For a Little While

 

87th Street, Oak Lawn


87th Street, Oak Lawn, IL

For a little while, I lived in Oak Lawn, IL. This picture is probably from right after I moved in. I had a small room with a single bed, a black and white TV that relied on its built-in antenna for coverage, a Fender Vibrosonic amplifier (one powerful 15 inch speaker), a borrowed Fender Telecaster, and for some reason a cat carrier. Oh, and a top hat. Not much else.

Wonderful things happened in the short six months that I lived in the Chicago area for the first time. Weird things, too.

Wait -- this could not have been right after I moved in because I painted that painting on the wall in that condo. That painting no longer exists (as far as I know) because I do not have it. 

Memories.


-- douglas brent smith



All the Horses In Collageland

 

All the Horses In Collageland

All the Horses In Collageland - collage by douglas brent smith, 1980

Analog Stereo Here We Go

 

Analog Stereo Here We Go


Analog Stereo Here We Go - collage by douglas brent smith, from the journal Cutups, 1979

Biped Alpha

 

Biped Alpha

Biped Alpha - sketch by douglas brent smith, from the journal Cutups - 1979

sold


selling out selling out

selling out is so much fun

you look at me and whisper

you look at her and run

look into the mirror

and tell me who's the one

selling out selling out

selling out is so much fun

you say all those decisions

are driving you insane

you've got a first level problem

and a third rate brain

selling out selling out

selling out is so much fun

the dollar signs are shining

right before your eyes

reach into the money bag

and pull out a surprise

selling out selling out

selling out is so much fun.



 

Scenic Mass

 

Scenic Mass

Scenic Mass - sketch by douglas brent smith, 1978

waiting

 

converging urges pull power

plays pull lost switches pull

shades thru the blades

hanging pendulously; sharp edges

dulled

fast focus

slowed

merging dervishes sing in the distance

youth grabs a number and

waits in line.



-- douglas brent smith


Reduction in Frequency

 

Reduction in Frequency

Reduction in Frequency, sketch by douglas brent smith, 1979

the nowhere machine strikes gold

 

a mask or so ago

we felt the river flow

an endless rippling wave

eternal moments saved

within its ceaseless motion

the river meets the ocean

absorbed in all its glory

it learns another story

of larger issues when

the flowing never ends

a cycle set for spinning

eternally and winning

loud and rich and bold

producing newfound gold

a nudge a mighty mod

of prayer offered to God


(listen. when the answer

comes let's be ready

to write down exactly

what we hear...)




-- douglas brent smith


Profusely Illustrated

 

Profusely Illustrated

Profusely Illustrated - sketch by douglas brent smith

the point on the edge that turns

 

when it isn't enough to be weird

when it isn't enough to be funny

reality gathering speed

pleads for shelter and just enough money


when the middle class values scream what!

ever happened to all that we've got?

the air in the chamber starts moving

in sounds that the masses can hear


so the forces of wealth weave and hide

oblivious to working day pride

until with a shock wave a change

the power is all re-arranged


don't grab it or stab it, remain

the journey discovering new plains

the mountains are there for the climbing

and the essence is all in the timing.




-- douglas brent smith


Pipe Saga

 

Pipe Saga

Pipe Saga - sketches by douglas brent smith

with the flow


in form not constant

higher planes

people versus civilization

drains

knowledge so much

wasted rain

seeping with the tide away


in visage not former

outer ken

struggles heaped on burdens when

awareness

flashes now and then

ghostlike disappearing

end.




-- douglas brent smith



Panel for Panel

 

Panel for Panel

Panel for Panel - sketches by douglas brent smith

locker room


are you looking for secrets?

shortcuts and delight?

perhaps someone's questions

whose answers are right?


is the sport in the victory

but not in defeat?

or does struggle with strength

in itself seem complete?


when the game hits conclusion

and one side has won

does your playing with passion

surrender to fun?


let's gather again

when the tournament ends.



-- douglas brent smith

 

One Small Corner of an Ocean

 

One Small Corner of an Ocean

One Small Corner of an Ocean - sketch by douglas brent smith

clown show


do you think the hoops'll play?

no, we'd better go with fire

they just eat it up when i swallow

the flame bit

but it's too windy we might

set each other on fire (how's that

for a big finish?) no,

the balls, we'll do the juggling steals

maybe some magic (slight of 

hand) hey!

did you bring the accordion?

the guitars will never carry in this wind

and yes it's cold but

we're down to our last dollar and

Quick! here comes some kids

put on the big red shoes

we are on!



-- douglas brent smith





NOTES:

  1. When Peter and I did these types of shows (not sure if this one was sponsored or if we were busking) our hair (yes, we once had hair!) was so long that catching on fire was a legitimate concern. At times, we could smell hair burning. 
  2. The hoops that we used were hand-made by Peter and covered in cloth tape. They were not completely round.
  3. If we had more money in our pockets then maybe we could have put fresh strings on our guitars so that they would resonate louder, even in the wind.

 

Not Another of Those Things

 

Not Another of Those Things


Not Another of Those Things - sketch by douglas brent smith

over cards


there must have been three

or four reasons why

the cards in your hand shook

waiting on the meld

smoke swirling around your lip

(swollen from the mouthpiece

of a stubborn trumpet) sky writing

secret indecipherable signals

playing your hand against your partner's 

lack of bullets

"nothing but clothes" you said

a handful of jacks and queens

powerless in the endgame of tricks

but that's not what you were

thinking of i could tell

with the gin nearly empty

and the ashtray full of roaches

some sweet lucid larceny was taking place

and for a moment eyes meeting eyes

you pick-pocketed a parcel of

unsung refrains from within me

and never cracked a smile.




-- douglas brent smith


Nice Friendly Creatures

 

Nice Friendly Creatures

Nice Friendly Creatures, sketches by douglas brent smith

Go Deeper

Being absolutely sure of something means I've only explored one side.

No only is our individual perspective imperfect, it is also incomplete.

Go deeper -- that's where the treasure lives.

-- doug smith


ocean walk


the cold wind blew uncut

as ocean waves kicked stone gray jetties

large gaping cracks between the rocks

long suggestive pauses in our dialogue

steps away a homasote haunted castle

beyond a secret mist two blocks

in the distance a single

block between what we said and

what pooled below the surface

moist light beach sand crisp night air

a buoy on the horizon this is your turf

your haunting ground the smells salt sweet

gulls and mussels and popcorn blended

inseparable from that late summer visit


our individual yet tethered travels

returning each of us again to us

in our own ocean so deep we may not swim

beyond the mystery


of the tingling unhinging phrases unstrung

broken guitar strings a chipped boardwalk

recollection


stunning afternoon thru evening tones

incidental sublimations consequential

quirks of fate probing endless questions

colored by scattered sighs barely audible

experience unsaid unconsummated ties

that clouds cover us and the moon

that night one of our full moons

stalking us the jangle of atlantic city

fading in the distance

your tales of dancing on the steel pier


hints, whispered non-sequiturs, double entendres 

glimpses ? wishes ? desires ? 

a circle of sand around your blanket

endless conversation smoke inside

my eyes around your eyes

(should we touch) (should we try ? )

we did not and

wondered why...





-- douglas brent smith


 

Making Tracks

Making Tracks - sketch by douglas brent smith

 Making Tracks - sketch by douglas brent smith

intermittant


there were chance meetings

distributed miles and months

touching us taunting us

locking us into a long

tight wire of vibrating nuance

you knew this, and kept on dancing

i knew this, and...what? what 

did it mean? how would it turn?

oh how we would yearn...oh

how we would learn.

 

Enter Spring

Enter Spring

 

Enter Spring, sketch by douglas brent smith, 1979

No One Expected Moses

  No One Expected Moses -- collage by douglas brent smith 4 August 1983