30 April 2005


this afternoon I saw "Downfall"   the film abt the final days of the Nazi regime. it wasn't till during the movie that I realizd today is the 60th anniversary of Hitler's suicide.

I won't be mentioning this scary coincidence in Alex in Movieland.

29 April 2005

Paul Metcalf

my first nite in Culver City Paul Metcalf was in my dreams. he & Nancy were in my yard in Santa Fe. he'd just read my latest & presentd me with a long handwritten critique.

in reality the Metcalfs -- frequent Kent visitors -- never came to Santa Fe because Nancy had some inner-ear complexity which preventd travel to high altitudes. & Paul never wrote long critiques of my work -- altho we discussd each other's. after his death 6 years ago I discoverd he'd written a review of New Notes which was never publishd.

I met Paul at his Massachusetts farmhouse in the summer of 1970. my treasurd teacher Howard P. Vincent had loand me his copy of Genoa & I was so smitten I wrote Paul a fan letter. our friendship was one of the most important of my life. less than a year older than my father Paul became a literary father. I miss our long talks. Nancy always went to bed early   leaving Paul & I alone in the living room where we talkd for hours. I regret I never kept notes. so much is gone. Paul was always open & frank. I recall he cdn't understand how I cd like the poetry of both Duncan & Ashbery. altho mostly literary our chats coverd whatever. I even learnd of his youthful infatuation with Alice Faye.

as a rare book librarian I askd him abt his papers which seemd to cause some discomfort. he seemd surprisd at my shock when he told me he'd thrown out the long letter Charles Olson had written him at the death of his father. he always claimd that he'd destroyd the manuscript of his first conventional novel (altho Nancy hintd that he hadn't). when Nancy was going to give me as a birthday gift the letters Paul wrote her which were used in Patagoni she had to inform me later that Paul wdn't allow her to. of course I wantd his papers for Kent & he knew that but I was careful that such a matter wd never come between our friendship.

Paul was 82 when he died & I was 55. we'd known each other nearly 30 years. that he appeard in my dreams is no surprise. many of my dead friends remain alive inside me.

28 April 2005

from the trip

8967 Norma Place Posted by Hello


slope of hill to jacaronda
purple before the grand view

this maze of dead ends wd be film
noir if morning weren’t so technicolor

I walkd these streets
before I walkd these streets

in movie magazines
& location shots

I know this history
as well as my own

because it is my own

8563 Holloway Posted by Hello

27 April 2005

birthday getaway

Billy knew. because he was my host. but for my birthday I flew in & out of LA without telling friends.

there was relaxation & a poem. Billy treatd me to birthday dinner at Chaya Venice. we saw 2 plays. Robert Israel's gem of a staging of "Floyd Collins" was as good as theater gets. the first public performance of Chay Yew's latest was a disappointment. it was excruciatingly long & preachy. it'll be interesting to see if it can get more focus before the critics descend. then there was the Festival of Books on the UCLA campus. we heard Eric Idle give a humorous talk & walkd among endless booths full of books & writers as various as John Rechy & Jack Grapes   & sometimes writers like musician Phil Lesh & actor Leigh McCloskey.

62 Posted by Hello

21 April 2005

steak with malaise on the side

already I'm weary of the news coverage of the rodent pope. & the continuance of barbarity in Iraq rends the heart. it's no better on this side of the pond with scoundrels like Bolton & DeLay & Phelps fouling the headlines while our disgusting president bullies his way to popularity.

somehow today a plan gushd from a well I've been babying. I hope it leads to a sequence of poems. I'll let you know.

20 April 2005


Posted by Hello

she turns 15 this month. I don't know the exact day because she was dumpd at an animal shelter sans documentation. she was abt 2 months old when I pickd her out. or perhaps more correctly -- when she pickd me out.

Melina has been a great joy in my life. I try to thank her every day.

19 April 2005

Pope Mo

overnite I dreamt that Maureen O'Hara & I were best buds.

& then she was electd pope.

18 April 2005

"I want the bad guys dead"

so what else wd you expect from Ted Nugent addressing the NRA? he makes Heston & Ashcroft look like sissies.

in fact Ted's the scariest thing I've seen since Angelina Jolie's lips. I'm surprisd Shrub hasn't askd him to serve on the cabinet yet.

17 April 2005

holes in these socks

in the summer of 1968 I saw Butterfly McQueen in an off-Broadway musical calld "Curley McDimple." new friends Richard Nelson & Mark Saunders calld the crop of low-budget shows then on the downtown boards "dirty socks musicals."

I rememberd their line last nite when I watchd "Reefer Madness." I never saw this dirty socks musical on stage but the tv adaptation was tiresome (even tho the budget must've been many times that of the stage show).

the only thing this had going for it was Christian Campbell who is adorable. one hopes he appears in a better musical. & Ana Gasteyer had a moment and a half. at least she's going into the tour of "Wicked."

16 April 2005

"Oysters change their sex"

I stick things in books. always have. letters. reviews. tickets.

in my current springcleaning spree I've been airing some of my hundreds of books. flipping thru one yesterday I found a tiny dateless yellowing clipping from perhaps the Plain Dealer.

it's a brief story from the Associatd Press:
"Oysters change their sex. Most oysters from America's East Coast water start life as males, but enough later become females to maintain an even balance. English oysters change back and forth during their lifetime, the National Geographic says."

I've been known to appropriate such news items in whatever I was working on at the time. I don't recall ever using this material but it certainly is usable.

15 April 2005

hot off the gridle

this morning Kimberly Nichols did a quickie interview with me for Newtopia.

she askd me to send her a selfportrait. I told her I was in the middle of springcleaning & lookd like shit. but I did one anyway.

& here it is already......

"50 greatest movie stars of all time"

I love lists. I love movies. you'd think I'd be all gaga over the current issue of Premiere with its 50 greatest stars. well I'm not.

Cary as #1 & Marilyn as #2 are worthy choices. but then the list becomes downright daffy. #3 is Tom Cruise. sure he was cute in his undies way back when. but of this generation of actors he's not in the same league with Johnny Depp (who is #47).

but that's the kind of list this is. the intro explains why silent & foreign stars were dismissd which of course makes dishonest any list claiming to be the "greatest" stars of "all times."

the nature of listing is personal & I don't know who the editors of this mag are. but they are perverse. they've left out Barbara Stanwyck. & Denzel Washington (#39) shdn't even be on the list much less ahead of Meryl Streep (#46).

o.k. not everyone wd agree to my probable listing of Carmen Miranda but give me a break. Tom Hanks? no Gene Kelly or William Holden or Robert Mitchum or Burt Lancaster. no Lana Turner or Betty Grable or Dorothy Dandridge or Ava Gardner. but Tom Hanks? & ahead of James Dean?

it's too silly for words.

14 April 2005

mule express?

calld Kent Taylor yesterday to thank him for sending me a broadside. he maild it first class from San Francisco on 10 feb. it took 2 months to arrive.

now we learn the US Postal Service is increasing first class from 37 cents to 39. guess when that happens it'll take 3 months for me to get his next mailing.

& speaking of our government   did you see that an FDA panel now recommends the marketing of silicone breast implants? one wonders if Halliburton is in the fake boob biz as well.

12 April 2005

Brookgreen & Kudzu Bakery

if you've never been to South Carolina these are 2 splendid reasons to make the trip.

Posted by Hello

sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington & her rich husband bought the plantation on which Washington Allston grew up. then 3 more. here they built their winter home Atalaya. eventually this large parcel of land was presentd to the public. the area on the ocean side of Highway 17 became Huntington Beach State Park. the land on the other side became Brookgreen Gardens. Anna's sculpture as well as key pieces of representational work dots the landscape alongside alligators & magnificent plantings. because Archer Huntington was a versifier there are also a multiplicity of tablets with quotations by Whitman & Dickinson   even Harry Kemp. our first day there we spent 7 hours & we still returnd the next day for more.

Posted by Hello

I've been going to bakeries all my life & this is one of the best. the pride of Georgetown   it's famous for pies & red velvet cake. but Billy is a chocoholic & it was his birthday so he chose a pound cake unlike any I've ever had before.

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11 April 2005

notes on last week & long ago

Billy at Murrells Inlet Posted by Hello

I've known William E. A. Berger for nearly 39 years. I was a grad student at Kent State. he taught art in the Akron public schools. a mutual friend introducd us. Billy also was an amateur bodybuilder & a devotee of architecture. his apartment -- like his later houses -- was tastefully put together & full of treasures.

in the '70s we went to the New Gallery together. this Cleveland institution was the child of Leo Castelli's daughter Nina & the elegant Marjorie Tallalay. we both bought Warhols there. he still has his. stupidly I gave up my Marilyn in a bitter divorce. both of us have willd our art collections to Oberlin College's Allen Memorial Art Museum. altho we'll both be dead it pleases me to think that someday a piece from his house may be exhibitd next to a piece from my house.

as circumstances happen friendships ebb & flow. there were times during these almost four decades that we saw less of each other. after retiring we each went west. Billy now resides in Culver City. he says it's Los Angeles. but his mailing address is Culver City. when I was a child I wrote to my fave MGM stars at Culver City. so that address still contains glamour for me which is why I tell everyone that Billy lives in Culver City.

last week Billy had a milestone birthday abt which he was most cavalier. I felt it requird celebration. so we spent a charming week together in South Carolina. we flew into Myrtle Beach which is quite appalling but had a place in Murrells Inlet. this small community is usually quiet but while we were there a rare murder happend. we spent a lovely day in Charleston where Billy took hundreds of pictures of architecture & where I spread out the Century Dimes.

me on Huntington Beach Posted by Hello

10 April 2005

Huntington Beach

parade of pelicans
above ripping tide
as I call Mother

"hear the ocean?"
I hold phone out

"sounds like a cough"
she says

then Billy
who turnd 70
the day before
& I
walk to Atalaya
where between bricks
mortar oozes
like years

Posted by Hello

03 April 2005

02 April 2005

"now be clay..."

with over 9 & a half million blogs out there I only read a few with regularity. but sometimes I go to someone's blogroll & investigate. recently I came across some words from one of the pedant poets denigrating those who write abt their lives. it gave me a chuckle as I pushd the key that made him go away.

we all write abt ourselves one way or another. & as I teeter on the verge of oldfartdom I find autobiogrpahy more & more engaging.

this morning I found Mark Young remembering over at his site. go there. it's good stuff.

01 April 2005