30 December 2007

bad blonde

my addiction to movie star bios began early. I stard buying them in my pre-teen years & still have some of those first volumes in my library.

this afternoon I finishd reading one of the most disturbing stories of anyone who ever made a film. John O'Dowd's Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye is the sad tale of Barbara Payton.

she was neither the most beautiful nor the most talentd starlet in Hollywood history but she was glamorous & she appeard in a few films still marketd on DVD. & her story is so tragic that it makes for riveting reading. in the '50s Payton's incandescence lit up the Sunset Strip. at one time or another she was the mistress of Bob Hope   the wife of Franchot Tone   the plaything of Guy Madison. a mere decade later she gave $5 blowjobs in an alley to support her booze habit.

28 December 2007

looking back

for many years my mother collectd autographs. when I retired from Kent State University she gave her collection to the library basically as a thank you for having given me a job all those years. a decade ago Special Collections put on a major exhibition of her collection. this is the case for "Politics/Diplomacy." among the signatures on display was that of Benazir Bhutto.

26 December 2007

unlike my father

I have little kinship with tools. so today's achievement -- minor as it was -- looms a bit larger for me.

the faucet in the guest bathroom has been squirting water where water shdn't be. this morning I finally got so upset with it that I uncoverd my pliers & got the nozzle off. it was suffering from corrosion. so I undid it & put the parts in vinegar. I brushd but that did little. then I rememberd that I'd saved an old faucet for parts. now that alone is odd for me to have done. so I unscrewd that nozzle & put it in vinegar. when I came home from the gym I took the clean screen from the old nozzle & cobbld it onto the other & replacd the parts. so it now works.

25 December 2007

salad gildzen

lobster & asian pear with a drizzle of oliveoil/lemonjuice/paprika blend.

in their Xmas card

Karen & John Ericson sent along a picture of their new puppy. the dog's name is Spencer -- in honor of John's co-star in "Bad Day at Black Rock." however this Spencer is a she.

24 December 2007

a kiss from bee-stung lips

one of the great things abt the internet is its ability to act as a party host. over the years I've been intro'd to many dear friends via chatrooms & message boards & blogs. this past year brought Montgomery Maxton into my life.

currently he mentions me on his blog in connection with my longtime affair with the flickers. strange that he'd bring back to mind Clara Bow. just a month ago in Culver City I walkd past the house where she died.

baby it's cold outside

walking to the gym this ayem was a bitch. only 21. even in gloves my digits were numb.

23 December 2007

video of Sal's nativity scene

the Kovach creche

for decades my cousin Sal has transformd his livingroom in Lorain into a nativity scene which draws hundreds of visitors. it began with his grandfather's original set of figures brought from Italy years ago. every year Sal purchases new Fontanini figurines to add -- often in memory of a friend or family member who died.

this picture of Mom & I with Sal was taken in 1988 & shows what I think was the original scene which is set up inside.

the other picture was taken outside looking thru the livingroom window into the larger scene in 1991. with Sal is artist Ira Joel Haber.

22 December 2007

attend the tale

it's no secret that when it comes to Sondheim I'm daft. nor that I consider "Sweeney Todd" to be his masterpiece. since Harold Prince's monumental original staging   I've seen some 5 or 6 productions including the chilling performance of Brian Stokes Mitchell at Kennedy Center & real life husband & wife George Ball & Amanda McBroom on the west coast. I always find something new in the work.

when I heard it was to become a film I had a Mylanta moment. Broadway rarely survives the transition to cinema. & this is a complex & difficult piece. directors & cast members were in flux. finally that amazing team of Tim Burton -- who I consider an important filmmaker -- & Johnny Depp -- easily the best film actor of his generation -- were in place. but still   they were going to muck abt with a classic.

my initial viewing of the motion picture gave me mixd feelings abt almost every aspect. let's start with the cast. picking nonsingers was a risk that doesn't work. Depp has some powerful moments. he acts the part well. but having heard so many wonderful singers in the role it's difficult to fully embrace his Sweeney. the part was written for a baritone. Depp sings it as a tenor. this is a major flaw. the original range supports the gravity of the character. when Depp's voice slides off in those glorious arias the performance stumbles.

what can I say abt Helena Bonham Carter. we all have people whose physicality repulses us. I don't like looking at her. that monobrow & pinch of a face. I'd have trouble casting her in anything. maybe one of Oz's flying monkeys. at one time Imedela Staunton was set to play Mrs. Lovett & I was so looking forward to that. but Burton chose his mistress instead & I was immediately disappointd. however I must say that when she actd HBC was better than I was expecting. that sd   her inability to vocalize destroys what cd've been a major performance.

I cd write much more but I'm still digesting. it wasn't a horrid experience at all. it was better than many directors cd've pulld off but it wasn't as good as it deserves to be.

21 December 2007

Rudy & Pola

I no longer remember when or where I acquird my Pola Negri tin. clearly from the '20s the can probably held candy. I do remember being astonishd to find an identical one in a case at London's Museum of the Moving Image in 1989. mine currently resides on the bottom shelf of the nicho in my guest bathroom. inside are clippings abt it & similar ones of other silent era stars including Valentino.

so when I opend Mary Ann's generous gift I knew that the ashtray had to come from the same manufacturer because the Valentino portrait was identical to the one on his tin.

Rudy & Pola never made a film together but the press suggestd they were "dating" shortly before his death. after he was safely gone Pola claimd an engagement. she gave perhaps the most memorable performance of her life collapasing at his funeral. so it seems appropriate for me to exhibit her can alongside his butt tray.

20 December 2007

lovely surprise

in today's mail was a package from Mary Ann Begland. she sent me a Rudolph Valentino ashtray which had been in her family since the '20s.

I'm thrilld. . .

19 December 2007

early in her career

Mamie had a bit in "His Kind of Woman." leading lady in that film was Jane Russell.

the day before the party I went to "Palm Springs Follies." this long-running show features a chorus of both men & women who are at least 50. currently the oldest is 84. the producer is an egotist who insists on "performing" as emcee. oy. & the show has a not-so-hidden right-wing agenda. but one of the current chorus members is Leonard Crofoot who I remember as a young Broadway star. so I went for the 1st 2 acts (exiting before the flag-waving finale).

just as the show was abt to begin an attractive older lady came down the aisle to her seat. it was Jane Russell. when the lights came up at intermission no one seemd to recognize her. so I went up to her to tell her she'd always been one of my favorites. we shook hands & I returnd to my seat.

& the star of the party


18 December 2007

more party

Kimberly intro'd me to her artist friend Mandad at a book launch at Viceroy on my first nite in town. we had a great chat.

then at the Kabler party I saw him again & met his wife. this time he playd with the Century Dimes for me.

BTW the vintage chair we share is fun but one is so scrunchd that I resemble Quasimodo.

party time

I've heard abt Leisureland for some time. so when Kimberly Nichols invitd me to a party there I got plane tix.

Jamie Kabler is a Palm Springs legend who throws parties which have become part of the lore of that town. I'll reveal the reason for this one in a bit but for now soak up the atmosphere of the place.

I took this of Kimberly in the Valley of the Dolls bedroom:

13 December 2007

Liza collapses

Joe Cocker sees the queen

& I'll be in exile for a few days

12 December 2007

how difficult can it be

abt a week & a half ago I put in a request for a higher internet speed. I was supposd to get the bump-up yesterday morning.

I'm still waiting...

11 December 2007

if you like Angie Dickinson

grab the current Vanity Fair. it includes a swell article abt her by Sam Kashner. the only disappointment is that the editors didn't put the leggy lady on the cover.

"Godfather of Disco"

just learnd of the death of Mel Cheren.

in the fall of 2003 I gave my first NYC reading at Bowery Poetry Club. when it was over the emotion was so strong I slowly walkd back to Chelsea where I was staying at Colonial House. too excitd to sleep I went to the lobby & there was the inn's famous owner. our conversation began with the renovations being done to the place & went on to the art world. unfortunately we never got to stories of Paradise Garage but apparently those have been documentd in both a book & film.

10 December 2007

from the archives

some years ago I capturd the reunion of Marie Windsor & Dennis Hopper who once playd Josephine & Napoleon on screen

09 December 2007

to some

the intersection
of Veda Ann Borg
James M. Cain
is the center
of the universe

06 December 2007


in my dream I was at a Lena Horne concert. suddenly a gunman chargd in & began slaughtering people with an asssault rifle. I woke immediately. in that peculiar half-awake half-asleep state I kept telling myself that I must write abt this in my blog.

05 December 2007

double rainbow

my Texas penpal was one of the first to purchase the Rufus Wainwright cover of the Judy Garland concert. here's what he wrote me this ayem:

So I went home and downloaded the double album into my iTunes...BUT...get this....I already had the original Judy double cd in the playlist - so I meticulously organized each Judy song to be followed by each Rufus version....so you hear Judy doing "Swanee" followed immediately by Rufus doing "Swanee". Well...let me tell you...60 songs later in a row and I got teary eyed. To hear both versions of each like that together was AMAZING.

04 December 2007

I've seen

"The Wizard of Oz" more than any other film. I don't have enuf years left to see "Tin Man" with the same frequency. & I doubt I wd even if I did. but I'm glad I experiencd it. Cumming is superb. Zooey Deschanel has a lovely quality. she does something with her mouth that's beguiling. & I like her voice. Kathleen Robertson has a look which cd attract a cult following. Andrew Francis is a young actor to watch.

03 December 2007


Brinsley Tyrrell just calld to say that Spaces in Cleveland will celebrate Lil on the 15th. I'll be in California then but will pause on that saturday to remember her. & I urge my Ohio friends to attend.

02 December 2007

"Tin Man"

less than 2 weeks after seeing the Munchkins in Hollywood & only 24 hours after seeing Alan Cumming & Raoul Trujillo on stage in town I caught the opening installment of this imaginative re-envisioning of "The Wizard of Oz." altho it held my interest I'm not certain I'll be able to remain attentive for 4 more hours of it.

01 December 2007

a day with Alan Cumming

actor. director. writer. wit. activist. this Scot is all of these.

the day began with a SAG colloquium on the College of Santa Fe campus. despite some inane questions Cumming was a total delight. he sd he began to act as a child alone in the woods. later a traveling troup came to his school & it was then he knew what he wantd to do.

he disdains much of the preparation other actors go thru   claiming acting is easy. altho he seems to have a great time   he did admit to being exhaustd playing Hamlet on stage & didn't at all enjoy the filming of "Titus" even tho he thinks the finishd work is good.

next came a Santa Fe Film Festival screening of his most recent film "Suffering Man's Charity" in which he directs himself. it's as dark as comedy gets. & once again he was completely open in the question period which followd.

finally legendary casting director Lynn Stalmaster presentd Cumming with the festival's Maverick Award at a ceremony at the Lensic which brought out the town's big show biz guns: Shirley MacLaine   Alan Arkin   Ali MacGraw   Wes Studi   Aviva.

quel nuit

so loud & persistant
was impossible

30 November 2007

"Fall Flow"

for years my friend & library mentor Dean Keller has been printing broadsides on a Chandler & Price press in his basement. he has done poems by Cid Corman   Jack Matthews   Jean-Claude van Itallie   James Broughton   Richard Blevins   John Perreault   William Bronk   Marc Harshman   Kent Taylor   as well as two of mine. & in 1981 I was allowd to use his press to print my Ira Joel Haber-designd bookplate.

his type was Bodoni formerly from Commercial Press in downtown Kent. but he just purchasd some Bewick Roman from a type foundry in Illinois. I'm proud to announce that this is the first poetry broadside he's printd with the type Will Bradley designd in 1905:

let us join hands & insult world religions

the historic cruelty of religions continues. now Islamic wingnuts want to execute a teacher who allowd her students to name a teddy bear Mohammed.

some mornings....

29 November 2007


the last gift she gave me was in july. I spent a short time in Kent before going on to see my parents in Elyria. my friend Alfred had a little party for me. Lil had a blood transfusion that afternoon but still arrivd at the gathering. she had some difficulty managing the stairs but once on the porch was a charming conversationalist. I remember her laugh. when she left she again had some trouble with the stairs & once in the driveway nearly collapsd. but her husband Brinsley held her lovingly the whole way & she didn't fall. I huggd her goodbye   so grateful that she'd come to see me. after they drove off I sat on the stairs & cried before returning to the party.

this short video offers only a glimpse of our last visit but I'm so happy I took it:

26 November 2007

Dad's kimono

during my visit Billy showd me the computer prints he's been doing. I was surprisd & pleasd to discover he used this photo of my father as image source for one of his kimono series.

25 November 2007


on wed Billy pickd me up at my motel & we were off for pizza at Patsy D'Amore's which has been in Farmers Market since 1949. his other restaurant Villa Capri (a James Dean haunt)has been bulldoz'd. then it was on to Beverly Hills where we had to wait in line at Sprinkles. but their famous cupcakes are worth the wait. Billy took me holding some in front of his Wayne Thiebaud print.

on thur we collaboratd (well Billy did most of the work)on a splendid dinner:

busy day

on tues I walkd from my motel on Western down Hollywood Blvd to the Roosevelt Hotel. I was going to get a quick breakfast before the unveiling of the Munchkins star on the Walk of Fame. breakfast wasn't to happen because I walkd right into the gathering of 7 of the 9 surviving actors who playd Munchkins in the 1939 classic "The Wizard of Oz."

lively Mickey Carroll signd a poster for me then turnd it over to write "may the magic of Oz always be with you. follow the yellow brick road." Joey Luft was there. I told him I last saw him when he was a boy performing with his mother Judy Garland at the Palace. he'a a gracious man. I also had a few words with 98 y/o Carla Laemmle who had bits in the silent "Phantom of the Opera" as well as the original "Dracula."

then it was across the street to Grauman's Chinese Theater where I shot this quick video.

on hand to greet the Munchkins for the ceremony was a contingent of former stars -- from GWTW's Ann Rutherford to Hitchcock heroine Tippi Hedren. when the festivities were over I walkd back down Hollywood Blvd but soon found it closd for a demonstration of striking Writers Guild of America.

I spottd a zoftig Connie Stevens among SAG members showing solidarity before I found a Thai restaurant for a small sald. a quick rest & then I was back down the boulevard in the direction of Boardner's. in the '30s this had been the site of the famous gay bar Cherokee House. later it became a watering hole for everyone from Elizabeth Short to Charles Bukowski. I met James Robert Parish & T. Allan Taylor for homemade ravioli.

shaking hands with a Munchkin

with Meinhardt Raabe (the Munchkin Coronor) at Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

24 November 2007


is an industry town. & for years the place to be on monday nites was Morton's. I'd never been there. so when I heard it was closing at year's end I askd my buddy Craig if he wantd to do a monday nite dinner at Morton's.

food was excellent   service ordinary.

what a diff 2 hours makes

when I left LA it was 70.
when I got to Albuquerque it was 38.

19 November 2007

going viral?

I'm on my way to LA for the week. if you miss me   watch one of my videos. I don't think a poetry vid has yet to take off. but you can make it happen by watching me again & again.

18 November 2007

Barbara Cook at 80

"What I aim for, and what I think most actors and singers aim for, is those moments when you fly. They’re unexplainable. The feeling is so, so deeply wonderful. But that doesn’t happen all the time. So the rest of the time you depend on your technique. You depend on your experience. I think very often when I don’t think I did very well, people come back and say, 'This was your best performance.' It’s just how we perceive it ourselves. You lay the groundwork, and you always hope you’ll fly."

17 November 2007

at today's screening

of Joseph Losey's "The Boy With Green Hair" I askd Dean Stockwell if he was wearing a wig. he sd the green hair was a wig made of women's hair from France that gave him a case of impetigo which took a year to clear up. when he was bald he wore a skull cap.

16 November 2007

an old friend

good to see Tom Shales on Charlie Rose. he's always been an astute observer of television. & even tho he was battling some rather demonstrative fellow critics he was able to zing (calling Marie Osmond's collapse a "great career move").

here we are abt a dozen years ago:

it isn't a very good picture but the only one of us together. yes that's me on the left. it was taken at Kennedy Center Honors. yes that's one of JFK's sisters right behind Tom. & coincidentally at the dinner following the award show Charlie Rose stoppd at our table to hello Tom.

film historian David H. Shepard introducd me to Tom. we've laughd a great deal over the years. I don't see the Washington Post with regularity so I don't read him as often as I shd.

evening with Herbie

Hancock surrounds himself with young musicians of quality. makes for an invigorating experience.

new to me is a singer of some eccentricity: Sonya Kitchell. good to hear her so early in what promises to be a major career.

Hancock solo is a mixd bag. when he's farting around on the synthesizer the result is thin   akin to the soundtrack for a made-for-tv movie. but when he finally switches to pure piano the talent doesn't just return it leaps from the stage.

15 November 2007


haven't been able to locate the Brainard pose online. it's a photo by Ron Padgett which appears in his Joe: A Memoir of Joe Brainard.

the Meyer photo is by Reuben Cox.

14 November 2007


Joe Brainard at Veronica Lake (1983)

white towel       black speedo

sun shines on oild body
in shape of an M

I imagine him
making the rest of the alphabet
in my bed

Tom Meyer in Middle Creek Falls (2000)

down chest
        & into pubes

I become dirty
contemplating him clean

happy birthday

  Todd Moore turns 70 today

13 November 2007

Senator Feinstein

isn't it time for her to change parties? I haven't lookd at stats but surely no other Demorcrat supports the policies of President Worst Ever as frequently. when not shoveling contracts to her husband she's voting for questionable judges. maybe she's angling to be Guiliani's veep choice?

12 November 2007

"The Beloved Rogue"

this is one of the images from Daniel Blum's A Pictorial History of the Silent Screen that was burnd into my memory when I was a boy. at that time most of the films of John Barrymore I'd seen were from late in his career. I knew him as a dashing sexy man only from such photos.

last nite I saw this Alan Crosland film from 80 years ago. I have no idea of the historical accuracy of Paul Bern's script   but any poet wd love to be rememberd this way. Barrymore plays Francois Villon with panache.

Crosland is rememberd mostly for helming "The Jazz Singer." Sarris doesn't even consider him in his classic study of directors (but possibly because Crosland's major work was in the silent era). but he does a fine job here. & the cast is up to supporting Barrymore with style. of special note is the Hollywood debut of the legendary German actor Conrad Veidt.

11 November 2007

Savage Canticles

how many times
has yr intention
been toward here
but a detour
took you there

how many detours
have brought change
to the narratives
that become history

unwritten code
bludgeons pigeons
in that park
where squatters

a nurse
shoots up
footlight glamour

portfolio of malice
spiders into
every century
sans invitation
or strategy

lost pastry chef
physique model
trimming roses

dance in Manhattan
or die in Winnipeg
yr life cradles
broken by bandits

each crumb
in redwood

10 November 2007

on the bus

to town yesterday I was reading Joe Brainard. in "A Special Diary" he mentions Aldo's: "The Italian restaurant I always eat at when I eat out alone." the only time I ever saw Brainard eating out alone it was around the corner at Duff's.

but in this piece he writes abt beautiful waiters & a good juke box & always ordering the same thing. "Most of the waiters don't even have to ask what I want. They just bring it to me."

the memories that brought back were staggering. at abt the same time Brainard wrote those words Aldo's was one of my favorite restaurants when I visitd NYC & I always orderd the same thing. in my case it was lasagna.

Aldo's was at 340 Bleecker. later it became Clyde's & lost its magic. I think I was there only twice. once just for drinks with Richard Martin. now it's a 24-hour Greek diner.

but Brainard allowd me to return to a long-gone past of a comfortable place with good food & waiters with whom one flirtd.

09 November 2007

Anne Waldman's in town

I snappd this just before her talk at CCA.

like all good teachers she disperses seeds.

08 November 2007

I just wrote a poem abt George Fisher

I met George Fisher 30 years ago at the legendary restaurant Scandia. a new friend Jay Parsell knew I was enthralld by the history of Hollywood. so he arrangd for me to meet the legendary broadcaster & his charming wife Ruth.

I knew George primarily for his small role in the Judy Garland version of "A Star is Born" & his announcing on the television coverage of the movie's premiere at the Pantages. all of Hollywood (even an awkward James Dean in a tux) had turnd out for Judy's triumph.

Jay had told me that George had become famous for illegally broadcasting the Academy Awards for the first time. later he had his own radio show "Hollywood Calling" in which he interviewd the legends of the day   Bette Davis & Humphrey Bogart   Barbara Stanwyck & Betty Grable   (as well as many of my personal faves such as Gloria Grahame & Keefe Brasselle). his best known interview took place just before Xmas 1949 with Joan Crawford & her children. Christina uses a 7-page transcript verbatim in her bestseller. & it gets pickd up in the cult film "Mommie Dearest" in which an actor portrays George conducting the interview.

I've always sd when it comes to regrets I'm an Edith Piaf person. but I do feel bad that I never kept notes on my conversations with George. he knew where all the skeletons were. & he was a superb storyteller. for years a trip to Hollywood wasn't complete without dinner with George & Ruth.

one nite we were attending the taping of a tribute to Bing Crosby to mark his 50th anniversary in show business. at the end of the show Crosby fell into a hole on the stage. a stunnd audience didn't know what to do. George   forever the journalist   jumpd out of his seat & ran to the edge of the stage to look down.

I hope that the tapes of all of George's shows are in an archive somewhere.

from the archives

          Barcelona (1989)

07 November 2007

you go Mr. B

the importance of poets blogging becomes concrete in the current reportage of Tom Beckett's Cambridge reading. I've been going to readings for a half century now & most of them are forgotten. but bloggers have made this reading I wasn't at almost as vivid as some for which I've had a front seat.

& let me add how happy I am for Tom. he's been toiling in the vineyards for many a decade & deserves attention.

06 November 2007

blood orange valentine

Andrew Kelly sent me a package of his work as a thx for me sending him mail art. it was so long ago I cdn't remember what I'd sent. so I went to Ignition & found an old friend.

once at the site click on "projects" & then on "mail art" & then on the 1st 2 images. it's a piece from 2001 that also serves as a background for that page of Andrew's. I can't figure out how to copy it so I can't reprint it here.

05 November 2007

thank you Anna May

when you see as many films as I do you develope true affection for some performers. one of many for me is Anna May Wong.

last nite I was depressd by the time change so I knew I had to work to forget abt it. so I poppd in a DVD of a film I knew nothing abt -- Robert Florey's "Dangerous to Know" (1938). it turnd out to be a small gem. a quiet script -- to which Horace McCoy contribut'd -- & intelligent use of close-ups goosed up the quotidian of the B feature.

but what made this film experience all the better for me was Anna May Wong looking exquisite in a series of Edith Head creations. it's one of her best performances. & she certainly rivals Sylvia Sidney as that decade's Close-up Queen.

04 November 2007

03 November 2007

dia de los muertos

so many who
have sat in
Gertrude Duryea's rocker
are gone but
their syllables tumble
in sacks both
velvet & burlap

all my years
kiss & cut
cover my pages
each is other

02 November 2007

words from the grave

not long ago I was "organizing." that's a polite term for dealing with piles that seem to accumulate around the house. in one was a 2-page typescript Paul Metcalf wrote in 1978. as far as I know it's never been publishd. it's a review of my New Notes. Paul never shared it with me. I found it a couple of years ago in a catalog from Second Life Books which featurd a big chunk of Paul's personal library.

today is the Day of the Dead which always puts me in touch with memories of dear ones no longer here. so in the spirit of the day I offer the opening paragraph of Paul's review:

After the plethora of talky, hippie, self-conscious, self-puffing, even "pleasant" poems, that fill so many small press volumes, it is a pleasure to come on something like NEW NOTES, by Alex Gildzen. Gildzen has no cosmic pretentions, he is not a wise guy, and he is not simply passing the hours in the Pleasant Practice of Poetry. What appeals here is a mind, an intelligence at work, in direct attack on the substance, the language of the poem.

01 November 2007


Montgomery Maxton reveals the identities of this year's ghostbloggers. & I was happy to have been askd to be one of them.

31 October 2007

Emily Dickinson Paper Doll

Halloween is the dressing-up holiday. so it was quite lovely that Stathis Orphanos wrote to me today abt his friend Donald Hendricks's site which features Legacy Pride Paper Dolls.

Emily is one of a lively list of personalities who you can dress by clicking a cursor. others range from Michaelangelo & Nijinsky to Lizabeth Scott & Mamie Van Doren.

screw the Pulitzer. I'd rather have my own paper doll.

Republican family values

"I'm not gay."
  Ted Haggard

"I'm not gay."
  Larry Craig

"I'm not gay."
  Richard Curtis

"don't look at me. all my hookers are ladies."
  David Vitter

29 October 2007


blood on the accordian
squelches glissando
of my past

dare I tell
the launey
who mouths me
in a dark labyrinth
that I can't forget
an actor's ass
before a fireplace
in a winter
long ago

nibbling at the corolla
of my ladhood
I think I taste
a boy who was pecans

each one returns
is that what
death is

or is this
a bad poem

death is
the worst poem

I look down
at his hair
a launce of macaroons
touching that corona
keeps me alive
one more nite

I write
in the morning
waiting for dark roast
to run over
my white keys

take cover

the vice president is going hunting today...

28 October 2007

from the archives

my desk in 321 Stopher Hall my first term as a freshman.

I don't think a single thing in it still exists -- including the actual room which Kent State destroyd a few years ago. but I remember that room in which I lived for 3 years. I remember the tile floor. & even tho they're long gone I still see that clock/radio & the scotch plaid file box.

here I am in 1993 on my final visit to my old room:

27 October 2007

the Lawrence issue

passing thru Kansas many years ago I spent a nite there. so all I really know of Lawrence is its history. as rich as that may be I got a fresh sense of the place from Harrington's intro.

it's always good to see work from such familiar names as Kenneth Irby & Jim McCrary.

altho I've been hearing the name of K. Silem Mohammad being kickd abt the blogosphere for some time it's only recently that I began reading his film blog. wonderful to find another poet who's seen "Blonde Ice."

of the new voices I discoverd in this collection the one I most want to hear more of is that of Cyrus Console.

26 October 2007

Charles Jensen is a joy

he's a good poet & a readable blogger. altho I haven't met him   his photos certainly reveal that he's more than easy on the eyes. & he's providing a valuable service as editor-in-charge of Locus Point. he picks someone in a specific city to guest edit a section of his online magazine which focuses on that city. the new issue is abt Lawrence. I've just dippd into it so will withhold commentary but will advise everyone to look it up.

I shd say that some time ago Charles askd me to edit a Santa Fe issue. to please him I acceptd immediately. but with time I realizd for once he'd made a bad choice of editor. in days past I was part of a community -- in Kent -- & wrote abt that history in the intro to the anthology A Gathering of Poets. but in Santa Fe I'm an outsider. at first I was happy to be away from an active poetry scene. & then when I felt a need to belong to something I faced what seemd a community of cliques. now Santa Fe has a rich literary history (read Lynn Cline's Literary Pilgrims)but it's less than inviting to newcomers these days. so I've become a bit of a recluse when it comes to being part of something. I feel much more a part of that larger online poetry community & that serves me well. however I had to withdraw from the list of Jensen editors & hope that Charles doesn't think less of me for my inability to serve.

however I know how strong poetry communities can be & congratulate Charles on picking people like Joseph Harrington who offers us an inside look at Lawrence.

more mail     more books

when r.j.s. gave his paper stock to Bree   he wasn't just being generous. he was passing the torch.

yesterday I got a batch of Green Panda Press books -- including r.j.'s no rest for the wicked. it was like visiting Jim Lowell when the Asphodel was in the Arcade & picking up the latest from the Cleveland scene.

there was work by oldtimers like r.j. & Kent Taylor as well as poems by current Cleveland stars   Mark Kuhar & Matthew Wascovich & Bree hersef. one wonders how she does it: all that writing while also hand-producing so many handsome chapbooks.

25 October 2007

a friend's book

this book came in the mail yesterday:

it's a study of how a forgotten novel (The Entailed Hat) by a forgotten writer (George Alfred Townsend) may have been an influence on the writing of Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby & also on Demigods   a novel by his longtime friend John Biggs.

normally not my kind of reading. but in this case   I made an exception because I've known its author for more than 30 years.

David Meredith & I know enuf of the other's secrets to be dangerous. over the decades we've been traveling companions on both sides of the pond as well as all over New England -- but primarily Provincetown where we stayd with Peter Burnell & Gerald Mast   & the Berkshires where the homes of Jean-Claude van Itallie & Nancy & Paul Metcalf welcomed us.

when I return to Kent these days I always stay in the charming guest room at David's cozy house where we jabber into the wee hours every nite. he is one of my dearest friends & the kind I hope everyone has been fortunate enuf to have.

with David in Budapest (1985)

23 October 2007

a character to remember

I saw Paul Leni's "The Last Warning" because of my affection for Laura LaPlante. altho she's the only cast member to receive billing above the title   she's part of an ensemble in this 1929 backstage mystery.

the film is memorable for the imaginative photography of the great Hal Mohr. LaPlante is adequate in one of her "scream queen" parts but it's not one of her great roles. the most notable cast member is Torben Meyer who is totally over-the-top but gets away with it because he plays a looney.

the character actor began in silent films in Denmark in 1912. he appeard in nearly 200 films in a career that lastd over 50 years. a regular in the pictures of Preston Sturges   Meyer workd for such directors as James Whale & George Cukor   Max Ophuls & John Ford. he often playd comic roles (appearing in films of Chaplin & Bob Hope) but also did a spate of famous horror flicks. altho it's been years since I've seen "Judgment at Nuremberg"   his performance in that lingers in my memory. he even has a bit in "Casablanca."

it feels good to discover a gem of a performance like Meyer's in "The Last Warning." too often character actors live in a foggy world. we see them so often they're familiar but many times we don't know their names or the extent of their careers. tonite I ate some chocolate in honor of Torben Meyer.

22 October 2007


they have always fascinatd us. but am I the only one to find their proliferation unreasonable & their coverage silly.

one expects the tabloids to be full of such non-talents as Brittany Spears & Ann Coulter but the current lead story on the CNN Political Ticker is that Chuck Norris is backing Huckabee for president.

come on.... Norris? I can't name a single movie he was ever in. why wd any news organization release such a story? what's next? "Rula Lenska Supports Kucinich"?

21 October 2007

I don't read enuf

esp fiction. in my pile are unopend novels I bought a year or more ago.

so while it coold down today it felt good to snuggle up with Jim Provenzano's latest Cyclizen.

20 October 2007

splendid fall morning

Rita & I took Cinco up to the national park to gambol along a mountain stream. when we got back I walkd up to the high school field to watch A. J. Zuniga play a bit of soccer. now I'm fixing lunch: penne with turkey   mushrooms   red onion.


Duane Hartzell is one of the contributors to the "My First Movie" section of my new book. he was my first Kent State roommate. it was only for a week -- a freshman orientation during the summer before officially enrolling in the fall.

the only class I remember being in with Duane was fencing. at that time I was theater critic for the student paper & he was a frequent actor & director. so I think he'd let me win when we faced each other with swords.

after graduation Duane went to Hollywood where he became a film editor. among his features were "Black Samson" (1974) & "Jennifer" (1978). he also editd television movies for such directors as Wes Craven & Tony Bill.

as so often happens we lost touch. but in 1995 we arrangd to brunch at Mirabelle on the Sunset Strip. as a surprise he invitd one of our Kent professors -- William H. Zucchero -- to join us. Dr. Z made the move west after retiring. he taught at other schools & did voiceover work.

it was the last time I saw either of them.

19 October 2007

memorial art

Vietnam wall

AIDS quilt

now "Identity/Identidad." this moving 1998 piece by 13 Argentinean artists is currently at SITE Santa Fe.

18 October 2007

like water on a beach

my head was full of "put another nickel in..." as I walkd in a chill wind to the post office. one of the items I was mailing west was to Linda Lyke. I haven't been in touch with the printmaker for a couple of years. so my mind was all over the place -- from that long ago music to fun meals with Linda.

then I got home to find e-mail from several friends informing me of the death of Deborah Kerr. the only time I ever saw her in person was 30 years ago in "Long Day's Journey into Night." & I went with Linda Lyke.

"Music, Music, Music"

the death of Teresa Brewer brings on a flood of musical memories from growing up in the '50s. it was a time when "girl singers" were important. besides Brewer there was Doris Day & Rosemary Clooney & Sarah Vaughn & Patti Page & Jo Stafford & Peggy Lee & Debbie Reynolds. altho they weren't popular in the chart-topper way   Billie Holiday & Judy Garland & Dinah Washington did some potent recordings in that decade as well.

I can still see those worn 45s. some remain with me. others are scatterd around the country as part of this 2002 piece from Mail & More:

45s FROM THE 50s

Sarah Vaughn   “Make Yourself Comfortable”   Mercury
sent to Daniel W. K. Lee   New York NY

The Chordettes   “Mr. Sandman”   Cadence
sent to Fred B. Binckes   Laurel MT

The Tracey Twins   “Tonight You Belong to Me”   Reserve
sent to Tom Shales   McLean VA

Billie Holiday   “Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me”   M-G-M
sent to Judy Henske   Pasadena CA

Peggy Lee   “Crazy in the Heart”   Decca
sent to Roberto Marquez   Weehawken NJ

Al Hibbler   “Unchained Melody”   Decca
sent to Kent Taylor   San Francisco CA

Bing Crosby & Grace Kelly   “True Love”   Capitol
sent to Garold Gardner   Las Vegas NV

Jo Stafford   “It’s Almost Tomorrow”   Columbia
sent to Martha Braun   Shelburne Falls MA

Steve Allen   “Lola’s Theme”   Coral
sent to T. Allan Taylor   Los Angeles CA

Elvis Presley   “Hound Dog”   RCA Victor
sent to Howard Erlichman   South Euclid OH

The Andrews Sisters   “The Three Bells”   Decca
sent to Gary Herb   Salisbury MD

Debbie Reynolds   “Tammy”   Coral
sent to Roy Blakey   Minneapolis MN

17 October 2007

a shout out

thx to my Palm Springs buddy Izayah Jeffrey for the salute.

"Kobe says he'll 'strap it up' and play"

I know zilch abt basketball but I remember this guy from his rape case which makes this LA Times headline sound salacious to me.

16 October 2007

making Mom happy

when I got home from my boys nite out there was a message on the machine from my mother. she just got her copy of my new book & immediately read straight thru it. so I calld her back & she was absolutely bubbly. she was esp pleasd that I used this photo I took years ago of her with Bob Hope:

15 October 2007

digging into "get"

every tues nite I'm in town I dine with a group of fascinating men. one of them is Richard Balthazar. you mite know his novels. well he has a new book that's quite different -- Getting Get: The Glossary of a Wild Verb.

the book investigates the multiple meanings of this common verb. references range from Shakespeare to Arlo Guthrie. I read it in bits   gleaning what I think I can use. early on there was a noun I didn't know -- "getling" which means "brat."

you don't have to be a linguist to learn from this study. & you'll have fun along the way.

14 October 2007

from the archives

with Daniel Thompson at our 1992 reading at Mac's Backs in Coventry

to order work by the late Poet Laureate of Cuyahoga County check Green Panda Press

13 October 2007

beautiful autumn morning

so I ran to Farmers Market to give Stan Crawford his copy of It's All a Movie. the world's most famous garlic grower is a contributor to the section "My First Movie."

12 October 2007

I confess

the only Doris Lessing book I've ever read is Particularly Cats. so I have no opinion on the Nobel Prize.

when I was younger I was an awards junkie. but now that I'm on the precipice of antiquity I find them silly. Tennessee Williams never won the Nobel. Hitchcock never was got an Oscar for Best Director. & Frank O'Hara never claimd a Pulitzer. awards are political things. I'm not saying all winners are asskissers but it helps.

I heard on the news that Harold Bloom isn't happy with this choice. Bloom -- the Alan Greenspan of literature -- thinks he's smarter than the rest of us. maybe he is. but why he thinks anyone besides his grad students shd listen to him is beyond me.

the best part of this award was watching the paparazzi descend on an elderly writer as she got out of her taxi. when told she'd won Lessing mutterd "christ" & turnd her back on the cameraman. now that was priceless.

11 October 2007


family history says that Dad bought this dog in Germany during the war & brought it back to me. & that that was the start of a collection. yes. I do remember having many ceramic dogs as a boy. but the odd thing was that I grew to dislike dogs. & when they were big or snarly it grew to a fear. I was always a walker. & I remember when walking to school or town if I encounterd what I took to be a ferocious canine I'd cross the street to avoid confrontation.

eventually I grew into a cat person. it began on Willow St in Kent with a stray I calld Anastasia & continued thru my beloved Melina. so it's become quite a surprise to me that I've come to like a dog. my neighbor Rita recently got a Bouvier puppy with the moniker Cinco. from our first meeting there was a real attraction. now I'm his uncle. the only gift I brought back from Seattle was a box of bagels from Three Dog Bakery for Cinco. this isn't the best picture -- because he's always in motion & hard to photograph -- but you can see that I'm at ease enuf with this dog to put my hand in his mouth.

09 October 2007

my buddy Jim Szakacs in Toronto

e'd me this morning to say he already got his copy of It's All a Movie. Jim is a major film buff with an amazing collection of stills & publications. & he's quite the sleuth. later in the day he e'd again to inform me he'd trackd down my long-ago contribution to Screen Stories.

08 October 2007

Rain City

friendly people. polite motorists. supreme restaurants. lively cultural life. exciting architecture. but dear lord... that weather. Seattle was the coldest city in the nation on my visit. & the precipitation was off & on the whole time. when the sun was out & the wind down it was glorious. but I also was walking in a 28 degree wind chill. & I walkd so much I developd blisters. but I felt I got to know at least the downtown section.

& thx to my college friend Suellen I got to spend a day seeing other parts of the city & even Kirkland. we hadn't seen each other in so many decades that there was a great deal of territory to cover & covering it was often bittersweet.

Roger's show lookd wonderful & he sold 6 paintings before its official opening.

Michael took me "backstage" at Seattle Art Museum where he's been designing exhibitions for 33 years. & I finally got to meet his lovely wife Ann with whom I want to spend more time.

had a short but fun conversation with Jenny McPhee before she read from her new novel which she inscribd for me. went right from there to a coffeehouse to hear Paul Rucker. also took in a concert by Tom Paxton & Tom Rush. & a musical review with Martin Charnin who I saw in the national tour of "West Side Story" a hundred years ago.

07 October 2007


      Michael McCafferty & R. B. Sprague at Patricia Rovzar Gallery

      Suellen Sweany Adams & Christine Pramuk

      Jenny MePhee at Elliott Bay Book Co