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Showing posts from March, 2023

Alaskan Pipe Line

Sketch: Alaskan Pipe Line, from journal #10, cry Wolf, 1977 Note: My dad smoked a pipe for years. He favored two flavors of tobacco , one was Old Hickory and the other I do not remember. It's a filthy habit of course but I did enjoy the smell and he did seem so peaceful whenever he had a pipe in his mouth. It was no good for his teeth of course, which he lost and wore dentures for years but that was also probably because of the gallons of heavily sugared iced tea that he drank. We all drank too much iced tea. I haven't been to Alaska yet as of this date but it is one of only three states that I have not been to, the others being Hawaii and Montana. Funny, two of them were not states when I was born -- as I often say "that's how OLD I am..." I did contemplate traveling to work the Alaskan pipe line -- the actual oil line and not the cartoon -- but correctly determined that it was all probably too rugged for me. Life certainly would have changed in a different path,

a breath and a sigh

magic never mattered much spells and incantations are punchlines pounding air barely worth a chuckle and lately most of life stacks a natural order and predictable placid piecemeal wave but a breath and a sigh ago in the warm night air somewhere between the pause of the sunset and the promise of dawn you touched me gently recklessly upsetting all mystery a promise no proper landing dancing between knowing and  hiding in a never-land of  grins and giggles shakes and surprises dreams and desire say, maybe there is magic after all. douglas brent smith  

in need of a doctor

she held back her tears as she told me the reason she just could not hold me tonight "i'm in need of a doctor who does not ask questions can you tell me a place to go? and my body is trembling from a night past remembering and i don't want the family to know "why does it happen it's my cross to bear? i hear thru your silence -- you weren't even there but i do need some help some how "i know it's not unusual it happens all the time but it's so devastating when the choice is mine..." she refused to cry as she ended the call "i will find a way to overcome it all..." and never spoke of this again. douglas brent smith   


universal bang it was a universal bang it was a universal bang it was a big bang got to thinking about the nature of existance and with a certain degree of persistence i proceeded to untangle all the angles that approach us from the cosmic cloud encroaching us all leading to the theory that a weary sort of human needs awakening acumen to make sense of any reasoning and weather all the seasoning that's bound to blow right thru you no matter what you do you come up a little short and then it slips right thru your hands again it hasn't changed much to the aliens deciding if we're enemies or friends still hoping that we finally get the joke universal bank it was a universal bang it was a universal bang it was a big bang. douglas brent smith Note: from journal #10, cry Wolf (1977)

cry Wolf

here and gone and here again the most peculiar fleeing friend you stay you go you tell me so i know it's sure it's what you name it's all in how you play the game but oh i wait here for your kiss there's something that you should not miss: cry wolf my dear and see what shows the wolf will come and i will go. douglas brent smith  

Pie Out-Moded

  Pie Out-Moded - sketch by douglas brent smith, from journal #10 cry Wolf (1977) Note: Another silly cartoon, drawn with a flair pen in a spiral bound notebook. That is a lot of ice cream.

breaking up

come to me as the person you know as the one who will go softly in silence from you slowly and close feel the most we can offer all of this flesh thru the mess of our parting there. you see? the magic the warmth still willingly there all we have shared has formed a bond not to tie us or hold us captive but to wrap our walk thru this passage peacefully gentle compassionately free. douglas brent smith Note: This is at least the third version of this poem. I'll never get it exactly right, just as I never figured out how to get breaking up exactly right. Much has changed since 1977 when the first bits of this poem appeared, and yet...much remains a mystery -- like the mystery of how does someone fall out of love? To me it feels the same as if you said you'd decided to stop breathing. How do you do that? 

Little Known Scientific Fallacies

  Little Known Scientific Fallacies - from journal #10 cry Wolf (1977)


the only fire that inflames me now crackles constantly your name white hot and furious over the ashes of your unwritten melody and my unwanted soul the only air flowing thru me now tastes bitter and smoky colored in resins i've never learned in pigments past understanding you say i may not see you now though i still hear you when you sigh you declare there's no love there but ashes swept aside. douglas brent smith  


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  

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  

A Safe Bet

 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.

what Jane needs

what Jane needs to paint fuel from foolish adventures folly from feeling alive 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  

A Slightly Sinister Creature

  Sketch: A Slightly Sinister Creature - from journal #10 cry Wolf (1977).

angel fall

Once an angel                              fell 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

Five Sketches in Search of a Hat

  Five Sketches in Search of a Hat - from journal #10: cry wolf (1977)


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

Actor at Large

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

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  

Secret Recipes

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


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

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

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 but! you feel untouchable heavier than this table carrying questions that burn, that smoke that penetrate us, but why? i'm alive enough to know i'm  near you not near enough to you to know i'm alive douglas brent smith

Foiled Again

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


 the words you want most to write never come until 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

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.  

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  

Sketch: Bodacious Mistake

  Sketch: Bodacious Mistake, 1976

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 naturally 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

on and on again

when the page turn burns the writer's hand a grimace grows surfacing the strands of captured particles too bland to turn the twisted trip again as the sunlight fights against the night the struggle of forgotten sights resumes its earnest empty plight even when the product's trite it falls apart and leaves a scar while forgetting who you are. douglas brent smith  

my father's house

my father's house bears change these days the voices bouncing off the walls are not those of my family                                           but of strangers taking the space i once knew so well they speak with West Virginia accents                                                              strangely 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