanned with decades of breath
and hands held while walking.

Closets of kisses with laughter after
memories mounted in rows on the walls
showing small slices of all.

In the attic packed in acid and grime
unpleasant times and emotional crimes
boxed and mostly forgotten.

The most hidden treasures are in plain sight,
the constant companion, the sitting in silence,
and most especial the hugs.

The rent costs your heart, the lease is quite long,
and the place needs constant repair,
but what a view.

And oh, the homemade stew.



"Excuse me Walmart worker ma'am,
could you tell me where the raisins are?"

She thinks, points south, "Aisle 13."

"Thank you."

I go south, aisles skip from 12 to 14.
I smile.


Today’s LittleNip(s):


Had I my way,
the world would be at peace and fair,
and we'd all be out on the porch sitting in the sun,
bees buzzing, breeze blowing,
slow toking, coffee sipping, writing poems,
listening to friends, family, folk
picking, playing, harmonizing,
hope and happy on horizon,
the past a purr of catnip cream.



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


Our thanks to Smith (Steven B. Smith) for today’s fine poems and pix! For his bio, Smith says he “was born, is living, will die”, and he wishes us all a happy new year—“may your flux flow fine”.

And Editor Robert Paul Cesaretti notes that Issue 17 of Ginosko Literary Journal is now available online at