POEMS WHILE BECOMING ME, a collection of walks.



by Russell Foltz-Smith

2015-2016    Marina Del Rey, CA

Copyright or something. They are just words you know.

Prefer a PDF to print?  while here it is.





Dogged notions thickening


I paint. 


Frailing optics dulling by screenlit quickenings 


he taints. 


Simulacra signing songs 


her saint. 


Fictions dictate on ships 


We ain'ts.  


To The nameless throngs


Boarded trains. 


All aboard these flailing bodies


Fogged pains. 


Becoming becamest.  







you will



For answers

And motives 



You will defy

What is



Now The blood is on all

Our hands

And spills into the


Futures forever fractured

Unloaded of vitality


In your armaments of



You've condemned us all

To hell. 


We are silent

The babies wail bearing witness

hands up

Awaiting another shell





Sun down round here the locals say

Their blonde hairs and reddened cheeks

Ideas blown out and gone before now

The roles roll in ready to spend

Trading fiat for photographs 

Ends for means

The interpretation rains down

Reigning experience, a sunset

Bored now by hashtags and reposts

Loaded and unloaded life yets 

Yetting on




The wind wanders outside
Carrying the tired sighs
Of slumbering husbands
And weary wives



Purposed out to the site

Where plans lurk fringed 

In-between contingent labors

In this or that carried on in the lowest light

Around make shift dinner tables

And termite populations

Futures drop out between

It's fines and maybe tomorrows

Alone with roommates sorrows

No combination of paychecks 


Here her and the others similarly

unplanned in the shadows of darker plots

shots prescribed

and delivered on the wings of angels

long ago planted apparenthood

of right and wrong's hazily drawn surface

in the false scriptures of man

There's always a plan

Of death on purpose





The hush at the bottom

A son arrives; descends

Gasps of tears envelop 

The return of love



Good Night

The night is early. I dream of a door. It's a small door, ever smaller. Here in the bed my body can't move. The door shrinks to pin. Silent screams erupt without moving a lip.

The trembling boy at the top of the metal staircase handrails. Too afraid of the shrinking doors. The room with the shrinking door and the growing boy. He was trapped. Trapped in a world that kept shrinking.

This night is early. I dream of a door - a very small door. The room is full of hate - it is red and hands. The red hands wave ideas of banishment. Taking boys from their mothers. And mothers from their girls. And people from themselves. The room has infinite corners of darkness. The darkness calling little boys and little girls into corners where they watch as the older shadows go away, into the door, the shrinking door.

Freedom is early. Freedom to be is a door. It opens and closes. The hinges on the door grow weary as the man enters. He's bigger than the door. His hands are red. His face is red. His eyes, white.

Subject verb agreement is a problem.

He enters, it closes. The night is older now. He's older too. Scary it is. This silence. I am scared. Trembling my pillows vibrate. I move to the door. I never shrink. The door does. He goes opposite. He engulfs my fear. He is bigger than me. He becomes me, enshrouded.

We are worse than dead. We are death. The night is still here. It is now always night. There are no stars. Just us. The death in the night our children extinguished upon.




he walked on water

   Why couldn't I?

what in his immortality

    was sacrificed?

what exactly?

    that he suffered


What She and I Suffer


a strange message of


Give me a cross to bear

Bare me on it

Give me a god for a mother

and a sexless father to birth me

Give me the power to rise








Tickled prick ignites fervor in entangled

Twined twinned mirrored by 359 degrees

Assailant flees freed of the burden of causality

Affected through infected feckless 


Quietly gnawing deep within the belly

Of the deepest love 

Born reborn rebore rebooted

Again and again

This trove of triviality

Connected still

Dis-quieted stirred on by the timeless



To be.





Swift sweetening blackness unfurling into stained wood

This world a world unknown

The art of becoming the became

Against the washed out backdrop erected 


Distracted becamest

The ghoulish souls of failed present presenting

Memetic devices - those traditions - the scripts

From the mount - those sermons - burning brushed

Commanded from neverwhere but here

O! Here!

This now already forgotten to the deserted sands

Of the oppressed - the depressed - the repressed. The the the.  Always the the.  These false dichotomies 

Us.  You. Them. Him.  Her.  Heard only in end

Giving up on becoming

Giving in to be done. 

Because it's hard. It's impossible.  The impossible dream

It's windmills whirling always over there

Upon the journey of a thousand other shadows

Time is at your back on the back of all that wasn't ever there. 

Out of time. Out of becoming. 

There.  She is.  





An ugliness flopped in mind

I turned up a stream of love songs

in major chords to flip

the sadness around

Those pleasant strums

brought me back to tops down


sun a mile high

cruising free

batting less than ten percent

trying for love

Then I was in a dark theater

crowds clapping

at my exasperated

and totally sincere

inhabitance of singing


ay! - I missed an E flat

at the high

but brought the house down

with a side smirk


Beautiful things are

adolescent dreams

of endless future triumph

Dances that are more look-sees

Promises Forever, lasting months

Streams of Aspiration

   ending every fourth period


Beautiful things are prime numbers

the distance between them grows, 

inconsistently, but grows

sometimes twinned back to back:

a wedding then wedding dances

filling a first home with a glass table

then your first fondu party, oil on fire.


Kids born after kids incepted

their first gasps then first grasps

Invalidating the pre-historic notion of beauty

the revelation that therein the birth there was real act of creation -

no matter how selfish -

there she is -

a purple gasping human sponge of awareness.


Beautiful things are cuts and scrapes trying adolescent things - becoming self.

Teaching your dad to 

become himself by getting hurt - 

not trying to get hurt -

but by trying to ride without training wheels

painting, writing, cooking, living.


Let Me Write of Beautiful Things

a school house of rushed voices urged on by rushed voices known so deeply

The Engagement of these Gasping Souls - The Acts of Creation, creating. themselves.

now in major chords

Let Them Write of Beautiful Things






Footfall footfall.  I walk one step after the other.  It is the 39th and 64th day of the walk.  


I reach the beach sun dipped but slightly cool.  The surfers baptizing the day and moms looking on wondering about sons and daughters.  The fishermen cast out for meals hauling in wriggling silver.  A billion and half footprints adorn the shore - wandering traces of heartbreak and desperation.  


My pace remains inefficient.  There's no where to rush and no one in particular to meet.  No one is expecting me.  I walk into a dream, a walking waking swirl.  


Bodies explode in furious supernovae of blood and guts as flags pierce the air.  Other bodies establish their destiny upon piles and piles tongues and eyes and hands - young and old and all innocent.  The destined afix themselves at the center of existence clothed in fear.  The void reveals itself.  A glimmering ghoulish faced mass.  It is me.  Then it is you.  And everyone. Ripping.  Gripping.  Tripping.  


The void expands mercilessly.  Feeding on accelerating desperation of existence.  The march of the bloody pulsating masses crying out fuels the combustion.  Each self claiming more righteously existential necessity.  Darker still.  More selfhood. More identity.  The differentiation is more fully drawn.  The void is more fully complete.  There is no truth.  


There's a great eruption.  The rapture of fear.  Great tears in the distance, everywhere.  The children look on.  Silent.  Beyond expression, their expressionless faces in the face of the dark unknown.  There are no colors.  


It is hot and it is also cold.  The void shivers its quickening.  Curling up in massive waves the formless form inhales the children.  They do not cry out.  They do not resist.  There are no destinies.  


It is quiet.  Silent.  I hear my breath.  Slightly labored I bring in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide.  I cannot see the void.  I cannot see the non void.  I am not standing anywhere.  I am in no relation.  There is nothing.  


Two dogs run by.  A boy chases them.  A car horn sounds out.   Three dirty men argue over at a bench.  Footfall.  I notice.  My steps.  And their relation to the ground, my origin.  





We're trapped and gotta get outta here

The clouds puff out and roll on

Bruce rings out while the meat smokes on

We give thanks 

all these thanks

Avoiding conversations in our haste 

That hummingbird finally slowed down enough

I caught him in slow motion 

I'm thankful for that

Been trying for years






Titling towards wayward dreams

The dallied romance seems

Ever drifting -  teaming /w demons

but it's just a breeze

Chasing the loosen leaves





Once I wrote about Shadows

but that's not really it


Let me tell you about guilt


i shouldn't be here






here I am.  I feeling liking always apologizing all the time when i meet you.


Hello, sorry, it's not me you meant to meet, hi, it's me.


my friends where i worked were shot in the face.


i wasnt. by five minutes.  i was still employee of the month.


wasn't i.


i love them.








and here is time riding shotgun

laughing at its mis-conception

tick tick tick tick

boom goes the unknown







She was French - A 3rd generation Parisian

I pumped her full of words

In desperate persuasion 

Until the police came From the academy

A guy named Larry 

In a suit, a real whitey

Showed up too

We mostly took turns

In those days

Issuing commands

Flopping about three point five

In the 305 

Wondering where in the world

Is Carmen

She got old 

And I moved on

Dos the way it goes



Learned out years later

She wasn't French or even German

She was a Netherlander




Walter Carnap


Milgram letter experiment


Agentic state 











Ears hear the screams in the distance

Playing girls with girls running round

The endless sands their crashing piles

And non resistance. 

Waves crashing with insistence over and over

World going round sun going down

On this day our daily bread

Some don't break but last decade I did

Dependent and repenting back then

Sad for my endless sin and my future

Saw the sun and the son not shown

But signed.  Signed and signed again 

Until I learned.  

I am the son and son I'm knot. Confused

But sort of released from the saccade of 

Each other 

Motionless I found not I but the blessed endless

Fading zon.  Out above the waves.  Pushing


On and on and on.  




Pastor Bruce raps on and on

Professing whispered teenager dreams

I want to be that teenager

I wasn't

I can be

Let me crawl into this ideal 

It's not real

But it's the only thing

This rasp of an east coast culture

How we all end up 

Sad wishing yesterday's were today's 

Hoping tomorrow's come at all. 

Autospelling our way out of the great

Bruce lyrics.  Wait

Until the machines figure

Out jersey. 




The old narrative is dead. 

They get confused. 

We all do.  




What hulk tread here

What shadowy transplant dared

Making a mark




Grass sneaking up all around

Holding gently the idle musings

Sweeping by in puffs of white on blue

When will it happens sinking

Between blades

Hands accidentally brush up

These unknown loves giving


To the possible





Syncopated sun drips

Flaunting at the walking trips

The hats and glasses

And burnt looks from too

Many days walking

Foot by foot they tick along




Reminded me of Phil Collins

The stereo sound of left right channel oscillation

The checked brick ground sunlit 

Just beyond the boats

Their owners still sleeping under seagull skies

A couple asleep on the bench

Day ending or day beginning slowly

They don't have any shoes on

It's thick today

The dogs pant leashed and running

Their look a likes panting too

The earth here is slopping its way

Into another turn of existence

Forcing strategies of redoubling 



No in between 

In the air





A really old stone house melts on the corner

Here in the District of Columbia 

Walking on a brick street holding up

The past and the consumer present

Great things happened here once

And they might yet again


Tonight I soak in the thickness of ideas

Brain pregnant with a possibilities

Drummed up by Terrance Tao 

His mathematics flying from west to east

Silly ideas of compression perception

Here it's bandwidth overload


Ground control to major tom

Wails from an open doorway

I slide slowly 

By and by

The space of all possibility spaces

Mined by minds and strums hard fingered


I do.  I will.  


Tomorrow there will be data.  An idea.  

Yesterday a trace.  History. 

Tonight there is music.   Melody. 


All at once I'm drenched in experience.  




I ordered a ratatouille crepe and had a coffee poured

Sartre ideals crossed my mind

The fork all plasticky threatened my escape

To monads and cogito ergo sum 

And dreams of wet paint on Parisian canvas


Sunsets on red brick

Strange wispy words lipped

Red with white cheeks

Flowing wined principles


It's powerful stuff in concourse d

Where the facade barely pulls off even

A facade

On the way I argued with a French driver

His complaints seemed alien

What is this France he speaks of?


Viva la revolution

The left! The left! Let's us live

High minded and Cartesian 

Mind above body above mind

Speak of freedom and love

And art

Men named Alain and their serious looks

Handsome clothes

Excellent words

Ah to be named Alain!


She mistook my order 

This is not a crepe

And this is a diet coke

The fork is plastic, that remains true

France isn't real is it?





Speakers blurt an old blues jam

Coffee burning as fast as

She can pour it

For the burned out middle class


Truckloads of work parked out back

They sip their last drop 

Of hope before the day

Begins its dreary beat


Every day



The same as it was before

The coffee burning

Its bitterness long gone unnoticed


It's already 78 outside

It'll be hot today

Everyone's eggs soggy and tasteless

In equilibrium with the air


Door swooshes old broken Bells jingle

Last man out

Napkins piled on the plates

Cups half empty

No longer steaming 

She clears the morning 

For the next mourning 

This one and that one long by gone. 




There's a torn net at the old court

Once where boys taught other boys

Right from wrong


The white cement cracked from dry heat

Worn from unending summer days

When the dreams were big


A well-weathered sneaker hides in the bush

Where Pete told a girl he loved her

Something he heard on tee vee 


It turned out ok

They all turned out

Moved away and grew

Hard and callous some

Soft and ruined others

One or two seemed happy even


The dreams they still float



For new bodies to attempt

The improbable

On that court and ever more. 




Spectrum drumming delirious riots

From sweating skin caresses the nights

Sky - crickets dancing in tune 

To the fingers wagging tales

Left to right they point the blame

To its biggest owner

The strange brood brooding corner

To corner - morning avoided again

The loner 

Sweeping in the back

His tears fall into the piles of dust

Kicked by passer byes 

Racing to claim the fading muster

Of the writhing sense unashamed

Anonymity body to body

He sweeps and weeps

While the drummer cracks his sticks

Taut snares and rolling thuds

Wrecking the silent cries 

Of a world gone mad 

Long gone mad made weary

The dawn never comes 

Not this time

Glory reigns on the worthy

Those insipid masses

Rioting against 





Theory of chairs




Be none optimized






Speaking truth power through

Billions and billions of bills

From Chapter 7 to 11

it is written

You are not bankrupt 

As long as you smite

The smitten abruptly

At the slightest

Mention of your false extension

Make American great again

But without all the women




They talk about creating.  These techies. The computers of computers. Creators. 


They do create.  They situate and insinuate for those silicon babies.  Packers of bits and queries. 


And then there's a chair.  Crafted. For all those




They mostly sit.  But really. 


Eons of the sitters.  Sitting.  And thinking.  Weary. 


And talking.  And designing. And drafting.  And tears pouring in contemplation of what was destroyed. 




now programming.  And computing. 


The computers didn't exist without the craftsman


The makers of chairs. 




The hearer of words, pages, gone 

Scripted from life's wages past

Poets spoken here this storied place

Lost now to Starbucks relentless pace

Of lines in commodities and timespace 










And what of it?

These repaved paths tread a million times over

Morning after morning

Chapel after temple after tavern after inc.

A ruse of steeled roses risen

Outward encroaching reproaching all

Until all went into the tiny screens

Holding court for our creative destruction

Rendering lost these monuments to supposed freedom

perfect prisons for our bodies and embodies

Perpetual motion achieved 

Relieved any notice

We seek to seek 

Not for what is sought




Cresting sea laps surfing men

Their arms back and forth reaching

No longer yearning

These riders cast along whispered white caps

Cutting and gliding as long as long will be

Back to shore, back past the break

Up down through and under

At one, at once a merger between board man water




All that is is pure relation


I find myself praying to a God that doesn't exist


Stuck in a war of pre determined wants


Damned if you don't, do if you're damned.  


I deserve nothing. 


Standing on the edge of a cliff with no bottom






A continuum. 


Needle haystack


Singleton to noise


Prediction to prescription


Report to market maker


Past to future


Pure idea to pure physicality


They live


Melancholy- the end of desire itself





not sure it matters. not sure this matters.
i think too much. about too much.
when my friends were shot in the face
and i barely left
i was employee of the month that time
i have brothers that shot more
than me
made more than me
but that night the night ruined
it's different
people who die. they die
at the end of someone who never meant
for them
to end




What led me to here is what leads everyone. A desire to persist - to persist as fully as the body can extend - to the furthest and greatest reaches of existence. I wish to become more evermore until the last breath of this thing, this connected life, exhales no more - to be more than was born. Let me Be that last tinge of orange upon the sun-glazed horizon's hem when that glorious orb takes its final bow.





Meaning lost the way out there
Ensnared by ennobled physics
Defiant though it pressed
Vanquished amongst the burgeoning snare
Of darkened matter stressed
Slitted slots their makers trace
The human race and its lovers




Tee vee glows in the corner
How does a poet make any money?

There's a man lying in another room
heart beating too quickly
The assistant doesn't make any money either

Junk bonds oversold again
Foot falls from fleeing wife punctuate

Two or three jobs each
the mattress bank emptied last week
coffee pours itself out of the beatnik

38,761 emails unread
first the inbox abandoned
then attachment
he's in the bathroom sweating
someone's life must be paid

breaking news, there's always breaking news.
how does a news anchor make any money?





6 for 39



My Life, in Poem. Part I.


From Here To There Ish:


Little boys not little enough 

forgotten by the authorities

they make out in the bathroom

learning from their sisters

they kiss in the dark on toilets


some days - ankles rumple under

sprained and wrapped they sleep

nap time with ripped corneas

but they fight on for honor

of doreans and moms


phosphates and weeds thrown

to trees in rented houses

honda civics adorn streets

in the springs near pikes and peaks

lots of jesus here


dad wheels of fortune runs out

robots tag him out

the machinists undone by machines

they are late for Christmas sometimes

stuck in the snow late

telling the machines their excuses

their kids wait


families move here and there

Mr. Fox and Ms. Wong 

implores a small class

of small people

to make a big book

it's full of cartoons and comics

he looks 

as he turns passed


Aurora, CO.  60605 or so.

Laredo Laredo

Again and once again

Siblings in a few rooms 

Sometimes cops, sometimes reigns

But always something

Old russ loves in wading pools

spill out and have that day

he remembers embarrassment and arrows


One day, amongst the many, life leaves

Spock is dead.


Someone killed him by taking him.

His only friend, gone.  5 stages.

Never to pass stage 1.

He relents knowing his Shepard is Gone.



My Life, Part 2:

Someones mother suggests a private thing
it's a soft blow for the real hit
why not move to the everglades
where no one goes and no knows

grass is greener there, everyday
mowed by a kid with allergies cut
Acres upon grapefruits upon mangos glut

a heart explodes. die hard plays out for the 11th time.
dad is dead in the living room.
he died in the back and someone somewhere took him
to where they fix you up.
vanilla ice convinces us
but dads chest says otherwise
someone has a few days, like 5,
to move us out into a new place.

ping ponging in the back dad sneaks in the back
he's still alive and so is God
someone young is in the garage
lifting things to Marky Mark
others are crashing things into trees
who are we all
I write poems to girls
and buy them watches

one night, a mom didn't know but she probably did,
i sneaks out, and kiss a girl for the first time
but i hand over a mickey watch
so am forgiven

one time we watch Toy Soldiers
in the same house we housed real soldiers
sometimes army guys come in
and act tough

we teepee their friends houses anyway.




My Life, Part 3: Ever felt hurricane winds?
Staircases are cool until you have to spend all night in em. 
and pissers as buckets
that's your deal
transformers blow out
little eyes pout wondering
we gettin out? 
then they sleep by accident
dad tied mattresses to windows
and handrails
it's cute and cool
who knew better then?
dan h hiding with me
since 5th grade
spam ingested

national guard kept us from
chainsaws made you KING
so we KINGED

next theater happened, when school kicked in
jesus called me a fag
so i gave up jesus
but no one knew this
dude jacked in his civic
ridin by lookin in
confused me
i gave up church then

for a show, 9-5 like.
head of all told me i weak
for denying anything
i cried
he sent me home
broke the mystic
i still cried weak

nailed it
and moved anyway
cause parents go that way
fuck em


My Life, Part 3.5: You Ever Wondered?

Once I wrote about Shadows
but that's not really it

Let me tell you about guilt

i shouldn't be here



here I am. I'm feeling like always apologizing all the times when i meet you.

Hello, sorry, it's not me you're meant to meet, hi, it's me.

my friends where i worked were shot in the face.

i wasnt. by five minutes. i was still employee of the month.

wasn't i.

i love them.





Me, Part 5:

Repressed certainly
College not certainly
this guy, not a really a guy
at the time reading
i was Celestine prophesy
drove to chicago anyway
left behind

And now here they are. All my are.

Yet before this that
OK bombing happened, but we didn't care then.
some of us did.
we didn't think it matted sin.
plenty blown up
in OK but us on a bench
sell shocked but really no reach.

A call

University of Chicago.

(yeah, cool.)



my life will never be the same.





Part 6, the advent of ideas about unbecoming


You weigh less around plutonium

Found this out looking at fermi

Where he touched atoms

And blew things up 


You know less in a discussion session

Read everything carefully 

But the third section 

Turns out there was the key suggestion


You aren't who you think you are

Did too many shows

Playing too many characters

To remember my own lines


You know math occasionally

Between the shirtless dances 

And the endless lattes

A few proofs fell out

Not always gracefully

None the less, qed