morning, noon and night all rolled up into one thing.
and my heart is free!
someone told me I could skate, and it was true. i didn't even need wheels on my feet; i could skate in my shoes.

and me, now skating on leather soles down the middle of grand avenue, with a bunch of others also skating wheel-free. how beautiful they are!! so many colors! hair flying, all interwoven. i watch them, i can see they also watch me. i wonder why it took me so long to figure this out.

and suddenly it's night time and i have to go.
i don't know where i'm going, but it was never far away. i'm driving. and making a left hand turn onto a ramp.

and there, as i'm making that turn, i see another car coming towards me in the dark -its headlights off. it's impervious, moving mindlessly through the on autopilot. i mean, i see no driver. i am already moving through the turn; it's too late to make a different choice, so i mash down hard on the gas, but it doesn't work.

now i see my driver's wheel is somehow on the right hand side of the car, like i'm sitting in the passenger seat. and the oncoming, unlit sedan crashes into me...into ME. not into the metal of my car, but into my own body.

there is no pain, only confusion. everything is gray, and i don't know where i am. i don't know if i'm dead but then decide that if i were, i would be able to see myself lying there. i know i'm injured, but i don't know how much or if there is a place to draw a line, put a boundary, a period. to know anything.

and i think about skating on my shoes, and wonder if i will ever skate again or be with the others. or if i am stuck, blind, in the gray Nothingness forever.


new orleans long before katrina.

and me and my parents hangin' out in a less well established corner of the city; it's like a mismatched quilt--elegant restaurants and people in evening gowns and tuxes here. . .kidz in ripped up clothes slammin this-n-that across the street.

and we seem to be in both places at once.

maybe we're nowhere...fuck knows.

but we're movin'...meandering...gliding from joint to joint. or perhaps i should say, from joint to establishment, yeah. that's more like it.

"what a GREAT day!!" my mom says, "shall we visit our good friends at the bank?"

she's, like, airy or something. airy and light and full of fresh-cut flowers and little white bunny rabbits. and my dad says, "why sure, dear...let's do that." and even tho i am an adult, he takes my hand like i can't figure out where to go or how to properly tag along like a good kid, and we're off, gliding on our invisible monorails towards a brick building on the opposite side of the street. there's a big sign nailed to the front of the structure. it says,


and my mother -always the one for appearances says, "we need to don our sunday best. i want a bonnet. i want ribbons. i want some pretty patent leather shoes."

and my father says, "don't be silly know the bank is closed on sunday."


thru a big wooden door that had been propped open -like it was expecting us, waiting for us to get there, we glide.

the bank is a huge, stadium-sized deal and it is full of furniture. chairs are sitting on chairs are sitting on chairs.  they are piled so high that they are un-sit-able (except by other chairs, apparently)

and the velvet rope around the edge, propped up by chrome supports leads us along the outer rim of the room.  We pass by tellers and wandering customers who seem oblivious to the impractical excess surrounding them...

and all i can think of is...

where's the bathroom?

i gotta pee.

we get to the counter. it's free junior mints for kids. i open the box and all the little erythrocite-dealies in there are normal...except for one.


i fish it out. where's the chocolatey-brownness of the chocolate?

it was eeeewwwwwwww. like, who would eat that?  its presence contaminated the pristine yumminess of entire box - and suddenly i see all the normal brown guys as suspect -as blonde guys in hiding...and after 40 years of wondering what that closure tab on the junior mints box is actually FOR (because who eats half a box and then saves the rest for later? LOL) i realize it is for THIS eventuality -for that moment when you discover a mutated candy in the box.

i pick up another box and peer inside. there are more blonde ones in this new box; i close it and give up.

 we are standing at the window in the bank.

i still have to pee.

suddenly i realize that i am peeing on the floor of the bank. only it is dark and no one can see me or the puddle forming between my feet.  as we walk off i shuffle through the pee, thinking that if i spread it out some it will dry faster and no one will notice what i did.

and now we are walking along the exterior of the other side of the room, guided still by velvet ropes...heading for the door, i hope.

night time,

bank is closed

parents are gone

and i'm alone in the



drippy wetness of the basement

and there's ductwork and the rice-crispy goodness of crackling electrical boxes, and weird shit all around me.

twisted wire.

and the scuttling of shadowy forms.

and now the darkness of a man approaching.


i got nowhere to my mother's white bunny.

i am not me, and there is no DOWN to my safe place (breathing underwaterland)

only cinderblocks and concrete

and me in an unlocked closet, with my foot wedged between floor and door.

and footsteps approaching, i reach to turn off the light. if he cannot see me in here...if there is nothing but blackness he will just leave. i flip the switch and it doesn't work. the light is blasting onto my face and i see him looking through the crack between the door and the frame. he is not just perusing my features, there is eye-contact.

oh god.

it is time for me

to be


and left half dead.

and then



and before i find out if get to live or die, simon starts yowling at the door.

and i wake up.

bleary and weird. and simon leaps onto the bed. he just wants to go out and play, he doesn't realize he just saved my life.



maybe he does.

a part is still partly something that was felt or seen when it was blue or green, or: the dream of the bugs and the airfish

how many years had I walked past that house?
how many lifetimes?
with how many lovers, friends, parents, siblings?
it stood on lill st in chicago, on delaware park in buffalo, mesita in el paso…
it never changes.
flakey-gray clapboard, green gables…i never knew: was the gray really just dingy weathered white? i suppose it doesn’t matter.

i am small. both of my hands are being held…by my mother on one side and my father on the other. and we are gliding down the tree-lined sidewalk. it is spring; short puffy sleeves and patent leather sandals, boys on boards, cats in windows and all of us responding quite nobly to the urge of life, if you will...gliding, gliding…and there, on the corner, gray clapboard and the brush of weeping birch on shingles.
“can we go home now, mom?”
“why of course, dear, where else would we go?”
and we approached the gray clapboard building and glided like so much silk onto the front porch.
“hey!” my father said, “i have an idea!!! let’s act like our neighbors do and go through the front door!” he opened the front door as my mother and i landed with a little “plunk” onto our feet and walked into the wallpapered living room.

i am 13. i have not left the house in 23 years. the boards squeak when i walk…my cat has become so thin; all i can see of her is her shadow. and she hides a lot, right there, between the stove and the fridge. and my father wants to read his letters and i am standing at the dining room table, now collecting them from the vestibule, now bending to remove some he has taped to the underside of the table, now standing on a chair, peeling his letters from the ceiling, when . . .

i am 23 and standing on a chair peeling letters from the ceiling. i have not left the house in 37 years and the wallpaper is dark and blistered. and now…

i am 37. i have not left the house in 20 years. sunshine and dust motes twirling in the air; wilted tulips. the sound of stephen drury’s leather pants squeaking away on a piano bench, of people fucking in the women’s room at limelight & me, too many cocktails later carving yeats onto a cell wall with a safety pin, and now standing on a chair peeling letters from the ceiling, when…

i am 20. and i am standing on a chair peeling my dad’s letters from the ceiling. when…
and a throb
and a push
and the stained yuckiness of urine soaked paper and plaster. i peel an envelope from the ceiling and
the sounds
. . . when
a hole opens up in the ceiling, small. but there: the movement of shiny blackness, and a sense of overwhelm as plaster whitens my hair, the hole crumbles on, as thin, black, bodies and feathery articulated legs now emerging, pushing themselves through the hole.
oh fuck.
and i start screaming and yelling and my dad freaking out, thinks i’m hurt, and the weight of the bodies, their blind, instinctive urge to emerge, and the wetness of the plaster, my heart the breeding ground and stable for an infinitude of conflicting beliefs, sensations and emotions, the chair quite rickety, i come crashing to the ground just as the entire ceiling collapses under the weight of 1000’s of enormous, black cockroach-like beetles loading themselves through the hole at the speed of darkness. and i am lying there, panic stricken, screaming, screaming, screaming.
my father.
a tank of green poison.
and a landscape of belly-side-up, legs now helplessly scrunched, bespeckling the squeaky floorboards singly, in pairs & small colonies and i wonder if bugs have families, too.
and dad, my hero, still needs his letters.
and so
i say
how about a glass of water instead?
“ok” he says; he loves me.
and in the kitchen. . .
and screaming,
and green tanks,
and more dead bodies.
our house is filled with poison.
our house is filled with poison.
our house is filled with poison.

*** *** ***
i am 37b. i am 23. i am 48; i am a'. i am upstairs, lying on my bed supine. eyes watching, ears listening. and yes, i can hear the sounds of the living and the dead. can see the shimmering energies of earth-bound things and in my mind's eye, bodies boiling in thick green goo downstairs and the bones of my ancestors exhumed now by curious anthropologists . . .they can't help it. . .driven by human frailty on their quest for answers to the mystery of human existence, they dig.
they measure.
they perform multifarious carbon dating procedures on minute shards of pottery.
they study the relation of bodies to artifacts and archeological structures.
elaborate charts and graphs are drawn that have as much to do with existence as about the tartness of cherry pie. and still there are bugs. they press on and on; they are upstairs now. why? because there is no method for control. that's why. hose 'em down with the green stuff in one place, they scatter and multiply in another.
i am afraid of the bugs.
i am afraid of the blisters in the wallpaper.
i am afraid of the bespectacled anthropologists and of the invisibility of my mother.
i can't stay in this bed, worn springs, host to hundreds of anonymous couplings eons old, to my grandmother's final dusty gasp, no.
back chair is still in the middle of the dining room, my dad's letters have all surrendered and have dropped from the ceiling, blistered wallpaper has now sweat itself free and underneath i see the wall is plastered with 1000's of statistical charts, graphs, bar and pie diagrams, all squashed together in a sea of nonsensical relations. the radio is playing billie holiday's 'strange fruit,' but both of my parents are missing and i wonder who billie is singing to. the floor looks like a battleground. and me on the chair peering into the hole from which the first onslaught of bugs raged forth. and movement, still.
frightened, i hit the floor running. to return with my dad's green tank in hand, bugs, but large, brown fish floating through the hole and now happily swimming through the air above the dining room table. WOOOOOOOOW! they are so WEIRD!!! so puffy, like brown balloons with fish faces... and i get really close to one, and look at it and realize that the scales are arranged in whorls. and from this distance i also see that it is not just brown, but many shades of brown & rust & metallic copper, here & there the copper gleams green like an oil slick. i wonder if they act like balloons. and i take my hand and gently hit one on the face. and yes, it moves backwards like a balloon, but: horrified expression, and:
"do NOT hit me in the fact, NEVER HIT ME ANYWHERE."
"ooooooh noooooo, i'm so sorry...please forgive; i didn't know you, alive."
"are you stupid?"
"maybe. what are you? i mean, i've never seen any of your kind."
"i am an airfish." she said, and she puffed herself up, her scales lifting from her body, and beneath them, silver and copper accentuating the darkness of her scales. "and i am beautiful."
"you were beautiful before you puffed yourself up, you know."
and she smiled broadly.
"so, i have never seen one of your kind either, yet i could sense your beingness (it's why we came out, actually)" and her sisters meandered over in their airfish-swimway, all with different scale arrangements. "...yet, i would never have hit YOU in the face....say, what happened to your wallpaper? we much prefer the floral motif."
and before my eyes, the graphs and charts and diagrams, the statistics & figurings & and very important calculations began to mutate. they grew, they stretched themselves beyond their former incarnation as dissheveled scraps into the unlikliest of ornate floral scrollwork, becoming nonsense entwined with nonsense, entwined with sweat, entwined with tears, entwined here with the cilia of 2 paramecium and there with dust of granite, my walls an ocean of...
"smith?" my airfish wants me.
"i give you three gifts: 1. the gift of this wallpaper. it contains secrets beyond the numbers themselves and beyond their new configurations. the answers lie in their relation: every bit to every bit, every interim to every interim, and every bit to every interim. you are unable to know it; physically, it is too large to be accomodated by the tools you were given in this existence. your friends, the writers and scholars among you will approach the wallpaper with their magnifying glasses extended, and all of them will see a different fragment, magnified...the more any individual knows or purports to know about the minutia of a single locus, the less they know of its meaning in the larger cosmos. you see, each locus is inextricably bound to the interims embedded within it and to the bits and interims in every other speck of the galaxy. know this: all stories are particles of other stories. and be delighted: because, yes...there IS more. don't trust your scholars for they know as much as you do. do not waste time quoting them. do not waste time quoting me. hear the multitude of voices; within it, that of your mother, that of your teacher, that of your student, that of your trees, bushes, giraffes and beagles.
the second two gifts are things your friends will call "faith"
gift #2: know this: you are an airfish, waiting to be born.
gift #3: and this: the bit that goes unnoticed is called the "interim." the interim is NOT an absence.
and with that she brushes herself against my cheek.
"do you want to remember me?"
and she presses herself first against my left cheek and then against my right. and then she and her sisters swim into the walls their particles disbursing, now joining with the tendrils and scrollwork of my wallpaper.

a door.
a peephole.
in what feels like a wooden chair (rickety -yes)
in a room cramped with clanking ductwork.
looking at...there! across the room:

a door.
with a peephole.
a small circle of flickering light

"what are you doing here?" (an unidentifiable voice)

"i was sent here to contemplate the problem of nuclear fusion, to unravel the mystery of HAARP; i was sent here to achieve psychic contact with sasquatch, to discover the origin of belly button lint...yes indeed...i was sent here to determine how many 7-and-a-half inch forks laid end to end it would take to get to the moon, but right now i'm trying to calculate the measure and quality of force necessary to rearrange my DNA molecules. i wanted to be a newt and now look at me."

"no, YOU look at YOU...look, for instance, at your hand" (the voice...identifiable only as the last unidentifiable voice)

and i put my hand out, palm side up. it's covered with ant-sized words and letters all scrambling around, scurrying up my wrist and to my elbow.

"you are swarming"

"i am gathering"

"you are swarming."


i get up, scared.
what does it mean to be swarming?
what DOES it mean to be swarming?

and now a tentative shuffle to the door.
dust, scraps of foil, bullet casings and mouse turds part like the red fucking sea, carving out my destiny in the form of a straight line from chair to door.
"hey, wait...wasn't there something in there about smelling the roses?"

"in where?"

"ummm...this life thing. in there."

"there are no roses, sorry. "rose" is not even in the dictionary. there is the path. that is all. you are either on it or not."

"my choice?"

"your choice."

ok...(press "play")
(tentative shuffle re-begun.)
i can see it more clearly now...
that delectable flicker.
like a candle, with all of the sensual associations of fire and candleness.
mothlike, i approach the door. it is made of flesh and blood. i can feel its warmth, its pulse, its rhythm & churn from yards away. i know this pull.
opiatic and necessary, and me: as predictable as the next addict.

i am there.
my hand on the door disappears into its wooden fleshiness.

"stop...look before you leap"

i retract my hand...but oh! fingers are bent this-way, that-way. they don't fit together. and the words that once were random are now forming into patterned, illogical strands.

"just because you don't understand them doesn't mean they're illogical"

without touching the door i put my eye to the peephole.
there, in a rock room lit only by torches: a girl and cat.
familiar and completely alien to me.
she turns.
i know those eyes.
i know that gesture, that ridiculous haircut.
she is me.
she is me at 7. and upon closer scrutiny i see that she is only letters, held together by... gravitational pull? by elmer's glue?
she looks like swarm of bees, like televised white noise...a pixelated hologram.

Crow, crow, disc

chapter 1
the world, awash in light, blinds me.
and now: a uncertain shimmer, a wavering iridescence.
my radio on crack, snapple, pop -a static blur of knitted brows and tightly pursed lips.
and then...
power off.

chapter 2
the world, awash in light, blinds me.
and there, in the distance, the wavering iridescence of heat off baked sand.
i am white linen and lavender oil
and now...
ribbons tied to my fingers fly like anchored kites in the desert wind.
i am not thirsty or hot, or tired or depleted.
i am
h e r e
there, on the horizon where the air rises like mirrored mylar: a tiny form.
it wants me.
and perhaps for some deep seated need to be desired,
or because i am attracted to things i don't know and can't see...
maybe just because i'm a material girl and this is the only material for miles around,
or maybe as a result of some scientific necessity, i find myself levitating and gliding -like on rails- to the stain on the horizon line.
and now i wonder if, from its distance it sees me as i see it:
as a rupture in an otherwise sterile-white landscape.

chapter 3
ribbons now streaming behind me and linen pasted to my belly by sweat.
my approachment tells me this unimportant thing: the stain is only a wooden box (no wonder it looked like a stain) and there on its side, a series of chipped and faded gold leaf letters -the only ones i can read, say:
V I * T * O L *
i raise my hands, palm side up and ribbons are flying everywhere.
they are one with the wind,
they are knotted in my hair
they encircle my throat. and they wave in flaglike fashion around the box as it rises to waist level.
i reach down and lift the lid.

chapter 4
crow, crow, disc
crow, disc, crow
disc, crow, crow.

2(crow) + disc = box

i say:
"why are we here???"
the sound of my voice triggers a hidden Something and the disc begins spinning. crow(1) places her beak onto the spinning disc and it makes a weird, scratchy sound, and then crow(2) opens her mouth and says,
"why ARE we here?"
silently, i think " this is like a tape recorder." and say,
"testing, testing...ONE, TWO."
and the noisy crow looks at me dumbfounded while the silent crow lifts her beak from the disc and says, "OH GAWD!!! they sent us another CRI-A."
confused, i say, "what's a CRI-A?" and the silent crow replaces her beak onto the disc. and the noisy crow says,
"a CRI-A is a puppet, full of Empty and whales."
"oh...I am not full of Empty. and i am not full of whales...that doesn't even make sense...i mean, what would a whale be doing in the desert?"
"not WHALES, stupid...WAILS...W-A-I-L-S. and so i have a question for you: if you're not full of Empty, what are you full of?"
"i don't know how to say it...i guess i'm full of me."
"yeah, you're full of yourself, all right...fucking CRI-A."
"NO. you're wrong. i am this breath, this floating, beribboned spectre. it's because i opened you that you speak. without me, you're invisible at best. i see you; i hear you. i verify your existence. you ask me what i am full of? why not just ask me who i am? i'm a weaver. an alchemist. i am the thing that juggles light and silver, sand and sweat. i don't need you to validate me, so let's just say it this way,
and the noisy crow smiles at me and says,
"you are right; you are VITOL."
and her wings unfold and her skin cracks open and underneath the feathers and skin i see fur and flash of green. and the skin peels back and now black and brown and white and green as simon emerges from the crow's dessicated form. and now both crows vanish and it is me and simon and one deaf and dumb disc, spinning for no reason at all.
and simon says to me,
"we gotta get out of here...oh's too late." and he is looking at my chest. i follow his gaze to to a rapidly growing stain upon my dress: red on white linen. but i say to him, "no, it's never too late." and i grab him and say, "where are we going?"
and the desert floor becomes as quicksand as we pass down and through it and wind up in a cavernous space i know so well. home. i put simon down and follow him the length of our torch illuminated corridor to my stone bedbroom. the linen dress is gone and i am whole. and we lay us down and we sleep.

The Good and the Stressful

First, the good, yes?  There's a call out for small and affordable work at Radius Gallery.  I had wanted to create frames for my little painting collages for awhile, so I made a couple of frames for them (even though, my flippin' scroll saw broke).  I made 2 frames.  um.  THEY SUCKED!  I mean, my idea for them just did not pan out at all.  And I didn't see how I could change my idea or the materials to make it work so I bailed on it for now and fell back into my comfort zone, which are the boxes. 

This is my first mini-box:

"Ode to Dorian Gray"  2016

"Ode to Dorian Gray"  2016

It's very small; it fits in my hand.  The scroll is simply placed in and can drop out if it's not wedged in quite right, but for the most part it stays put.  To me when I see it on my wall it reminds me of a piece of jewelry...ok, much too large for jewelry, but you get the idea.  The sunflower hook is an antique, and adds a certain vibe that I like a lot.  I consider the photograph side the "outside" and the old decomposing tintype the "inside," though I have spent time with it hanging both ways and like it equally well no matter which side is hanging.  I feel like the scroll and the broken personal photo have a private feel to them.

The scroll looks like this:

Inside with scroll unfurled, "Ode to Dorian Gray"  2016

Inside with scroll unfurled, "Ode to Dorian Gray"  2016

I've "signed" the inside underneath the scroll.  The quote is from Oscar Wilde's creation, "The Picture of Dorian Gray."  I've also shown the edge box because the wood is pretty, and by holding it, you can get a sense of the size of the finished piece.

I have 2 more coming out now, and I love them both...will post as soon as I get them finished.

The rather unpleasant bit that happened isn't real...or maybe it's more accurate to say that it is a dream, but says something about where my mind is at.  In the dream I traveled across the country to attend a show I was in.  I had sent a lot of work to this gallery, and was excited to go see it. 

I walked into the gallery and nobody knew who I was, but they were all friendly-seeming and were milling about drinking wine, and laughing with each other.  I did not see my work anywhere, so I began to wander in search of my pieces.  A smaller gallery branched off behind the bigger one, and I entered.  There was nobody in there.  There was work on the walls, but no viewers and none of the pieces were mine.  And then a hallway...that took a turn and made a slow curving journey to a back closet-like area.  I went through the closet area and into another gallery.  It was miniscule and decrepit and my work was there.  It was not even hung on the walls, it was placed face up on cheap metal shelves, and two of the pieces by the door had paperwork thrown on top of them...bills of sale for artwork sold from the front gallery.

That's neat ending, no punchlines, no redemptive glow at the conclusion...just this, and the shitty feeling of self doubt it left in its wake.

I remember once hearing an interview with Dustin Hoffman on NPR.  He was talking about how full of self-doubt he it's been a very long time since I've heard that interview, but I remember him describing his feelings, and sometimes when I have dreams like this, it's good to remember that people like Hoffman have similar feelings.