Tuesday, March 21, 2023


i guess the postal service died

no other cause will do

it's been more than a month

since i've heard a word from you

the phone company has gone on strike

or else my phone is broken

it's been too long a time it seems

since your sweet voice has spoken

it could not be dark apathy

or mystery ignoring me

that would not do it's not like you

to leave me so neglected

and somehow soon it must be true

you'll treat me as expected

to sit alone by my dumb phone

reveals a hope gone rotten

and it's much worse to live the curse

of someone who's forgotten.

douglas brent smith


Monday, March 20, 2023

napkins and things

dorinda likes to doodle

daringly on napkins

unseen unnoticed by

the scramblers eating eggs

or sipping bitter coffee

sometimes she pops out a song

or sketches a summer scene

from somewhere no one's been

now here i am in Chicago

frozen to the bone

doodling on a napkin

and wishing i was home

but, lacking that i

send a pre-doodled napkin

to someone who appreciates

napkins and things.

douglas brent smith


Sunday, March 19, 2023

A Safe Bet

sketch by doug smith

 A Safe Bet, sketch by douglas brent smith, from journal #10 cry Wolf (1977).

I was not much of a cartoonist, but that didn't stop me from occasionally trying. The joke here is basic and obvious and probably just came out of idle doodling.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

what Jane needs

what Jane needs to paint

fuel from foolish adventures

folly from feeling


swirling her flashy flesh filled shape

as metaphors

a warm blanket

around her naked frame

what Jane needs lately to feel

hip in her new age

is company, coolness shared

some touchable one

who cares what she paints

more than about 

what's under her blanket.

douglas brent smith


Friday, March 17, 2023

Thursday, March 16, 2023

angel fall

Once an angel


from her warm but insecure

perch in an artificial sky

damaged and breathless

afraid and in tears

i ran to her soft side

more than anxious to

help her to heal her

and hear her words of love

mending her wings and

sealing her strength

hoping she'd fly over worlds

that were also mine

and love me for something

that angels don't have

but...once healed

on the wing

she took flight from my sight

not willing to waste

her freedom on fools

so i wait with tears streaming

waiting and dreaming

and hoping that when

that angel falls again

she remembers these steady hands.

douglas brent smith

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Tuesday, March 14, 2023


i left my typewriter in new jersey

as if some  bloodied murder weapon

trying to hide the crimes

or forget the posturing

of the scene of all my passion

and pathos

for these seven quite odd years

where manhood came

and with it the twisting

torture of passion's pain

distressed and then daring

darling and then distressing

messing with alternatives

though the people traded places

sliding parade-like suddenly

my massive wooden desk i

called the aircraft carrier (covered

with unfinished scripts, snatches of poems,

and doctors' bills)

half my soul (it seems) was

spilled poured and splattered

into these gold, black, red walls

onto the dusty floor filled with

cat hair, beard hair, auburn hair

too precious to sweep away

no, it was not a castle

or a page from Architecture Digest

but it gave me all I ever needed

to become an artist

they say we become completely new

every seven years

we'll see i suppose we will see

i left my typewriter in new jersey

i guess i'll need to return for it.

douglas brent smith


Monday, March 13, 2023

Actor at Large

sketch from journal 9: Midwest Blue

 Actor at Large - sketch from jounal 9: Midwest Blue by douglas brent smith

Sunday, March 12, 2023

erase, delete, purge

embarrassing errors boggle and

jog clumsily a spell mispelled

an assertion averted a

bumbling humbling remark

all those things

we were all those

things bringing confidence to

a dance without knowing

any of the steps i

of course stepped continually on

toes not my own

breaking light into frozen

patches not fixable fixed

in a moment exposed

so sorry so sorry so sorry

you told me that insecurity is

often expressed as bravado and

of course you were correct

you don't have to forgive me but

what if you did?

-- douglas brent smith


Saturday, March 11, 2023

Secret Recipes


sketch by doug smith

Secret Recipes - sketch by douglas brent smith, from Journal #9, Midwest Blue (1976-1977)

Friday, March 10, 2023


i heard somebody mumble

that we live inside a jungle

and if we're not judicious

may meet someone malicious

cold lurking on the prowl

intent on business foul 

disaster faster than we care to know

but if we're extra wary

about such terrors scary

our awareness could prepare us

for phenomena that scare us

and with targeted intention

succeed with its prevention

escape that shapes a better freedom flow.

douglas brent smith

Nude Behind a Tree


sketch by doug smith

Nude Behind a Tree, sketch from Journal #9, Midwest Blue (1976-1977)-- douglas brent smith

Thursday, March 9, 2023

coffee table

ashes, roaches, tweezers, matches

our hands a foot apart

not touching until

you pass the heavy book of

Picasso paintings

tapping the cover telling me

without telling me

the days grow shorter

a candle burns slowly

security in its perch

atop the bottle of cheap wine

(a pair of feline eyes stare

through the glass top sharing

perfect secrets knowing what is real)

"who believes in love anymore?" you

say, a provocation? an invitation? 

"maybe," i reply, "maybe!"

if it is you

who is of

love and secrets perfected by scars


you feel untouchable heavier than

this table carrying

questions that burn, that smoke

that penetrate us, but


i'm alive enough to know i'm 

near you

not near enough to you to

know i'm alive

douglas brent smith

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Foiled Again


Foiled again, sketch by doug smith

Foiled Again, sketch by doug smith, from Journal #9 Midwest Blue, 1976-77

Tuesday, March 7, 2023


 the words you want

most to write

never come


they (you can't find them) find you

unprepared: unaware

and they laugh fast and run

the people who all mean the most 

you take for granted

as their memories become

lingering ghosts

of lines you never chanted

songs you never sang

but i refuse to let that slide

because it boldly matters

and honestly, without you

i'd be forever sadder

douglas brent smith

Monday, March 6, 2023

Filling the spaces


Filling the spaces

Filling the spaces, sketch by douglas brent smith, 1976

The doodle sketches of a busy time, from Journal#9, Midwest Blue, 1976-1977. Letting go, moving on, trying on Chicago for size, while also re-inventing in New Jersey. The notes on this page span a wide amount of time with notes for plays in Chicago and rehearsal with -- DD -- in NJ and a Polaroid picture of Annie herself, standing outside 2065 Pennington Road. Not sure that any of this is noteworthy much less art worthy but here it is anyway. History.


Sunday, March 5, 2023

you should have never

you should have never set me free

for now i'm flying recklessly

and weave new roads from symetry

a tangled dark geometry

you should have never sewn me wings

for i have stolen sacred things

and crossed the paths of clumsy kings

who yield their crowns to hear me sing

you must have known that i was wild

a reckless feckless freckled child

when tossed among the ranks and files

of royalty and scarlet styles

you should have never set me free

for i have bargained honesty

and released all modesty

consuming generosity

douglas brent smith


Friday, March 3, 2023

She Didn't Believe It

i tried to tell her hell i

try to tell all of them

but she didn't believe it

when i said to expect

the unexpected

and to deal with

puzzling deals nothing

to be dealt with normally

there being nothing normal there

so i should not be held responsible


for twisting a phrase,

opening the horizon

or breaking her heart

i tried to tell her that 

might happen but

she didn't believe it but

being pro-active and smarter than me

broke mine first 

douglas brent smith

Thursday, March 2, 2023

on and on again

when the page turn


the writer's hand

a grimace grows

surfacing the strands

of captured particles too bland

to turn the twisted

trip again

as the sunlight


against the night

the struggle of

forgotten sights

resumes its earnest empty plight

even when the product's


it falls apart and leaves a scar

while forgetting who you are.

douglas brent smith


Wednesday, March 1, 2023

my father's house

my father's house bears change

these days

the voices bouncing

off the walls

are not those of my family


of strangers

taking the space

i once knew so well

they speak with West Virginia accents


and treat me as a stranger

there are few things left

in my father's house

to remind me of familial love

to comfort me in shared history

something has been transplanted

and another thing supplanted

my father's house which

once was also mine

is no longer even

my father's house.

douglas brent smith


Tuesday, February 28, 2023

the numbers

you're living (it's truly

amazing) i'm crazy

though windows to open

will never close doors

you're giving (i'm 


much more than before

together we wonder

while skies shall surrender

when life lends us love

the threes become fours

but what matters

above all

when people may choose

is magic in making

the ones become twos.

douglas brent smith


Monday, February 27, 2023


he smoked a pipe

that would make any author

drool with envy

which (by the way) need not be green

but it's also available in

red, blue, and occasionally paisley

although perhaps best


douglas brent smith


Sunday, February 26, 2023

What the Lemmings Must Know

Stars stream madly

across the frozen sky

sending drops of passion

into the pathways of

                                 our wings

unmasked unfolded

                                 we yearn

for the mystery

painted on the faces

of leaping lovers

of circus grips

and tunesmiths

sing, push, and pull

the lever

once pulled

overrides all the rules

the camera

once flashed

disappears with a crash

the secret

once known

leaves the lover alone.

douglas brent smith


Saturday, February 25, 2023

Space Fish


Space Fish
Space Fish

Nothing spectacular, just a fish in space who has swallowed a space station and is apparently surrounded by black holes. Oh, and an orbiting top hat, too.

douglas brent smith 

Friday, February 24, 2023

The Sun Rises, The Television Sets

oh lovely lady locked

into real world rollers

with past tense terrors

run off with me

somewhere like

the mountains of


where we'll build a

log cabin right next to 

our own peak

while the snow falls, the sun


and the television set's

blue glow flows on

we'll sing

all day long

and in the evening

keep each other warm.

douglas brent smith



When I wrote this, possibly in 1975, I had no idea that I would actually some day live in Colorado. Life can be funny like that. It wasn't in a log cabin, and it wasn't with the lover in this poem, but there was an interesting symmetry to the adventure.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Sketches from Journal #8 (1975)


After Magritte's Stairway

After Escher's Stairway

Hands Up

Hands Up

Journal #8 Cover

The cover to Journal #8

Study for set design for The Great Brain Robbery

Study for the set design to The Great Brain Robbery, a play

Sketch of Annie

Sketch of Annie, 1975

Tower Sketch

Tower Sketch

The Pilot Was Surprised

The Pilot Was Surprised


Wednesday, February 22, 2023


we settle slowly into silence

softly pouring the drops of recognition

into each other's eyes

with all the warmth we can hold

stirring in our collective heart

with a dream we had searched for passion

open arms, seeking understanding

wide eyes brilliant vision

of a sharing so full it would flow

and with delight announce its discovery

you touching me touching you.

douglas brent smith


Tuesday, February 21, 2023

The Mysteries of Love


Study for: The Mysteries of Love

Study for the set design for "The Mysteries of Love" by douglas brent smith

So far, this play has not been written. 

Monday, February 20, 2023


that valentine's day

i sent flowers to

two people was not

the first time even though

it carried more drama and

it was not because i

could not decide but because i

did not feel the need to

love either any less but because you

did not see it that way

once discovered it

did not turn out quite as i


are you still angry?

douglas brent smith


Sunday, February 19, 2023

counting her cards

there's a spot on her cheek

an ash perhaps

a mere smudge she's not aware of

we all see it so

quietly, i tell her

turning suddenly she wipes it clean

erasing any embarrtassment

and returns to the task at hand

counting her cards

circles below our eyes

declare that morning is near

as the factory waits tomorrow

day shift of all days and

we can't call out again or

we'll be let go for good

the lights fade as the sun rises

warning about duties as

it shows the disheveled house

i stretch out on the floor wondering

what it could be like to share her bed

i hear her turn off the water and

close her door

a pronounced decisive click

birds welcome morning

i blow out the last candle as

the house grows quiet with

Bob on the couch and

Dave in the recliner and

me on the floor and

my love in her bed

i second guess her thoughts as

i hear her shuffle

counting her cards.

douglas brent smith

Saturday, February 18, 2023

sometimes we wander

sometimes by chance

by luck or by design

we find real people

moving along matching lines

cruise to connecting music

smile at marvelous magic

sometimes we stumble

onto a carnival of dreams

so mellow and alive

so easy and free

yes, sometimes we wander with love

waiting eagerly

douglas brent smith


Friday, February 17, 2023

lover, still

that sudden electricity

which you so innocently offered

without pretense or guilt

(a day we both remember)

   then, carefully

took away

reverberates within that part

of us that we cannot control


returns with dreams veiled over

and keeps a steady hold

if by some chance you choose to chase

another's amorous embrace

remember there're no secrets now

i see it in your face

you know i'll never force a smile

or make it something new

but if my love is not enough

it's still my gift to you.

douglas brent smith


Thursday, February 16, 2023

Top Hat Journey

Drawing: Top Hat Journey


Drawing: Top Hat Journey, by douglas brent smith

from Journal #7, The Eclectic Trance Dance, 1974

Wednesday, February 15, 2023


with bold looks we

invented invisible affairs

unspoken yet more obvious

as each melody played and 

each game unfurled

dare we touch? or

would that break the spell?

transcending normal expectations

for a time

any arrangement anything was possible

like a floating shimmery bubble

fragile then


douglas brent smith


Tuesday, February 14, 2023


if i should doubt

by cycles or by cynics

the tones which you deliver

or cause by asking over

a few absurdist questions

please know by all that matters

and by all that ever stands

i want so much for lastingness

that i faulter as a man

if you should see

by vision or submission

a hidden part of me

or realize that in my eyes

exists a bit of scandal

please observe all perspectives

and by all you understand

i try so much for lastingness

that i stumble as a man

douglas brent smith


Monday, February 13, 2023

her little breaths

her little breaths outnumber mine

her sleep seems far more sound

our areas indistinctly marked

are shared like common ground

the graceful moves of daylight hours

give in to those of evening

the beauty seems to be, we know

that neither soon is leaving

her little breaths outnumber mine

i count them all, each one divine.

douglas brent smith


Sunday, February 12, 2023

prepare to fall

thunder over the cliff

it's such a ruckus you never can miss

selling rain for a nickel and a dollar a kiss

step right over the peak

douglas brent smith


Saturday, February 11, 2023

about you

something sincere about you

nurtures honesty

open; childlike, free

so few ever knew

such fearless listening

something warm about you

presses the passion in me

with clenching senses, loving

exceeding even love

something radiant within you

soothingly sends comfort

assurance, confidence, calm

distinctively grounded with you

only you

so much special in total about you

levels beyond my understanding

but firmly with the grasp

of my appreciation and wonder and awe

not on a pedestal

something removed from any gaze

unassailably you

douglas brent smith


Friday, February 10, 2023


let's hear it for sublimation

the savior of Freudian man

what we're lacking in sex

we can use in subtext

to create an artistic piece

let's cheer for our insomnia

the sour grapes of night

when we can't close our eyes

we'll create a surprise

a fine aesthetic feast

hooray for our anxiety

motivation for modern souls

when we all get the shakes

we/ve got what it takes

to seek a constructive release

let's celebrate our problems

even as we sing the blues

up or out it's a turn

so we might as well learn

the best direction to choose

douglas brent smith


Thursday, February 9, 2023

a few changes

you can't explain the way

things want to turn out

it won't help to turn them

repeatedly about

all we can do now

is move with the turns

and if we're really up to it

we live, we love, we learn

douglas brent smith 

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

forgotten melody

mirrors on the fallen snow

reflecting where you'd like to go

and what you'd be if you could know

the narrative that makes it so

windows in the sky with eyes

exposing soporific lies

and passionless dramatic sighs

whispering goodbye

there's no fortune bright enough to make you

and there's no moonbeam light enough to take you

or any hammer strong enough to break you

unless you start it all alone

doors that lead to empty rooms

welcoming as wood tombs

promising the end of gloom

not all what you'd assume

douglas brent smith 1974/2023 

Sunday, February 5, 2023

missing some

as most ends will see

all ends will be

as the darkness covers you

the nightfall sets you free

free when you'e glistening

clenched as i'm listening

to your many timbres toning

replies to our inquiries

coherent co-developed

carefully enveloped

touched with out finger prints

missing annotations

douglas brent smith



i just remembered you

and then us and then then and

then as quick it was gone

what were you saying?

douglas brent smith 29 January 2023

photo: doug smith

Saturday, February 4, 2023


the rain doesn't touch me

i'm too intent on dreaming

will you come along?

douglas brent smith 9 December 1973

Friday, February 3, 2023


there is so much breathing

to share

live, create, feel, hold, release . . . 

wanting so much to touch

this small soulful love

who already touched first



Thursday, February 2, 2023


 i became aware of

the poetry of existance

     and of the artistry of

     her voice

     of her thin, gentle fingers and

     the honesty of her eyes


Wednesday, February 1, 2023


 when a friendship

                              grows deeper

and the desire for sharing

each and every moment


        behind the level of acquaintance

the need to touch    

                            grows stronger

tastefully (if allowed) space

                 to hold (carefully) emotions


             when words are not enough 

. . .                                                       because

   . . .   words are never enough . . . 



Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Give Me Your Brain

Note: I once wrote a play called "The Great Brain Robbery." This poem is from that period of time, in 1973, when I thought some things were much funnier than I do now. And, the basic premise of the play, that we are unconsciously surrendering our brains, still holds up.

Give Me Your Brain

you're certainly a silly one

afraid to give a brain

the whole world's grabbing for it

release it while you're sane

we need a brain like yours to use

in service to our cause

it won't help you once you're crazy

filled with riddles and with flaws

you're no Einstein nor a Curie

just a normal filled with fury

you're no Jesus why not please us

give that brain away

such a silly greedy one

clutching to your head

all your brain cells added up

won't matter when you're dead

give me your brain

it's not so much

a sibling cerebral skunk crutch

let it go now in this exchange

give me oh give me hey give me your brain

Monday, January 30, 2023


if a circle is

   really a series of


         how can we ever

            expect to

               make any sense

                  out of any

                     thing at all?

3 January 2023


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