Modern poetry collection by contemporary Cleveland poet Steven B. Smith
Smith - contemporary poet

reading room #10
lighter verse & 1 non-fiction
8 titles added 6.22.2004

Used Karma Lot

I cut the cockroach off at the watering hole
Sent his brown backed soul
To that great black crack in the sky
May God have more compassion than I

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Letter From Major Ragain
selected quotes, November 1994

Duet of cards
lashed to the prow
deep winter wakeup

Tongue's fire making out
the principle here
limited containment

Surf and snowy peaks
stuff of the midwest
rats in the granary

The pulse of days
bops back walking
where the earth is soft

Near the end
storm windows up
water black cuts

Standing rock
muted spirits
crater ruins of an Inca City

(these are Maj's words, in Maj's order ...
 I just removed the 99% in between)

published in Hessler Street Fair 2004 Writers Annual
edited by Jim Lang, dedicated to Daniel Thompson 1935-2004

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I Ain't Got No White Boy Blues

Pain from one end to the other
Plagued by this black cloud of druther
It's the "I Ain't Got No White Boy Blues"

Though I got no honey for spreading
And there ain't no money attending
Yet I ain't got no White Boy Blues

For I've roof over rising
A warm bed abiding
Friends fond and affirming
And a past that's worth hiding
So I can't get no White Boy Blues

Possessions don't taunt me
Though lessons they've taught me
Like inner, not outer be
And better to let be
The quicker to be free
The taught me do teach me
I ain't got no White Boy Blues

Yes, it's a sadness I'm lacking
Or, life's licking I'm liking
But that's why I got those
"I Ain't Got No White Boy Blues"

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One Summer's Sigh

Once upon one summer's sigh
Not many tears ago
I took to bed a butterfly
And love began to grow

To follow her I sprouted wings
Full wondrous to behold
For they had many mystrous things
Entwined throughout with gold

We soared upon a silvered kiss
Flew high through emerald rays
I sipped her sated green abyss
And bled in blues the gray

Which wove the autumn's amber wave
Til sad we breathed the dread
That forms in lack of somber weave
Such is as love is led

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Sold American

We're born in blood, raised in flesh
In Ragnarok 'n roll Armageddon
So let's go let's go let's go go Sell American
For the red white black and blue

Schrodinger's cat is dead, perhaps
And we but lies, lie dreaming
This tit for tat means this this ain't that
No matter the ragweed's weaving

My Little Bo Peep's out eating her sheep
With Darwin doubtless her handle
Your Little Boy Blue's down to sniffing glue
While cooking a spoon over candle

So drink a drink for all that hasn't happened
And bleed in need for the All that never will
Three cheers for the crippled, the misbegotten
All hail the politicians fingers in the till

definitions of Ragnarok & Armageddon

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Sorrowful Sounds

The tears come quickly to my eyes
As my heart cries, withers and dies
Withers and dies, withers and dies
Sorrowful sounds re-echoed replies
Soulful searching and one or two lies
Bring sadly laden sorrow filled skies
And a heart that cries, withers and dies
For the blues bird tries quibbles and lies
Or wraps in fame some tired fireflies
Feeble flames forever undone
As black steals o'er the once proud sun
God stirs restless within her tomb
While I lie lone in my room

        ... listening to the Beach Boys

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Grease Your Grill

I'm an oven cleaner baby
Need to scrub your grill
Yes this oven cleaning man
Mean to steam your grill
Get the heat back baby
Flame 'n fire the thrill
I'll rub your rust off lady
Get your grid to shine
Rid this mood of maybe baby
Lady let me lick your lime
Make much meat that might be
Moistened by munching lightly
Juicy, prime
Gonna grease your grill
Put the heat back baby
Then send you the bill

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First Freefall
8 September 2002

Many would say I've been in accelerated freefall for years - not that they'd be wrong.

I could not believe how high we were. I looked out and figured we had to be at the 14,000 foot jumping point; my altimeter said 6, so on and up and up we went. Jumpmaster saw me looking and, misconstruing my mood, asked how it felt being this high. Told her I'd always liked being high. Got a small smile.

My worry was how I'd react. I knew I would jump, but didn't know if it would be from desire, or from fear of shame. Fortunately there was so much to do instruction-wise, my thoughts were solely on not fucking up.

You step sideways into a 120 mph windstorm that literally tears you away. One second you're clutching the airplane then immediately much faster than your brain can compute you're elsewhere where you know no up or down, just mindless movement. You're going 100+ mph straight ahead and 100+ mph straight down - it rather overwhelms both mind and body, but it is such absolute fun.

From 14,000 to 5,000 where you pull the ripcord takes 55 seconds... that's 112 mph straight down.

Once you pull the cord, you look up and wait 5 seconds to see which canopy opening you have - from perfect (1 of 15), to not so bad (3 more options), to disastrous (your last 11). Mine was textbook perfect, so I didn't have to do a lot of things I'd rather not - like jettisoning my chute. Oddly, there was never any feeling of fear, or danger, just initial chaos and confusion which changed to a Zen peaceful playfulness once the chute opened.

The opening was incredible - the chute grabs you at 110 mph and jerks you into this long dreamy forever slow motion, like a really big bungie cord - all the noise of the air's rush ceases as you hang in sudden silence a mile above the earth. Alone, motionless - the ground below moving, not you (unless you turn, and then lying on your side far above the earth, you wonder why you don't fall out of the sky).

The last mile down is easy street as you glide and turn above the various greens below, Amish fields, farms, water ponds gleaming beautiful, serene.

The landing was soft, easy, one slow step from sky to earth. As soon as you're down, all you can think of is going back up. . . higher. . . longer. . . maybe finding a way to stay.

One customer awhile ago became entangled in her chute lines so couldn't jettison it to pull her reserve... she landed in a swamp, did little more than crack a few bones.

Ever no, never know.
Sometimes bless is yes

reading room 11

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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