Modern poetry collection by contemporary Cleveland poets Lady & Steven B Smith Smith
Smith - contemporary poet
reading room 23
words stolen from my 19 year younger self
excerpts from my endless letter part IV 7.27.1987
& other earlier works

foto of 3.3.2006 smith by Lady

are fish psyquatic / rubber rut / dinner for one / whither / so it goes / silent knife, holy naught /
new math / multiple choice / morning prayer / drunk / nursery rinds / mummy earth & father corporation /
glory daze / white trash high rise 1980 / dial a prayer / check out time /
one knight alone in the abnormal zone / fib / meet my little friend / hiding out from the law of averages /
ding dong the witch is dead / birth born
Are Fish Psyquatic?

Water Gods are all wet
Water Gods are big drips
Water Gods have plumbers for devils
Water Gods are fun to sleep with when heated
Water Gods are wishy washy
Thou shalt have no other Chlorinations before me
Some Gods are afraid to come out of the water closet
God drops keep falling on my dead
God's evaporated
Water Gods have wet dreams
Water Gods don't no enough to come in out of the reign
Water Gods mist the ship

                   Steven B Smith - pre-1988

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Rubber Rut

Cat sent me inflatable rubber rat
It won't eat
What do you feed it?
Tiny rubber rat women?

Also sent appreciated x-ray gogs
Religious 3-Ds
Frozen emotions
1935 expose of female sexual reproductive organs & pianos
Rubber fish tie

Me put on rubber fish and had sex with rubber rat
Rubber rutting

                   Steven B Smith - pre-1988

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Dinner For One

I feed upon myself
Have depleted me
Digested all
Excremented myself
And now the taste of shit
Is bitter on my tongue

                   Steven B Smith - pre-1988

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The wind bloweth where it listeth
And thou hearest the sound thereof
But canst not tell whence it comes,
Wither it goeth

T'ain't a fit gnat out for glandular beast

                   Steven B Smith - pre-1988

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So It Goes

Know any good dead Vonnegut jokes?
Aren't we all?
Only slumtimes.

                   Steven B Smith - pre-1988

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Silent Knife, Holy Naught

So God may love, we live the lie
So God may live, we love and die

                   Steven B Smith - pre-1988

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New Math

God x man
(solve for variable)

                   Steven B Smith - pre-1988

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Multiple Choice

Give up:


Keep forever trying,
Forever fucking up:
Live until A or B

                   Steven B Smith - pre-1988

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Morning Prayer

Deliver us, o God, from thy deliverance
And we shall forgive your forgiving

                   Steven B Smith - pre-1988

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Why do I talk louder the more I drink?
Do people get harder of hearing?

                   Steven B Smith - pre-1988

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Nursery Rinds

Hey diddle diddle
The cat's now a fiddle
Say Simon let's cook up a spoon
We're off to the fair
That's not really there
While the brown cow defiles the moon
And Peter Piper pulls his pepper
Pun finding his cuntbored bare

                   Steven B Smith - pre-1988

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Mummy Earth & Father Corporation

She's really weird
She sports a beard
And only costs a quarter
So grab some time
She's tasting fine
A stately lamb to slaughter
Pollute her clime
Her trust like wine
Her future fills our coffers

                   Steven B Smith - pre-1988

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Glory Daze

Have this theory about drugs.

In the old daze, you had to get up before dawn, crawl through 40 foot drifts of snow down to the field you plowed with your fingernails in between pulling the grizzly bar off Uncle Mom and killing your Republican quota of three Injuns a day. Life was an adventure back then. Of course, there was no TV so tweren't nothing to do no how.

Now, life is boring. Incredibly boring. You live in a little box just like the little boxettes next doors. You all wear the same suit or jeans, go to mundane jobs in unimportant buildings and push little pieces of paper or people around. The thrills come when you stab someone in the back or fuck around on your spouse or get an actual key to the shithouse or a gold watch for successfully being unadventurous for 40 years.

Now drop some LSD and snort some coke and smoke some grass and eat some Valium and drink some booze and I swear, just getting out of your chair and across the room becomes an incredible adventure with the outcome unknowable. In fact I defy you to eat some belladonna and walk anywhere. Do enough drugs or booze and even TV sitcoms become witty, funny. Drink enough and your neighbors and friends become less boring through the blur. Become catatonic and you might even be able to see life from Ronald Reagan's view pointless.

                   Steven B Smith - pre-1988

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White Trash High Rise 1980

Woman walks by in hall
"God, it stinks again!"

There are so many smells . . .

Is she speaking of the smoke damage
Or garbage
Or grass
Or the daily doses of dead flesh
Sacrificed to the electric stove and sapien gullet?

Or is she smelling her own fear
Her failure in living here
Of all the bleak holes she should've chosen?

                   Steven B Smith - pre-1988

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Dial A Prayer

Use phone
Dial atone

                   Steven B Smith - pre-1988

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Check Out Time

Break breath
Become blurry

                   Steven B Smith - pre-1988

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One Knight Alone In The Abnormal Zone

Republican promises lie thickly upon the lame
I carry the right man's burden
The left man's tongue

I picked up two shadows
And neither of them worked

So weary last night
I watched TV for two hours
Before remembering I didn't have one

Been thinking about joining the IUD police
Hear they have a lot of openings

                   Steven B Smith - pre-1988

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FBI is just lie misspelled

                   Steven B Smith - pre-1988

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Meet My Little Friend

Elvis named his penis Little Elvis
I call mine Microsoft

                   Steven B Smith - pre-1988

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Hiding Out From The Law Of Averages

A 4 year old's brain is twice as active as an adult's

Night has fallen and it can't get up

A blue whale's tongue weighs 6,500 pounds

The happy dead rot as rain and rust

At Earth's equator, surface spin = 1,000 miles per hour
In Cleveland, it is 700 miles per hour

Can't take nothing for granted, not even granite

Vegetarians live 10 years longer

Do we follow contrails in the sky, or contracts on the ground?

People attending church more than once a week live 7 years longer

Our bodies our stardust, our soul chosen light

Women live 7 years longer than men

The more I lose the flow the greater
My need for twigs of joy to slow my low

Whites live 7 years longer than blacks

It's a long road to whore

Couples in long relationships have higher levels of endorphins,
a morphine like pain killer . . . Roy Orbison was right - Love Hurts

                   Steven B Smith - pre-1988

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Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead
(for Richard Milhous Nixon)

Outwatched ember days
Misrepresent marshy instincts
Deriding Babylonian flatulence
Posthumously held
As Sir Phony TieBurn
Confers escargot ordinances
On or upon onanatory dildos
Beneath sacred Apache grounds
Mysteriously inscribed
'Allegheny Kitchener Flaubert'

Arise o paletot castle
Mouthing erect hymns ubri supra
Shout out thy overly tupped
Hymeneal accusations
Presaging silver nunned whores housing
Saint Onan's circumfluent smirk
Locutions and noxious nominations

Why o whyo must we so torture
And berate Sir Fuggerman
And deny the guy's torpid tonguing
Raised our cries of clan ileitis clitoris
Spread furious forests before us
In syphilitic tear as our new fear
Plays on and on anon

                   Steven B Smith - pre-1988

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Birth Born
A paratheological journey from death to birth

He laid motionless in the room a long time - a time the room made longer. It was white. Walls, ceiling, floor blended in whiteness absent of dimension or blemish, devoid of furniture or fixture. An empty white which preyed on the mind's flesh, the eye's sanity.

He thought there'd been a window in one of the walls. Was sure of it. He'd watched it, thankful something broke the monotony. That was before, before the sleeping. He'd slept, fitfully, and each time he woke, the window was smaller. Finally it faded, was nothing but a memory, or perhaps a dream - the whiteness made it hard to be sure.

Now he did not sleep, could not sleep. He knew the window had been his last chance. Felt the room waiting for him to close his eyes in sleep again. He must stay awake, fight the whisperings. He must . . . not . . . sleep . . .

         images swirl through blankness thick balm cooling white scorched eyes as she
         rose dusk dripping beckoning to dark moistness her lips whispering him through
         the door wanting him through the door the door he looked at her white nothing
         and screamed and screamed against the white whispering of the door the door

He woke screaming. Knew as he looked at the door before him he had lost. This door would never fade, the room let him know that. The room was finished with him, wanted him to leave. Closing his eyes in surrender, he prayed to the room to wait, to let him stay awhile, but it was no use. When he opened his eyes again, the door was mercilessly open. The room was indeed anxious.

He stepped through to the hall, not bothering to look back at the room, which had begun to fade. Before him, the hall stretched, an infinite grayness that would make his journey easier. Periodically the gray was broken by the soft golden glow of a door. There were thousands of doors - doors without handles, without interest, except for the one door somewhere he knew would be his.

He walked, knowing there was no going back to the white room even if it still existed - if it ever had. He walked, was aware of walking. In slow motion dream he saw his feet rise, swing out, fall, rise, swing out, fall. Doors went past . . . more doors - and yet more. Golden glow flowed into golden glow. Where once he could not remember before the white room, now he knew only the universe of the hall with its galaxies of doors.

At last he stopped, or was stopped. The door was no different than those he's passed, or those that remained. But this was his door. The long gray hall with its hypnotic glowing journey of doors had made him forget his fear. But now, knowing the door was inspecting him, his fear welled, stretching his gut. He was powerless to run - so he waited.

Seconds or centuries later, the door opened and he drifted through. The hallway shimmered, dissolved into dream, mists waiting to be awakened by other. He was hit by the heavy sweet odor of lizard urine, and he retched. He was in a field, a very small field, which never ended. It contained a cross, a pool, and two miserable creatures - a cat and a spider. To the center of the cross was nailed an amputated hand, a hand of rotting flesh. Occasionally a piece of decayed flesh would part from the hand and plop to the ground to be greedily devoured by the cat who was starving and perhaps a little mad. To the side near the pool of lizard urine that pervaded the air was the spider - its eyes burning in reddish hate fed by centuries of starvation and the open cat-inflicted wound in its abdomen.

The place sickened him, but the pool called and he went. Looking down through the urine, he saw a half formed face looking back from the bottom - as he stared, the face took his features . . . and he began to understand. He began to know, and in this knowing he became the face.

He was without form as he floated. The urine uncomfortably warm burned his eyes. The stench pervaded his being until even his thoughts tasted of lizard urine. He was sick at first, but time passed, and he accepted. Who was he to think himself above spending an eternity in a universe of tepid urine? And by learning this, this humbling, this acceptance, he became the spider.

Pain. He felt yellow pus ooze through his wound, he felt the pain in his stomach. He had to eat - now. He watched the cat, envying him his rotted flesh. He knew he must rush the cat soon, maybe get wounded again, but better to die than feel life slip through his empty gut in yellow ooze. Spider was not meant to bear such pain. Completing the hadj was not worth this. He crouched, but did not spring. He did not consciously think such thoughts as pain purging still greater pain, or the penalties of failing his karma, but some sense of the journey asserted itself, restraining him. So he sat in his rage and consumed his hate.

Suddenly he wasn't hungry anymore as his claws sank into newly dropped flesh. He wasn't hungry, but the centuries of eating diseased flesh had rotted his mind. He cursed the hand both for rotting, and for rotting so slowly. He cursed the urine and the spider which watched his every move. He feared the hate radiating from the crippled spider, he feared the burning in his diseased body. Eventually he reached a threshold of suffering so total he ceased - and became at last the hand.

He was at peace. He breathed in the cooling purity of the cross, he thought of the pain needed to rise above the pool, and the spider, and the cat. He reveled in being hand, in the deliciousness of rot. It was pleasure to feel a chunk of his decayed flesh sensually separate with a soft sucking sound and plop to the ground. It was good to feel the cat pounce on each piece of fallen flesh. He looked over his universe and felt compassion. It had been a long journey, a painful journey - it was good to be finished - or so he thought, for the journey was not done. He could not remain decaying hand forever. The salving pain and soothing pleasure were merely tools, tools to shape him for journey's completion - and he slowly became aware of this as

He was white, and empty - except for the woman upon His floor watching the window before her. As He watched, the woman slept. As she slept, He withdrew the window. He knew the woman would miss the window, eventually doubt it had ever been. He wanted to console her, ease the pain of His whiteness. But he couldn't, for that would alter the shape of things to come - and only the woman upon the floor could do that.

But she need not worry - after all, it was really such a pleasant journey.

published in Unicorn Volume One, Winter, 1971, Loyola College, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

(I'd just bought a used couch from Salvation Army and found it had cat urine stains which I could smell so I doused it with liquid Lysol and tried to dry it with a hair dryer - the stench which filled my apartment led to this story - this is my 2nd story and 3rd piece published).

                   Steven B Smith - 1971
reading room 24


Lady assemblages & photographs - gallery 1

Lady fotos & assemblages - gallery 2

selected Lady poems 2005 - 2006

selected older Lady poems

Lady / Steven B. Smith poetry collaborations

10 top poems | 10 top collages | 10 top illustrations | 10 top fotos

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