Modern poetry collection by contemporary Cleveland poet Steven B. Smith
reading room 17 9 days ago I couldn't spell relationship - now I are one
trust me - 9.15.05 / jism ism - 9.15.05 / dada graybeard - 9.19.05 psycho sam vs. uneven steven - 9.30.05 / plant shepherd - 10.4.05 / lady k - 10.6.05 letter of intent to my lover's mother - 10.13.05 / sam the stalker, incident 1 - 10.15.05 love lately - 10.21.05 / stalker sam, incident 2 - 10.24.05 bone - 10.25.05
I'm as big a liar as anyone
I just try a bit more to be true
A lady poet followed me home
And asked if I could keep her
It must be denied
For I had no room in my freezer
She engineered her stay
Of relocation with play
Charm and elocution
Praised this and that
Allowed a wee pat
Counted on evolution
I may be cheap
And easy too
But for female I'm hard-wired
It's sort of cool
This once being the one that's desired
Though I question her taste
Her need of rat's waste
A too hasty fade
Will shatter shades
I cannot replace
Best to see
What she reweaves
What treasure in her trundle
Though it fracture my plan
I am but man
And man is meant to bundle
Monkeys monkeys moneys and more
My monkey's so hungry I gotta score
So I'm takin' names, I'm makin' lists
Of faker folk who got me pissed
Though I forgive I never forget
Those who think truth is sublet
So make my day, try your lies
Watch them weave among the wise
Save your slimy greedy soul
Before you find you're mass asshole
For my monkey's not drugs or food
But fairness, truth, trying to do good
And hurtin' the bad begins to look right
Along these paths we walk to light
Let's do the monkey on money's men
Hurt those who hurt and then begin
To winnow weeds of less than can
Stomp the stompers who lessen am
Hurt the hurters, thieve the thieves
Violate the violent on Xmas Eve
De-tongue the liars lying their load
Run the road ragers off the road
Castrate the priests with very dull spoons
Engage in cage the Man's police goons
Bury evangelists live in Potter's Field
Cut the mighty, then cut their yield
Both the lie and the liars below
Should crispy critter CEO Ford Pinto
This land is ours, so's the air
Make the user polluters beware
We won't take their excuse of a wink
But will their life if they don't re-think
Kill a politician for Christ - kill two
Then use for fertilizing new true
When they see their God Profits shrink
Maybe we'll jump start honest ink
K- passed on your worry about her not having income. This may or may not help much - but...
My plan before mom died 6.25.2005 was to work thru December 2, 2005 as a programmer analyst, and then quit - forever.
That would leave 2.5 years between my last work paycheck and my first early retirement social security check at age 62 (about $x a month - which pays all my bills with money left over). I would have to give up daily smoking grass, but I find that a small price to pay to get out of the cubicle farm business of working for others.
December thru April 2006, I'm editing and publishing issue #21 of ArtCrimes. This is to be my last issue. 21 issues in 20 years is enough. It's getting difficult to compete with previous issues - plus ArtCrimes is being mentioned in museum lectures (which means it is time to move on). I'm also receiving so many submissions now I have to reject folk - which is against everything ArtCrimes stands for. I want to publish May 2006 since my first issue was May 1986.
After that, my plan when mom was alive was to contact the various folk in NYC, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Albuquerque, San Francisco, Oregon, etc who've promised me poetry readings, and see if they still will. I'd take short 3-4-5 day jaunts around the country reading my work - not in expectation of making money, but perhaps jump-starting something creative which would pay. If not, the experience and the people met would be more than reward enough.
My plans remain the same - except now K-'s coming along as my opening reading act (she's hinting SHE should be the main act, and I the open).
When I quit in December, I'll have $x or more in the bank. ArtCrimes will cost me $x-$y, with at least half recoverable - and perhaps even all. Next year I'll get around $x back in taxes. So I've got minimum 18 months of K-'s and my bills covered. I also have a $x line of equity credit untouched, and x comic books from the 1950s-1970s worth $x-$y theoretically. So I have several fall back lines of financial defense. My final fallback is my condo on which I owe maybe $x and is worth around $y - I can always sell.
I know how talented I am. I believe K- is just as talented. I believe two folk who love each other and believe in each other and themselves might have a chance to eventually make money on creative endeavors. All the above I consider priming the pump. All my money I consider self patronage to keep us going until we find the creative/financial spark needed to survive.
So I'm investing all of me and all I have in K-'s and my future - even if we don't make a financial go of it (I believe we will), it will still be the most rewarding life for us. And I always have all the above as fallback positions.
The other side of your worry coin is - what if I'm a dickhead and mistreat K-, or cast her out penniless into the cold cruel winter street.
There's no way you can know me outside of waiting and seeing what I am and do. There's absolutely no reason for you to accept what I say as valid. But I'm a good person who cares about K- AND what's right and wrong. If K- moves on, I'll be there for her. As it goes right now, I'll never ask her to move on. But considering the 27 year age gap - at some point K-'s best future might be elsewhere... if that's the way she goes, fine ... if she stays, fine. Either way, I'll be there for her.
I believe this to be an extraordinary chance for her to live the creative life I've fought so hard to reach all these rat race workforce years. Be it as lover, companion, or friend, I'll be there for K-, help her anyway I can. As my 3 best friends from the past 23-33 years will attest, I am loyal, steadfast and true (their email addresses are above in the copy box). I will not hurt K-. Or cheat on her. Or mistreat her. Or use finances against her. I see her as my life / house / creative partner - 50%-50% each to each. For our relationship to end, K- would have to want it to. I've been around awhile and loved a bit and know what a treasure I have in her. I'm not stupid. I'm not mean. I'm not a danger to your daughter. I began as her friend, and the very worst possible scenario I can conceive is her leaving for her own reasons - in which case I would still be her friend and believe in her talent.
K- wants to write a book. She has talent, she has mind, she has stories. I have a safe place for her to try.
This is all very odd for me. I figured I was through with relationships 20 years ago. Though we might appear odd to others, this may well be my most honest, caring, sharing, equal relationship. If she left tomorrow, I'd be happy for what she's given me today... and from her eyes, voice, words and hugs, I doubt she's leaving tomorrow. Asking her to move in was not done lightly - it was done after much thought and talk, and because my heart offered me no choice.
W- S-, one of K-'s and my poet friends, says my 15 years of taking care of mom and especially my standing true through mom's last 9 months of hell proves my relationship mettle, shows me worthy of K-. Sometimes I wonder if K-'s my second reward for standing by mom - my first being the man in my mirror looking back in surprised self respect.
I tried to avoid this relationship because I thought it unfair to K-, that I was wrong for her. I was wrong about being wrong - turns out I am the very best, most positive, safest possible person for her. With me, she's gone from the psycho Sams of the world to gentle caring understanding - sanctuary in my Church of Not Quite So Much Pain & Suffering.
Once you see my place, my art, perhaps you'll have a better feel for what I am. I'm as good an artist (and poet) as any alive - or dead. And humble as well. If Harvey Pekar's life and output is worth a movie, who knows what the future may bring for my far more interesting and prodigious life.
I am one of the good guys - just like my heroes in the b&w 1940's film noirs. Neither you nor K- have anything to fear from me. If her feelings for me change, there's still mom's empty bed downstairs for her, and space and time and financial help to help her move on.... but personally, I don't see the moving on part in our future. But if that future comes, K- will leave happier inside and a better person than she would be without me. I'm not asking nor expecting promises from her, but these words of mine are promises from me to both of you.
Not much more I can say... except as the Stones sang, "time is on my side."
Besides, as I told her last night - we could always put her out walking the streets - she could bring her money back to me so I could buy large flashy cars, cheap gold chains for my hairless chest, and some really really tacky tasteless brightly-colored polyester jumpsuits.