b> For Shelley, the only cure for Mexico is Mexico, xoxox amiga

We sped away
a get away, behind bullet pocked
glass, narrowly escaping
North America
Hailed by soldiers
we cough up rote reactions
to battered freedoms
rear-ended, our own fault
No need to slow, 80 mph
assessments will do
Wedged on a bench seat,
They are made of work
and fatigue, a scent
that does not wear
down, windows down
the wind proclaims
me home,
all the stench turns out,
filth and jasmine
shit, fire, blood, water
fetid and gushing pure
valleys so full
of lights they blur
vast plains of the world
with just one
twinkle. Kurs and kids
unattended freeze
in our hilights, scared cattle
you’d guess from the boniness,
their proximity to

All these years
here and I only know
one thing

I am sick with it
Mad for it
to be in contact
with me, the racket,
and zeal, it’s broken
voice, authentic lies,
deceits it swears
to itself resting
its’ catholic

my desperate cure
my eucharis
melts on the tongue
I know my chances

© 2013 Abby Smith, Writer

Maps and Legends

old-world-map[1]A lot of people don’t like poetry. What many of them tell me is, “I don’t get it”, which makes sense because poetry is its’ own language. The host language is used as a tool to create a personal communication between the poet and the mysteries. Ideally, an effective– an inspired poem, transcends the host language.

I started writing poetry in my tweens after reading… I wish I could say Rimbaud or Whitman, but no, it was Rod McKuen’s, Listen to the Warm.


That was all it took. The suggestion that warm can be heard, crystalized for me all that I had been trying to understand about metaphor. Of course, I also believe that warm can actually be heard, which puts me in the transcendental  poets’ camp I suppose.

Thus, the crux of my mission as a poet: to use language as a tool to transcend language, to break the bonds of representation with symbols– to reveal the paradoxical truths.

The fun part how you use your tool. For example, I love commas. Here is an example of coma usage I was really excited about.

Home, away from Home

Why?( I promise this is the only time I will ever impose explanations of my poetry on you, but it is for a higher purpose.)

Because the comma changes the meaning of this well-known phrase from–when I am in this other locale, it feels similar to being at home, to —being in this locale and the other locale are the same.  The poems meaning; violence in the U.S. and violence in Mexico are equally horrific and by correlation- do not differentiate violence, violence is horrific, is foreshadowed with this simple punctuation. All that from a little comma, if I was successful with the rest of the poem that is.

Recently I was looking at the statistics page of my blog and I noticed that people infrequently click on the links in my posts. Clicking, in “wordpresspeak” means clicking on a link within a post. As I contemplated that, I realized the similarities between links and the tools I use in poetry.

Although many links are pretty straightforward explanation buttons, they are also used by a blogger to create more content depth within a limited format. Many bloggers have a standard word count, frequently 500 words. I shoot for a thousand or less, because I often tell stories, and for me one thousand words is more suitable for storytelling. Still, it is sometimes difficult to get the impact I want within that parameter, and that is where the photos( such as this Don Quixote reference) and links come in.

For example, this is a favorite link, Espanto, from Dinner and a Swat Team. If you read this link you will learn that the Chamula Indians of Chiapas believe humans have 13 souls including one which resides in a wild animal called a wayjel, and that soul loss can occur due to a fall or seeing a demon on a dark night. They also believe that animals and trees have souls, a belief not incongruous with those of a transcendental poet.

Some links are like a map; follow this road and you will reach this destination, a point A to point B situation. But some links are like the map’s legend,— it is a key, and that is where links, like poetry can lead you off the beaten path…come with me

Do you click? Why? Why not?

And  just for fun   Maps and Legends

A couple of interesting articles if this post got you in “clicking mode”

Viva Mexico!

Today is my birthday, I‘m 46 years old. I think. Wait– I have to count 1966, 76… yep 46. I do this every year because on my 33rd birthday I thought I was 34 and on my 34th birthday I told a friend I was 35 and she said, No you’re not, you’re 34, and she was right! That was the best birthday present ever; she gave me a whole year.

Something I appreciate about my birthday is that it falls right in the middle of the year, so I feel I have my very own New Year, and if there are things that I wanted to accomplish that year, and as is often the case, not yet begun, I have my own New Year and 6 months left to get them done. This is the kind of reasoning that emerges from a Cancer- Gemini cusp mind. You may not be followers of astrology (nor am I in an organized manner), so I will explain that the Gemini symbol are the twins, and they are renowned for vacillating characters. The Cancer symbol is a crab, and they are well known for their moodiness, so I like to think of myself as the triplets, which is why the Walt Whitman quote,

“Contradict myself?  Yes then, I contradict myself, I contain multitudes,” is my motto. Continue reading

The Constant Vowel

I had a mystical experience with a washer. You know, the metal ring that fits between the joints of two pipes.

I was in my early twenties at the time, walking a familiar route on my way home from work. I was zoned out and trying to decide if I would buy a Paglia’s pizza since I was in the parking lot already. I stopped, turned around and retraced my steps. At my feet was a metal washer, I picked it up, wondering what had prompted me to come back for it. I looked intently at the nicks and scratches on its surface; I noticed it was quite different on one side than the other, that it contained many colors, silver grey, black, horsefly green. I saw a history of shoes and tires, stones, weather and hands. I slipped it into my pocket. Thus began my conversation with my muse, refuse. I have no doubt that the washer spoke to me, winked at me, invited me to go deeper.

For the last 20 years I have been looking for, and listening to, junk I find when I am walking. I keep these things and wait to see how they will reveal their nature as I combine them with other discarded objects to create found object art jewelry.

I believe we all have a language that we speak with the unknowable. It is ours alone, indecipherable to others and sometimes, unfortunately, we do not hear it ourselves. But we do have tools with which to excavate and engage this conversation and even ways to bring it into the light of others understanding.

In my life my communication with the divine is revealed to me through my art, the relationship between myself and the inanimate, the discarded. I strive to leave stones unturned, to maintain mysteries. I follow metaphor as some follow religion. I believe wholeheartedly in the imaginary. Poetry is the way I share these mysteries with you, still hidden, but jangling keys.

“Do I contradict myself? Yes I contradict myself, I contain multitudes.” ~Walt Whitman