These are the poems from ArtCrimes 02
editor, publisher - Steven B. Smith
March 1987
33 poems - 10 poets

Wretched Excesses

What Does The Murderer Do The Morning After?
by Amy Sparks

He thought the dawn was long
in coming. So were the woman's
high heels, clicking on the bricks
the way water drags off a gravel beach
sounding like crickets or
the voices of children, clicking.

And he remembered all the men
in the fish-cleaning house, hunched
over the tables, over all those
surprised eyes, busy gutting,
busy smoothing, smoothing her hair...

No one minded the stench of the flies
or the sound of each scale
hitting the ground, ticking
the seconds off a nervous man's hand.
And he could hear it, the sound
of high heels on pavement,
the sound of many fish
slamming shut their eyes.

In the morning, if she could,
the woman would stand.
If she could, she would stand
in the light long enough
and her body would erupt
like a vee of geese into joy,
if she could.

Not About Ringdoves
by George P. Kemp

poem is just another leap to catch the bird of life/but not
about    ringdoves or pea fowl    or rubber chickens,not about
fancy stuff such as pietas or Leadas or Mozart's heart.In a
world    where every second counts and every act measured by the
dollar,sensitivity to    language is a paltry thing---no"
recollections in tranquility" for me or even "the best words in
the best order" knowing my own imperfection---just the groping
in the eternal grotto we call "soul."/But even the jaded poet
must catch the ears inattention,so bored are you at looking at
other people's dreams./So bored are we with the sameness of it
all. As with the most passionate orgasm or the sweetest
inebriation,I want to tear down walls and penetrate the

Wise men have said that
all senses are equal at the center, but just try to find this
mystic spot....why    it is like fog on Whiskey Island or vines
in the Jungle strangling    the wildlife or the brewing of a
storm so Erie you can    hear the wind fucking the clouds.
And ,yes,I think my poetry beats the shit    out
of a tough yawn.It is my attempt to    roll the eternal into a
ball,to eat a peach, to orchestrate the dawn and darkness,to
satisfy worldless hungers.And it is flowers for Caruso's
wife.It is the pleasure of throwing camelias on the water.

For a faint low voice in my head
whines "You can't have fun with Art!"How dare you seek pleasure
when the fat insurance agent wants your money,wants you to buy
security from Death outside the door.Yes ,Sartre's nausea is
yours and mine,Pee We, for it is a world of hard knocks and
tragic endings./So the bird of    life    warbles a sad song,when
you only live the lifestyle of    the" not so rich and not so
famous. "Even they pretend to have a corner on happiness ,and

much for the beautiful people on flights to Milan or Paris or
Cleveland. There must be something wrong with us,there must
be something wrong with them,there must be something wrong with
a consumer society    consuming itself.          We are all swimming
in guilt.Christ died on the cross and his name did not appear
in the Sunday Roman times."Jesus , save the    barbarians,save
the poet,make them grateful    for their guilt{past ,present ,
future}The deepest faith is in the execution.

Work of the Artist's Hands
by Desmond Velcro

Perhaps you don't know it
yourself as yet, but you will before long.
Thought, emotion, and sensation
do not occur without corresponding change
like the charming scenery and the perpetual
yet so natural
strange dyes, strange colors, and curious
everything is changed.

by Desmond Velcro

The problem
to ignore agonists,
which serve as initiators
attention to
the future
and circumstance
reluctant to disturb too early
the sinister "miasma"
the unity of mind and body.

Wild Onions
by Daniel Thompson

In those inevitable nights
When the sounder of swine
Playing to the hilt
Spills the milkwhite pearls
Into global living rooms
When in the ear of our Lord
The Word is found
Beating like a drum
Truth crushed to the ground
Will you stand out
In that reign of terror
The sabres rattling tooth and nail
And join the daisy chain to jail?
Now he who knows the maiden rage
Smells deep the flower's blood
Who scans the age can diagram
The sentences of the judge
Or turning inward still may hear
In zigzag argument
Man's canons of revolt

The 23rd Skiddoo
by Daniel Thompson

The Warlord's the shepherd I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie: for more West
land he bleedeth me; besides the till,
what matters?

3 He boreth my soul: he feedeth me the
jazz, our might is righteous, for his
games' sake.

4 Yea, yea, yea, though I walk
through the valley of the Jolly Green
Giant, I will fear, know evil: for
the CIA is with me: thy rod and thy
staff they pacify me.

5 Thou preparest a statement for the
Press on the presence of mine enemies:
The Vietnamese in Vietnam, the Ches
lounging below the border, the Raps
in the traps, the Hippies on trips,
the sheepskin Doves, and the other
Yellow Peril: thou appointest a HHHead
with oil on thy tongue: thy cupidity
runneth over.

6 Shirley Temple and Hershey shall
swallow me and all the lives of my
day: then who will dwell in the
House and Senate of LBJ forever?

by Steven B. Smith

Carnivorous Chameleons and arty
Miserable hunks of unwanted flash
Cold bellied, no human parts
Excellent hero material, solid
Cherry Mary's Penguin Queens
Moulderous clunks of nun wanted flesh
Warm breasted, befurry human part
Foot crested beaut, bride
The honor of your Venereal Presence
At their
Matrimonial Genuflection and Hump
Roast $1.69
(all you can meat, one blow price)
On or upon
The 1st Dissemble Two Faced Church
Conception of 5 Octember A.D.
Bring your own
Rollings spats coffins cats
To be
Held at the convenience of the Ms
Situation pending
(a collection will be shaken)

Wall Street
by Steven B. Smith

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.

by Steven B. Smith

I thought on her leaving and smelled the musk
of grasshoppers held capyive
in a mason jar

dear abby
(found & true)
by Luigi-Bob Drake

dear abby
my friend
(i'll call her
alice) is a wonderful person
her husband (let's call him
ray) works with my husband
man to man
my husband told me that
ray gets involved with the girls
in the office these affairs last
the duration of the job
then we're all transferred to another location
and ray
starts up with the girls at
his new job
this has been going on
for 16 years

alice is a doll
great personality
excellent hostess
and nice looking why
ray fools around
i'll never understand
alice asked me
if ray played around she asked me
to be honest with her and not
let her be the last to know
should i tell
her my husband
says i shouldn't
ray is getting away with
murder his wife
doesn't deserve this
would you tell
the truth
or not

American Expressway
by Michael Salinger

Dogboned screaming
As the man with the shaved head spins and gyrates
Spinning ang turning,
Dipping his mad, mad trot across the cave
Mike in hand.
Serious bass
Serious fucking bass, and a drummer
With an endless credit supply at That Place
On Bellflower.
Where's the beer, where's the beer
And Iggy's god with his head shoved through
A cardboard bottle slamming against a thunderclap
Of sheetmetal.
Giant paper umbrellas with fringe and Italian words
Melt in the heat.
Charge the son of a bitch, recharge the card
And charge the son of a bitch
The Bitchers here, the butcher, cavemaster helpless psycho
Chicken headless butcher, or Baker with a cleaver
Searching for a new beaver.
Diseased insects hang from the mouths
Fire red, fire red beat,
With a newspaper, beat with the Plain Dealer
And the Lawson's patrons want porn sold
Next to their cigarettes.
And the Bishop says it isn't fair
And calls someone somewhere on the phone
In his caddy
Or maybe he has his caddy phone
While he tees off
Or maybe he's just teed off.
                                    over here
The ones in shorts
With funny hair,
We've got a credit card

Oh them jarheads don't care whats you look like whens you
gots plastic

by Christopher Franke

My love is hungry that 'ld
      have itself fed;
and in her withdrawal,
      it sees red, with low-
ered head--but pouts,
      and goes without.
If love knows sheets,
      mine knows too much of

--or pages, where black
      characters are sown.
A poet's dark humor makes
      crippled jokes
of "Where love 'ld sing
      lust croaked."
(Do not reason where
      the rhyme is.)

Kisses turn princes
       into frogs; and know-
ledge cloisters paradise
      in skirts of fig . . .
Upon all lust, there falls
       a Paul! And in
many a woman's heart,
       there lurks a Mary.

If this is love, it
       brings me to my knees
with its goings
      from heat . . .
           to freeze!

The Lost Poets
by Christopher Franke

In March, listen
to forsythia,
in April,
the keys rain plays,
and in their time,
dandelions:  May?

Count the petals,
roses drop.
Read Autumn's
then count the snow
as page.

A Poem Shaken From a Bowler Hat
(with thanks to P.H.)
by Michael Salinger

Was I here yesterday,
           How can I be sure,
Not being trained in Physics?

Alone in this room,
           I represent all humanity.
It's a sorry lot.
           Alot of sorrow.
Alot of flies buzz about,
Static emitting specks
           Dotting the eyes
Of smokey windows.

And Lucky's left holding the bags,
           Holding the bags.
Waiting for the crack:
            In the mirror
            In the window
            In the hourglass
            In his bottle
            In the sole of his shoe.

Of the whip.

Pat Lies and Poverty
by Steven B. Smith

Old wonders shrink, grow tame in time
The new fear hangs on
In quiet desperation, quit of desire
Like the shadow of a crowded
Culture in which each
Declare their innocence
In straight unfocused silence

It is there
The smell of unwashed
Dishes smug in the stench of our
Unclean shame
Like a salesman's underbreath
Fishy, stale
The deep teal, the tiled resonance

Of hungers on top of hungers

time flies small world
by Luigi-Bob Drake

i was picking thru this box of books i'd found
leftover from some guy who'd died or moved away
(he'd been a football hero at east tech
and fell in love with a woman named dot)
and i found a clipping from the plain dealer
wednesday july 18 1951 about male nurses and how
more were needed. there was a picture of one
from new york, with a syringe and a bottle.
the article was written by joe wadovick
a polish guy who'd lived on the same block as me
in another town after he retired and he
kept a garden and fed us berries and
fingered my little sisters privates.
after my parents found out, we weren't allowed
to go play in his garden, of course,
but i never knew why 'til years later.
we used to call him "uncle joe"
and i remember stealing fruit from him
football plums and grapes, bruise colored
about this time of year.

of have with pair
by Luigi-Bob Drake

sleep factor is obtained from goats
from the bone between the horns
inter the carcass of a mouse in a burial chamber
in a chamber above the pool
space was finite and had a definite edge
had to be finite in extent and homogenious
valley of stability
geography of cancer
hospitality for the sick was the function served by nuns
two more nuns sewed shrouds
weathered madonna stands in the cemetery in new york
in the recesses and protected area of the face
aura of current around the body
such current is readily perceived

(from picture captions in Scientific American)

The Sick Mind
by Robert Ritchie

The sick mind sees
dirty socks
smelling up some sleazy
all night laundromat
steamy clits
washing their blood stained
hot throbbing gristle
oogling over the latest teenbeat
the sick mind sees
the reflection of his dirty soul
in the rinse cycle
of a Maytag washer

A Poem for d.a. levy
by Robert Ritchie

Boy germz
sperm termz
slash my throat
jack off that tube
tube of life
cut by God's knife
smear that holy red blood
green blood
from a holy rolling asshole
I slit my tit
mom calls me a nit-wit
eat the holy pie
spit in the only holy poet's eye
only his eye. . .
. . .why
every one thinks
hey God you want a bagle
em i d.a.levy yet
do you think Alice ever looked in the glass

Slave and Masturbation
by Steven B. Smith

An old plow hand, I play acoustic
Foreskin, hairy palms, white cane
Puberty, the fish and the fingers.
Old acids etch anew my brain.
The old wants? They still imply
Unoffered breasts, often rejected.

Original sin is condition given
So the knee bores say.
Yet dark ripples still unstill light.
Small deaths linger lightly on sheets
No longer washed nor nightly scented
With reason wrinkled or raw.

The Semi Driver
by Michael Salinger

Hitching a ride home,
From Tomah, Wisc.
A Freightliner,
          Filled with furniture.
A nudie air freshener
Rubber band dancing
From the air brake switch.

           Climb in.

Thousands of empty egg cartons, I said.
          Green cellophane, he replied.
Vincent Price
           Toy boat, toy boat, toy boat.
Cigarette butts on a pool table.
          Throwing the big switch.
Rubber bats.
          White and black.
Aquarium gravel.
          Duct tape.
Cable rugs.
          Solitary ice cubes spinning !!

I said.
          Where ya headed, he said.


After the Factory's Whistle Blasts
by Michael Salinger


Leather noose twisted arm,
          Vein raising safety belt.
                    First one gone
Without a hitch.


          Plunger's stuck.
Panic climbs
          A circular


Double fisted C-clamped
          A third palm





by Steven B. Smith

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.

What The Voice
by Christopher Franke

'You will have
for children poems;
you will have
for dinner poems;
and poems shall be
for love denied.'

        --What monument
        does wind . . .
        that makes by
        what it takes

by Christopher Franke

Bank androids byte
dollars like dogs
in the manger
& make the sign
of the $
wherever there
are signatures.

        "A signed contract.
        B signed contract.
        A equals B.
        B equals A
        equals B e-
        quals A equals . . ."
        This is recorded.

As names may change,
one's word is bond
though means may change
and scarcer change.
One's penury
does not compute.
One duologs
with synthesizers.
Nor ask if is
at law
no quiddity.
You're arguing
semantic with

        One byte 's ate bits;
        eight bits, a buck:
        one bite 's a buck.

Their's a system!

You'll argue with
electric cir-
cuits your case they'll
make a circus.

The Eagle and the Dove
by Daniel Thompson

  in a
      I saw a
        dule of
          doves in
              dress; and
                 the doves were
                   one dove; and on
                     the dove's tongue
                       there was a tale;
                         and the tale was
                           of an eagle and how
                             an eagle grew; and the eagle
                             grew angry; and out of the
                           eagle flew a soft white hand;
                         and in the hand there was
                       a stick; and the
                     stick shook the
                   sun; and the sun
                 split the earth;
               and the earth
             turned to
             a voice was lost, somewhere a dream . . .

That We Are One
by Daniel Thompson

That we are one with the dumb
And stumble with the halt
And blindly tap messages in the infinite dark
Of little faith or too much, that soon
The fly-by-night caught in the sweep of the broom
Turns up a thorn in our flesh and blood streets
And follows us home to our room

That we are run by the gun
And commanded to halt
Or blindly track savages in the animal dark
Or little love or too much, that soon
The dove that plucked the green leaf from the ruins
Returns from the fire black as the raven
And grieves as we weave our own doom

These truths, hard as nails
Are hammered in hands
That bleed in jails across the land

by Luigi-Bob Drake

heaven is filled with the deformed
creations of god, magnificent freaks,
radient monsters and the holy glow of halos,
the shining, the sublime light of the side-show.
the sleek scales of the reptile woman
glint and glisten in sacred brilliance.
tiny tim looks up at us all and towers
above us. the rubber man
bends to the will of god.
the man who walks on fire and swallows flame
lives eternal in grace, goes unscathed
thru hell. the siamese twin
looks herself in the eyes and knows
herself for herself, unlike the fools
who stand and gawk, who pay their money and take
their places and pass from one stall
to the next and stare
              and stare
              and imagine they're something different.

Empirical Dada
by Steven B. Smith

open other in
call 666 for the number of man
what the right gland giveth, the wrong gland taketh awry
beg, and ye shall recede
reincarnation: from cage to cage til rust do you part
pulpiteers pull your strings
vanity I: ugly is as ugly does
vanity II: beauty is in the eye of the beheld
sex is the number of man, semen the number of god
stop Thatcher's Tory rape
kill yourself today, get a head start on eternity
marriage: post-coital repression
Loch Ness Jesus
homosensuals have dishwater glands
masochist motto I: i ache, therefore i am
masochist motto II: to thine own self be cruel
Sleazy Weasel & the Towels of Unbelief
nun of the above
kill a cat for crisco
disco is dead, but Proctor & Asshole live
mannequin depressive
glory, a swan song: film star
now zen = zen over zero
tao jones average
what is the sound of one man collapsing?
i'm impervious to plain
easy come, easy go - that's true for prostitutes
population control: eat a fetus, eat a fetus today
one thing for sure, earth ain't no constellation prize
you choose your toxins n you takes your cancers
Judus Escargot, betrayer of Snail
babies belong, in cages or soup cans
are vestal virgins consecrated cunts?
if we have to as we have had to and we want to, we will
try the Jonestown punch, massa Guyana?
I play acoustic foreskin, electric angst
she had a case of syphilis and was selling it by the quart
the Old & New Testicle, the Genitals & the Juice
it's not the present, it's the process
the Supreme Court: split plea soup
payback's a bitch - I know, I'm going with her
right pace, wrong prime
learn to see dead frog and rust and thus resee yourself
don't guilt the silly
birth: going out the enter only, going in the only out
conversion: conversation, the antithesis of conservation
no more nucear testicles
die now, there's no known room at the end
why do women always powder their nose, never their yesses?
are fish psyquatic?
i love naked females in no particular order
persian abortion: stuff snake up snatch, turn mongoose loose
i sew what i rip, have more torque than tread
do you think christ did crossword puzzles?
are emasculated popcorns momcorns?
i'mn a vegetarian, but i eat meat if it's still warm and female

by Cat Smith

your beauty
your charm
your skin!

Earn money free
Hotels need trained women
More women

Take pleasure in
touching myself or
others in an impure
manner, or let others
do so to me

Since the advent of Christianity the
position of women has been elevated.

Preserving Natural Wonders
for Jim Sparks
by Amy Bracken Sparks

You have to agree it's fitting:
although only a victim
at six years old,
you disobeyed the orange signs
and reached into the cage
at the Lake Placid Mink Farm--
full of the spite Mama said
battered her insides--
and got bit.

That memory becomes mine
and my finger aches when
the wrapped Christmas trees
on the treelawns look like shrouds,
and we file your telegram
forced from Los Angeles.

Whenever I feel like those cramped fish
who dress themselves in glass and know
intimately each aquarium corner,
I sit on these steps where you sat
and reel each memory back:
when you would smoke,
crush red berries in your hand
and flick your ash into the black.

by George P. Kemp

Most people   are relieved when their Chinese fortune cookie
opens to a pleasant lie. They   eat   the sweetness of illusion
as readily as they gag on the ideas that   Washington died a
syphlilitic or that Lincoln was a racist and that   the
apocryphal in the Bible   is literal truth. So if you talk
politics or books or question family or friends, it's like
digging up skulls   among Sumac spears in Viet Nam or
Nicaragua./Usually there is crying   and knashing   of teeth when
you strip away   the bright metals from your own chest hair,
exhuming secrets that could turn you to stone.New slashes open
on my forearms   and wrists daily.And it comes like a wave over
me   that nothing   is chaste or reverent or pure in the
cathedral of the mind.Like our nation---and the others,its
corridors ,too,stink of the vomit and shit   of intellectual
moral faculties crowded with crumbling walls./   Yet America
politicians & militarists & profiteers cling on---even to mass
extinction---mouthing"peace" while making war.And so the "war
polemic" circulates from country to country. It is contaminated
sexual energy ,the incapacity to love:brute power that hides
behind concepts as"civilization" or "justice" or "soldiers of
Christ" or "this is our flag."So now,goddammit, again Mother
Earth hides the blood.Ghost of heroes and innocents fill the air.

for Thomas Applegate
by Daniel Thompson

If you see K-65
You're fucked
You probably
Won't have to worry about
Someone needing you
And feeding you
When you're 65 or 4, 3, 2
One thing is certain, Thomas
Nuclear waste
Is a terrible thing to mind


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