Friday, August 18, 2017

Fair is Fair

Brain Stem
—Poems and Photos by Smith, Cleveland, OH


Some days
it's the space between pages
the silence before sound
the tip of the tongue
just out of reach
you can almost taste it
the one that got away
in happy never after
worry worn as won

Sometimes fire plays with wood
just licks and leaves
licks and leaves
until it gets a taste
and chomps

 Red Eye


Day and night come and go
wet dances with dry
old seeps through new.

The dead outnumber us
feed the living
canceled checks.

I still take new day's step
most hopeful, and yet
look for the lance.

Which coming kiss or curse
or hug or worse
will decide my stance?

 Scan Now


It's not all rock
there's the exquisite relief of quitting time
dragging dead flesh twixt hill and home
to swallow cold food
before tepid bath and bed
and the dreamless ache of sleep
where eyes closed in dark
wake in same dark
at alarum's croaker cry
to rise again
stack old bones on new pains
then limp to manual mountain
and hope against logic for gain



I'm normally normal
but just not now
and it's always now

there're two times:
there's now,
not now

not today

it's never tomorrow

that's why I'm nearly normal
nominally now 

 Night Fragment


Walking rough terrain through pitch black
first cup of campfire coffee one hand
flashlight the other
stop on trail
turn off light
sip black unsweetened coffee
hot in black back of night
something large rustles near by
I tell it welcome, but coffee's mine

black out
I pour black outer liquid
into inner body darkness

after long silence
coffee speaks

 Earth Entry


I don't always turn the other cheek,
sometimes I slap back.

And I always forgive,
but never forget.

So beware,
fair is fair.

 Mind Meld


i come to sip yer honey, honey,
my sticky bee—
internal hive memory

nothing personal, just duty.
howdy duty. by jingo. by golly.
by jolly we'll be an external


of an inner


we spark the waters
hold 'em up
do the dirty bop

i need some heart gravy.
give me some heart gravy baby—
lounge lizard rhythm in
polyester time

    —with Lady K. Smith

 Betty USA


I don't make mistake, I don't make mistake,
I don't make mistake, no I don't make mistake
they're not all that great and they lead to hate
make a mess of fate I hate to relate
so I don’t make mistakes

Oh I may make mistake, might make mistake,
could be my mistake, oh yes I’m mistake
mostly wrong on sing of song
lost the timber break the plate

Chasing rabbit, hailing hare
turtle here faster there
end of race rocks each roll
so unknowing's so nice to know
but sorry sir I gotta go I gotta go I gotta go

A chunk of tone and clink off-key
in merry merry mutilation melody
with grunt and groan and growl of gruel
wreck unrhythm on my motley crew
and torture tune unusually cruel
o I do I really really do

So no mistake to make or break
it’s all outtake which comes to fate
I do my do to your is
know at heart it’s all show biz
audience empty payment late

It ain’t mistake but ache I make
it ain’t mistake but ache I make

So chase the rabbit, hail the hare
Turtle here faster there
End of race rocks each roll
so unknowing's so nice to know
but sorry sir I gotta go I gotta go I really have to go

One thing here another there
depends on what the Emperor wears
or dares to care to bare beware

gotta go gotta go I gotta go

To hear with music & backing vocals by Billy Clarksville, word & voice by Smith (6:57, 2015), go to

 Vice Excel

Today’s LittleNip:


Two no-cats brushed my where.
I looked. They were not there.
They brushed again.
Ghost dance of none against my skin.


—Medusa, with thanks to Ever-Expanding Smith (Steven B. Smith) for fine poems and pix from Cleveland today! And remember that you have two poetry reading choices tonight: The Long-ish Poem at Sac. Poetry Center, 7:30pm, and Shawn Pittard and Laura Dominguez Abraham (plus open mic) in Davis at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 7:30pm. croll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about these and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.

 Expanding Smith
Celebrate poetry! 

Photos in this column can be enlarged by clicking on them once,
then click on the X in the top right corner to come back
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