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

Reading Room #2
11 poems

Marriage Proposal

December of 68 I was lying on LSD on my bed downtown Baltimore.
Walls, floor, ceiling, doors all painted flat black.
Metallic mobiles and assorted assemblages hung from the ceiling
turning at will in low green and blue light.
My future wife walked in and sat so she could see me in the mirror.
So and so just got married she said.
That's nice.
Watch her reflection watching me.
So and somebody else also married.
More silence.
Watch her reflection evaluate my reflection's reflection.
Even through the LSD I could see she wasn't talking what she was saying
so asked.
I just want to know what's going to happen she screams
stalking into the living room.
I lie there amid my hallucinations and resentfully realize
I'm too weak not to marry her.
Another's strong needs always overrode my indifferent apprenticeship.
20 minutes later she skulks back to the bedroom.
OK I snap.
OK what? she snaps back.
We'll get married.
Six months I finalize
feeling sure the artist within will wither once reduced to marriage,
suburban boxes, the upperclass hypocrisy rampant in her family and friends.
We had a rich wedding in a high Episcopal-cum-Catholic cathedral.
Reception held of course at the country club.
None of my freak friends came.
The day of the wedding
I put all the trash left from moving in the middle of the floor
smoked the last of my grass
took off all my clothes
and slowly danced naked about the trash
sprinkling it with my box of monosodium glutamate
and chanting unknown chants of sorrow.

end    poetry

Night Fragment

As has been said
The night weighs upon the city
In tired, fat insolence. Rat scurry.
Old papers flap down empty streets.
It is an ugly season. Full.
Day slouches in, in shameless anonymity
Devoid of great chained excuses of being
A voided has been of god, notion and country.
Unfocused without, we hunt worms within
To bait further cold excretion of reason, rationale.
Refuse refusing our naked nothing.
Strip steal by night.

end    poetry

Wall Street

Pushing through the night
Eastward to the moon
Not yet risen,
False dusk of reason dons
Its mantis mating respectability
Sans honor, self or soul.

Money talks of dawn, damns
The discarded husk of culture
And enlightens genes for green,
Without the warranty.

end    poetry

Mausoleum, Museum, Movie

Entombed in night, uneasy
In the wrought iron knot
Of the grey spider's thread
spacer gifvague eternal, ember
They scurry replete, unfree
To such preconceived thoughts
As are hung from the dead

end    poetry


Like love and money
We weave about the focus
A melody of maybe
In silent forest ritual
Growth duration flesh essence

We stand in the snow
Embrace the cold
And leave no tracks
Though we stumble
Frosted amidst redemption

I need a dollar like a dead man
Needs a coffin
Old women stare at my crotch
Suck sun in summer
Seek sin in fall

end    poetry


I thought on her leaving and smelled the musk
Of grasshoppers held captive
In a mason jar.

end    poetry

Cain in Isolation

There lies a sorrow beneath this yellow
Odor which rises on two legs and mocks

What little man remains behind. Shallow
Selfish greed of love and lover's talk

Of trust in self made shadows mere shadow
Of hallowed spell disguised by holy frock.

Varied the means of divination, certain
Though time and dark demons conspire, despair

By this hand shall never rend the curtain
Nor set wraiths cull delusions of lone fear.

What is, is, beyond lamenting, Canaan
Isolation. Love and love alone stands bare.

end    poetry


From winding river's run
She comes discrete
Completes her Tarot mutant in desire

I can't play nearly normal
She cries from shadow
Rippleless in time and obsession

Self seek solution
Ancient in execution and repair

end    poetry


Groping toward the easily vague
By crawling away from the future.
Drifting upon the powdery plague
Infesting this newly won suture.
Beginning in the silver tunnel
While sipping the pain blackened cup.
Ending in the tragic skin funnel
Forever flowing down into up.

end    poetry

Suicide Note

Poor naked ape, melancholy Dane
Dying the silent, sinking orange
I offer my praise to mad Ophelia's black mass.
Receiving Laertes' pain poisoned harangue
I'll soon join that fortunate lass
Morpheusly oblivious of pain
spacer gif(Camus' first question of philosophy re
spacer gifweaves Thane Hamlet's "or not to be,"
spacer gifbrings Kant's "progressive unification of
spacer gifsense manifold" to termination: total
spacer gifpsychic expiration. Hence our sole
spacer gifexistential goal becomes fervently wishing
spacer gifgood death's black ghoul to sensually become
spacer gifas one with our whole)
Where God assumes skull Yorick's reign
Stay yet awhile Horatio, give lie to my name.

end    poetry

Wild Flower

Prefering seas to fame or same
In flame of darkness fired
Mired not in mud but flood
Enfused to birthing Nature's tug
Of moon blood duty
Beauty firm in eye,
Could she in time
Or even rolls reversing
Ever mime wisely nursing
Pagan cures of curves and learning
Firm in flesh unswerving
Tall and elegant prime?


· Excerpts from Smith's interview with Mark Weber
·A smattering of Visitor Comments
· Free Times Magazine Article
· Poetry reading room #3
·Check out Artcrimes


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e mail smith at smithcrimes @-sign yahoo dot com

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