Ed Smith

15 Uncollected Poems


This is a good line.

This is a bad line.

This is a good line.

This is a bad line.

Here is a country,

an idea we share.

There is an idea for paying

all debts public and private.

This poetry is now in its own future,

and let me say as an eyewitness

that we are quite primitive back here,

sophisticated only in things we do not do.

My people roll their autos

over goddam asphalt.

This line is doing its best to remain indifferent,

but here it is in this poem.



Fuck you.

Fuck your mom.

Fuck your cat.

Fuck your mom’s cat.

Fuck your cat’s mom.

Fuck your mom’s cat’s second cousin

from Schenectady.


Letter from the Grave

This situation is so embarrassing

that i’m considering approaching it


but i can’t cause i’m too numb.

Well, numb isn’t exactly the right word,

but it’ll do for now.

Anyway, this is called “Letter from the Grave”

cause i was supposed to have killed myself

last Tuesday,

but i didn’t:

i’m still here,

and next year i’ll be eleven.


A List of 3 Letter Words







Ode to a Streetlight

O ye moon

who shines so bright

it hurts my eyes


The Poem That Cannot Be

I want my whole life to be a poem.


Cheating the Stork

We fuck

for pleasure alone.


Dear Fuckface Asshole Jerk,

I am writing you because of the bad review you wrote of my book in Magazine. Not that you thought the book was all that bad just that your review sucked. As an example of how inattentive and lame your supposed criticism was and without going into too much detail you didn’t even manage to get the goddam line breaks right in the quote you took. I won’t even bother demanding a formal apology from a jerk like you, but instead I’ll leave you with this curse: may you wake up with a ringing in your ears, hair in your teeth and Clayton Eshleman lying in bed next to you.

Most Sincerely,

Ed Smith



You Can’t Legislate Maturity

In 1986 I was arrested and charged with armed robbery, possession of a controlled substance, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, statutory rape, indecent exposure and lewd conduct (but not resisting arrest!). Fortunately, that year I was awarded a Literature Fellowship in Poetry by the National Endowment of the Arts and was able to use the Fellowship money to retain some state-of-the-art legal counsel. What with plea-bargaining and all I only ended up serving two years forty-seven days. Since my release I have attained the eighth Operating Thetan level in the Church of Scientology. My short-term goal is to have my civil rights restored so I can pursue my long-term goal of being elected President of the United States.



You have to use a washcloth

on the hot water knob in

order to turn it hard

enough to get it all the

way off. I never told

you that. I just went

in every time after you took

a bath and did it myself.



My Last Beer

It was a long time ago and

I don’t remember it. I was

sitting in a stuffy, dark bar

on a hot sunny afternoon and it

came in a mug. It was one

of those things I thought

I would enjoy more than I

actually did. And not the

first time either. One of

those many things. One of

those many things that just

gradually got replaced by

what’s become everything

else, everything else that’s

just always never enough.



When I wrote

this poem rays

of sagacious

afternoon sun-

shine were

streaming in

through the


windows, billowy

white clouds

billowed across

the azure dome

of the sky,

birds sang and

chirped to each

other gaily,

the kittens were

asleep in the

living room, one

on the couch,

one on the easy

chair and one

on the futon,

and the tv was on.


15 Line Sonnet

You lie on your side back curved

legs bent your knees drawn

up in front of you. I nestle

behind you the two of us

like heavy silver spoons

wrapped in velvet my arms

reach around your tiny

shoulders my hands grip

my forearms securely.

You hold my erect penis

inside you. We rock together

lazily and twist our bodies

slowly. Your head bends

forward and I lick the

back of your neck.



Art and Poetry

Don’t kid yourself it’s

all about power and control


Seat 47K

The last time I was on an

airplane was when I was

leaving you.


Ed Smith, circa 1984. Photo by Sheree Rose.

Ed Smith, circa 1984. Photo by Sheree Rose.

Author Bio

Ed Smith (1957-2005) was a poet involved in the punk and alternative arts scenes in Los Angeles in the early 1980s. He was part of a group of poets who frequented the Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center in Venice, California. Other members of this group included Dennis Cooper, Bob Flanagan, Amy Gerstler, and David Trinidad. Smith’s books were Fantasyworld (1983) and Tim’s Bunnies (1988). His poems appeared in Rolling Stone, St. Mark’s Poetry Project Newsletter, and other publications. Smith also worked as an animator on Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Clues. Punk Rock Is Cool for the End of the World: Poems and Notebooks of Ed Smith, edited by David Trinidad, is forthcoming from Turtle Point Press in the spring of 2019.