31 December 2013

too tired for tears

biting cold on walk to gym. but workout essential to push me thru today's chores.  the procrastintor in me faces an agenda requiring completion before year's end. already I've accomplishd more crap today than in most weeks.

& then we face this holiday tonite. aging unveils more truths with each year. & the nasty truth abt New Years Eve is the sight of my personal hourglass emptying. as usual I will go to bed at my regular time & hope that my neighbors don't wake me with their drunken revels. tonite is the saddest of all holidays.

bye bye 2013

the year began listening to Bartok

historically there was Obama's 2nd inaugural & the death of Mandela

personally a monumental birthday & the publication of 2 lovely chapbooks -- Blossoms & Cleveland

there were screenings of the documentary "Big Joy" in which I appear joyfully

but the biggest events of the year centerd around Mom's fall & transition to assistd living

30 December 2013

more Mahls

I've written before abt the interconnection between my family & the Mahls.

as time goes by Tom Mahl has become my oldest friend (not in terms of age but "longest friend" doesn't sound right). here we are in kindergarten. on the right he's at the end of the middle row & I'm third in on the bottom row.

today I met Tom's sister Pam & her family for lunch. they're visiting from Houston where she's a trade specialist for the Department of Commerce. her husband took this picture of us on the plaza. I'm showing her my Elyria cap.

she was much younger so I didn't know her well but it was lovely swapping stories abt our parents & the town in which we grew up.


green parrots in Billy's floss silk tree
yellow roses on David's bush on Winckles St
red umbrellas at Blue Moon

all the colors that never made a poem
come together to make this one
because that's what a poem can do

it can snatch this color & that
to weave a rainbow

or it can invent a new color

poems can do anything
if you let them

29 December 2013

travels of a shell

from Mom's desk in Elyria

to my floor in Santa Fe

to Billy's desk in Culver City

27 December 2013

back from LA

which was the warmest city in the country this Xmas

I was visiting Emma

& that guy she lives with

25 December 2013

another photograph unknown to me which I found in Elyria when I packd up the house.  don't know the year. this wasn't taken at 429 but my parents appear to be having fun.

23 December 2013

a tradition from the past

this is the cover of the album I used to listen to every Xmas in Elyria.  it's a pair of 45s so I no longer have a way to play it. but I can still hear Lionel Barrymore. he was neither the actor nor the looker his brother John was. & watching his movies today he usually was heavy on the ham. but to a boy he was the perfect Scrooge.  & it was a joy to have him there every 25th.

22 December 2013

Circus Circus

still finding treasures in the things I brought back from 429. here's a polaroid of Dad & Mom with my aunt Mary Yando.  it was their only visit to Las Vegas.  Mom even kept the plane tix.  it was the only time she flew.  I got them the tix as a xmas present.

21 December 2013

a holiday long ago & far away

Mom wrote on the back: "Taken at Higbee's   Cleveland   December - 47."

when I retired from Kent State my library colleagues Dean Keller & Jeanne Somers put together a little tribute book. among those contributing was novelist Alicia Metcalf Miller.  she began with this:

The year we met, I received a Christmas postcard from Alex, a photograph of him at three or four seated on Santa's knee at the old downtown Higbee's Department Store.  I was charmed by the card for all sorts of reasons. I was also astonished that the little boy on Santa's knee seemed uncannily to be the very same Alex I knew, only considerably shorter.

20 December 2013

I (still) love Lucy

kids today turn on the tv (or some other contrivance) & have the option of anywhere from dozens to hundreds of programs at any hour.  I remember when there were 3 channels. in those ancient days the morning after a hit show everyone talkd abt it. so tv became a communal activity. that rarely happens today. people watch what they want to when they want to.

there was a time when "I Love Lucy" was the best show on & everybody followd it. & decades after the show came to a close it continues to be shown.  many of its episodes are such classics they have been woven into the nation's fabric of history.

even tho you can still catch Lucy reruns tonite was different.  for the first time in memory a Lucy special was given a primetime spot on a major network. the hour-long show was a pair of half-hour originals.  the down side is that they were colorizd -- a process I despise. but still here was a  chance for a large audience to watch the great Lucille Ball in some of her best moments. & even to those of us who have seen some of these scenes dozens & dozens of times over the years it was a chance to laugh yet again.

not everyone agrees with me but I do believe "I Love Lucy" was the greatest sitcom in television history. yes some episodes are less funny than others.  but the good ones last. & as we saw tonite part of the reason is the perfect casting. as splendid as Lucy is she is more than supportd by Desi Arnaz & Vivian Vance & William Frawley.

so for me this was a fun tv evening.

(this was Lucille Ball in her pre-tv career but it's such a wild photo I'm sharing it instead of something from the Xmas special)


my internet bud Bill Fogle took a fancy to the picture I postd recently of Dad during the war.  I was hunting for some old holiday photos & came across these vintage shots of my photogenic father with his pals which I offer as a holiday gift to Bill -- & everyone else who likes rather stunning portraits of handsome men.

written on the back: "The little building behind us is the mess hall. 1/10/42."

this photo was croppd so little of the writing on the back remains.  it looks as if all the guys signd with their home addresses.  but the only one that survives is S. J. Brenick from Masury OH.

19 December 2013


Charles Lieurance postd an old illustration on Facebook this morning.  it was Santa Claus looking into a Viewmaster. that got me all nostalgic.  so I went to the corner of the closet where I have my old Viewmaster & the plastic box in which I filed my disks.

each disk has 7 3-D photos. they cover everything from Eisenhower's inauguration to Old Faithful.  I took a look at some favorites -- Al Rosen on a basball star disk & Barbara Stanwyck on a movie star disk.

strangely I'd completely forgotten there was a disk of Santa Fe. it was taken at fiesta time & includes shots of the parade going past the plaza.

18 December 2013

true crime

I was 11 when Marilyn Sheppard was murderd in a town 23 miles from mine. it was all over the local news & was one of the first murders I followed. then the next year Billy Woodward was murderd. that one had the scent of Hollywood abt it.  so I put clippings abt the case in my movie star scrapbooks.

all of this came back last nite as I watchd the seductive ID channel.  their series "A Crime to Remember" finishd up with a reenactment of the Woodward case (featuring a cute young actor by the name of Kurt Smith as Billy).

both of these crimes became famous. the Sheppard case inspired the series "The Fugitive." & the Woodward story was told by both Truman Capote & Dominick Dunne. & both cases seem to stay alive.  my cousin Sal pointd out the site of the Sheppard murder when we drove thru Bay Village not so long ago.  & recently I saw Brooke Shields on stage.  her grandmother was one of Billy Woodward's romances.

17 December 2013

Mom's dolls

before packing up 429 I had the good sense to take some photos to document how my parents lived.

these are in Mom's study -- which had been my bedroom when I was a lad. I had a single bookshelf over my bed. don't think I have any photos of that. much later Dad built these shelves for Mom's doll collection. hard to see but there's a plastic sheet over the shelves to protect the dolls from dust.

I packd up some of the dolls for my cousin Paula in Georgia.  some others I gave to Mom's friend Barbara who is a collector. but many of the dolls I got Mom on trips & I wantd to keep some of those. so I now have a whole plastic container full of dolls.  they don't work well with my style but I have been able to position a few around the house as a constant reminder of Mom & her collection.

16 December 2013

"Ohio Triangle"

this book has been long in coming but I rather like that.

there are 3 sections. the first is "Elyria" & was publishd first.  & in Elyria.  the second is "Cleveland" & was publishd second  & in Cleveland.  they are available here.

the final section is "Kent."  it's ever so close to being finishd.  wd be great to have a press in Kent publish it.  but I've been away from that city too long to know the current lit scene there anymore.

"Elyria" has been thru 2 editions & what appears in the final book will be different. I rather like that too.

14 December 2013

missing Audrey

still can't find Totter envelope
so I startd w/o it:

Jay Parsell (1937-1987)

I remember a longer view of the Audrey Totter mirror photo I postd earlier today.  I think it appeard in a Filmworks ad Richard Myers put in the Daily Kent Stater a hundred years ago. I liked it so that I collected many copies of the paper & cut out that photo.  I had an envelope of them waiting for use in an art piece which I never made.

I felt like a series of Audrey memorial collages -- held together by the use in each of that clippd image -- wd be fun to do today. but of course my search was fruitless. however in looking I came across this page from a 1987 issue of Newsweek:

it's the only photo I have of Jay Parsell who I met at the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt in 1975.  it was a dinner of the Society of Cinephiles & he was a publicist who was there with his friend Jack Oakie. a day or so later he took me to the Polo Lounge for the first time.  & then to Posh Bagel where I met a couple of his younger actor friends.  Robert McLane the year before was the star of "A Very Natural Thing" using the name Robert Joel.  Pamela Seamon the next year wd appear in "The Last Tycoon." (McLane died in 1992 & today Pamela Guest is a casting director.)

I'd see Jay on my Hollywood trips & one time I needed a belt for something.  he loand me one of his but I mistakenly packd it.  which was good because I still have it as a touchstone to my friend.

it appears in "What I Wore on the Blue Swing As 1999 Becomes 2000." & 7 years later there was this section of "Life is Art":

how many times
must I strike you
with Jay Parsell's belt?

I love how people & things connect.  my life & thus my work is full of those connections. so even tho I'm sad that Audrey Totter just died I'm happy to have been remembering Jay Parsell.

Audrey Totter (1917-2013)

one of my fave dames of film noir

in my 1976 poem poem "When Afternoon Refuses to Change into Evening Clothes" I have the line: "I try to be tough as Audrey Totter."

my father the cook


Winckles St

13 December 2013


as much as I love the internet & my online files I fear the computer has brought some traditions to an end. for instance   when I was growing up every kitchen had a little recipe box. & it was full of handwritten cards passing on this particular heritage. but I doubt many families still have one.

going thru one of these old recipe boxes provides more than a little of the history of the family who kept it. several years ago the children of my boyhood neighbor Helen Mahl (1921-2007) put together Dinner at 410: Mom's Favorite Recipes. both a lovely tribute to that family's matriarch & an invaluable collection it feels like one of those recipe boxes in book form.  I'm particularly fond of the recipe for "Egg noodles for soup." in listing the ingredients there's this: "3 1/2 doz eggs, separated (need yolks only: give whites to Helen Gildzen)." that brings back so much history of our neighboring families.

while closing up 429 I discoverd some of my mother's recipes.  altho I knew I'd probably never make much from them I had to keep some because of all the memories they evoke. here are 2 of the "ethnic" ones.  the top recipe is in Mom's hand.  bottom in Dad's.

11 December 2013

spread holiday joy

just talkd with Mom who got someone to help her wrap a present.  she's loves holidays & has always been a giver.  I'm so grateful she's made the transition to asisstd living & is so o.k. with the sale of the house that was hers for 63 years.

even if you've never met my mother allow me to ask a favor.  since this is her first holiday away from her longtime home wd you send her a greeting.  a drawing or poem or anything festive. this is the address:

Helen Gildzen
Life Care Center
1212 S. Abbe Rd
Elyria OH 44035

you'll surprise & delight her while making her son happy & grateful. my thx for taking the time.

10 December 2013

Kona Stains

I visitd Maui in may 2004.  before leaving I went to Hilo Hattie’s to assemble a gift package for my parents. one of the items was a small packet of the store’s “gourmet coffee.”

in nov 2013 I had to pack up the contents of my boyhood home at 429 Winckles St in Elyria. among the things I found was that little packet of coffee which my parents had never opend (they only fixd instant). I put it in my suitcase.  on my first morning back in Santa Fe I brewd the coffee which I servd myself in Mom’s Morris the cat mug. when I was finishd I spread some of the grounds on 10 sheets of her stationery pad.

the next day I removd the coffee. strangely some of the stains are more vibrant than others.

09 December 2013

Eleanor Parker (1922-2013)

I took this at the Palm Springs Film Noir Festival in 2005.  she's with festival founder -- the late Art Lyons.


to the gym on this bitter cold morning was a challenge. but with that accomplishd the rest of the day shd be a snap.

08 December 2013


as I continue to process the material I sent myself from 429 I discoverd this photo of me in Hollywood which I didn't have. not sure but I suspect it's 1987.

07 December 2013

Peter with an Emmy

still organizing.  to make room in one space I had to go thru some old notebooks which my cousin Sal gave me. there was this picture:

captain sez: National Acdemy of TV Arts and Sciences finally created a category for daytime serials and declared The Doctors as winner "for creative program achievements and for achievements by individuals contributing to daytime drama."

the photo shows the cast of the soap with the award -- suggesting that the whole cast as well as the show won.  my friend Peter Burnell is there in the open patternd shirt. records show that "The Doctors" indeed won the first Emmy for daytime drama but it isn't clear if at that time the whole cast was considerd to have won. but any documentation of Peter's career is welcome.


for me one of the many joys of Facebook is finding lost people. adjacent to that is bringing back places & things & activities temporarily forgotten.

I embrace today & don't "live in the past" but do respect it. esp as a reservoir for writing & art.

recently I discoverd on FB a page for Robin Crozier's mail art project of some years ago. it not only reminds me of my participation but also unveils many pieces no one has seen for years.

unfortunately while it was ongoing I faild to make copies of my own replies. I think my file of pieces sent is with my papers at Kent.  but I have kept this one:

it's wonderful that Crozier is being rememberd this way.  here's what he wrote for Gildzen at 50:

06 December 2013


single digits this morning but I still got to the gym.  took this when I got back.

05 December 2013


my neighbors & I got home last nite before the snow began. we'd gone to Abq to hear Joe Bonamassa again. I got to bed around 1 & woke just before 7.  when I lookd out there was several inches of white.  after sweeping paths in front & back I decided against going to the gym.  it's still snowing.

03 December 2013

from Elyria with love

a week ago yesterday I shut the door to 429 Winckles for the final time.  I visitd Mom at Life Care Center then took 2 long-feeling flights back to New Mexico.

today 7 boxes of "stuff" I packd arr'd on my front portal:

now comes the major task of trying to integrate all this into my small house.

01 December 2013

coming next year

I'm delightd to be part of the 2014 list from Hydeout Press. I pickd one holiday each month to write a poem abt. they'll be in a book.  & some will appear on cards appropriate to send to friends you know will still love you after they receive them.