31 March 2005

da news

television news is lousy with the demise of that woman in Florida & the coming one of the pope. I learnd of Creeley's death from a blog (A.D. Thomas').

I shd give up on tv news & spend more time reading blogs.

30 March 2005

Robert Creeley (1926-2005)


For love -- I would
split open your head and put
a candle in
behind the eyes.

Love is dead in us
if we forget
the virtues of an amulet
and quick surprise.

bookmen past

when I'd visit NYC in the late 60s & early 70s the Village was always on the agenda. pastry at Sutter's   burger at Julius   rum & coke at the Dugout. & always the bookstores.

Cinemabilia was on Cornelia   near Cafe Cino. its owner was an often morose man by the name of Ernest Burns. he ran the place alone. later it movd to a bigger space & his staff rangd from artist Ira Joel Haber to punk rockers Richard Hell   Tom Verlaine & Robert Quine. I still consult my film library almost daily. & many of the oldest books in it were from Cinemabilia.

a more pleasant bookdealer was Craig Rodwell who ran the Oscar Wilde over on Mercer. it's considerd the world's first gay bookstore.

then there was the 8th Street Bookstore. I think it was the spring of 1969 when I met a young poet who workd there. his name was Andrei Codrescu. we were both appearing in the little mags of the day. I invitd him to send me poems for Toucan.

this came back to me this ayem when I read Bill Reed's blog. I probably saw him in those days when he workd there as well. I haven't read Reed's memoir of that time but his blog has been on my daily list since Jim Parish told me abt it. he writes mostly abt music   recalling such fading fiugures as Dwight Fiske & Beverly Kenney. you won't regret reading his interview with Millie Perkins.

29 March 2005

Wu Sin & friendship

years ago one dear friend gave me a memento of another. Ira Joel Haber giftd me with a lobbycard for "The Secrets of Wu Sin"   a forgotten poverty row quickie. it features Lois Wilson. I look at the card often but presumd the movie was lost.

Posted by Hello

not long ago another friend of many years James Robert Parish told me abt Hollywood's Best Movies which specializes in obscure titles. there I found Lois'1932 credit. hardly a major work nonetheless it's an appealing film. Lois gives another of her understatd performances in the role of a faild novelist whose suicide attempt is foild by a newspaper editor. he gives her a job & she's soon cracking a big story in Chinatown. the script is by Betty Burbridge who had a long writing career in Hollywood   specializing in westerns.

so watching the film brought together Lois & Ira Joel & Jim which made it not like seeing most movies. this one had a personal mark of friendship on it. & that made for a lovely evening.

28 March 2005

remembering Carolyn Jones

only a cinemaddict can understand how watching an inconsequential film can still be a thrill if someone you like is in it.

last nite Carolyn Jones made me watch a minor western made more than a half century ago. in "Three Hours to Kill" she was still blonde. it was a throwaway part as a card dealer in love with boss Laurence Hugo. obviously apprentice work but still intriguing because she was always such a big presence for me.

we were 10 when my best friend Tom & I first saw "House of Wax." I think that was when my love affair began. in the summer of 1958 I became a member of her fan club. when I paid my dues I got this inscribd photo:

Posted by Hello

for more than 30 years it's been on the walls of my last 3 houses. so I still see her every day.

probably most people today remember Carolyn Jones for her tv work: from the role of Morticia Addams to Wonder Woman's mother   from the mini-series "Roots" to the soap she was doing at the time of her death "Capital." but I treasure her body of screen appearances. her few minutes in "The Bachelor Party" got her an Oscar nod. she romancd Sinatra in Capra's "A Hole in the Head" & Presley in Curtiz's "King Creole." many think her greatest performance was in "Baby Face Nelson" but unfortunately some legal rangling has kept that film from sight for years.

I saw her twice. in a Pinter play in Cleveland. & in the audience of a Broadway show. at the latter I spoke with her at intermission. it was an honor to be able to tell Carolyn Jones how much she meant to me over the decades.

27 March 2005

looking more like xmas

woke to a cool house. been having furnace problems. thot they were solvd but obviously not. so I startd a fire in the livingroom.

for those interestd in such things the piece in front is from Bennington's Norton Pottery. it's a gift from Jean-Claude van Itallie who I haven't seen in too long.

Posted by Hello

26 March 2005

living the movies

current news: bad remakes of classic cinema.

those religious nuts a-weepin' & a-wailin' (esp when tv cameras are on) have creatd a carnival outside the hospice in Florida. but it isn't nearly as good as what Billy Wilder gave us. at least he wrote better lines. who can forget Jan Sterling (who died a year ago today)saying "I don't go to church. Kneeling bags my nylons."

the Vatican's press flacks wheel out the pope & shoot him from behind. not of the quality of Fellini.

& as delightfully bent as Gannon/Guckert is it pales beside a good old Sam Fuller subplot.

25 March 2005

a nite out

my dinner companions this evening were a pair of lovely Karens & their spouses -- Robert Nott & John Ericson.

at Los Potrillos Posted by Hello

24 March 2005

songs of the dead

Billy Budd

  Theodor Uppman creatd the role in the Britten opera

At the Moving Picture Ball

  a personal favorite from "The Very Best of Bobby Short"

Mr. Cellophane

  Barney Martin broke my heart in "Chicago"

& a singer with words: after learning of the deaths of these men who sang I was googling some friends I hadn't heard from in a while last nite & shockingly found out that Ron Schrieber died last summer from cancer.

I met the poet at the 1970 COSMEP conference & kept in that kind of off & on touch that happens. Ron was a founder of Hanging Loose & editor of 31 American Poets but was also a poet. I've pulld his books from the shelf & will read him this afternoon.

23 March 2005

Fred Ott meets Gary Brolsma

for those like me who find the incunabular days of film thrilling the earliest work of Edison & the Lumiere freres remains essential viewing.

one of the first famous films is the short "Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze" (1894) which is also known as "Fred Ott's Sneeze."

the other day a friend sent me "Numa Numa Dance." I'd seen part of the popular self-video on tv & certainly read abt it online. in case you've been in a cave this is the short film of a New Jersey 19 year-old lip-syncing to a song by O-zone.

watching it fresh I immediately thot of Fred Ott. when he put snuff in his nose in front of an Edison camera he became a part of cinema history. he was not the first person to appear before a camera -- just as Brolsma isn't the first to dance on webcam. but there was something abt Ott's quick moment that has lastd. & I have the feeling that when the history of the internet gets written it'll include a photo of Brolsma.

22 March 2005

happy 75

to celebrate Sondheim's birthday I began the day by listening to the OBC album of "Sweeney Todd."

21 March 2005

"in favor of life"

I'm not the only gringo at my gym. but there is a clear Hispanic majority in the membership. I presume most of them are Catholic just as I've always presumd that Catholics are taught to be an unquestioning flock. so I was quite surprisd this ayem. in the sauna a white-haird gent sd "I can't believe Congress wants to keep alive a woman who's been brain dead 15 years while they support killing thousands of innocent people in Iraq." his friends actually agreed.

this gave me such a rush. perhaps the administration's blatant pandering to the religious right & the legislature's attempt to rewrite previous judicial rulings will stir folks to realize what's happening in this country. as I walkd home the rush got headier. I imagind the citizenry finally fuming. I imagind Shrub impeachd   DeLay imprisond   Frist demotd to a college presidency. there was a bounce in my step. for a moment there was a bounce in my step.

party line

Brian's Drive-In is one of my fave websites. I presume he must be my age because he tends to focus on the stars I knew as a boy.

here are a couple of pictures from his site which showd how young men kept in touch in that long-ago time before cell phones.

Rory & Guy Posted by Hello

Tab & John Posted by Hello

in case you're too young to remember (& if you are get thee to Blockbuster) the first photo is Rory Calhoun & Guy Madison. & on the bottom (did I really say that?) are Tab Hunter (whose autobio is in the works) & John Bromfield.

20 March 2005

spring awakens

& I feel pissy.

all day the sky has been various shades of gray. in between nasty winds & some cold rain there was a cameo of sun. nothing on tv but car racing & religious babble & those loonies in Congress. I tried to post some pix here but cdn't get Hello to function.

then in the middle of such malaise I rec'd an e from Richard Lopez responding to my bartender reverie with the Thom Gunn poem that begins Bartending is a branch of show business.

nothing like a vision of perky nipples to welcome spring.

19 March 2005

let us prey

some wonder why I loathe religions so. simply put: organizd religion has brought more pain to the planet than peace.

almost daily there are new examples of the hypocrisies of churches & their leaders. the latest comes from San Diego. a Catholic by the name of John McCusker died. because he ownd 2 gay bars his bishop -- Robert Brom -- denied him a funeral in the SD diocese. this is the same Brom who was accusd of coercing a young seminarian into having sex. altho the bishop denied the accusation his church settld the lawsuit by giving the young man $100000.

18 March 2005

a couple of bartenders

it's been nearly 21 years since my last drink. don't miss it at all. but for some reason I've been thinking abt a pair of bartenders. both dead now they were on opposite coasts in the mid '70s. for different reasons I was attractd to both.

John Gibson workd at Numbers when it was at its original location across Sunset Blvd from Schwab's. I first saw the onetime Chippendale stripper showing all in the pages of Playgirl. I never followd soaps on tv with any kind of regularity so I missd his appearances there. however I did see him in bit parts in movies. he had a stunning body which explains my attraction. he wasn't particularly personable as a bartender. all business. I went to the bar cause it was a quick walk from Chateau Marmont -- my residence when I visitd Hollywood. its reputation was as a hustler bar. I never heard if Gibson was gay-for-pay. when he died in a 1986 plane crash he was living with Vanna White.

Kim workd at Backstage which was a restaurant & piano bar in Manhattan's theater district. it was the venture of Cleveland-born Ted Hook. Ted was a likable follow who startd in show biz as a Hollywood extra & dancer. he was one of the men in uniform behind Aldo Ray (not a bad place to be) in "Miss Sadie Thompson." & I believe he was one of those gentlemen who dangld diamonds at Marilyn in that famous musical number. he eventually became secretary to Tallulah Banhkead & then Joan Blondell. his place was always packd with celebs   many of whom wd get up & perform. I spent many a nite at the bar where Kim was a sweet presence. if I ever knew his last name it's gone. I believe he was an actor who was employd behind the bar more often than on a stage. even if it'd be months between visits he'd remember me. & now some 30 years later I still remember him.

17 March 2005

red state reality

the friends I left behind at Kent State University are depressd. under the "leadership" of a Republican governor the university faces a 5 million dollar cut. I happen to believe that those who vote for the likes of a Bush or a Taft deserve the screwing they will inevitably get. however in the process too many good folks are screwd as well.

I paid little attention to my former state's fiscal woes till Mark Bloch informd me of the disaster visiting my former university turf. Mark is a mail artist whose research into Ray Johnson is formidable. years ago I arrangd for his collection to come to Kent.

for those of you who don't know: when I took an early retirement 11 years ago I was curator of Special Collections & Archives. from modest beginnings my mentor Dean Keller built an important collection   notably strong in contemporary poetry. his partnership with legendary bookdealer Jim Lowell brought renown to Kent State. over the years the department amassd the typescript of WCW's Paterson   key Hart Crane letters   James Broughton's papers   & significant holdings of Robert Duncan & d.a. levy. later amazing collections of theater & true crime attractd scholars from around the world.

the current library administration is having a tough time dealing with its share of the university's cutbacks. my belief is that something like a special collections department at a state institution is considerd a luxury. a football team that never wins is more important to any university than a bunch of old books. so my former department is struggling to stay alive. the university won't even fill its vacant position of archivist.

let's return to Mark Bloch. he was ready to add to his mail art collection but was informd that the department cd no longer accept his gift. in fact they were more than willing to return his entire collection. all of this is part of the library's strategic planning which includes a "no growth policy" for Special Collections & Archives.

all of this saddens me. part of it is ego. I realize the university has no obligation to former employees. however as someone who workd diligently to guide an emerging collection I feel hurt that no one at the university botherd to inform me of this "no growth policy." & I worry that the collections I brought to Kent are being dismantld. & sadder still is the knowledge that I can no longer fight for my department. in fact the library has made it clear that it is no longer my department.

16 March 2005


anyone out there old enuf to remember when silhouettes were in vogue?

then & now Posted by Hello

altho the silhouette began in antiquity it became a popular art form abt 250 years ago. everyone from royalty to Robert Burns wd turn sideways while an artist cut out their profile in black paper.

Wallie Spatz was a Clevelander who began her career as a silhouette artist in WW2. she'd cut the outlines of servicemen in USO clubs in California. she did my profile in the spring of 1960 & Mother has had it on the wall above her desk for years. last report was that Spatz is 90 & lives in Port Charlotte FL where she's a trustee of the cultural center. her work surfaces from time to time on ebay.

altho parents no longer line up their children to have silhouettes made the significance of the form continues. one presumes that Ray Johnson must've had his done as a child.

15 March 2005


last year Matthew Wascovich askd me to write an intro to East Rec. this Slow Toe publication features poems by Wasco & Matthew Jablonski. the buddies grew up together in my hometown of Elyria so it was fun to be askd to break the champagne bottle on the bow of this venture.

last week I finally met Jablonski. after college he spent some time in Boulder sitting in on Anne Waldman's classes at Naropa. now he's back in Ohio where he's married & a new father. when he isn't writing poems (publishd in wee editions by Octagon Free Press) or playing with his son he teaches history at my old high school.

there are many years between our growing-up-in-Elyria stories but it was fun to compare. that wonderful old library downtown was gone before Matt began formulating memories but he did work out in the ancient gym at the Y before its destruction.

before departing I suggestd that when the weather improves he & Wasco & I get together at Cascade Park.

Matt with the Century Dimes Posted by Hello

14 March 2005

the winter of one hundred inches of snow

8 miles from Lake Erie
Elyria attracts snow
like cowpies flies

each morning
of this visit
back to Winckles St

I start the day
wiggling into Dad's boots
pulling down woolen cap

it mite be fun
to make fresh tracks
on a trek to Cleveland St

instead I tend
to filial tasks
pushing a broom

till snow white
pavement gray

I remember
a winter perhaps
a half century ago

when the snow
seemd to reach
my waist

then magic
now burden
times change

this snow
feels heavier
each morning

sweeping it away
clears mind
cleans memory

I am the me
I was
& am

& now

Posted by Hello

13 March 2005

Mr & Mrs G

Posted by Hello

I love my parents. so it's more than disturbing to witness them struggle with the indignities of long life. at 83 Mom is hobbld by hang toes & arthritis in the knees. at 86 Dad juggles a variety of infirmities. it seems cruel that the reward for longevity is pain.

while their physical stamina has diminishd   their attitude is positive & their good humor thrives. happily their minds are clear. both read 2 newspapers every morning. Dad delights in fixing machines & preparing his annual garden. Mom cooks for neighbors less well than she is & continues to act as a clipping service -- denuding newspapers & magazines to send appropriate materials to those abt whom she cares. both laugh abt their ailments. Mom tells me "Sonny   don't get old." if I have to live as long as they have I hope I inherit their courage.

08 March 2005


I'm leaving the house while it's still dark to get to the airport. visiting the folks.

while I'm gone here is a list of poets from that state to contemplate.

07 March 2005

attention: Yankees & Scalawags

thx to Carol Burnett one of the most famous costumes in film history is Scarlet O'Hara's dress made from curtains.

Austin's Ransom Center -- which includes a healthy helping of Gildzen titles & print oddities as well -- currently is exhibiting materials from "Gone With the Wind." if you can't get to Austin the curators have put a great deal of it online.

06 March 2005

a list

my Dennis Cooper story got me to thinking abt people who I've never met but have talkd with on the phone. they include novelists Joseph Hansen & Edmund White   poets Guy Davenport & Gerrit Lansing   literary scholar Brom Weber   artist Charlie Atlas   actor Richard Harrison   director Henry King   cinematographer James Wong Howe   queer theorist Mark Thompson   & singer John Alcorn.

05 March 2005

my Dennis Cooper story

a friend just sent me a review of Cooper's most recent novel. I must admit I haven't kept up with his work.

in mar '81 I wrote to Cooper. he was booking the Beyond Baroque readings then. I was coming to LA the next month to attend the Academy Awards & was hoping I cd do a reading. he wrote back saying the readings were bookd but gave me his phone number & suggestd we meet. he liked my James Dean poem.

I no longer remember all the details of our call. I was on my bed at Chateau Marmont & have the recollection that the conversation had tinges of mystery & sexuality. we agreed to meet at a theater. there was a French film festival going on & we both wantd to see the new Chabrol. I think it was at what once was the Earl Carroll Theater. since we'd never seen each other I told him I'd take my copy of Idols.

so there I was in that lovely lobby walking around   looking at every young man who passd. I'd try to lift my copy of Idols but not wave it abt. no one came up to me. I saw the movie & when it was over waitd in the lobby till it was empty. then I took a cab back to the hotel.

I didn't call Cooper again nor did he phone me so I don't know if he was unable to show up or if he was there & seeing me with his book chose not to meet. because we were both poets I was annoyd at the non-meeting. but as the years have sped by it seems an amusing tale. I prefer to think he was there but was playing a trick on me.

03 March 2005

an ayem full of poets' blogs

my knight's heart
at sight of
a poet in a speedo
in Piazza della Signoria

my slowly feeling penumbra
into chalk dust
which scatters

in after-
noon's breeze

02 March 2005

looking back

ever want to go backwards on the net?

a poster on a message board I frequent informd us abt the Wayback Machine. it's an internet archive which allows you to retrieve old addresses.

01 March 2005

from the folks that brought us the Patriot Act

the creep that Shrub chose to follow the last creep who was Attorney General has made his first major speech. in it he announcd that distributors of "obscene material" aren't protectd by the Constitution.

I'm presuming that means Gonzales will stop Jeff Gannon from posting those nakie pix online.

& for those interestd in the federal budget deficit this administration has giftd us all check out r.j.s. . you must read his recommendation to investors as a hedge against inflation.

I haven't seen r.j. in some years. it's a joy to know he's still releasing provocative notions into the spheres.