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

02 October 2007

"great bloody archives"

splendid way to wake up: read Jean Vengua on Paul Metcalf. I'm waiting for the Metcalf Revival to begin. it's shocking to me that there isn't a whole shelf of books abt him yet. he has a short piece in my current It's All a Movie.

in a couple of hours I'm off to the Pacific Northwest. yup. I packd a bumbershoot.

01 October 2007

from the archives

it's spring of 1987 & I'm at C. C. Brown's. for years it was a regular stop on my visits to Hollywood Blvd. the hot fudge sundae was inventd there. in the '40s & '50s its wonderful wood booths held the bottoms of Elizabeth Short & James Dean & Katharine Hepburn.

on one trip I lunchd at the Brown Derby on Vine. I was too full from the Cobb salad (which was inventd there) to have the famous grapefruit cake. so I prowld some bookstores & made my way down past Grauman's Chinese Theater for a hot fudge sundae. to my shock C. C. Brown's was gone & the tackiest of fast-food joints was in its space. I suddenly felt old & depressd.

a while ago the Brown family startd a small version of the place next to what is calld Schwab's but really isn't. I went once with my buddy Craig. the famous fudge sauce was servd hot in a cruet just like in the old days. but the spot had no ambiance. it didn't last long.