tone for the dance

you dance to any number of

different melodies

counterpoint included

shadows and obscure warnings aside

what matters is the moment of decision

the direction (the action)

the tree limb that bends in the wind

never curses the rain

it takes many different notes

to complete a symphony

and the twelve tones of reason

serve as aids not limitations

the only lies we tell (whispered to shadows)

as rests in the measure

(the measure of our beat)

the heat from growing pressure

cuts the tension with release.

-- douglas brent smith 

like glue

in the land of collage

the parts of the whole

are not merely parts

of the whole

touching convincingly

embracing connection

they ARE the whole


functioning as one.

                                the vision




-- douglas brent smith

mist or sleep

sleepless resting

scattered flecks, invisible

wisdom floating

sending encoded messages

in slumberland tones

nearly imperceptable

the white noise of

unknown visitors

walking as ghosts

spirits in disguise

inside pulsing

faces in the mist

in the midst






-- douglas brent smith


acceptance of collage land

she watched me


cutting random pictures from

stacks of magazines, old books,

catalogues, yearbooks, newspapers, and

never questioned



gave secret smiles and




whatever else we've done

you did make it more fun.

-- douglas brent smith

The Green Kiss of Departure

The Green Kiss of Departure - collage by douglas brent smith


Pillows to Soften the Blow

Pillows to Soften the Blow

 Pillows to Soften the Blow - collage by douglas brent smith, from the journal The Yellow Ages, 1978


Have you ever been knocked unconscious? I was once during a pillow fight. How is that even possible? Trust me, it is. Or, at least I blacked-out momentarily. I was here, and then I wasn't, and I can almost still see that goose down pillow headed for my face. It wasn't horrible. It was different. I would not recommend it and I would not do it again. All I could think at the time was "thank goodness that I didn't break my glasses."

Juvenile Spurts

Juvenile Spurts


Juvenile Spurts - sketch by douglas brent smith

in collageland

the cityscape

skyline triggers

figures certain

wild untamed

sophistication gathered

neon electric smoky fast



forces our focus

beyond the eye's 


for unity

into the scattered

invitation to collage.

-- douglas brent smith


Mysterious Strangers

Mysterious Strangers


Mysterious Strangers, douglas brent smith 1979

could be

maybe the cosmic

scheme of things

looks like a

jigsaw puzzle to

you because you

have a box

full of missing

pieces but they

could easily have

been found falling

from another puzzle

and together (if you

can picture this)

could be.

-- douglas brent smith


Grinding Nuts


Grinding Nuts - collage by douglas brent smith

Grinding Nuts - collage by douglas brent smith, 1978



she sits writing

notations thoughts reflections

in her journal and

i am filled with stillness she

is really here and


quietly unassuming

as traffic on parkway pours

by with a steady flow

and she goes on

radiant, content, perfect.

-- douglas brent smith

Economic Logic

Economic Logic

 Economic Logic - collage by douglas brent smith



small wrinkles you get

from sleeping on one side

when you are young

they fade away

and later on

they are here to stay.

-- douglas brent smith

Everything Starts In Pieces

Everything Starts In Pieces


Everything Starts In Pieces, collage by douglas brent smith, 1978


stealing's a way of life

in the city

if you've got it hold on

someone else wants it

and will take it

looking or not you'll lose it

classic redistribution of

property (not Marx but marks)

here and gone drug money means

no limits no fear no more here


and hey

robin hood you ain't, and

neither am i rockefeller


-- douglas brent smith, May 1978 

Collageland Doodle Delight

Collageland Doodle Delight

 Collageland Doodle Delight - sketch by douglas brent smith, 1978


seriously she said do you know

that some people are so poor they

have to watch black and white TV?

as if evidence enough of suffering

and i replied (later to the clown

who stretched my hoops to balance

the laughs) hell

there are people who would 

eat a black and white TV

if they had one.

-- douglas brent smith, 1978


Cartoon Outside My Window

Cartoon Outside My Window

 Cartoon Outside My Window - collage by douglas brent smith, 1978

mayan tribute to a once great civilization


we split

totally quit

                    took off took a cab went

                    to lunch

detours paramours (here no more)

                    we're gone (so long)

other places golden traces burned

by the self-appointed authoritative


                    (who's church not mayan)

snuck off cleared out no trumpets

shout no plain fair

                    (fairly drawn

                    we're gone)

take it, embrace it, grab your maze

crazy whites

tonight's our flight

                    (alright a flash

                    no sight)

cashed in, to the wind

where we've been

will not be where we'll be


-- douglas brent smith

But He Didn't Do The Dishes


But He Didn't Do The Dishes

But He Didn't Do The Dishes - collage by douglas brent smith, 1978


night visions deep flights

dark nights lit thru flickers

flights of flame

refections of flowing

and knowing the change

futures far ahead revealing

brisk touches from today

this moment alive this

moment here,

grasping those finger tip stars

like diamonds, long brilliant

lasting longer

long longed for




-- douglas brent smith


Another Mist to Contend With


Another Mist to Contend With

Another Mist to Contend With - collage by douglas brent smith, 1978

one night at the wayside

"i saw your sister down at the Wayside cutting

chances into glances like she was the original

midnight dancer, understand?"

"that may be true but she ain't been seen

with you..."

"my choice fella gotta whole lotta other 

visions on my mind this rocky eve, if you

know what i mean..."

"no kidding, i'm skidding on outta here

before those two a.m.  mayhem stratagems

force their fire down my throat but catch

this Mr. Bliss -- you keep your face away

from my sister, mister..."

"oh now, just ain't you too baaaaaaad?"

-- douglas brent smith

one night at the wayside

Ground Bound Promise

Ground Bound Promise

 Ground Bound Promise, sketch by douglas brent smith, 1978

drama yet again

a dramatist's conflict

pivots in place

when peace is achieved

and there is no drama

it is conflict to the form

but! is this true? or only

ego driven desire for

more attention

brought by the tension

that drama brings

with the world unresting

drama keeps testing.

-- douglas brent smith


Variations on the Energy Theory

Variations on the Energy Theory

 Variations on the Energy Theory, Sketch by douglas brent smith

peacefully free #3


the universal circle


ends where it begins


bends not breaking

defined by the space


equal in pressure

and flow


to the space outside


laughing Buddha

did know


sweet Jesus

did know


nameless eternity

do you know

peace lives here


when you know.

-- douglas brent smith

The Cubist Kong

The Cubist Kong

 The Cubist Kong - sketch by douglas brent smith, 1977

peacefully free #2

when i learn to leave

judgment and criticism

instead enjoying others

and their differences


when i learn to accept

this place on earth


as a happy one

with a peaceful soul.

-- douglas brent smith


Mustard Seed Truck


Mustard Seed Truck

Sketch: Mustard Seed Truck, douglas brent smith, 1978


Peter bought a used mail truck which had the steering apparatus on the right side instead of the traditional left side on American vehicles so that the drive could place mail into resident's mail boxes without getting out of the truck. Because of that oddity, Peter said that his truck had a sex change -- it used to be a female truck but was turned into a MAIL truck -- and now was stuck as a male.

Those trucks are surprising small inside and of course, only have one seat. Nena and I sat in the back on boxes or folding chairs -- no seatbelts --  on route to our Mustard Seed Theatre gigs. I think that Bob and Harry travelled separately, probably in Harry's car.

We didn't get nearly as many gigs as we'd hoped for (after all, we'd hoped to make it our career) but it was fun while it lasted. 


peacefully free

a conflict-free person

does not destroy

knowing she will always

rather remain whole

knowing she offers

a pathway to peace

-- douglas brent smith

Walk This Way

Walk This Way

 Sketch by douglas brent smith

song of the night

deep in the night

all the joy here beside you

feeling our spirits

rise and converge

deep in the night

with the dance of holding

folding our arms

and our hearts as one

deep in the night

our darkness behind us

the new secrets find us

full and alive

deep in the night

as i turn to kiss you

your eyes shine those signs

of friendship and love.

-- douglas brent smith


Concentration on Detail


concentration on detail

Sketch: "Concentration on Detail" by doug smith, 1978

with you

always at the right moment

you know

a smile, a touch, a spontaneous poem

and all the lights now happy midnight

bright joys come soaring

from you to me as we

fly wing on wing

with our promise of love our

tender desire our

strength of growing

now and until all the candles 

flicker out i will hold this flame

with you.

-- douglas brent smith


Mustard Seed Theatre Company Logos

Mustard Seed Theatre Company logos


Peter, Harry, and I started a little touring theatre company we called the Mustard Seed Theatre Company. We had very limited success for an all too brief amount of time. I later revived the name at churches in Chicago, and I'm sure that any search would uncover other theatre companies bearing that name, but we loved it while we proudly wore it on our t-shirts. 

These sketches are modest attempts at logos. circa 1977-1978


 flame fast upon the styro

foam underbelly of the

rapidly freezing uncooperative ozone

    (don't let it rain daddy)


initial waves hurt only a few

misguided wild winking creatures

grazing mesmerized by the new sun

by the endless summer

by the quick

    (what about the cat daddy?)

some say the continents shifted

tectonic shifts wrecking slumber

impact by the billions or so

psychogestalt screams of urgently

weeping innocents

    (how much water do we have daddy?)

the parthenon stood the eiffel blinked

hancock shuddered general motors flinched

but all carefully in place unharmed unscarred

    (daddy what's wrong?)

noah gasped christ wept and music

cloned recklessly moaned recognizable melodies

endgame moved into place bartered out

castled and kinged winged flashing



    (oh daddy it hurts)

mimes muttered clowns frowned the whole

broken circus city state

tumbled down

cavernous cravings mist hot twisted


sensate symbiotic ruptures

seven dragons seven angels seven

remaining wonders / blunders


    (oh god daddy i can't breathe!)

-- douglas brent smith

What Is Real?

What is real?

 What Is Real? sketch by douglas brent smith, (1977)


Cece and I used to play a word game we called "What Is Real?" The idea was that we were all living in a movie, or simulation, or game, and only some of us and some things are real. It seemed a bit advanced for 1977 but I was reading a lot of science fiction at the time and Cece has always had a very open, very curious, very creative mind. It was fun.

We'd also draw pictures, sometimes using a surrealist technique known as "exquisite corpse" where you each draw half of the picture, without seeing what the other person has drawn. The paper is folded in half with a couple of lines visible on both halves to show you where to connect the pictures. It was also fun.

These sketches are just doodles from one of my journals.

auto nuts

some folks have no business

inside an automobile

they drive like crazy demons

flaming nuts behind the wheel

they brake too soon

and turn too late

to tease the highway

horror fate

and one day after nine to five

they'll crush another once alive

a crash at eighty painfully

let's hope it's neither you or me.

-- douglas brent smith




the adventure

of each evening

easing softly

into your arms

feeling gently

the warmth

you offer

the touch and kiss

of loving

the cool sweet

comfort of


openly (such

open) wings

taking flight

soaring with

splendor in bliss-

filled union


the pleasure

of each passion

easing softly

into you.

-- douglas brent smith


paradise lane

quickly spent all my money

at a bar on paradise lane

slipping jacks and kings to Fack

drinking gin to ease the pain

a redhead at the jukebox

tossed a glance and smile at me

but my libido was incognito

and my head was out to sea

four sheets to the wind

dreaming other people's sins

and counting on my quarters

all the places that i'd been

my hat's my only date tonight

my buddy's got the bucks

i've got a sweetheart in Chicago

who i'm counting on for luck

but it's long past midnight and i'm officially flagged

drinking shots and eating slices of that cheese tomato pie.

-- douglas brent smith

More of the Pipe Saga


More of the Pipe Saga

Sketch by doug smith.

the cult

she went to college to earn her degree

but midway thru was convinced to run free 

some search from within for better results

landed her awkwardly inside a cult

now she's selling flowers to the cars at the light

her parents convinced that her choice wasn't right

like a zombie stone-faced tied to the cause

the mission requires she side-step the law

there must be a dozen or more deep inside

armed and well drilled they are ready to fight

the blockade does not even phase them a bit

they shout to the masses that they will never quit

two dozen people on one long lost trip

grappling for reason and feeling it slip

outgunned and outnumbered they were all apprehended

the planned revolution was thoroughly ended.

-- douglas brent smith

there at last

brick by brick the

hard high wall around me

began to fall

with music so soft

only intimate ears

could hear

when with that wonderful

tenderness so overflowing in you

you touched my aching

concrete cynicism

and kissed my world weary

mind into dreams

of singing

laughs of growing

and joys

of being alive

like each bare brick

of that wall

you slowly, oh so

carefully dismounted the doubts

freed the fears

and with quiet little steps

entered my heart

in a halo of rebirth

revealing that

there were once two loves in my

crowded carefully plotted

closed-hearted life:

my rusted roaming van and my

faithful guitar and


as sunrise welcomes Spring as

living brings new growth

i joyfully see


-- douglas brent smith


A Pipe Organ


More of the Pipe Saga

sketch: Pipe Organ (More of the Pipe Saga), by douglas brent smith

During the period of time when I occasionally drew an addition to the Pipe Saga, my dad smoked a pipe. He had sense to quit later, but while he did the smell was wonderful. The pipes I drew were humorous and with a nod to the surrealists, especially Magritte who was at the time perhaps my favorite artist. 

On a more fantastical note, I really would like to play that pipe organ, wouldn't you?


(pretty little almond eyes

sleeping next to me

breathing such sweet loving sighs

questionless and free

pretty little almond eyes

snuggle close to me)

with unexpected joy i find you with

your welcoming radiance

a once illusive happiness

floods into my soul

reckless and free

a thousand wild laughing tingles

glowing from the flow

of days with you

and nights with you

and secrets we both know

(high brown eyes


waking next to me

whispering about your dreams

such sweet certainty

pretty little almond eyes

share this world with me.)

-- douglas brent smith


How to Test Drive a Pickle

  How to Test Drive a Pickle -- collage by douglas brent smith, 25 December 1987