31 July 2009

Bob gambles in black & white

circles & squares
in casino     on screen

sweat under tux
all chips down

age blots old hurts
waits for new pain

28 July 2009

another composer in town

at 83 Gunther Schuller had a busy schedule in Santa Fe. he was here for the premiere of his first horn piece in some 40 years. but he also gave master classes & public talks.

27 July 2009

half century mark

my romance with browsing came early in life. I've written abt the splendid library on Third St which had been the home of a doctor Sherwood Anderson knew & wrote abt. one of the great crimes of my city was the destruction of that magnificent edifice. & that a church was responsible adds to my distaste for religions. but I still remember roaming the shelves. & those discoveries have been with me my whole life.

these days the internet has become my library. & what browsing I do there. today I wish to mention one of my discoveries. I know longer remember exactly how I stumbld on Bill Fogle. but his writings resonatd. I felt a kinship with the way in which he presentd his reflections on his life. & then came his videos. suddenly that distinctive voice brought a whole new layer to the richness of his collage of family snapshots & random jottings. there is humor in Fogle's creations but it's often borderd with sadness. he continues to hone his skills as a video artist at the same time that he plunges deeper into some pretty dark water.

today Bill Fogle turns 50. he's been celebrating for a week. but why not? for those of us who felt death wd come early all extensions are a surprise. & half a century is a milestone. I look forward to reading & seeing more of his contemplations.

26 July 2009

Bach cello suites

Zuill Bailey is one of the world's great cellists. yesterday he performd a trio of these. what was fascinating to me was that he chose for the middle one to discuss the piece & his choices in performing it. this is risky business. I suspect some purists mite find it irksome. but I enjoyd what he did. & by the time he perfomd the final suite it enrichd my recption of it.

25 July 2009

premiering tonite

Paul Moravec is the composer of "The Letter" which opens tonite at Santa Fe Opera. he & his portly librettist talkd at a seminar this morning ably led by our local composer John Kennedy. I learnd that Sondheim's "Sweeney Todd" was among the influences for the new opera. & that its star Patricia Racette was a generous collaborator -- even writing one of the libretto's best lines.

I won't be seeing it for another couple of weeks when my cousin Regina arrives for a visit.

24 July 2009

this blog's 15 minutes

it receives 60-70 hits a day. yesterday Towleroad postd a link to my Steward salute. suddenly I was getting hundreds of hits an hour. & they came from Portugal   Spain   France   Israel   Australia   Thailand   Singapore   & on & on.

thx Andy.

23 July 2009

Samuel M. Steward (1909-1993)

today is the centennial of one of the most fascinating men in American letters. Ohio-born Sam Steward began his writing career as a poet but is best known for his fiction & memoirs. he wrote a pair of mysteries featuring his friends Gertrude Stein & Alice B. Toklas & he producd gay porn under the name Phil Andros. but his greatest work of art was his life & happily for us he wrote abt it. if you don't know Dear Sammy (1977) or Chapters from an Autobiography (1981) seek them out.

in addition to his many literary connections Sam was filmd having sex by Alfred Kinsey & made his living as a tattoo artist using the name Phil Sparrow. & as I wrote in a poem a few years ago he was
probably the only man
to have blown
both Valentino & Rock Hudson

altho we wrote & talkd on the phone the only time I actually met Sam was at his home in Berkely in 1982. his charm made it easy to understand how so many famous men fell for him. in 1990 he wrote the introduction to my Postcard Memoirs which ends
...in Kent some wonderful Ohio effluvium reaches up from the soil to charm the pants off both male and female citizens,and Alex has captured it in his lovely net of words and postcards, and here they are altogether once again all at once to be re-enjoyed and re-savored once more.

in his final year Sam was among those wishing me well in Gildzen at 50: A Celebration. I've taken to heart his admonition to avoid doctors & lawyers.

what a life he led. let's not forget it or the work he left us.

22 July 2009

yr tax dollars at work

a vice president's Secret Service protection ends 6 months after he leaves office. but Dick Cheney has requestd & surprisingly rec'd an extension.

20 July 2009

levy lives

r.j.s. just sent me a link to color footage of d.a. levy reading.

40 years ago

I made green cheese fondue for Julia & David & Russ as we watchd the moon landing.

19 July 2009

another video

the last of the five videos from my Cleveland reading John Burroughs has so beautifully producd as part of his Crisis Chronicles library.

18 July 2009

beating the heat

my neighbor Jonathan

likes the apricot tree too. of course he's not interestd in the fruit. but the shade is pleasant. & o yes   the birds that do enjoy the fruit tempt him.

17 July 2009

Walter Cronkite (1916-2009)

Walter Cronkite-JFK - The funniest movie is here. Find it

happy birthday to Farmers Market

Los Angeles Times just ran a story on the 75th birthday of Farmers Market. the opening anecdote centers on writer David Freeman -- calld a "longtime regular" -- bringing his own spoon from home for his morning coffee when the market switchd to plastic spoons.

David was a brilliant actor-director at Kent State University. I first saw him on stage in 1961. the moments of his career there that I most cherish were his portrayal of Mr. Zero in "The Adding Machine" & his direction of "The Fantasticks." David went on to become playwright ("Jesse and the Bandit Queen")   novelist ( It's All True )   screenwriter ("Street Smart")   journalist ( The Last Days of Alfred Hitchcock ).

here we are together at Farmers Market in 1991:

& allow me to add a birthday huzzah to the market. I can't even estimate the number of times I've enjoyd this amazing spot on Fairfax. I've observd Gwen Verdon shopping there & Paul Mazursky with his morning gang. the last time I was there Bill Berger took this:

this pizza shop is run by the family of the man who had Villa Capri in Hollywood for so many years. that James Dean hangout is gone but this little bit of it remains.

16 July 2009

panda forever

in the 2 months since the Cleveland event John Burroughs has been posting his footage from readings. here's his video of "Charlie Chaplin Purchases Clara Kimball Young's Undies."


there were blessings waiting for my return.

because it was mighty hot on mon nite I put down my bag & went outside to water. when I lookd into my belovd apricot tree I saw some yellow spots among the leaves & thot the intense heat while I was away had done damage. but when I lookd closer I was amazd to see fruit.

my architect Richard Martinez gave me as a housewarming gift several pots of apricot fledglings which he grew from seed. the ones I plantd in the back yard with its treacherous caleche died. but the pair I plantd in the front have survivd these 15 years. the larger has become a treasure in my daily life. both blossom but neither has producd fruit. until now. of course the birds are voracious in their eating. however I was able to salvage a couple & tastd them yesterday.

& in my mail was a small package from Indiana. William Allegrezza sent me an object from his found poetry project.

I love both the notion of combining poetry & objects   & Allegrezza's feeling that by not documenting his texts he's creating "a dance with oblivion." in the long run all the poems we all create are the mulch of oblivion. but there's something heroic abt a poet knowingly & honestly facing this future.

so my return has been enrichd by gifts from past & present. fresh fruit & sparkling words. how lucky am I?

14 July 2009

60 years ago

Dad built the brick house on Winckles St. here is a picture of it under construction:

the house wasn't complete when we movd in that nov. the whole family helpd but Dad did most of the work. in this photo of one of my birthday parties you can see the breezeway area hadn't been convertd into a room yet.

many years later the greenhouse was an add-on to the breezeway.

end of Dad's greenhouse

when I set a goal on an Elyria trip & accomplish it I feel good. this time I was determind to dismantle Dad's greenhouse. you see some of it in the background in this primitive video:

Dad built this add-on to the back of the house years ago & it got good use. however the glass panes that made the ceiling leakd & the beams supporting that ceiling were beginning to rot. so cousin Sal

& I went to work. & I do mean work. but we're transforming that part of the house back to the way it was when I was a boy.

13 July 2009

I'm home

& me at the Hickories yesterday for Lorain County Historical Society's ice cream social

07 July 2009

Palin: "I am not a quitter"

sounds like

Nixon: "I am not a crook"


smoke alarm woke me in middle of nite

nothing but Jackson shit on the news

fresh gopher mounds in the yard

06 July 2009

"Captain Video"

one of my first favorite tv shows. it ran from 1949-55.

its star was Al Hodge who was born in Ravenna OH & became an alcoholic who died alone at close to the age I am now.

among the many involvd with the series were
Sam Fuller who wrote some episodes prior to his directorial career in feature films
Kenneth Nelson who playd Ranger Colt decades before his role in "Boys in the Band"
Ruth White who did a single episode 16 years before voicing the Motel Keeper in "America Hurrah"
Ernest Borgnine who guest-starrd in 2 episodes 4 years before "Marty"

03 July 2009


Michael Jackson really is news. it seems that politicians of late are revealing that they can be as crazy as some entertainers.

today we have the Alaska gov telling her troubld state to shove it while she looks to higher office.

but even more bizarre is this from that southern first lady who is trying to outdo her husband by talking too much:
“Of course I’m not saying that Mark is gay,” [Jenny] Sanford said, “but he may as well be. The moral decay in this country has claimed another victim and this time it was my family. Our marriage was perfect until these laws started passing around the country. Clearly the slow dissolution of the sanctity of marriage in America seeped into Mark’s psyche until he no longer felt compelled to abide by our vows.”

how whackd is that? the idea of gay marriage made her husband lie to his family & staff   leave his state leaderless & follow his dick to Argentina. I've heard it all.


this is the only picture I have of myself from my 1st trip to Europe:

it was taken by one of those roving photographers at Trattoria La Beppa in Florence in the autumn of 1973.

why didn't I take a camera with me? I don't remember. but in those days we didn't document every moment of our lives. so regretfully I have no photos of myself with Kitaj or Hockney or DiPiero on that trip.

likewise in pre-digital days I have no pictures with d.a. levy or Kenneth Koch or Allen Ginsberg or Bobby Drivas or Jimmy Kirkwood or Alan Dalton or Sam Steward..... the list goes on. it's sad. I much prefer now with everyone snapping away.

02 July 2009

it's time

for Sanford to resign

to bury Whacko Jacko

for Fort Worth's police chief to get the ax