30 April 2008

"happy spring"

that's what the card sd on this box which Fed X just deliverd:

my cousin & her husband sent me this gift from Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolate. it's got to be the most beautiful collection of bonbons I've ever seen. right after taking this picture I devourd one to see if they taste as good as they look. on the basis of the one I tried they surely do. it was an exquisite blend of strawberry caramel & balsamic vinegar.

thx Regina & John ...

29 April 2008

22 April 2008

just when I felt down cdn't get deeper

Ray Craig surprisd me with the loveliest gift.

& suddenly gophers & a sad monk & Pennsylvania don't matter.

the cruelty of nature

I've been fighting gophers since moving in. these voracious rodents eat bulb & root & tuber. every means to conquor them has been unsuccessful.

their latest damage has been the most painful to me. I grew a Spanish Broom from seed. it's one of my prize plantings. here is how it lookd in bloom 3 years ago:

when I saw that it wasn't greening I inspectd & the entire bush was leaning over. there was a gopher hole next to its base. those fricking rodents ate the roots. I nearly wept digging it up.

21 April 2008

"Alice Neel"

it's startling to me that it's been 45 years since I was at a party in Manhattan with the artist.

her grandson has made a vibrant documentary abt Neel which is a must for anyone interestd in painting.

Neel's message is that artists must make what they feel they need to make & that they need to keep on doing it.

20 April 2008

hot wiener

Oscar Mayer has 6 Wienermobiles. you've probably seen one in a parade. but to mark the company's 125th anniversary there is a wee addition to the fleet. there is now a Mini Wienermobile (built on top of a Mini Cooper).

the little guy was in my neighborhood with one of the big boys & of course I had to see them. I even got a free wiener whistle (don't go there Vera...).

18 April 2008

a flood of emotions

a while ago I found some small tape cassettes from the late '80s thru the mid '90s. I had taped messages left on my answering machine. I gave them to neighbor Phil who transferd them to CDs which he brought over last nite.

Jonathan Williams
David Meredith
all dead within a month.
& there were their voices.

& so many others who have died: James Broughton   Joe Chaikin   Duane Hartzell   Bobby Lewis   Bernique Longley   Richard Martin   Algesa O'Sickey   Shannon Rodgers   Ruth Warrick. even some meows from my beloved cats Toby & Melina.

it was overwhelming to listen to more than 2 hours of messages from the past.

not all were from the dead. there was Bea Arthur's deep voice. & John Ericson singing Rodgers & Hammerstein. & Edmund White calling from Paris. & Jean-Claude van Itallie singing "Happy Birthday." & Thrity Umrigar wanting to go out for coffee. & Madeline Gins asking abt libraries. & Richard Grossinger planning a visit.

those old tapes brought back so many memories of so many wonderful people. damn. I've been a lucky man.

17 April 2008

hanging out with the guys

on the PBS profile of Whitman last nite I was surprisd to hear of Thoreau's visit. somehow that meeting escapd my memory.

before visiting Thoreau's grave in Concord in 1966 I dippd my toes into Walden Pond:

& in 1979 David Meredith & I visitd Whitman's grave. I remember a b&w photo of us there but have no copy. a few years ago I askd David to search for it but he was unable to locate it in his sprawling archives. I fear his death will mean the photo will never be unearthd.

the hottest man on t-v

last nite was Walt Whitman.

16 April 2008


the current Vanity Fair includes a chunk of a new book abt one of my faves Doris Day. I suspect the dazzling Doris is no longer a big enuf draw to make the cover. so VF put on Madonna.

I know some will ask me to return my gay card but I never got Madonna. yes she has an amazing ability to get publicity. but I've never found her talentd or appealing in any kind of a way.

15 April 2008

way back

when I was taking Charlie Brill's photography class I shot this photo of my grandfather on Camden Ave in Lorain.

I gave a print to my father who kept it on the dresser next to his bed. it's among his effects which I shippd here & have begun to integrate with my things.

Annie get yr gun

is there anything Hillary won't do to steal the nomination?

13 April 2008


45 years ago this month I bought my first Jargon book from Jim Lowell when the Asphodel was still in The Arcade. it was R. Buckminster Fuller's Untitled Epic Poem on the History of Industrialization. the cover featurd a geodesic dome.

less than 2 years later Fuller came to Kent State. he spoke for 2 & a half hours & I was mesmerizd. when I returnd to South Willow I immediately began writing a long poem in response. my roommate Mike Chikiris took those pictures of me as I was composing. I no longer have the poem but I remember my professor Jake Leed telling me that while it mite be meaningful to me as a means of retrieving what Fuller sd it wasn't a good poem.

a little more than 2 years after that I walkd abt in the huge geodesic dome the United States built in Montreal as its pavillion for the worlds fair. it was one of those tingly moments that great structures can produce. somewhere I have the pin from there featuring the dome.

last nite the Lensic presentd "R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe." Joe Spano playd the philsopher/architect who had been such an important part of the '60s for me. I hadn't rememberd the vaudevillian nature of Fuller but I did recognize some of the physical gestures the actor employs. & the script is as full of ideas as was my long-ago nite with the man himself.

at one point near the end Fuller refers to the Montreal dome as his Taj Mahal. that observation began to bring back the tingle.

11 April 2008

at midnite

Dustin Brookshire went live with the premiere issue of Limp Wrist. I'm delightd that it includes a little interview Montgomery Maxton did with me.

thx     guys.

Dr. Pramuk & the frogs

in The Year Book I wrote of a reunion with my dear college friend Cynthia:

her daughters     Amy 4     Jennifer almost 2
greet me at the door

& later:

while Jennifer chases bugs
we eat chicken & pilaf

this picture of me with Jenny was taken a dozen years later.

& some months after here she is watching PeeWee Herman on Morris Rd.

all of this history came flooding back when Cynthia sent me the link to a film of Dr. Jennifer Pramuk being interviewd abt frogs for the Sundance Channel. I immediately wrote back to Cynthia that watching the video gave me an avuncular glow.

10 April 2008

I turnd on

the tv to see what mite be of interest tonite. & there was "Hootenanny Hoot" just at the moment when one of my favorite singers was being introducd. Judy Henske -- slinky tall in white with that black hair -- rippd into "Wade in the Water." the director was dancer Gene Nelson so he threw in a gaggle of chorus boys who kept waving their hands. not sure if they were supposd to be water or what. but they were only a minor distraction. Henske blew them away.

09 April 2008

photo booth

as a child there were photo booths all over the place. & I have many wonderful pictures taken in them. so I was delightd 11 years ago to find one in the basement of the Warhol Museum in Pittsburg. here I am with 2 of my oldest & dearest buddies Billy & David.

08 April 2008

in today's

Albuquerque Journal Leslie Linthicum has an article abt the quarter ceremony which ends with a quotation from me.

07 April 2008

2 bits

our guv & the director of the mint launchd the New Mexico quarter at the Roundhouse this morning. I got a roll for Mom who's been collecting the state series & a roll for myself to use in a future piece.

06 April 2008

emotional rollercoaster

sorting Dad's effects
dealing with continuing paperwork
writing more thankyous

(my special thx to cousins Regina & Sal
for their support again)

02 April 2008

01 April 2008

yoke. o? o no....

    Eggs Benedict and conversation.

    That's my idea of a good time.

            Tom Beckett (31 mar 08)

at the gym this ayem I was applying the Burt's Bees Hand Salve that David Meredith gave me to my feet when I suddenly sd to myself "is eggs art?"

grammar be damnd. it seemd a powerful intellectual moment in the life of a non-intellectual. was I concernd that my recent eggsperiment has attractd no following? blather. little of my 40 years of scribbles has seen notice. writing is what writers do. & I'll keep on doing it till they stick the morphine under my tongue.

I don't eat eggs often. & my social circle has shrunk. death does that. so I talk to myself. I try to have a good time. & a large part of that is writing. when things get bleak -- which is what aging seems to be abt -- it's all that gets me thru.

one friend introduces me to another

going thru some old files I discoverd some fading snapshots. this was taken on Morris Rd in oct of 1980. it's the 1st photo of me with P. Craig Russell. the photographer was David Meredith who introducd us. (don't ask what I'm wearing. it was a long time ago. I do remember the cake on the table was for PCR's birthday.)

in 1989 PCR   David   Alfred Cavaretta & I pose for "The Magic Flute."