Sunday, May 28, 2006

Cross As Hell

I pick poems out of shit
walk in it, sit in it, smell of it

whatever it takes, wherever it takes me
I go, obedient to poetry

into the worst places, for verse sake,
for the sake of verse

wherever poetic voice is dictating to me
I follow, I go

blows of the hammer upon the head of nails
horrible as this is, as this was, I must bear witness

bare witness, stripped of his clothes

stripped off his clothes, diced for them
at the foot of the cross

how many otherwise - other lives, otherwise –
would have been lost

© Obediah Michael Smith, 2006
6:21 a.m. 27/may/06
She Sails
Anthology of poems and other writings
by M. Nathalie Wood
reviewed by Obediah Michael Smith

Many of Nathalie’s poems – and they’re no less successful because of it – were written in self-defense. This gives them their trigger - their impetus – their impulse.

By and large, these poems, like bow loaded with arrow, like the skin of a drum, are taut. They indicate how she herself has been tempered in response to the community in which she lives and the whole world and in response to the times during which she blossomed into adulthood. She belongs to her time and her world as these belong to her. One reflects the other.

Hers though, is not a life without humor as her folktale/poem, “Speaking Freely,” pp. 84-88 indicates. Hers is not a world without love as “Hard Mouth,” pp. 81-82 reveals.

Nathalie Wood’s poetry is a way, her way, of counteracting the convolutions life throws at us or puts us through, like noose after noose. She unknots them or attempts to with her own riddles: “Hue & Cry,” p. 48, “You Make Me Rebel,” pp. 31-32 are good examples.

At times though, Nathalie seeks or desires a too easy solution – wishes to flip a situation onto its other side like fish in fat, frying in a pan. At times naively, even without a dilemma running its course, she’d desire or imply resolution, turnaround, as indicated in “… Go Look for Work,” pp. 3-4 and to a lesser degree, in “Scenic,” p. 55.

Even in what is one of her finest, most complex poems, “Lonesome Drive,” pp. 34-38, she longs to show her reader the other side of realization in how this poem concludes but life goes on and on and it’s not ever easy.

She at times seems to wish to flip life like a coin but it’s not for tossing, not even pizza-like, into the air. Life's a long long journey we must stay on, stay with until wisdom comes.

© Obediah Michael Smith
3:45 a.m. 6/January/06
Dear Editor,
My letting fall upon the counter in disgust, a package of 10 Peppermint tea bags, which in a few weeks, jumped from $1 to $1.75, even with some gook having dripped upon the packet, warranted my being threatened with violent eviction from On The Run on East Bay St. and Fowler St.

The manager, Miller, thought it unacceptable that I let drop upon the counter, this filthy packet of tea bags but thought it acceptable, appropriate for me to be thrown out disrespectfully after having returned money to me, thrown to me, thrown at me, for another item I did desire to purchase.

Thought it appropriate to evict me with his security assistant, who had been busy, with gloves on, preparing and serving up sandwiches and whatever else in the deli. Thought it acceptable, appropriate to throw my manuscripts and me outside if I didn’t vacate as readily - as quickly as he wished.

I am left to wonder about his sense of value – sense of worth: a customer with a large family and many friends who frequent this establishment, weighed against a soiled packet of tea bags – the price upon which leapt from $1 to $1.75 within a few weeks. All I’d done was to let it fall upon the counter from the bullet-proof glass I’d held it up to for scanning.

I write because I’m mystified by this response – by this reaction. I was humiliated. I am deeply offended. I am confused by this manager’s implication of impropriety on my part and yet on his own part, it was not unacceptable that my money was flung back to me – not inappropriate that I be picked up and thrown out. He threatened to do as much. Not inappropriate that my writing, my work, most precious to me, be flung outside. This he threatened also with his security officer removing his plastic gloves to assist in evicting who strives always to be the embodiment of peace.

The only sword I ever have or ever carry, besides prayer, is my pen which, oftentimes, these same persons managing this establishment, relieve me of, oftentimes in the middle of inspiration – in the middle of writing – needing to sign when some delivery or other is made in the middle of the night.

“Something is rotten in Denmark!” said Hamlet. I say the same of this establishment and what is rotten is not I who was threatened, asked offensively to leave, as if this deli were the White House and I some rodent. Something in there is rotten still and needs investigating by the appropriate authority.

I thought they loved, appreciated and respected me. I’d not patronize them as I do, as I have were I aware it was otherwise. I bring poetry down by taking it there. I thought with my presence and with my art, I raised them up to poetry. I know now it is not respected nor appreciated.

To find appropriate, all-night spots to hang out at – to create in, I suppose I must return to Paris of be off again to Montreal or Stockholm or Oslo – back to New York or Budapest. I write about Bahamians. I wanted to be home. I thought I was. There are elements among us though from elsewhere, wanting to dictate to who is native.

Who I thought were our guests, suggest that who is Bahamian is here or there or elsewhere in this land only if they say we are welcome. Who are our guests have turned the table and can decide upon a whim that I, that we are unwanted.

I might as well be elsewhere. Home is not home – is not mine – is not ours. I throw my hands up. I rest my case.

Obediah Michael Smith
4:58 a.m. May 27, 2006

Friday, May 26, 2006

I hiccup haikus
have a cup to put them in
Not Written In Stone

water in a fountain, falling like a scroll
what’s written on it

history or prophesy, what does it say
what does it know of my girl and me

my girl with me this evening, exploring Atlantis,
come across the bridge to Paradise

water in a fountain, falling like a scroll,
what’s written on it

© Obediah Michael Smith, 2000
"I have this new muse in my life...I don't know what to make of him just yet though. I'm sure it'll come out neatly thrown across pages."

O.J.M.T., how very wonderfully put. OMS.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

difficult to keep your man, your husband
if you're unable to hold him inside you
with your pussy muscles
when she wipes her pussy with her legs apart
blood shakes my heart
Pick Ax
for O.J.M.T.

what if there were pet shops
of persons to pick from, to pick up to love

able to leave with someone like a bird in a cage,
like exotic fish in water in a bag,
like gerbil or rabbit

furry, feathery, colorful something to carry off,
to carry home to love

I’d head to such a shop tomorrow,
I’d have gone to one today rather than live alone as I do

a woman living alone, goes to the butcher shop
for meat to put in her stew

© Obediah Michael Smith, 2006
10:31 p.m. 25/may/06

Friday, May 19, 2006

pussy closing about my penis
finger mashed in a door

holler just as hard for mercy
for more

Saturday, May 13, 2006

how very dry my breasts are
two women without intellect
sucking on them

Friday, May 05, 2006

how to make what you see
what you feel and think
come out of your mouth
out of your pen, in ink, in verbs

flock of birds flapping
across an evening sky

© Obediah Michael Smith, 2006
6:07 p.m. 11/april/06

Thursday, May 04, 2006

two teas for two thieves
vinegar for the sinless one in the centre

© Obediah Michael Smith, 2006
1:07 a.m. 27/march/06

she does not shirk, she is not shy
of the camera clicking, snapping
inches from her body, bare,
inches from her hairy Suzie

© Obediiah Michael Smith, 2006
6;51 a.m. 26/april/06