Modern poetry collection by contemporary Cleveland poets Lady & Steven B Smith Smith
Smith - contemporary poet
reading room 26
the Lady & Steven B. Smith collaborations
in reverse chronological order

smith smith

good cop story - 5.16.06 - no prisons - 5.11.06 - do be due be do - 5.11.06 - ever now - 5.11.06 -
give me seven - 5.9.06 - gender wars - 5.8.06 - car thief - 5.7.06 - beautiful lie - 5.2.06 -
lady k - 4.28.06 - dust mite god - 4.25.06 - my motorcycle story - 4.15.06 - french kiss - 4.13.06 -
the yellow phantom - 3.29.06 - running from the cops - 3.28.06 - the whole story - 3.28.06 -
smith, smith and jones - 3.28.06 - pa turnpike - 3.28.06 - flow - 3.11.06 - nirvana - 3.9.06 -
word tile poem 5 - 12.13.05 - word tile poem 4 - 12.13.05 - word tile poem 3 - 12.13.05 -
word tile poem 2 - 12.13.05 - word tile poem 1 - 12.13.05 -
private eye smokey grey - 12.11.05 - no demands of time - 10.26.05

Good Cop Story

Fueling the car,
outside Brahman, Michigan

Hose broke.
Got gas all over my white pants

Went to the men's room,
washed my pants in cold water

Put 'em back on
but I don't wear underwear--
wasn't pleasant--

So driving down road
as passenger,
took my pants off
hung 'em out window to dry--

State trooper pulls us over

I'm indignant,

We hadn't broken any laws

But he just wanted to check,
thought my white pants
were a flag for help

I apologized.

As he turns to leave,
he points at the marijuana pipe in the ashtray.
Might wanna hide that

That's that,
a good cop story

And I was an asshole

                   Lady / Steven B. Smith collaboration 5.16.2006

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No Prisons

Borders, where you can't say fuck

It's very odd
they sell the word
they market the guy who got in trouble
saying it

The book's right there
to your head
yet you can't say fuck

You can say fuck
Say fuck,
say Fuck this!
I don't like this anymore!
Fuck Bush!

You can say it,
Oh, fuck.

Most people want to stay in their prisons
We're not going to do that
We're not going to take our prisons with us
We don't got no prisons

Just the prison of borders

                   Lady / Steven B. Smith collaboration 5.11.2006

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Do Be Due Be Do

Every time he gets caught
he says something else
and then they catch him on that
and he says something else

And he'll get you on the gap
all pragmatic
he'll get you good
you two plus two

Eat, Sleep, Leap.

We really oughtta fucking kill them

Laws don't do
fairness ain't true

We're gonna escape
slip through you

Do our due
not your doodoo

Do as you would be done
be or not to be
dumb dumb dumb scooby
or not dooby do

                   Lady / Steven B. Smith collaboration 5.11.2006

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Ever Now

I'm normally normal
but just not now
and it's always now

there're two times:
there's now,
not now

not today

it's never tomorrow

that's why I'm nearly normal
nominally now

                   Lady / Steven B. Smith collaboration 5.11.2006

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Give Me Seven

Standing in an old shack store
in Memphis

I waited while this
black proprietor sold a couple
records to an old black man

After he left
the guy said,
That was Rufus Thomas

You mean the guy that sang,
Walk the Dog?

We started talking about
soul music and I told him
one of my favorite songs was
Behave Yourself, by Booker T
and the MGs
Once I said, Behave Yourself
the proprietor's
whole attitude

started talking to me

I told him,
I used to lie on the floor
in the dark
on the rug
my head under the speakers
in high school
in early 60s
playing it over and over

He pointed out back, said,
See that shack?

Booker T recorded Green Onions
there. They worked all night,
over and over, drinking, recording,
perfecting Behave Yourself

Come dawn,
drunk and tired,
they decided they needed a
and in 5 minutes,
threw together
Green Onions

(which is their biggest
hit ever)


Early 70s
I was writing
concert reviews
for a Baltimore weekly

Went backstage to interview
Bill Haley of the Comets

The usher took me up
and said, Excuse me, Mr. Haley,
this man's here to interview you
for the paper

Haley looked up at me,
said, Go away, kid.
I'm counting my money

And that was it.

And the sad part of this
I could've interviewed Little Richard instead,
whom I've never met,
instead of a used car salesman


Same newspaper,
I was at a radio station
to interview Alice Cooper

who was there with his opening act,
Flo & Eddy, who were
half of the Turtles, and had
also played on some
Frank Zappa albums

Radio station supplied the dope

we all got wonderfully stoned

Alice Cooper was rather a drag
as he insulted fans who called him up
on the phone

But Flo & Eddy, who also recorded as
Phosphorescent Leech and Eddy,
were warm, funny,
friendly, marvelous folk,

As I left the radio station
without my interview with Alice Cooper
(I was really good at not getting the interview)
a parking lot full of teenyboppers
started SCREAMing

and one little girl ran up to me
and said,
Are you somebody?

I had to say,
No, I'm nobody


I interviewed Tiny Tim for 45 minutes
same newspaper
Tim was broke, touring these
little tiny honkytonks

And I watched his act
and he went through all the normal stuff,
Tiptoe thru the Tulips and all the
vaudeville jokey stuff
and then he went into a
50-song medley
and sometimes a song would be from 1890,
sometimes it'd be Creedance Clearwater Revival,

went back after the show
and told him I was blown away
I thought he was a genius

and he was so hungry for
he actually took my tape recorder
out of my hand
and for 45 minutes,
he talked and sang into it

He did a Bob Dylan song
in Rudy Vallee's voice
and he did a Rudy Vallee song
in Bob Dylan's voice

He told me about being in
a party somewhere and he opened
a closet somewhere
and there was George Harrison

Told me how he was totally
ripped off by his managers
he was broke
they stole everything
and every now and then his wife,
Miss Vicky,
would try to get him off to do something else

after the tape was up
the manager came in,
said, Mr. Tim, There's only about
6 people out there for the next show.
Do you want to cancel?

Said he didn't care if there was only one,
he was going to go on

And now for another bit of
one of my shame things,
he wrote his address
in my notebook, my journal
and made me promise to send him
the review, the interview,
which turned out to be a front page piece
and I wrote a real good review
saying what a genius he was,

a totally honest, but good review
and I never mailed it to him

Man needed it
I promised it
I didn't deliver it
and it still bothers me a little bit

Shame never goes away


I got drunk with Paul Williams
but that doesn't really matter much,
we talked about hobbits

He wanted to play a hobbit
in the movies

He wrote a bunch of hit songs
for other people like perhaps,
We've only just begun for the Carpenters
and he'd had a couple hits himself
and he had a role in some movie
and he toured with his band,

He was funny,

He ordered up a box of
white wine,
tore it open,
and we started talking about hobbits.

Like I said,
I'm not real good at getting the interview.


Jack Dangers,
from Meat Beat Manifesto has
actually been here
but that's a whole complicated story
it hasn't jelled


In fact I think 4 of 5 of
Meat Beat Manifesto has
been here--
some twice-

After the second time
I walked into Joe's Deli
and he said,
You're gonna be famous,

I said, I'm already famous,
just waiting for folk
to notice


I smoked liquid
synthetic hashish
with Alex Patterson
of the Orb

I met him backstage
at one of the Meat Beat

At one point the drugs
were wearing off,
I was tired,
I was sitting on the stairs
weary and leaned over
on my knees

And he walked back,
and patted my shoulder twice,
said, You'll be OK

The tour bus had a
videotape I'd made
of Mom's and my art

And Alex had seen it
and the second time I met him
I was in the car taking him
to the radio station

and before he got in,
the person said,
Smith's here
and Alex said in his
British accent,
Ooh, Smiff and his Mum


One final thing,
Alex sent me a postcard
saying he wanted me to do a collage
for the cover of his record

Wrote back,
said, I'd love to

Ain't heard since

but I understand

life is complicated


Jack Dangers also said
we'd work together someday

and maybe we will


At that time
I wasn't more interesting
than most of those people

I do respect
Rufus Thomas
Yes, that man had some cools

Oh yes ma'am
tonight we have
sex, drugs and

And the baby boomers
just gonna keep doing
what they always done

more badly


I've never wanted to be anybody
but me

But I would like to get stoned
with Willie Nelson
That's one of my dreams

That, and go into
outer space
be a member of the human race

I got mutant jive,
give me five,
Baby Lady

Oohh, yeah, oohhh, yeah
Let there be light, mamma
let there be light
Give me 4 and a half, momma
Give me 4 and a half

                   Lady / Steven B. Smith collaboration 5.9.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos


The Greek Virgin

My San Francisco trip is interesting
from my second summer as a Midshipman
at the United States Naval Academy

Some rich folk threw us a Midshipmen Ball.
I got superbly drunk and though shy,
did weird, wild dances
with this rich Greek girl

That's the thing about being a Midshipman--
even though I was poor and outside the box,
everybody loved the uniform
just like being an artist or poet
it's a free pass
to rich and powerful peoples' worlds
this is true, you know

she took a liking to me
her father took me to the country club
I drank a bunch of booze and ate
a whole bunch of cold strawberries

I could smell her breath
heavy garlic and other spices
and I got her convinced
to come up to my rented room
in the YMCA downtown

I have her naked in my bed
and she starts crying
because she's never been naked
before a stranger
felt real bad so I covered her
got her dressed, took her home

You have to admit,
that's gentlemanly

She fell in love with me
and we promised to date
when she went back to some
rich girls' school in the East

I was back in Annapolis

She invited me to some
really really special weekend
she'd reserved a room for us
so I knew
we were going to have sex

but before the weekend arrived
I had a blind date
with my future ex-wife

fell head over heels

blew off my rich Greek girl
and her dream

So you have to admit,
I was a bastard


The Zen Girls

Back in San Francisco,
the night following the YMCA tears,
these two cute oriental young ladies
ask me if I want to go to a Zen meeting
so I went around the corner
hid all my money in my sock
and went with them

They took me out to the suburbs
into a small living or dining room
that'd been turned into a temple

we had chants and incense
and at the end I signed up
to become a Zen Buddhist
they gave me a Gohonzon--
a little scroll--
and a chant to chant to it
Nam myoho renge kyo
I think it was Nicherin Daishonin Buddhism
they asked for a donation
so I had to take the money out of my sock
made 'em smile
and they took me back downtown

I was hoping for romance
I think it was bait'n'switch you know

I lost the Gohonzon
but I still say the chant
just about every day
one way or another
for multiple reasons
and situations


The Gorgeous Black Chick

The night after this
I'd been trying to find marijuana
for three years
this was 1966
Ever since I'd read
On The Road

and about 3 in the morning
walking the streets
a gorgeous black lady started
trying to lure me up to her room
promising me marijuana

I was hesitant,
I think it was just fear.
I'd only had sex with two women
by that time, a couple years before

So she takes us to a coffee shop
we're sitting there talking
and she's still trying to lure me
up to her room, I'm considering it
and I'm also thinking I really
want to try marijuana

And she looks at me real, real
seriously and says,
You know, don't you...

I have no idea what the fuck
she's talking about
I just look at her,
no idea
what to say

She takes my silence
for affirmation
and starts telling me how
she's a he

Sort of a famous

Because she's in some

So my shyness and my fear
save me from a rather
indelicate situation

I would not want to be
the first time I'm stoned
with a black man's penis
when I'm expecting a

At first I thought he
was a prostitute
but he never brought up money
he was just lonely

I sure was alone,
in that city,
at night


The He

Winter 1964
I was in prep school
for the Naval Academy

What's a poor boy like me going to prep school for?
Don't sound right.

You know, it's not often
a wife asks about homosexual experiences.

Xmas of '64
I was in DC
dating a General's daughter
at the Officers' Club

Like I mentioned earlier
a Midshipman's uniform
is a free pass to anywhere

And she was drinking
and flirting with another guy,
an officer at the table
so I got up and left

Unfortunately they were my ride,
I was miles from town
it was winter
I had a light uniform on

Tried to catch a bus or hitchhike
didn't work so that night
I crawled inside a powerboat,
one of those boat things
and got a couple hours of sleep
out of the cold
Then walked the rest of the way
into Washington, D.C.

Some guy drives by,
sees how miserable I am
offers to give me a lift
to the bus station
mentions on the way
he can get a couple girls
to come over if we stop
by his place

The guy's intelligent,
he's charming, he's witty
and he's focusing on me
like I'm the same,
which ain't true

We go back to his place
in Georgetown
He has something to do with theatre,
he has all these stage actor photos
and he starts feeding me
sweet alcohol drinks

I'd never ever been drunk
in my life

and then he asks me if I write poetry,
and I badly recite one of my first poems
and he recites this gorgeous
thing from memory

I'm smashed
I'm flattered, it's late
and he says, You can stay here
I have two beds

But when we go to bed
one of the beds is wet,
there's this drip over it
but by this time I'm starting
to suspect what's going on

We go to bed and I know
he can't get me to come
I know he gave me oral sex
and at one point I was up his ass
He was basically fucking me with his ass
which didn't work
I couldn't climax
but finally he brought me to climax
by sucking me
and telling me he had this female friend
whom he could call and she'd come over
and do this and that
so he talked me to orgasm.

After that, next morning
he wanted to take me to breakfast
I felt shame about all this
He dropped me off to park the car
and I sat there for about 10 minutes
before I realized he wasn't coming back
felt relief, ate my breakfast,
went and saw a James Bond movie


Part of the reason
I went around all of this
is in Look or LIFE magazine
I read an article by a psychotherapist
that said a lot of men are homosexual,
and don't even know it
so by the time I realized this guy
wasn't straight with me
I didn't stop it
because I was curious
if I were homosexual or not
even if I had no inclinations at that point

I was drunk but I still knew what I was doing

Although I never knew
what to do in relationships
with either sex
It's not not knowing that hurts,
it's just that everyone else
seems to have answer sheets
and are laughing
at my terrified groping

                   Lady / Steven B. Smith collaboration 5.8.2006


The invocation of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo was established by Nichiren on 28 April 1253. Having studied widely among all the Buddhist sutras, he had concluded that the Lotus Sutra contains the ultimate truths of Buddhism: that everyone without exception has the potential to attain Buddhahood. The title of the Lotus Sutra in its Japanese translation is Myoho-renge-kyo. But to Nichiren, Myoho-renge-kyo was far more than the title of a Buddhist text, it was the expression, in words, of the Law of life which all Buddhist teachings in one way or another seek to clarify. What follows is a brief and unavoidably limited explanation of some of the key concepts expressed by this phrase.

The word nam derives from Sanskrit, a close translation of its meaning is
"to devote oneself." Nichiren established the chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo as a means to enable all people to put their lives in harmony or rhythm with the law of life, or Dharma. In the original Sanskrit, nam indicates the elements of action and attitude, and refers therefore to the correct action one needs to take and the attitude one needs to develop in order to attain Buddhahood in this lifetime.

Myoho literally means the Mystic Law, and expresses the relationship between the life inherent in the universe and the many different ways this life expresses itself. Myo refers to the very essence of life, which is "invisible" and beyond intellectual understanding. This essence always expresses itself in a tangible form (ho) that can be apprehended by the senses. Phenomena (ho) are changeable, but pervading all such phenomena is a constant reality known as myo.

Renge means lotus flower. The lotus blooms and produces seeds at the same time, and thus represents the simultaneity of cause and effect. The circumstances and quality of our individual lives is determined by the particular of causes and effects, both good and bad, that we accumulate (through our thoughts, words and actions) at each moment. This is called our "karma". The law of cause and effect explains that we each have personal responsibility for our own destiny. We create our destiny and we can change it. The most powerful cause we can make is to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the effect of Buddhahood is simultaneously created in the depths of our life and will definitely manifest in time.

The lotus flower grows and blooms in a muddy pond, and yet remains pristine and free from any defilement, symbolizing the emergence of Buddhahood from within the life of an ordinary person.

Kyo literally means sutra, the voice or teaching of a Buddha. In this sense, it also means sound, rhythm or vibration. Also, the Chinese character for kyo originally meant the warp a piece of woven cloth, symbolizing the continuity of life throughout past, present and future. In a broad sense, kyo conveys the concept that all things in the universe are a manifestation of the Mystic Law.

Primary Practice
Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the primary practice of SGI members. Through this practice, one is able to reveal the state of Buddhahood in one's life, experienced as the natural development of joy, increased vitality, courage, wisdom and compassion.


The phrase NAM-MYOHO-RENGE-KYO is taken from the title of the greatest teaching of the first historically recorded Buddha, known as Siddhartha Gautama or Shakyamuni Buddha, who lived in India around 500 years before Christ was born. This teaching, called the Lotus Sutra, declares that all living beings, regardless of gender or intelligence (that means everyone - including you and me!), have the potential to attain Buddhahood. In the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha teaches that inside each one of us a universal truth known as the Buddha nature. Basing our lives on this Buddha nature enables us to enjoy absolute happiness and to act with boundless compassion. Such a state of happiness is called enlightenment. It's simply waking up to the true nature of life, realising that all things are connected, and that there is such a close relationship between each of us and our surroundings that when we change ourselves, we change the world.

In the 13th Century, a Japanese priest called Nichiren (1222-1282) realised that the message of the Lotus Sutra was summed up by its title, NAM-MYOHO-RENGE-KYO, which can be translated as the teaching of the lotus flower of the wonderful law. Nichiren declared that all of the benefits of the wisdom contained in the Lotus Sutra can be realized by chanting this title NAM-MYOHO-RENGE-KYO. Since the time of Nichiren many, many millions of people have followed his advice, chanting NAM-MYOHO-RENGE-KYO regularly as a means of improving their health, happiness, wisdom and compassion. The goal of chanting NAM-MYOHO-RENGE-KYO is to manifest the enlightenment of the Buddha in our own lives. We can then realise our own creative potential as individuals and, in so doing, create thriving and peaceful families, work places and communities. Eventually this gradual transformation of individuals will create peace and prosperity in societies throughout the world.

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos

Car Thief

They all had to have the keys in them.
We couldn't take them without the keys.

I always said I stole 13 cars
when I was 13
But I recently counted backwards
turns out I was 14
which means I was one less
year innocent, one less year
having an excuse

I rolled the first one

First one was a little
Simca with a cotton top
I'd stolen from a church parking lot

We had a pregnant
chihuahua in the back seat
I was going too fast
I lost control and
was heading for the Spokane River
so I jerked the wheel
the golf course
and rolled it upsidedown
its cloth top--
I was so tall my head touched the top--
and nobody was hurt
we just left the car there
had torn a good divot in the golf course
left it there
and walked home

Two weeks later
the chihuahua gave birth successfully


One car was in this
open garage attached to a ranch house
and the owner was sitting in front of
the picture window, watching TV
so my friend got behind the wheel,
got it in neutral
and I pushed it down the driveway
and somehow the guy noticed

came out started yelling at us

so I hop in the back seat

the guy goes back inside

my partner can't get the car started

the guy comes back out with a rifle
and starts shooting at his own car
which really livens things up

I jump up and down in the back seat
telling him to Get going!
he's trying to get it started
and the guy's still shooting at us
finally gets it started
and we TAKE OFF

and after everything calms down--
we're away--
I realize there's dozens of packages
of breakfast rolls
in the back seat

so I eat the icing off all of them
I mean if I'm taking the car
I might as well eat all the icing, right?

And the guy was shooting at his
own fucking car

Much later, after we were caught
and the cops were talking to us
they said it looked like a pig
had been back there

So that's that


One car was a 57 Chevy station wagon
and I actually got it up to 120 miles an hour--
this was in 1960-

and very early in the morning
I'm driving the car in what
turns out to be a military base
and the MPs stop me--
in the stolen car-

I'm 14 years old
and they're asking for a driver's license
and the second MP says,
What's a rifle doing in the back seat?
and I say, Shit! That's Dad's!
He's going hunting this morning!
I've GOT to get the car back!

and they let me go.


The other one,
I don't remember what type of car it was,
I stole it
I was by myself
and I had a bunch of stolen
45's in it
and for some reason I decided I wanted to see
what wine tasted like

so I went into the grocery store
and shoplifted a half-gallon of red wine--
14 years old of course--
I got caught
They called my father
the manager and my father saw how scared
I was

and they all decided that my father
would take me home and take
care of me

they didn't realize I was scared
because I had a stolen car outside
with stolen 45's and I was afraid
they'd find out


I served 9 days in
juvenile detention
read a lot of John Carter's
Mars science fiction books
The judge decided, since
I was getting A's and B's and
my parents love me and I
loved my parents that it
had to be the older kid's fault--
he was 17--
so they made him join the Army
and they gave me a year probation

but the sad part of all this
I was really afraid of what my father
was going to do to me
and he said to me, I could do this or that
but I'm going to trust you

And that was almost the
worst punishment

I don't remember any
of the other cars

                   Lady / Steven B. Smith collaboration 5.7.2006

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Beautiful Lie

We were moving from
Michigan to Las Vegas
a rental truck -
filled it up
and it had a governor on it
I couldn't get it over 50 miles an hour
really frustrated me
so I got it going down this long hill
and got it going 60, 65 miles an hour
because of the hill--gravity--
and I suddenly realized I'd lost control
of the truck
it was swaying back and forth
got to the point I was aiming it down the hill
not driving it
I was really scared--
My parents' entire possessions
I was going to spread them all over the highway
and at one point my brother woke up
stuck his head up, looked around,
said, oh boy,
and went back to sleep.
I just barely held it together
until gravity slowed us down at the bottom
and after that I didn't mind
the 50 mile an hour governor

At the end of the trip there was a beautiful lie
we came over the mountains at night
looked out over the valley
and there's this gorgeous lit jewel
in the middle of the desert--
this Las Vegas--

It was a total lie
It's not beautiful
It's not a jewel

                   Lady / Steven B. Smith collaboration 5.2.2006

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Lady K

If Eve hadn't given Adam that apple,
I wouldn't be smoking today.
Even so,
I tried to serve Sky God,
but I was drawn to that old Debbil Weed.
I became a happy pappy,
papa puff daddy,
gadfly to gladly,
nouveau bohemian in old school crowd.
Sir Laugh-a-Lot of Pot-a-Lot
to Queen MaryJane
Lady Day to Lady K
Kafka to a kiss

                   Lady / Steven B. Smith collaboration 4.28.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos

Dust Mite God

You mentioned the dust here you've been cleaning up smells of marijuana.

Remember our little fantasy? All the dust mites are eating marijuana smoked dust and getting high so we have all the dust mites in this condo getting stoned out of their minds and then we have all the dust mite eaters getting stoned because they're eating the stoned dust mites and then you have whatever eats the dust mite eaters and then eventually the circle keeps getting bigger cuz the dust mites are just here inside the stonearium but the things that eat the dust mites are in a bigger circle and the things that eat the dust mite eaters are inside the building and outside the building so all these things are getting stoned eating stoned prey and eventually it gets up to the spiders. The spiders are eating all this chained stone of command so we have a whole neighborhood of stoned spiders and I don't even want to start talking about the birds. This has been going on for a little over 20 years. Spiders around here gotta marijuana jones by now. So when we leave and new people move in here, there's going to be absolutely no marijuana and the dust mites are gonna freak out. One night all these dust mites are going to coalesce into this greater form so they can be seen and heard, this pendulous visible form is going to writhe up over the sleeping new owners and wake them and say Please, we need marijuana. It's going to terrorize them and they're gonna move out and this place will become haunted. It will become one of these ghost sites, the Marijuana Wanna. So actually it's my duty to smoke because I have this whole ecosystem, from the dust mites up to the spiders depending on me for their daily high. It would be immoral of me to stop smoking, as much as I would like to. You know what? Those dust mites worship me as a god.

                   Lady / Steven B. Smith collaboration 4.25.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos

My Motorcycle Story

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
motorcycle 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
and I 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--
37's a two lane highway
going through Michigan
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
so I pull out
and I'm going a little over 100 miles an hour
when 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
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
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


The next day
wanted to try my motorcycle
Jones is really small

sometimes, 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
the bike was bigger than he was
he was only 17 I think

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

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
look at them
then zoom off

into the night rain

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

so 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
when the tires just swish out from underneath me
and 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
the night it died
was the only time I ever combined
white wine, LSD and a motorcycle

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
they were suburban
and we were drinking white wine
along with smoking some grass
doing the LSD
in the backyard

with forests
beyond that

in the sunshine

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

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

back into the air

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
he reached down
picked up the green bottle of wine I still had
looked at me and said,
You're in enough trouble
poured the wine out
threw the bottle away

the cops came
and they kept insisting
I should go to the hospital
I kept insisting
I was fine
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--
cut it
rearranged it
so it said the previous year

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.

they took me

while I'm laying there
waiting to get examined
I realize I'm really in a serious amount of pain
but 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 collaboration 4.15.2006

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 collaboration 4.13.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos

The Yellow Phantom

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

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)

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

they shut down the base

never found it

nobody squealed

I wanted the flag and got it

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

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

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

I write home to Mom

Mom mails me a can of
Chinese Red spray paint

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

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
he had this notepad
I went about halfway down
and 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
but no one knew who the Yellow Phantom was

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
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 collaboration 3.29.2006

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, driving while drinking free art opening Scotch.
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 collaboration 3.28.2006

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--
I was going to go work for my father in Michigan--
as 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
got there at dusk
it was like a black and white film noir movie
I went into his houseboat
he brings out a bag of parsley
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

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,
when 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
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

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

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

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

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

went and hid,
parked behind a dead service station

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
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
I went into the bathroom
put my two hands down on the trailer sink
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
I went back to Baltimore
got some more
and that was probably
the only successful drug deal I've ever done

after that
it went downhill

                   Lady / Steven B. Smith collaboration 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
we got stoned and 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

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.

I was working for my father, my pappy
and I couldn't do manual labor because
I broke the rib
so 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 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
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.

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

                   Lady / Steven B. Smith collaboration 3.28.2006

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 collaboration 3.28.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos


I was so much in the flow in Brahman, Michigan.
I walked half a mile up to the highway, stuck out
my thumb, and a guy drove me all the way from
Brahman, Michigan to Chagrin Falls in Ohio. One
way, door-to-door

And during that time--DMT time--I had collaged
my notebook with word balloons from comic books
and at least twice on that time word balloons would
answer my questions, like one time I asked my
notebook What should I do now?

And a word balloon said, Well, now we eat

And later it was raining so I was high up
under a highway underpass, smoking DMT-soaked
parsley and reading one of my religious books
a small, black Brotherhood book

I looked up and it was still raining, and I looked
down and saw I had 20, 30 pages left to go and I said
Well, I'll finish the book, and when I stop
the rain will stop, the sun will come out

I finished the book, rain stopped, sun came out

I stood up in laughter, said some sort of joke
to God, to reality, and it was at God's expense,
and I stood up laughing

Lost my balance, and ended up sitting in a
puddle of rainwater

I made a joke on God, God made a joke on me
by getting my ass wet

On the way back--hitchhiking back--this
very attractive girl pulled over and picked me up
and she said, Oh shit, if you're going to kill
me, kill me now

And then she explained that she was on
speed and she had to have somebody to talk to

And I said, I can help that, and I reached
down into my pack and she flinched,
and I pulled out my pipe and some marijuana,
and got her stoned

And she drove me all the way back to
Chagrin and gave me her phone number
but at that point I was being faithful to
another man's wife and never called her.
That was one of my regrets

                   Lady / Steven B. Smith collaboration 3.11.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos


The rhythm of my petting
the cat's hot pleasured fur
is the rhythm to Nirvana,
I tell Steve.

Steve said there was a sign
he always wanted to steal on
a road between where he lived--
Brahman, Michigan--
and where he had to go for

which was in a place called Nirvana

and there were big white road signs--Nirvana--
and the road's name was Mad Dog 20--
because it curved so much--
the person making the road
was drinking Mad Dog 20
and made all the curves-

Steve said
I was unemployed
from third shift shiftleader
so I was managing 5 ppl and
after a while I got tired for
not being paid for it
and so I asked for a raise
and they said no
and I said I quit
and they said
OK, we will pay
I said it's too late
I quit---
and by the way, can you say
I was let go so I can get

And he said you're quitting
and you ask me if I will
say you were let go so you
can get unemployment?



And then while I was on
unemployment I got
this interview for sludge
flow management
I thought I was qualified, too--
I was educated I was smart--
I didn't get the shit job
and I didn't steal Nirvana--
what more can I say?

I was turned down for a shit job

                   Lady / Steven B. Smith collaboration 3.9.2006

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos

word tile poem 5

Lady & steven b smith

                   Lady / Steven B. Smith collaboration 12.13.2005

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos

word tile poem 4

Lady & steven b smith

                   Lady / Steven B. Smith collaboration 12.13.2005

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos

word tile poem 3

Lady & steven b smith

                   Lady / Steven B. Smith collaboration 12.13.2005

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos

word tile poem 2

Lady & steven b smith

                   Lady / Steven B. Smith collaboration 12.13.2005

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos

word tile poem 1

Lady & steven b smith

                   Lady / Steven B. Smith collaboration 12.13.2005

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos

Private Eye Smokey Grey

i come to sip yer honey, honey,
my sticky bee--
internal hive memory

nothing personal, just duty.
howdy duty. by jingo. by golly.
by jolly we'll be an external


of an inner


we spark the waters
hold 'em up
do the dirty bop

i need some heart gravy.
give me some heart gravy baby--
lounge lizard rhythm in
polyester time

                   Lady / Steven B. Smith collaboration 12.11.2005

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos

No Demands of Time

If you're a king,
you must have been a criminal.
All criminals would be king
and all kings are criminal.

The first time I was in jail--
hard time--I didn't know when
I'd get out.

Spiders traverse distances
by floating and falling.

Vines twist together so they
can reach further.

We'll jump off the edge
of the known world, but the
Earth is flat & we own the edges...

Mapping constellations 'cross
the random scattered stars

                   Lady / Steven B. Smith collaboration 10.26.2005

end    top    poetry    agent of chaos

reading room 27

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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