` Modern American Poetry Collection by Cleveland Poets Lady & Steven B Smith - Contemporary Poems
Modern poetry collection by contemporary Cleveland poets Lady & Steven B Smith
Smith - contemporary poet
reading room 27
"he not busy being born is busy dying" - bob dylan 1965
Lady / Lady-steve / steve words

mickey mouse

me wanna go home - 5.17.06 - serial suicide - 5.25.06 - for you - 5.26.06 - art as r pain - 6.4.06 -
i give up - 6.6.06 - wie spät ist es? - 6.6.06 - trojan - 6.6.06 - gorgeous moments - 6.6.06 - planetary romance - 6.6.06 - treatise on reality - 6.6.06 - cancer - 6.6.06 - ad-lib stage-set tango - 6.27.06 - catnip - 6.27.06 -
i who part leaf in dream - 6.30.06 - bed bug bite - 7.2.06 - junkie business - 7.5.06

Me Wanna Go Home

it's wednesday.
in my 10th month of work.
in 2 days it's friday.
in 6-8 months it'll be permanent weekend.
they will let my ego go, or
i'll call down a plague of locoweed upon them
& burn their number.

let my ego go -
or is that leggo my ego.
at least i don't drive a hugo,
tho my ego is huge-o.
and i do play calypso.
daylight come and me wanna go home.

                   Lady / Steven B. Smith collaboration 5.17.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos

Serial Suicide

I have that writer's disease:
it's all material

After I died,
I quit drinking

Developed nasty six month
Nyquil habit

broke that with a
cocaine compromise

Every Friday night,
buy a gram and a half
of coke
from rehabber--

Would snort
half of it,
watching a movie with Mom

then shoot
the other half
every 20 minutes
for four or five hours


Before Mom,
I slapped myself back twice
from overdose

Coke rehabber customer
got caught by cops--

Rehabber came over
to sell me a thousand,
twelve hundred dollars of coke
for seven fifty

Didn't have it

He had to get rid of it--
told me to pay his boyfriend
in installments

He split for Europe


So I had all this coke

Shot up for a
real long time

got to the point I couldn't
hit my veins

was sitting on the floor of the bathroom,
naked, trying to hit a vein
in my foot

missed over and over
realized how stupid this all was
kept doing it


Shooting up is a hurtling sensation
You hurtle outward,
you expand

It's just like when
they go into hyperspace
in Star Trek

You literally are hurtling out
into the universe,
released from your physical boundaries,
go beyond skin

You can hear atoms
bouncing around inside your blood and head,
expanding outward, zooming outward
and you're literally zinging,
your system is going, Twing!
like you're a bell rung right

You become time and space,


Twice realized,
if this kept going
there'd be nobody left

You have to know what
overdose was like compared to
hitting just right

When you hit just right,
you hurtle outwards, real fast,
but fun

Overdose is
too fast,
too far,
no fun


I realize that if I kept going
this fast
there'd be nothing left
to come back to

So I started slapping myself
to give my brain something else
to process so it couldn't spend
all its energy going

Besides, your body's just fluttering,
wispy, tenuous


Glad I can't do it anymore

Few things
call more loudly
as delivery systems
than needles

There's nothing to compare it to
except perhaps the first toke of
freebase or crack

It's so efficient
it's a pharmaceutical drug
straight into your bloodstream
(fuck the brain/blood barrier)

All the other ways,
smoking, eating, snorting,
sniffing, skin popping--
all take time

Needles are now

Glad I have been there,
glad I'm not there
would never ever
take a friend there

Could not handle being there now


When they took me out--
when I overdrank--

I disappeared in the ambulance

Came back,
looked at nurse, said, Wow,
nice to be back

Then threw up huge amount
of gelatinous blood
from my stomach

Looked like Jello,
already eaten


It was an interesting process
lying in bed,
thinking I was dying

I had vomited blood
the previous December
for three, four hours

I managed to stop it
through sheer will

So, I thought I could stop this one

Mom's downstairs in her place

I'm upstairs for fourteen hours
vomiting blood into a bedside bucket,
passing out, coming back,
all the time my little computer computing,
saying, This is serious, you're gonna
have to go to the hospital

Had no insurance so lingered
I was poor
couldn't afford to go

And right now, I can get up
and drive to the hospital

Couple hours later, more blood,
more unconsciousness,
I'm saying, Well now I can take a bus
to the hospital
, because I couldn't drive anymore

Then now,
I can call a cab

Finally, all this blood in the bucket
and also all this time
I'm wondering

What art piece I can make
with this bucket of blood
and this is serious art supply

I weakly call out over and over
wake Mom, she calls EMS,
I'm too heavy for them to carry down
from the loft, 70, 80 lbs. heavier then
from the wine

So I roll out of my waterbed,
crawl on my belly across the floor,
and slide
like a sled,
head first,
down my loft stairs,
whereupon they put me on their thingy,
carry me into the ambulance,
and I disappear

Mom threw away the bucket of blood,
said it stank.

Everybody's an art critic.


Oh, I was gone,
I mean,
you leave the body

When I was lying there,
the fourteen hours of vomiting blood,
I would occasionally lose consciousness

And each time
there'd be this
nether region
where I was aware
I might not be coming back
and then I'd worry about Mom
and I'd come back

Down in the ambulance,
I just zoomed right past that point.
I have no idea where I was.
I was gone.

When I regained sight,
it was literally, Wow, I'm back
and it felt good,
I was glad


Everybody cringes
when you mention needles

Dick Head took me over to Rastaman
to buy grass

He told me I could come back
but don't bring Dick Head

Came back, asked for speed

Rastaman went white--
which was interesting
because whites is slang
for speed--

Pot was OK
Acid was OK
Alcohol was OK
Needles were not


I would guess 1983,
there's a pounding on the fire door
of my fourth floor warehouse space

It was Dick Head,
didn't know him

He said, Got any drugs?

Said, No, but if you find any,
come back

Couple hours later he's banging
on the fire door, with drugs


Dick Head's highlight--
he's reading poetry at
the Old Brooklyn Inn, wearing nothing
but an octopus wrapped around his waist

Had octopus tentacles hanging down

and Dick Head's dick

He's got this big stuffed frog
and he's standing on plastine sheeting
and he's got a knife and he starts shouting

I only eat dead frogs / when I have to
lifes a bitch not a bore / Im a slut not a whore
live for lust / loves a drag / I only eat dead frogs
when I have to

Art is free / but paint cost money
The galleries are full / of commies faggots & more
I dont let it get me sore / Cus I only eat dead frogs
When I have to

And then he gut stabs the stuffed frog
and all these cow entrails he'd sewn into it
the previous night spill out over the floor

One of the finest poetry moments I can recall

Even the college kids sat up

those college kids--
because I had short hair and a sports coat,
came up to me and said, Thank God,
somebody normal
, and started talking
about football

I looked at Wilcox and asked him
if he knew what they were talking about


Last time I saw Dick Head's dick
was at the ArtCrimes 20 publication party

He had a stud in the head
and I could see it flashing
as he read

I've seen him with leopard skin hair
I've seen him with half his hair shaved
and a safety pin through the scalp

I've seen him bloody scalp

Nobody knows how he's still alive,
if he is

Still makes noise, though

No more dead frogs

                   Lady / Steven B. Smith collaboration 5.16.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos

For You

Birth certificate,
that wedding,
official pieces of paper
for something
that never

I'd set the table
paired fork and spoon
tight throat tight rope--
the water jar--
a lonely, still life

days and days and days

Loneliness had its holy rarities--
gorgeous moments
in an unshared history
in the shiny world

without you
would be
waiting to die

                   Lady 5.26.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos

Art As R Pain

Wilcox sorta helped
calm me down

Laughed once,
said, You remind me
of me five years ago

I was angry,
pissin vinegar,
he was
laid-back mellow

I'd irritated too many
people with my genitals,
american flags
dead fish

And I wanted to do
an Art Behind Bars
installation with Wilcox

Cuz the artists doing it
weren't doing it
very well

The Public Arts people
were afraid I'd offend

Wilcox assured them,
I'd be OK

Basically, got me back
into the art game

Art Behind Bars,
everybody else just did two windows,

We opened up the windows
and did the room behind,
as well--

It was magic enigmatic

'Night we finished,
went outside across the street
and up the hill,
to see what it looked like--

Coming back down,
tripped on a root,
flew 10, 20 feet onto the asphalt,
head first

Wilcox says I bounced,
little rocks popped out from
underneath me,broke both wrists,
both elbows

Got up,
everything worked,
drove him home,
drove me home

Next morning,
took about two hours
to put on jeans,
untied shoes and a t-shirt

Drove to the hospital,
got x-rayed,
gave me the x-rays,
told me to have somebody drive me
to another hospital to read them

drove to that hospital,
gave me a lot of codeine,
couple days later,
Wilcox and I drove non-stop
Cleveland to Las Vegas
to see my brother.

I'd snort speed to drive for four hours,
then I'd drop
couple codeine
to kill the pain for four hours and sleep

All the way out,
all the way back.

Did great collage there,
titled, Art As R Pain,
Wilcox has it

Not many people break both arms
and both wrists during an art

We were in the deep basement
of a warehouse working behind
two barred windows

Working blind because we
couldn't see what we were doing looked like
from outside

Outside, across the hill,
we'd done magic

I was ecstatic
ran down the hill in joy
tripped on a root,
kissed the road

Try wiping your ass
with two broken wrists
and two broken elbows

Had to change a flat tire
one night with it

Pain everywhere,
jack kept sinking into the mud,
took couple hours to change

Missed my movie

Ended up laughing, though

Can't be serious
with that much anger and pain


Later we did a 5 thousand square foot

Had a magic mirror display window
a mirrored exit box
hanging fluorescent light calliope
a second floor lit up with fragments of mirror shards
and a hole in the floor

We could look down
and see Wilcox's excavation
of half-buried white slip
ceramic pieces

We even paid five poets
fifty dollars each
for opening celebration reading--
really proud of that--

nobody pays poets
poets are filler--
they'll come from far away
and pay you to read

Hessler Street won't even
let them on the stage

I was the sixth poet,
didn't get paid
cuz I wasn't in the budget

Didn't get paid for reading at Miracles, either
even though everybody else did

Didn't get paid for doing an installation for Frank Green
even though everybody else did

I'm real good at not getting paid
Kinda glad, though
It's more fun doing it for the fun

That's why I like installations,
they're pure


Last installation with Wilcox
and Beth Wolfe at Spaces
put my brother's ashes
on top of a dead-line small TV

Someone pinched the bag,
small pile of ashes came out
on the TV

Gallery director came over in tears,
showed me what had happened,
I said, Wow, I wish I had thought of doing that,
and did,
in my next installation

Years later, found out
Jim Lang was curious what the ash bag felt like

Was so thin,
it broke just with him touching it

So I thanked him

Art is good.

It ain't a job
It's an adventure
Ain't the pay,
it's the people

You get to do
what other people go to movies
to see

So this story is good
No drugs, no running from the law,
no armed robbery,
no sadness,
just art

and pain

                   Lady & Steven B. Smith collab - 6.1.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos


Yes, you were
entirely correct
and I will forever
hang my head in shame
never raise my eyes
lock my heart
throw away the key
and never speak again

unless you
feel it is appropriate

Here is your
certificate of certitude
your diploma for diplomacy
and your golden crown and scepter
with which you can
bless my affairs

                   Lady - 6.3.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos

Wie spät ist es?

You know what time it is?
It's pumpkin time.

No, not pumpin time
Pumpkin time

cuz at midnight
everything turns into
a pumpkin
and the mice run away

Now midnight you also might
be pumpin pie,
depends on what yer doin
at the time

you might be fuckin
might turn into a pumpkin

So you fuckin pumpin
pumpkin pie

Read that one
at Borders

                   Smith - 6.6.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos


A lot of people don't know what's going on
I mean, It's pretty fucking scary right now,
trojan issues right up the assfuck time!

They want you to buy plastic
so you have to buy into the system

And then you have to work and work and work
to pay for the plastic you bought
and to buy more plastic
and you spend all your time with plastic
and you don't know what's going on
because you're spending all your time
paying for your plastic

They want you to have 2.5 children
and home improvement projects
and walks for the cure

                   Lady - 6.6.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos


I'd set the table
paired fork and spoon
tight throat tight rope--
divined a water jar
with the tines of the fork
underneath the crystal chandelier
a lonely lovely--
still life

days and days and days

unsold flesh
in sold house

loneliness had its holy rarities--
gorgeous moments
in an unshared history
in the thirsty world

without you
my love

Oh, it'd be a shiny dying

                   Lady - 6.6.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos


These days, everyone frowns
like they ate a shit lollipop
The good shit
yer supposed to like,
the promises they
promised us

The promise of pink romance
big family valentine for this country
Oh it didn't match the deed,
I never thought I'd heal

Ah now I gush
and I giggle
and I hold myself

I'm gonna romance
this planet

I'm gonna lasso
this planet
in star studded love
while the dish
runs away
with the spoon

                   Lady - 6.6.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos

Treatise on Reality

People don't realize
every once and a while,
part of reality just disappears

Part of what you say
in a phone conversation
What you see at
a movie

Sometimes a scene
you see in a movie
won't be there
the next movie

Sometimes the face
that fit the glasses
when I went to bed
don't fit the faces I got
when I get up

Sometimes it's

Sometimes it's
on purpose

Hard to keep
all the little bits
bouncing in the right direction
all at the right time

and reality drops a few

That's why Katie
couldn't understand your phone number
on the phone

And sometimes it's on purpose
cuz reality likes to play

Went outta town
and that night,
a signal came through
that told my boom box
at 11:00 every night,
start playing the CD

Drove Mom buggy

For four nights,
CD would start playing

For four nights,
this overweight woman
with bad knees
would slowly climb up from her dungeon
and turn my boom box off

When I came home
I figured it was a signal coming through--
so I wrapped my entire boom box
in aluminum foil

That night, 11:00
started playing the CD

Eventually got out the manual
and took about
five or six steps
to not do that

Reality just likes to play


Ahh, one night
downstairs with Mom
after a movie,

we hear me
start to read poetry up here

The night before
I recorded poetry
on a tape

This night,
I played a CD

Some signal came through

Reality said, let's play
Last Night Smith

I mean,
it's wonderful fun

You never know what's
going to happen

Reality likes to play
and it has a sense
of humor

That still don't mean
it won't squish ya
like a bug

On purpose,
by accident,
or in indifference

That's why ya
have to be nimble

Jack be quick
Jack jump over the

                   Lady & Steven B. Smith collab - 6.6.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos


In the good old days
I kept cutting myself on
barbed wire, concrete block, tin,
ice and stuff

So I let all the bad shit out

It slipped through
the torn flesh

I cleaned up my life
and I don't hurt myself no more

All that stuff I used
to let out through the flesh
got angry being
all cooped up

and turned
into cancer

So now I'm
paying people
to cut me open
and take
the bad shit out

                   Lady & Steven B. Smith collab - 6.6.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos

ad-lib stage-set tango

we're in this waiting room
waiting set change
last seen scene other

except there's no waiting

for daily
new flowers unfold
to feel



more decompression chamber
want to need to

stuff not welcome

nuff enuff

limbic nimble
possession low

we tip our tongue
in tangle

won't await

                   Steven B. Smith - 6.27.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos


Mature cat seeks young kitten
for yarn pull

You pull my yarn,
I'll purr yers...

                   Lady / Steven B. Smith collaboration 6.27.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos

I Who Part Leaf In Dream

How often do you
see an angry fly or the
shadow of gravel?
We who roar by on the highways

On this walk,
and the day is suddenly warm,
makes a perfume of the foliage
and Sky Pappy is all clear,
the silent slice of a bird's
straight line through the blue-

Who is more awake?
The bird or the man who just
chunked by in his truck, off to his

I think the insects are
more awake, bumbling
about in their outside business

Would I, outside all the time
become drugged?

Is it only the sharp splash
into a pool that thrills?

Can this shiny world keep shining

I who part leaf in dream

                   Lady 6.30.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos

Bed Bug Bite

She --
Your hand smells of woman
Of play dough
Play dough smells like cunt
But cold cunt
Your hand smells of warm

He --
Ah, but I love a good cold cunt sandwich

                   Lady / Steven B. Smith collaboration 7.2.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos

Junkie Business

I'm losing my last two crutches:
and marijuana

In the old days
I could have coffee
after dinner

You know,
this junkie business
is for younger bodies.

You keep doing it,
and pretty soon,
you end up like Keith Richards,
falling out of trees
and landing on your head.

                   Lady / Steven B. Smith collaboration 7.5.2006
reading room 28

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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