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.