27 June 2020

in terms of Covid I live in one of our 3 worst states. & in Riverside County which is second only to LA County for number of cases. Republicans blame this on Mexicans. they don't seem to see the throngs of rude tourists who come to play without rules.

in the last day or 2 several restaurants & bars in town have closed back down because of sick employees. the grapevine claims there are at least 10 more with employees who got sick but aren't closing.

the country is being ostracized by the world because of our mismanagement of this crisis. the president cowers in fear -- not wearing a mask because it will smear his makeup. his enablers refuse to speak up.

in 3 years we've become a shit hole country. I don't mind that I'm in my 4th month of strict quarantine to save myself & protect others. but I do mind having to live in this stench.

07 June 2020

on my morning walk

my mind stuck on the barrels of photos on social media. people -- sans masks -- hugging in restaurants & laughing in bars. did I not get the memo that the pandemic was over? am I the last person in town still sheltering in place?

maybe the stats I read remain unknown to my fellow citizens. I understand the economy requires a reopening of businesses. but nothing requires me to act as anyone but me.

& as I walkd I felt buoyd by the strength of solitude. I began to see these 3 months of quarantine as a blessing. a chance to withdraw from the din & purpose oneself. I see myself more clearly & I see which friends are really friends.

& as I walkd Thoreau suddenly appeard to me. so when I got home I sat in Gertrude Duryea's rocker with a mug of java & read the beginning of Walden. I'd forgotten that he lived alone in the woods for 2 years & 2 months. but I cd see the value that comes with such a communion with oneself. & how life affirming are his words.

so I'm content with my decision to eschew the stampede to public outings. & I'm firm in rejecting the bullying I'm beginning to get for not responding to invitations to dine.  when Thoreau finishd his experiment & began his writing he reflectd: "At present I am a sojourner in civilized life again." at present I'm happy to be where I am.

at Walden Pond (1966)

01 June 2020

"The Nite the Lights Went Out at the White House"

fires outside his window
so the president
cowers in a bunker
wetting his diaper

a sick nation
droplets of shame

15 May 2020

"Pens That Don't Write"

it takes a pandemic
to get to some projects

I tackled a drawer
full of pens
those that work
remain in the drawer
those out of ink
ready to toss
the sentimentalist in me
wasn't ready

so I made art

I stuck
a baker's dozen
in a pillow
& now have
"Pen Cushion"

for the record:
the pens are from
Algonquin (NYC)
Burnham Hotel (Chicago)
Canterbury Hotel (San Francisco)
Chelsea Savoy (NYC)
Clifford House (Cleveland)
Colonial House (NYC)
Desert Paradise (Palm Springs)
Monterey Bay Inn (Monterey)
Parker House (San Francisco)
The Phoenician (Scottsdale)
Poe Museum (Richmond)
La Posada (Albuquerque)
Rio (Las Vegas)

04 May 2020

John Ericson (1926-2020)

I'd seen John Ericson at several of those big awards events I went to at the Beverly Hilton but we didn't meet til the summer of 1994. I'd moved to Santa Fe only abt 10 weeks when I went to a party for my friend James Broughton. the poet/filmmaker was in town & a new friend who was an art patron brought together many of the city's movers & shakers to meet him & see a screening of his most famous film "The Bed."

soon I was seeing a lot of John & his wife the actress Karen Huston. they were at both the first & last party at my adobe house on Brother Abdon. 

I've known so many actors in my life. they all have/had thriving egos. but John was different. he was realistic abt a long career which included success on Broadway as well as in film & television. he was honest & kind. as much as I tried to pry gossip out of him he was always the gentleman. he had a sweet sense of humor & I loved sharing laughter with him.

I remember one time he calld me & askd what I was doing that evening. I told him I was going to an art opening. he sd he had a friend in town & wd meet me there. that friend turnd out to be Anne Francis. he was delightd to refer to himself as Sam Bolt & to her as Honey West.

I haven't returnd to Santa Fe since I moved to Palm Springs. so my last contact with John was on the phone. we always found something positive & if possible humorous to discuss. I'll miss you my friend.

27 April 2020

everything old is new again

I just read a Facebook post from someone who was suddenly appalld that he'd spent 5 minutes watching a livestream of someone cutting his hair.

I immediately rememberd the mid to late '90s. there were some people who set up webcams in their homes which wd come on either from time to time or stayd on almost all day. a whole group of gay men -- including myself -- became addictd to watching what we calld cam boys or cam ops & historically became known as lifecasters.  there were Sean Patrick & Rex & Soren & Puppy & others. what we got in those days were glimpses of a life & not the porn by request which it apparently evolved into.

I became known as Poet Laureate of the Cam Boys because of poems I wrote abt them.  here's the first of a sequence calld "Refreshing Pages."


every 30 seconds he flashes on my monitor
like a Muybridge series
or a Warhol film stuck in the projector

guilty as Jimmy Stewart in "Rear Window"
I observe a liftd leg
a hand jerk to cover crotch

I examine folds in the blue sheet
that covers him
like an art historian studying Zurbaran

this is hypnotism by design
as I loose sleep
watching a stranger sleep

(aug 1998)

there was an AOL chat room for fans of the cam boys. we'd often alert each other when a particular fave was undressing or whatever.  I met some dandy chaps there -- guys who are still friends. I was even interviewd by filmmaker Ron Pajak in Las Vegas for a documentary which never got made.

so this pandemic has brought us back to a place we were over 20 years ago.  I'm still friends on Facebook with Rex. last I heard & that's been some time Soren was a bartender in San Francisco. I have no idea what's happend to all the other cam boys. wonder if any of them are watching folks livestreaming the ordinary in these extraordinary times.

25 April 2020

"Pandemic Rose"

abt 5 weeks ago I wrote a poem with this name. I took a photo of myself with the title rose.

being an archivist I allowd the rose to dry so I cd save the memory. being an artist I decided to use its dried petals for a piece.

I think this is the first time an art piece has the same name as a poem. in a way they're interlockd. what I did was to put one petal each into 20 envelopes. the envelopes were from hotels I'd stayd at in days past. I chose this because most hotels are closed & travel is on hold.

here are the hotels:

Alexander Inn (Philadelphia)
Algonquin (NYC)
Avenue Plaza (New Orleans)
Chateau Marmont (Hollywood)
Clifford House (Cleveland)
Empire (NYC)
Grande Bretagne (Athens)
Harper Lodge (Denali Park)
Lexington (NYC)
McKinley (Denali Park)
The Mark (NYC)
Mark Spencer (Portland)
Othon Palace (Rio)
Paramount (NYC)
La Posada (Albuquerque)
La Posada (Santa Fe)
Quality Inn (Chicago)
Rio (Las Vegas)
Tamaya Resort (Santa Ana Pueblo)
El Tovar (Grand Canyon)

I have been in no building but my house for the past 6 weeks. I don't know when I'll return to a post office. so I don't know right now how & to whom I'll distribute these.