Friday, August 17, 2018

Status Report & Spirit Juice

What I Saw
—Poems and Visuals by Smith, Cleveland, OH


My om is train wail,
children playing,
rooster crow, wind in trees,
wind by window,
water falling, water rushing,
water sighing,
distant bark of dog,
faint propeller drone,
far-off tractor growl,
whish of windmill,
sound of silence rising,
bubbling in my brain.



Read once somewhere
in one of the alternate realities
I keep stumbling through
that certain Texas rabbits
develop a nervous disorder
when they get too many per square unit
and start dying off to make room
for future rabbits
to become stress dead

thought about that today
reading the news.

 Blue Muse


To my left potatoes brushed in oil
and wrapped in foil
sizzle in the fire

On my right
the steady plop drop
of rain on leaves and wooden roof

My soothed soul

 Dark Angel


Word is it's Eve's apple that's the fruit
on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil
well I got my own Eve
and I'd eat her apple anytime
but it wasn't fruit in the Garden
the snake offered as exit
it was fire
a small ball
apple red
hot as sin
burn the house down again
build it up and burn
again again again
since soul in sin burns tempered
hot sword in water thrust
purge lust in dust of dim till sum

fire reduces everything to fact:
ash or gas
and act

 Interstellar Overdrive



we buy cheese and bread
meats and cookies
and fruit
for not very much
take it out to the stone steps
facing the plaza
sit in the sun

Homeless man comes by
points at the cookie bag
I reach into my pocket for money
and he says,
"No, no, cookies."

I open the bag
hand him 3 cookies.

20 minutes later we see him walking
across the plaza
he turns to us
raises his arm in a big thumbs up
and laughs delightedly.


we get two slices of quiche
and a sesame baguette
sit in the sun
on the old stone steps
of the massive church on the plaza
munching away
a couple walks by
smiles at us with a cheery
"Bon appetit."


big academic dinner
with Holbrook and Salinger
and their American School clients
at an old place in the woods
Lady orders wild boar
for symbolism I go for blood sausage
ground-up dead flesh cooked in its own blood
Lady's boar is excellent
my blood beast is soft
I spend the rest of the night
trying not to vomit.


our Berber guide in walled city
picks small fruit off stand
hands it to me
says okay to eat
it is delicious
next day I take another one
wash it off
eat it
spend next two days
vomiting one end
excreting the other
lose 18 pounds.


Puerto Escondido
on the Pacific beach
feral cats crowding our feet
we eat fresh fish grilled outdoors
most delicious meal I've had.

Knowing it can't be replicated
next night I order a second fish
just as good.


Magda orders pigeon
gives me a bite
now when we walk the streets
I stop and tell the pigeons
"I know your taste."


in inner city
man across the street
gives me avocado from 40-foot tree
I stand in my kitchen window
stare at tree as I eat
and say "Thank you."

Later I try roasted grasshoppers
because they say
once you eat, you never leave.

Insides undercooked
soft, squishy,
make me uneasy
We leave 15 months later.


every crack in the street's facade
contains a French fry stand
I gain 20 pounds.


order legal grams of hashish
from coffee shop—
red, golden, green, brown, black,
and 2 laced with opium—
eat the opiated hash
get in bubble bath
put on headfones

 Rent 201808


Used to drink mongoose monkey ball tea
when I worked the topics.
Nothing important,
but did manage the comma division for awhile,
and once italicized an entire sentence,
on . . . my . . . own . . .
so am used to regulating my regime.

I don't piss on flowers,
but do write a fine thank-you note
when the proper angles combine
and light skipslips over paper like slick ice
with no breaks.

Which returns me to tea,
man that monkey ball grew hair on your orbs
ever morn before storm
every night after light
so much you couldn't sleep
would creep deep into dark
seeking spark to arc life's march.
and of course for the more morose
more mongoose monkey ball tea
before heading out to sea
to see what we could be.

Dark Daze


At a reading at the ex-dive bar
The Millard Fillmore Presidential Library,
Ray McNiece and his band Tongue-in-Groove
played Johnny Cash's Folsom Prison Blues
to bring me up with the announcement
I was "Cleveland's bad boy,"
had "done time."

So I confessed.

Served 9 days in Juvenile Detention
in 1960 when I was 14 for stealing 13 cars.

Spent 1 night in jail in 1968
on false charges after an argument
over thermostat settings in the hall,
case dismissed,
arguing neighbor moved out.

Locked up overnight twice
for drunken lurchedness—

first in early ’80's
after cops in civilian clothes
beat me bloody for talking back,

second: 1990
for being too drunk to even walk
and driving through a fire hydrant,
water spraying everywhere;
I was lying shirtless on the jail cell floor
when a guard asked if I wanted a lawyer,
I replied, "No, you're going to let me out
in the morning anyway."

I'm ashamed I knew that.

Did have to spend 3 days in a hospital
after I got out
attending a You-Are-an-Alcoholic seminar
in place of being jailed for 6 more months.

But the big one was in the little house...
10.5 months in York County Jail 1970
for my second armed robbery;
after being caught,
my bulging pockets of stolen money
somehow reduced itself to $140
once counted by the head detective.

I am a bad boy.
But I've learned to pretend to be good,
seem to be getting better at it.

At least I'm not some cop
pocketing money another stole.

As for the alcohol?
Sober 27 years.

Down to strong coffee,
occasional grass,
driving too fast,
not respecting the government,
and jaywalking.

But I'm still one bad bone.

 Moon Over Miasma


I can't kill myself
mainly because I can't kill myself
but also because my baby brother
blew his brains out with a borrowed bullet
thirty-one years ago
(one year longer than he lived)
and I don't do second acts

so I live
weary and wondering

of course that was before
Lady K stormed into my life
ignoring my GO AWAY unwelcome mat
which act six months later
found me homeless, married
and wandering around Europe
then Africa and Mexico
with a 40-pound pack on my back
for three years

somewhere along the way
I promised her I'd live to 101
with an option to glide

Mother Dwarf kept me alive
when I drank myself to death 27 years ago
because as I was dying
and tried to pass this line for next
a voice said, "What about Mom?"

Now Lady K needs me
feeds me
as apparently does the cat
so I Sisyphus on
71% of my 101 done
wondering what will be left
since I'm one metal hip
two metal shoulders
and two metal bolts in the neck now

then there's the political grab and greed
the cultural cruelty, the social malfeasance
the climate change, slavery
the blatant hate-speech and lying
of the child-abuser in office
in utter waste of human
which whisper
"go, it ain't getting better"

I've lived large and fast
six full decades
plus part of an earlier
and most of this later
and lately been weighting
the warp and weave of this weary wise

but know for sure
she's the prize
ain't no lie
wife is worth my staying alive

 Line Drawing

Today’s LittleNip:


That pebble before sculpting by sea,
you'd have passed by.

The grain of sand inside the pearl,
pretty poor predictor.

Life wears away,
shows true face.

The deeper the lines,
the greater the grace.


Our thanks to Smith (Steven B. Smith) for today’s interstellar poetry and artwork!

Drive over the Causeway to Davis this evening, 7:30pm, to hear Carlena Wike and Allegra Silberstein (plus open mic) at The Other Voice Poetry Series, Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis on Patwin Road. And Luna’s Cafe will be presenting the SacUnified Poetry Slam tonight, 7:30pm, 1414 16th St., Sac. Hosts: Jenny Lynn & five others. Info: Scroll 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.


 Just Ducky
—Photo by Smith
Celebrate poetry!

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then click on the X in the top right corner to come back
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