31 January 2009

early spring

a sweet friend sent me these shirts to cheer me up.

my heart sings.

29 January 2009

on my last trip to Boston

I went to Brandeis for the 1st time. I specifically wantd to see the surrealism show at Rose Art Museum.

this morning I read that the university announcd this week that it will close the museum & sell its collection of 6000 pieces.

staggering news for the art world.

of course there is fury on that campus & perhaps something can be done to stop such dramatic action. but its very suggestion is stunningly depressing at a moment in our history when depression is as common as salmonella.

28 January 2009

beet juice & cocoa powder

some of the ingredients for

red velvet cake.

in other words

happy birthday Bob.

27 January 2009


our spring weather got whackd today when winds lowerd our temps. this is my weekly boys nite out & I'm putting on a sweater & winter jacket.

my year of stress & sorrow

continues to manifest itself with dark dreams. mostly abt Dad suffering.

24 January 2009

picture Barbara Stanwyck on a Blackberry

go back to "Sorry Wrong Number." it's her big scene. suddenly a sound. it isn't vibrating. it isn't the opening chords of a pop tune. it's loud. it's clear. it's a telephone.

film freezes time. I love the now   the new. but as I approach my last act there's a comfort that comes from the past. when I hear telephones or see runningboards or experience any number of adventures obliterartd by technology I almost tingle.

23 January 2009


there's a scene in "The Other Boleyn Girl" in which a pregnant woman takes to bed to insure a safe delivery.

altho it's hardly customary for me   I have performd a variation of that with poem pangs. after all these decades I still have little comprehension of the birthing of poems. but recently something was happening that I knew wd be a poem. so I stretchd out on the couch & closd my eyes till it workd its way out.

lifting the funk

it seems Richard that we all are balancing the peaks & valleys. if we hold hands maybe we won't all fall at the same time.

22 January 2009

"Hunting for Bess Flowers"

she’s everywhere

Chaplin unwrappd her
Wilder gave her a notepad
Hitchcock a poodle

Bess drank more cocktails
than anyone in film
she dined at Sardi’s & Ernie’s
danced for Mitchell Leisen & Bobby Lewis

I’ve been spotting her
for half a century

* * *

where in The Cantos
is her walk-on?

surely no extra
was ever as “trim-coifed”

* * *

Bess’ place
is Hollywood

so I can’t
find her in
Paterson or
The Maximus Poems

* * *

Alexander Mackendrick put
Bess in Toots Shor’s

so she cd’ve been
in Lunch Poems

mentions “Swingtime”
but names Ginger
not Bess

* * *

Dorn daren’t
put her in Slinger

too gay

* * *

so far
I’ve only
500 pages
of Dillinger
so maybe
has used

* * *

I confess
I confuse
movies & poems

* * *
put her snippets

a bouquet
whose aroma permeates
my life

21 January 2009

new chapbook

my Elizabeth Short pieces from Green Panda Press (3174 Berkshire Rd. Cleveland OH 44118)

19 January 2009

on the eve of history

I already postd what was probably the most important photograph from my first trip to Washington.

but with all the televiewing I've been doing these days this one came to mind & means the most to me. I was 13 & my father photographd me in front of the Lincoln statue.

painting walls

1st time I've seen Obama in jeans

18 January 2009


the Lincoln Memorial inaugural concert I was struck by a moment of symbolism.

footage was shown of Marian Anderson's historic concert. & then the song she sang was then sung by the Gay Mens Chorus of Washington.

17 January 2009

inaugural weekend

the part of me that functions as witness to history wants to be in Washington these next 4 days. but the part of me that's getting older finds the prospect of standing in the cold with 2 million people a daunting task.

at least I did attend an inauguration -- the first Clinton one.

as a matter of history I think the Obama inauguration may be the most important since Kennedy's. but -- regardless of history's final verdict on Clinton -- I have no regrets abt being there. at least I have one inauguration under my belt. & that whole weekend was pretty amazing. the outdoor concert with Diana Ross swooping on stage in a huge red gown. the fireworks that nite. the tents on the mall where you cd hear Peter Paul & Mary or the Staple Singers. & of course that moment of the swearing in.

then the parade. not only the new president & members of his party but also Chief Justice Rehnquist & recently disgraced Ted Stevens.

it was a moment in history & I was right there.

16 January 2009

from the archives

I always felt this was a lovely shot of Mom. & I like the way snapshots of that day were printd with borders.

15 January 2009

hearing of

the downing of a US Air jet into the waters of NYC today brought back memories of another US Air jet that went into those waters nearly 17 years ago.

today's story is a miracle. at this hour it seems as if all passengers survivd. the 1992 crash had some survivors but many deaths. & 2 of those were members of the Kent State family.

Michael Mould was an honor student who performd Shakespeare on campus with future stars Mark Setlock & Marc Andreyko. he also composd the music for Andreyko's staging of Wilde's "Salome."

Douglas Radcliff-Umstead was a professor of foreign languages & author of Birth of Modern Comedy in Renaissance Italy.

both deaths were commemoratd by artists who knew the dead. P. Craig Russell did this drawing of Mould:

& Tony Trigilio wrote "Elegy for a Poet" in memory of Radcliff-Umstead.

the dead remain our companions.

it's the economy

there are 2 cinemateques in town. my favorite (& within walking distance of my house) is The Screen. it's in Greer Garson Studios on campus of College of Santa Fe. followers of this blog will have seen photos I took there of such cinematic notables as Laszlo Kovacs & Vilmos Zigmund   Gerard Malanga & Marsha Hunt.

the college is in such financial plight (some $30 million in debt)that earlier this week Highlands University agreed to take it over if the state legislature approves. but for now The Screen is closing. one hopes some day it'll reopen but too often wishes are spittle.

14 January 2009

once again my dreams

became a crossroads between the living & the dead.

in my waking dream Gerald Mast -- who in life was a great scholar of film -- was a glass artist. I went to his studio & pickd out a wall piece which also was a working clock. I gave it to Regina as a present. Regina -- a child psychologist -- told me it was a clock for children & didn't work at all in her house.

then I had Gerald himself -- along with an assistant (much like the "assistant" he brought on his final overnite visit to my house years ago) -- come to Elyria to install the piece at my parents' home. (when Gerald taught at Oberlin he sometimes came to Elyria to dine at the Paradise). Mother immediately disliked the piece much to Gerald's displeasure. he left & I woke before negotiating the fate of the glass clock.

from the archives

with my parents on Lake St in Kent more than 40 years ago

13 January 2009

"No Greater Glory"

I've always wantd to see this Frank Borzage film because it features my friend Lois Wilson.

her fame remains in the silent era. it was a time when the prevalent acting style allowd divas to claw scenery with such gusto that some don't enjoy silent films because they've only seen those performers. Lois tended to underplay. her great roles were Lulu Bett   Daisy Buchanan   Molly Wingate. her voice & lack of mannerisms allowd her to succeed in the transition to talkies. but she soon was appearing in support. she was often cast as a mother. among the actresses who playd her daughter were Bette Davis   Shirley Temple   Virginia Mayo.

"No Greater Glory" had its TCM debut last nite. the part Lois has is small but powerful. a classic maternal role. I'm happy the film is getting some attention.

12 January 2009

Tom O'Horgan (1926-2009)

a line

from the Jenny McPhee novel I'm reading slappd me so hard tears fell from my eyes & wet my lips. somehow I finishd the chapter then pulld on my winter coat. I walkd past flokati rotting under snow to "Dad's Last Garden" completely under white. then to the graves of my cats.

I crossd the foot bridge over the arroyo & walkd to the park in Plaza Entrada. I sat on a cold metal bench & rememberd back a half century. Susan Kirby in her coffin. what wd she have done with these 50 some years?

the neighborhood motel had a sign: "Bye bye. Come back soon." I enterd the office to ask when they were closing. the woman at the desk look puzzld & sd they weren't. I suggestd new signage.

a stop at my local grocery. small tomatoes in a mesh bag. $2.99. I surveyd the shelves of tea   each box sadder than its neighbor   but found no gloom curative. then I followd my own footprints back. I have a last chapter to read.

11 January 2009


        for Roman Tymchyshyn

morning snow
on flokati
is a snood
that holds
yr hair

we've both
been cold

smile once more
for me

10 January 2009

Sal Mineo (1939-1976)

today is his 70th birthday.

altho he was older than me I considerd Mineo a contemporary. his performance is "Rebel Without a Cause" guarantees him a place in film history. but as the years go by his name seems less & less important.

I only saw him once. it was in a summer stock production of Calder Willingham's "End as a Man" which Mineo also directd. I remember it as powerful. not the kind of play one generally saw in stock.

it's been many years since I saw the film "Exodus" which many consider contains his finest on screen work. but I have seen the quirky "Who Killed Teddy Bear" in which he's remarkably sexy.

I took the photo below of the garage in which he was murderd. it figures in the opening poem of my new book of Hollywood pieces.

09 January 2009

"we have begun our descent"

a new zine Ekleksographia features in its inaugural issue a poem which I keep reading & rereading.

"The Dense Marine" comes to me via Melville & Metcalf but is an original work. its author William Allegrezza writes on his blog that it may be "a draft of a longer work." it will be fascinating to see if he takes it further. but as it stands it's rich. it involves me as few new poems do.

new plant stand

07 January 2009

hard times

my men's dinner group met last nite at one of our favorite restaurants. the place was nearly empty. & the owners had the thermostat set so low I was chilld thruout the meal.

06 January 2009

a reminder

from Stephen Bottum that we just passd Marsden Hartley's birthday.

what strikes me hard abt this favorite painter is that he died the year I was born & at the age that I become this year.

04 January 2009

dreams live
in my pillow
they seep thru
into my skull

one nite
I dreamt
of puce snow

next morning
I threw
my pillow

03 January 2009

Edmund Purdom (1924-2009)

this was a favorite film of my boyhood.

in one of the poems from my new Hollywood book there's this passage abt Grauman's Chinese Theater:

Edmund Purdom put palms to cement
but one nite his square was dug up
          like his pictures in the tabloids

02 January 2009

& so the year of change begins

news that 2 places from my past are closing.

Carousel Dinner Theater began in Ravenna & moved to Akron. over the years I saw Mickey Rooney & Van Johnson & Cyd Charisse & Smothers Brothers & Robert Morse & Sheila Smith & McGuire Sisters at that venue.

Galisteo Inn is a lovely b & b abt a half hour from Santa Fe. I stayd there in 1993 & after moving west returnd for some tasty meals in its restaurant.