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


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