31 March 2008

Sonny among the albuminoids

next time
my birthday falls
Easter I
will be 95


Lucille Ball died the day after my 46th birthday.

George Sanders killd himself on my 29th birthday.

Peggy Lee died died 3 months before my 59th birthday.

Rock Hudson died 5 months after my 42nd birthday.

30 March 2008

pickld in beet juice

            for Ira Joel Haber

I saw Lucille Ball & Rock Hudson on the stage of Radio City Music Hall 2 months before my 42nd birthday.

I saw Troy Donahue & Angie Dickinson on screen at Radio City Music Hall the month before my 19th birthday.

I saw Antonin Artaud & Annabella on screen at Radio City Muisic Hall 2 months after my 40th birthday.

I saw Peggy Lee & Katharine Hepburn on the stage of Radio City Music Hall the month after my 47th birthday.

29 March 2008

more eggs

the egg from Nancy Holt
& the Russian one from Regina

the blue devild eggs I made for the Mabou Mines company

kiev from the chicken kitchen

Rock Hudson has a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars but Lucille Ball has her own statue.

there is a line from Neoboy's Rock Hudson shrine to the Faberge egg.

David Meredith & I viewd Easter eggs in the Faberge Gallery at New Orleans Museum of Art in 2000.

Regina Yando brought me back a lacquerd egg from St. Petersburg in 1999.

Nancy Holt gave me a ceramic egg for Xmas in 1997.

I made blue devild eggs for my cast party for the Mabou Mines production of "Blue Devils" in 1986.

Rock Hudson & Yvonne De Carlo were co-stars in "Sea Devils" in 1953.

28 March 2008

with David

at his home in East Liverpool (1988)

in Cadiz (1989)

introduction to "The David Book"

David Meredith’s birthday was the 27th of july & my father’s the 29th. over the decades we often celebratd them together (as in 2005 with this Julie Alley cake):

I’ve already blurrd the events of Dad’s hospitalization & death & funeral but sometime during all of that I calld David. I hadn’t been told of his own hospitalization & was shockd at the change in his voice. some days after I returnd to Santa Fe David calld with his condolences. he had no memory of my call to him from Elyria. that was the last time we talkd.

in the 33 years I knew David he was one of my most generous & trustworthy friends as well as a comfortable traveling companion.

what memories I have: standing in front of Whitman’s grave     his serious talk with young Celia Coolidge at the Metcalfs’ Baby Picnic     lunches at Monty’s Garden in Leominster     laughing & crying during Wayland Flowers’ act in Provincetown     the 1st meal at my Morris Rd house (pizza on the diningroom floor after he’d helpd me move in)     the time Shami Chaikin askd his age & he almost chokd     a concert on Bartok’s lawn in Budapest     posing among Greek ruins     collaborating with Billy Berger on a collage at the Warhol Museum… & all those places in which he lived. he creatd a world in 2 rooms above a garage on Cherry St in Kent when we met & put his strong imprint on every other dwelling. his final home – on Vine St in Kent – was the culmination: treasures artfully arrangd into a cozy & inviting spot. I tend to be a hotel person but always lookd forward to staying at David’s.

after returning from Dad’s burial I began working on this small book to give to David as a token of our enduring friendship. it was put forth in “a private edition of two: one for David     one for Alex.” after he died I felt that perhaps our friends wd like to have copies as well. thus this “second edition” – the same except for the addition of an intro & final entry .

you’re always with me     David.

27 March 2008

David Meredith (1935-2008)

farewell my dear dear friend


over the years I seem to have lost Rock Hudson's cufflinks. (were they stolen by that bad boy who took my grandfather's gold watch from my bedroom in Twin Lakes?) but I do still have this signd photo that accompanied them.

caviar omelette

I purchasd Rock Hudson's cufflinks at the Elyria Women's Club celebrity auction the month before my 14th birthday.

I interviewd Vincent Price when the Elyria Women's Club brought him to town in the month of my 16th birthday.

Vincent Price playd Egghead on 5 episodes of "Batman."

Vincent Price appeard on "Here's Lucy" in 1970.

anchovy eggs

Rock Hudson made his tv acting debut on the Palm Springs episode of "I Love Lucy."

Rock Hudson made his final tv acting appearance on "Dynasty."

in between Rock Hudson had a series calld "McMillan & Wife."

Jackie Coogan was guest star on 3 episodes of "McMillan & Wife"   2 episodes of "The Lucy Show" & one episode of "Here's Lucy."

Jackie Coogan was Betty Grable's 1st husband.

Jackie Coogan & Betty Grable appeard in the short "Sunkist Stars at Palm Springs" in 1936.

I met Jackie Coogan at the Hollywood Roosevelt on the same nite I met Gertrude Astor.

26 March 2008

more sun

Ray Craig follows up on my observation that his work shows the influence of Busby Berkeley by actually doing a Berkeley tribute series.


Richard Widmark (1914-2008)

an egg grows in the desert

the Palm Springs episode of "I Love Lucy" was broadcast on my 12th birthday.

Peggy Lee & Dewey Martin were married in Palm Springs on my 13th birthday.

Vincent Price appeard on "Climax" on my 14th birthday.

25 March 2008

recipe for meringue

Barbara Pepper did small roles in several episodes of "I Love Lucy."

in one of the episodes Barbara Pepper joind 3 other aging chorus girls. one was Gertrude Astor.

I met Gertrude Astor at the Hollywood Roosevelt 2 years before she died.

Gertrude Astor appeard in 270 films between 1915 & 1962.

Percy Helton did small roles in several Gertrude Astor films including "The Boss" which was photographd by Hal Mohr.

Percy Helton appeard in over 100 films between 1915 & 1969.

in "Fancy Pants" Percy Helton plays a New Mexico mayor who is pushd aside by Lucille Ball.

sunny side up

          for Ray Craig

Barbara Pepper & Lucille Ball were Goldwyn Girls together.

Goldwyn Girls: a stock company of chorines used in production numbers such as those made famous by Busby Berkeley. rows of smiling girls like eggs in a carton.

joining Lucille Ball among the Goldwyn Girls in a pair of early '30s musicals with dances by Busby Berkeley was Betty Grable.

Barbara Pepper appeard in one of Busby Berkeley's few dramatic films "They Made Me a Criminal."

50 million people watchd when Betty Grable was a guest star on Lucille Ball's show a half century ago.

24 March 2008

Hal Mohr

here I am walking on Kent State's front campus in 1971 with the legendary cinematographer. I brought him to campus for a seminar on silent film. we'd just seen a restored print of his "Glorious Betsy" in Richard Myers' film class.

the same year Steve Saylor did a series of broadsides featuring my prose poems calld The Origin of Oregano. here's a detail from one for "In Commemoration of Ira Joel Haber's 1st Flight." the face of the bird is that of Hal Mohr.

eggs I have known

the day before I was born Hal Mohr was best man at the wedding of Barbara Pepper & Craig Reynolds.

I made Hal Mohr a character in my prose poem "In Commemoration of Ira Joel Haber's 1st Flight" which also names Yvonne De Carlo.

Yvonne De Carlo's understudy in "Follies" was Sheila Smith.

I mention Sheila Smith in my poem "Piccidilly" which Crag Hill chose for an anthology which never happend.

poet Crag Hill is not actor Craig Hill who appeard in an Italian movie as Johnny Grant but not the Johnny Grant who was honorary mayor of Hollywood.

broken eggs

I was born on Easter.

Dad died on Leap Day.

23 March 2008

with the Lucy statue

on my 1st visit to Palm Springs (1996)

all my eggs in the same basket

I was born on Easter.

the day before I was born Hal Mohr was best man at the wedding of Barbara Pepper & Craig Reynolds.

Barbara Pepper & Lucille Ball were Goldwyn Girls together.

Barbara Pepper did small roles in several episodes of "I Love Lucy."

the Palm Springs episode of "I Love Lucy" was broadcast on my 12th birthday.

Rock Hudson made his tv acting debut on the Palm Springs episode of "I Love Lucy."

I purchasd Rock Hudson's cufflinks at the Elyria Women's Club celebrity auction the month before my 14th birthday.

Rock Hudson has a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars but Lucille Ball has her own statue.

I saw Lucille Ball & Rock Hudson on the stage of Radio City Music Hall 2 months before my 42nd birthday.

Lucille Ball died the day after my 46th birthday.

the next time my birthday falls on Easter I will be 95.

22 March 2008

one of many things

that make aging awful: changes in the body.

I used to have allergies only in the fall. yesterday (the 1st day of spring) I was walking to meet Karen & Robert Nott for dinner. tears began to run down my face. my nose was running more than the Santa Fe River.

soon I'll be going on a Cinco walk. I expect whatever pollen is lurking out there will attack.

20 March 2008

spring shearing

Cinco & I get haircuts

the house on South Willow

my last Stopher Hall roommate Chuck Eggleston & I moved into the front attic room of this off-campus dwelling in june of 1964. (I took this photo more than 40 years later.) 6 months later my roommate was photographer Michael Chikiris. by summer of 1965 I was interning at General Tire in Akron & made enuf to rent the room by myself.

all the guys in the house shared one bathroom which was on the 2nd floor. we rarely used the 1st floor kitchen -- altho I remember one holiday Chuck & I fixd steaks & baked potatoes (which never got done) for our dates (mine was Olympic gymnast Betty Jean Maycock).

I remember on one of my parents' visits they brought my grandfather who was so winded by climbing all the stairs he immediately had to sit down & the only place was my bed -- which was a mattress on the floor.

for part of my tenure at 334 the boarder in the rear attic room was Jim Hailey who may have been the one who told me abt the place. we'd been friends for some time. our mutual pal Cynthia Mayer just sent me this photo of Jim & I (which is probably the only one of us together that exists):

I have no memory of where or when or why it was taken.

altho I lived on South Willow for only a year & a half I have many memories of the place. one of the most vivid was the nite Stan Krippner brewd morning glory tea for Jim & Cynthia & I.

among those who visitd the garret during that time were such buddies as student body president Craig Stephens & budding journalist Bill Bierman.

we were all young & hopeful then.

19 March 2008

"Funny Ducks"

thx Ira Joel.

as I type this I'm sitting beneath the original art for that cover. but then I have Habers in just abt every room of my house & always have. I'm so lucky to have such a good artist also be such a good friend.

18 March 2008

Paul Metcalf told me

I'd like Jonathan Williams.

as I recall my first letter from Jonathan   however   was mostly business: wanting to know if Kent State had enuf money to pay him for a reading. that was in feb of 1973. in the fall of that year I publishd my salute to him "At the Tyger Drive-In with Col. J. Wms" in Vort.

in may of 1976 Jonathan & Tom Meyer came to visit for the first time. I was living in Twin Lakes. we drove to Hart Crane's birthplace in nearby Garretsville & drank a great deal. I documentd this in "Footnotes to a Visit in the County of Hart Crane's Birth" which appeard in Liszt & Other Lists publishd later that same year.

in addition to drinking & laughing & eating well the three of us enjoyd skinnydipping in my swimming pool. one day Jonathan took this of me:

in nov of that year I visitd Mary Ann Begland in Kentucky at the same time they were visiting Guy Davenport. so we connectd   sharing Jonathan Greene's floor for a nite. & the next month I visitd them in Highlands where I became greenish after smoking my only cigar while polishing off most of a bottle of rum.

during a 1981 visit to Kent Jonathan met my father. ironically they died 16 days apart.

in addition to being poet & publisher Jonathan also was a remarkable photographer. I believe it was during his 1986 visit to Kent that I arrangd for him to show his slides in Special Collections. he surprisd & delightd me by including one of the ones he'd done of me in the pool a decade earlier.

this is the last photo of me with the Jargon gentleman (taken in my Morris Rd backyard in spring of 1990):

in 1993 Jonathan honord me with a tribute "Alex (Alfresco)" which appeard in Gildzen at 50: A Celebration. & Jonathan appears in my book from last year It's All a Movie. I had hoped to visit in Highlands in may or june.

17 March 2008

Jonathan Williams (1929-2008)

Doug Moore took this picture of Jonathan (which appears on the back cover of The Magpie's Bagpipe ) in my livingroom on Morris in Kent.

on his 1986 visit to Kent

15 March 2008

Met simulcast

today's was the first I've been to. & what a grand intro. my beloved Lensic Theater has excellent acoustics & a fine big screen. there was only the quickest of technical glitches.

John Doyle's new staging of "Peter Grimes" is powerful. it was good to hear again Anthony Dean Griffey in the role that no doubt will define his career. & of special note in the supporting cast is Teddy Tahu Rhodes. few men in opera achieve his splendid combination of vocal quality & good looks.

finally I must say I wasn't expecting diva Natalie Dessay to be such a lively emcee & interviewer.

14 March 2008

still unable

to sleep straight thru the nite. but instead of being waken by bad dreams of Dad suffering last nite I woke to Maureeen Stapleton in her role in "The Rose Tattoo."

now where is that coming from?

12 March 2008


my normal routine used to be that I'd go to bed after the evening tv news & wake up between 6 & 6:30. I was always a sound sleeper. but since returning home from crisis time in Ohio I've had trouble sleeping. I now wake up several times during the nite.

I'm hoping I'll return to routine as I strengthen. the staple removal yesterday was a marker. & this morning I'm returning to the gym. so I'm hoping for a solid nite of sleep soon.

10 March 2008

from the archives

Larry's chronology opend a floodgate of memories. so I went in search of photos & here's a 1971 polaroid I took at one of my summer parties at Twin Lakes. the couple on top is Jim & Tessa Lowell. the other is Dean & Pat Keller.

Cleveland poetry scene

Larry Smith's chronology online

09 March 2008

Gary Herb (1951-2008)

one-third of Gotham

(Gary is on bottom left in this 1976 Roy Blakey portrait)

recipient of one of "45s from the 50s"

08 March 2008

the day after Dad died

I was fetching something from the kitchen pantry. mysteriously a heavy meat platter & another outsize plate were dislodgd from the uppermost shelf & came crashing down on my head. I knew instantly that I was hurt & ran into the bathroom. seeing blood I washd it off but when I lookd back in the mirror I saw it was still gushing. I immediately felt as if I'd be joining my father. but somehow I remaind lucid enuf to press a towel against the rip in my scalp & instruct my frantic mother to call saintly neighbor Lenny D'Agostino. I sat calmly in a chair breathing deeply & keeping the towel tight against the wound. Lenny & his son Tony came in an instant & I was quickly at the same e.r. where Dad had just been.

I was able to "check in" before I lost consciousness. when I came to there was an IV in one arm & another scary tube in the other. someone probd the wound for pottery shards & I was wheeld into a cat scan. after it was determined there was no internal bleeding the wound had to be closd. a numbing lotion was applied to my pate. after a bit the chief e.r. doc instructd someone on where to staple the gash. I wasn't prepard for the pain of the staples going into my skull. after 5 were put in I saw the instrument used -- just like Dad's Black & Decker. finally I was releasd. I was in the hospital for 4 hours. we had to stop at Walgreen's for over-the-counter meds. the pharmacist instructd me -- who disdains pills -- to take 4 Motrin when I got home. "you'll thank me in the morning." he was right: I woke sans headache. but I had only one day to rest before the funeral.

staples in the head don't go all the way down to flesh. so I had a bit of a Frankenstein look. we only had one hour for visitation before going to the cemetery. there was a large crowd who came to pay respects & only one mentiond to me that there was blood on my head. "I know" I told the biddy. "it's nothing."

07 March 2008


for privacy reasons I haven't spoken the details of Dad's decline here. but the last few years have been heartbreaking for the family.

the final insults to his body took him to Elyria Memorial Hospital's e.r. his needs were such that he was transferd to University Hospital in Cleveland where he receivd excellent care for a week. but it was all too much. after careful deliberation I pickd a nursing home but when I relayd that information to his primary doctor I was informd a hospice was the appropriate choice.

he died on Leap Day.