Modern poetry collection by contemporary Cleveland poets Lady & Steven B Smith Smith
Smith - contemporary poet
reading room 24
words since we married 3.18.2006
Lady & Steven B. Smith


get me to the witch on time - 3.18.2006 / pa turnpike - 3.28.2006 /
smith, smith and jones - 3.28.2006 / the whole story - 3.28.2006 /
running from the cops - 3.28.2006 / the yellow phantom - 3.29.2006 /
blue - 4.2.2006 / wife - 4.6.2006 / poker player - 4.8.2006 / free bed, no board - 4.9.2006 /
lust vs love - 4.13.2006 / french kiss - 4.13.2006 / morning glory - 4.15.2006 / my motorcycle story - 4.15.2006
Get Me To The Witch On Time

I'm smitten
with the kitten
who scratched
my inner itchin

tied me to
the loving post

free range
to ring
with me

I'm Wiccan wed
and wonder fed

I better butter be
married 2006.18.3

                   Steven B Smith - 3.18.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos

PA Turnpike

I was driving--I think at night--
thru the hills of Pennsylvania on the turnpike
and I'd taken a toke and all of a sudden
my vision blacked out I couldn't see
and I said

Well that's interesting,
but if you're going to play this way you
have to tell me the rules, give me a clue-

and all of a sudden I could see a U.
This giant U appeared, like it's odd,
I can't tell you where it was but this
giant U appeared. And when the U
would start to tilt and go to the left,
I would tilt the wheel and make
it go back straight. And after a while
my vision came back in, and I could
see again, and I was right in my lane,
going round a corner, and I was right
where I was supposed to be!

I never panicked, never worried
but said OK if you're gonna change
the rules you gotta give me a clue.

That might have been DMT. It all
gets confusing after a while

                   Lady & Steven B Smith collab - 3.28.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos

Smith, Smith and Jones

Well, my brother & I just moved
into the house in Brahman, Michigan
and we got stoned and we were
wrestling, goofing off--we were both
going to claim the house for ourselves--
and he was on his back on the
floor with his knee up

and I was holding him down
but his knee was against my ribs
and somehow--nothing was done--
but somehow-

I sank, like an inch down--
and just slowly

something, my rib,
it was the most gentle breaking
you could imagine

Anyway we got it fixed. They gave me codeine.
And I took a lot.

And I was working for my father, my pappy
and I couldn't do manual labor because
I broke the rib
and we had to get someone to replace me
and at 5 o'clock in the morning we got
this replacement worker named Jones

and heading home with me driving
my brother kept saying Faster, faster,
and I kept saying Where is it, where is it
looking for the driveway because
we'd just moved in there that week
and we didn't know where it was

and I'd just pulled around and passed this
older black couple
I was going 80, 90 miles an hour
and just as I pulled
in front of them my brother said There it is!

and I STOMP my foot on the brake, turn the

and the car flips over and skids right
thru the driveway and across the lawn

six feet from the house

So I've actually rolled my car
in my own driveway-

LATER, my brother, Jones & I were hitchhiking
to Phoenix. We were strung out on the highway
and I watched a state trooper pull up and
talk to my brother and my brother got in the car
and he let my brother out and pulled up
and had Jones get in the car, talked to him
so I threw away my marijuana pipe
but I kept the grass
and waited...

Cop pulls up. I get in. He says, What's yer name?
I say Smith

He pauses, smiles, says,
Smith, Smith & Jones

ALSO about Jones--rolling the car--
it squished the top over, popped the
windshield out, slightly twisted the frame

SO Jones drove it over to a tree
jacked it up opposite the way the roof was bent
wrapped a chain around the roof,
tied the chain to the tree

kicked the jack out
as the car fell--
it was a volvo so it was a really good car
it looked like a 1940's ford as a matter of fact
as the car fell-

the chain jerked the top back where it
was supposed to be

so we epoxied the front window back in
we epoxied the drivers door shut--
because it wouldn't stay shut--
and of course I was out of work
and I hadn't been making my payments

SO one day I'm sitting on my mother's
trailer porch and these two guys drive
up to repossess the car

I tell them, There it is
as one guy walked over toward it
I said, Oh, you have to get in the passenger side.
We bondoed the driver's side shut

He just looked at me, Ohhhhh,
he drove it away, shook his head,
got in, drove away.

                   Lady & Steven B Smith collab - 3.28.2006

Oh, P.S., Jones had a Jeep
but it didn't have any brakes
and he'd drive it thru the woods, stoned
and to brake he'd downshift
and to stop he'd find a tree and
run into the tree

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos

The Whole Story

I'm going to have to tell you the whole story.
And it gets kind of weird.

I quit my job as third shift shift leader
because they wouldn't give me my raise
and I was tired of the stress
and as I was leaving--
I was going to go work for my father in Michigan
and I was leaving work the last day--
the guy who had hired me, who'd been demoted
asked me if I needed any grass

so I drove out to his houseboat
and I got there at dusk
and it was like a black and white film noir movie
and I went into his houseboat
and he brings out a bag of parsley
and I said, You've gotta be kidding,
I know what grass looks like and
this is parsley

He said, I know, try it

it was soaked in DMT

And I immediately took the whole bag

As I walked back across the film noir black and white movie set
I went into a telephone booth to call my brother
and tell him what I'd scored for the trip to Michigan

I was getting ready to leave after the phone call,
and the wharf lights came on
all of a sudden I could see
the outside of the phone booth was just
covered in spiders

And I hate spiders

So I ran away

Real fast


Driving from Baltimore to Brahman, Michigan
with the DMT-soaked parsley,
I'm pretty sure that's when the giant U appeared
and I know I got so paranoid
that when I got off the highway
I would drive through the area
to see what the PEOPLE look like

and then I'd go into my bag
and I'd make myself look like THEM

I had stopped by the side of the freeway
to have another toke

and a state trooper stopped at the
berm on the other side of the freeway--
probably to see if I was in trouble--
so then he turned on his light
and went down to see if I was in trouble,
to come back and see me

so I took off

next exit, I got off, I went across,
I got back on, and I sped
down the section of highway the cop car
had just been on

and when I got to where the cop
had been, the cop was where I was
and he didn't look happy about it

So we both took off again

I went down to the next exit
got off

I went and hid,
parked behind a dead service station

I just stayed there a while

he never found me

but smoking TOO much DMT and
driving too long,

I was getting this fantasy
that I was finally ESCAPING
BALTIMORE after all these years
and they were going to try and STOP me
and I had this vision that this
was going to appear, drop down
out of the air and STOMP me

I was about as fried as I'd ever been

When I finally got to my folks' trailer
in Michigan I couldn't quite stretch
all the way up

I had been in the same position
driving for 13 hours from Baltimore to
Brahman so I walked in hunched over
and set down at the kitchen table
I put my arms down on top of the table,
looked at them and started talking

and gibberish came out

NOBODY, including me, had any
idea what I said

My father told me I should go look at myself
so I went into the bathroom
and I put my two hands down on the trailer sink
and leaned forward and stared into the mirror

and ripped the cabinet off the wall

my father was furious. Until he looked at it
and saw that it had been held down basically
by four really really big staples

This stuff was so good, this DMT,
everyone was so impressed.
I started calling it Radish Rust
and I went back to Baltimore
to get some more
and that was probably
the only successful drug deal I've done

after that
it went downhill

                   Lady & Steven B Smith collab - 3.28.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos

Running From The Cops


13, in a stolen car, we were chasing some girls across the city in their car
and a cop car started chasing us so we turned down an alley, opened the doors,
abandoned the vehicle, and just ran away


Once, in Cleveland here, I was in another man's wife's car. And went thru a
red light in a snowstorm and a cop started chasing me with his red light
and there was no way I could get a ticket because there was no way I could
explain to the husband why I was using his wife's car
and so I started making all these insane turns thru housing developments
god knows where I was, even I got lost
and they never found me


Actually once in Brahman, Michigan I actually outran the police in my
mother's red Ford station wagon, that couldn't go as fast as the police could go
but I knew the back roads, and they didn't, and I just slipped away


And for good measure, the same police, I went thru White Cloud, which is
just below Brahman, Michigan a wee bit too fast on my motorcycle
they came after me with their red lights again
I just zipped away on my motorcycle, 135 miles per hour or something
no way could they keep up


Here in Tremont I was so drunk, drinking free art opening Scotch when I was
driving. JC was with me. I decided I wanted to drive through Lincoln Park here.
So I did. Turns out, there was a cop going down Starkweather. Turned on his
red lights. I uturned out of the park, back onto 14th, and immediately zipped into
Dairymart, turned off my lights. Cop raced past and pulled over unsuspecting
innocent. I got out of the car, said, They can't do that! That guy's innocent!
And started to walk over to tell the cops that. JC took me away.


After the 2nd armed robbery, teenagers came in as we were leaving
and they started chasing us. And we'd parked the getaway car right in back
of the Turkeyhill Minit Market. Since the kids were chasing us, we ran
right by our getaway car. Which still irritates me. Anyway, ran down the
dark alley, crawled thru hedges into someone's back yard, went thru
their front yard across the busy street into the darkness on the other side.
Someone of course saw us and immediately told the police where
we'd gone. So we ran and hid in this guy's garage. And it's quiet, and
we're safe, and this guys got a really old classic car that my partner's
admiring and I'm sitting here looking at the handfuls of money I've got
in my coat pockets, a lot of money, and my partner becomes convinced
that the guy knows we're in his garage. He panics, and we leave,
we go out the back door into the alley. And just as as we go out in
an alley, a police car goes tearing by a side street, going really fast,
there's no way he could have seen us, we'd just come out into the
alley, somehow he sees us, slams on the brake and the alley's nothing
but tall fences, fucking fences, and there's this really big blue bus
in the alley, so we crawl under it and hide

So the whole alley fills with cop cars, and there's nothing but us under
the blue bus and they haul off and take us away

The getaway car is the one I got caught on.

And I'm sure there are more... Oh, and I can only tell you all of this because
I've changed my ways

                   Lady & Steven B Smith collab - 3.28.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos


One of the things I've been meaning to write
is when I was the Yellow Phantom--you know--
in the Navy

Well actually it's kind of weird because I've always
considered myself quiet but I convince people to
do things,

like one night in bootcamp
I convinced two people
to dress all in black
and creep out
STEAL the base flag,
I wanted to steal the flag


We crawl thru the night up to the guard shack
and I untie the flag from the outside and
start to bring it down and it squeaks

and the windows were open and I couldn't
continue that because we'd get caught

so I motioned the others away
and when they disappeared

I cut the rope, grabbed it, stood up, took off, and
started running and there was
a terrible continuous SKREEEEEEE
(it was attached to like 40, 50 feet of rope)

They shut down the camp.

They wanted their flag back.

and anyways
I cut the flag and
mailed their parts home
I mailed my part home to Mom

so they shut down the base

never found it

nobody squealed

I wanted the flag and got it

And I'd led a commando raid
in boot camp, against
the U.S. Government

And later on, same bootcamp,
they really irritated me because
whenever we marched to any meal
they marched us way out in the
middle of a field around a 4 foot shell

stood up

So one day I convince the marcher
to march
the troops, into it,
so we march right over it

and I pick it up
and I hide it

underneath the barracks

in the dirt

and I write home to Mom

and Mom mails me a can of
Chinese Red spray paint

And one Sunday
in my workclothes
I go out there and I spraypaint
this 4 foot shell

Chinese Red

right on the lawn
in plain site of everybody

This was in 1963.

I let it dry.

I put it on my shoulder,
and I walk it out to where
I'd stolen it from

and I march it right back
to where it was

in plain sight

in front of everybody

and they resumed marching around it

and nobody said anything
they must all have assumed it was official


At the Naval Academy,
they forced us to march to church every Sunday
and everybody just slept
so you have this huge chapel
filled with sleeping midshipman and officers

in the spirit of comradery
I take a big windup alarm clock
I set it for about 20 minutes into the service
and on the cover, on the face of it
in black magic marker
I write,
The Yellow Phantom Strikes Again

as we march in,
I set it down

This is where it gets fun
because by chance
Billy Graham was the guest speaker that Sunday
and 20 minutes into his sermon
the ALARM goes off
real clanging, model train type
and all of a sudden
it's like a jack-in-the-box
all these people popping up and
looking around

And Billy Graham
just pauses for 2 beats
and continues
as though
had happened

And he was really cool about it,
I mean he was really cool

Later, they were kicking us out
for marijuana
and processing us
thru the office

the Lieutenant left the office
and I went up to his desk
and he had this notepad
and I went about halfway down
and I wrote
The Yellow Phantom is Steven B. Smith
because I'd done several things
as the Yellow Phantom and
had been in the school newspaper
and no one knew who the Yellow Phantom was

except me

only me.

The Lieutenant kept coming back in
and he was walking in and out,
in and out,
over and over again
and writing notes
and ripping them off
and ripping and writing
and writing and ripping

I was starting to get worried

and why should I
because they were kicking me out
for smoking grass anyway,
they were kicking me out

but it came to a point where
he ripped a page off
and saw my page

and he went STILL

and he smiled

and he ripped THAT page off
and just continued
with whatever he was doing

but I did get the smile

At the end of boot camp
I was nominated for
Most Outstanding Recruit
and the officers above

no way

I'd irritated them too much

but somehow, my soldiers in command
and I got the award

One more bootcamp story I gotta tell you
actually two

and one's actually almost historic--

Once, they started punishing the entire unit
for something one person did
so I walked out of line

and walked into the office
and told the officers
That's morally wrong; they can't do that.
They can't punish everybody for what
one person does

so they said OK
we'll punish YOU
we squish you bug
squish, squish
bug juice

and it was one of the longest afternoons of my life
pure hell
knee bends, sit-ups,

I also got in trouble once because
they had this huge beautiful glorious flower
gorgeous, like in the movies,
and I took it
and I hid it in my locker
and they came out
and they were FURIOUS

They said, Who had this FLOWER
in their locker?

and they punished me. again.
because they kept punishing me.

I didn't try to do bad.
It's just that what I did didn't
seem to make sense
to anybody else.

                   Lady & Steven B Smith collab - 3.29.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos


The business people walk about
on sidewalks, confident concrete stridings
beautiful haircuts

In the blue shadows
of big buildings
a pedestrian mouse lies
on the sidewalk
in a lunatic grin

In summer a cloud of fireflies
will billow from sleep--
en masse--
so many silent speartips of
the tipping point

Out of mind,
sparse oceans whitewash,
warm coral reefs of life

The temporary chirping
of birds, the city park

Business people
continue to buy suits

Lake Erie looks so blue,
so beautiful

                   Lady - 4.2.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos


Let me be your rat dog baby
Let me lick your underside
Lace my like to you my lady
Stick my stack in overdrive

You thing my swing in ever land
You wind my wig in counter time
You slip my slide in slither land
You bounce my bump in rhythm rhyme

No rubber bumper baby bugger
Our poems and art offspring will be
No inside box no barcode rudder
We free rove range about our be

So let me be your rat dog baby
Please let me lick your underside
I've laced my like to you my lady
You stick my stack in overdrive

                   Steven B. Smith - 4.6.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos


The many bristled hurricane heart,
flying things, scuttled beetle wings
and the polywet underside of leaf

The ant did things, thot thots
not spoken, never told another ant,
sniffed scent line in bass foot
from his office to the food pile,
a perfect market mythmaker--
the story's dittoed-

The composer's arm shadow
drops ceiling dust on top of coffins

The line to hell is not efficient,
but an aggregate snowball of
untold events, working the
spasming battery of the world
pebble atop pebble

                   Lady - 4.8.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos

Free Bed, No Board

have FREE single bed,
3 storage-drawer base,
free-standing bookshelf-headboard

hardly used by dead mom.

first come, first take, no charge, you carry.

                   Steven B. Smith - 4.9.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos

Lust vs Love

It ain't the meat
It's the emotion

                   Steven B. Smith - 4.13.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos

French Kiss

Remember the French Kiss?
I don't think the French
invented it, do you?

I think it was that
little snake
in the Garden of Eden,
that little
slither tongue.

Ohh, come hither
come hither

that little snake
that little snake

                   Lady / Steven B. Smith collab 4.13.2006 BR>
end    top    poetry    agent of chaos


I wake up, and you pull me to you
I lace myself up against you,
lift my head, a sideways languorous glance,
my black slip nightie
against your night whiteness

Everything's OK for now
I ask you if I say too many I love yous
in my deep morning voice

You stiffen comfortably
your beard on my shoulder
and I slip back around
and dip down for a while
and then you put it in me
wet release

Now we come back from the Market
and I feed you mango and watermelon,
spritzed with lime. You slurp
pieces off my fingers                    Lady 4.15.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos


The Fast, Soft Crash

After they repossessed my car
I needed wheels
decided to buy a motorcycle
always wanted a motorcycle

so I walked in
and bought a 750 Kawasaki
I think 1977,
which is basically
450 lbs of metal on this
incredibly huge engine

After the papers were signed
the salesman took me out to the
I'd never been on a motorcycle before
and You should have seen his face
when he realized
I had never been on one before


he was torn cuz
he was worried about me and concerned
but he also wanted to make the money

he showed me how to turn it on
and work the pedals
I practiced going around
the parking lot several times
sort of got the hang of it
took off up Rte. 37


about 4 miles later,
the bike dies

I don't know anything about mechanics
I didn't know anything about the bike
I didn't know what was going on
I was mystified

eventually some guy stops
shows me I hadn't been using
this gas switch so I was
using up reserve

anyway I'm going up 37 and
it's a gorgeous summer day--
I mean beautiful--
and 37's a two lane highway
going through Michigan
and it's up and down and up and down
and up and down with all these
gentle dips

there's a lot of traffic
because it's a holiday

so I'm on my first motorcycle ride ever
feeling really good
I'm zipping past all these cars
and at one point I look ahead
it's clear
I figure
I can pass about 7 cars
I pull out
I'm going a little over 100 miles an hour
and this car pops up in front of me
out of one of the little dips

I could even see the driver's
eyebrows go up--you know--
I'm that close--

so I purposefully leave the road

I mean I can't hit the man
It wouldn't be right
so I leave the highway
at a little over 100 miles an hour

in the air
and at one point
this is just so magic peaceful

at one point I'm upside down
in the air

I mean my feet are up over my head
my hands are on the motorcycle bars
the motorcycle's beneath me
we're flying through the air
it's so peaceful it's almost like
it's slow motion

there's no panic no nothin
and I'm thinking I don't want
to be holding the motorcycle when
it hits,

so I let loose

there's no sound
I don't hear anything
I don't feel the breeze
it's almost like I'm in a silent movie

a slow-motion silent movie
so the bike hits
it's in meadow field
later on I hit in the grass
and roll over a lot

I get up and have
maybe 3 tiny teeny scratches on my side
I walk back to the bike,
pick it up,
no scratches on it.

I look up

Everybody on the highway
All the traffic was stopped
They were all looking at me!

I waved to them,
said I'm alright
I started it up,
I drive home.

That's my very first bike ride.

And that night
one of the rare times I play poker with my family and friends
and I can't lose
I mean I knew I couldn't lose
I was totally charmed


Anyway the next day
wanted to try my motorcycle
Jones is really small

in a rage, his father
would pick him up and fling him across the room

The Jones boys got to be very quick on their feet

Jones was dwarf sized,
maybe like an elf
He was small
the bike was bigger than he was
he was only 17 I think

he talked me into it
took it down the road
lost control
took him to the hospital
no damage
I think I twisted up the bike a little bit
but we fixed that
but I tell you that

because the next day,
I'm sitting in my mother's trailer

cop car pulls up
two cops get out
Mom says,
Steve! Quick! Police! Hide!

I quickly run out the back door
of the trailer into the woods

all they wanted probably was to
give me a ticket because
I'd let a minor drive my motorcycle
but it's really nice to know your mom
is protective of you--
but why would she automatically assume
that they were there for me?


The Slow, Hard Crash

I was driving from Michigan to
Chagrin Falls in a massive downpour rainstorm
on the turnpike these cars
were going 30, 35 miles per hour
and what I would do
I would pull up to the cars in the darkness
I'd look at them
then I'd zoom off

into the night rain

Somehow it was like controlled
80, 90 miles per hour
in conditions where like
if one bad thing--
everything was over with

I did this for a couple hundred miles
madness through storm
then in Toledo I get off cuz I'm hungry
and at 4 miles an hour I'm turning from the street
into the parking lot at Denny's
and the tires just swish out from underneath me
I crash and bash my headlamp

At 100 miles an hour, nothing goes wrong.
At 4 miles an hour, I crash and hurt myself.


The Fast, Hard Crash

The end was Ohio.
The bike was fun in Michigan.
It's not fun in Cleveland you know.
In Michigan you can go 130 miles an hour
in the full moon
with your lights out

or 5 miles an hour
in the predawn
and every time you
dip down into one of these
gullies you smell the new morning earth,
the musk rising
the funk of the land coming up
all these smells
all these smells
and moisture

basically 5 miles an hour on a bike
is as exciting as 130 miles an hour
but in Cleveland
or even Ohio, forget it
so the bike didn't belong here
but the night it died
was the only time I ever combined
white wine, LSD and a motorcycle
and marijuana's just a staple

this is complicated

I and my other guy's wife
and her husband
were all tripping
on LSD I'd gotten
from one of their friend's sons
it was the husband's first trip
and they were suburban
and we were drinking white wine
along with smoking some grass
and doing the LSD
in the backyard

with forests

beyond that

in the sunshine

and at one point
he was actually getting birds to hop up
and talk to him
and it was a good trip for everyone

on the way home
on my motorcycle
I had my helmet on
and I had a half gallon of
white wine in a green jar
clenched between my thighs
and I was high on grass
I was drunk on wine
I was still tripping
I was going way too fast
and I went around a curve
and lost control of the bike
and I slid
onto the asphalt
into a driveway
that had a speedbump

the bike and I flew into the air
at some point we came down
and we both bounced

back into the air
and there's a huge gash
in the side of my helmet
and when I came to

I was in shallow water
but the helmet
had prevented me from drowning

so twice the helmet saved me

all of a sudden there was
this old man in pajamas
standing over me
and he reached down
and he picked up the green bottle of wine I still had
I hadn't lost it
he looked at me he said,
You're in enough trouble
and he poured the wine out
and he threw the bottle away

and the cops came
and they kept insisting
I should go to the hospital
and I kept insisting
I was fine
and I was sitting in the back of the cop car
and the other cop says
You should see this

see I didn't have a motorcycle driver license
and I had plates that were two years old
so what I'd done is
I took off the previous one--
the sticker--
and I cut it
and I rearranged it
so it said the previous year

so once I realized
I was going to get in trouble for that
I told the cop
You know,
you're right.
I really have to get to the hospital.

and they took me
and while I'm laying there
waiting to get examined
I realize I'm really in a serious amount of pain
and they won't give me anything for the pain
until they do the x-rays and stuff cuz they
don't know - you know- head trauma and
stuff like that
and while this is going on
I'm still stoned on grass,
tripping on acid, and drunk on white wine
it turns out I broke a collar bone
broke two or three ribs
cracked a pelvis

it killed the bike
turns out all they did was give me a ticket
for 50 dollars for driving with an expired tag
and there was the hospital bill

and that's my motorcycle story

                   Lady & Steven B. Smith - 4.15.2006
reading room 25

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

agent of chaos | collage | what's new | guest artists | guest poets

e mail smith at smithcrimes @-sign yahoo dot com

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