31 March 2015

a lost poem

in a copy of a friend's chapbook I found this. I inscribed it to that friend with the date "11 june 85." I have no other copy of this poem. in fact I have no memory of this poem.  but it's obviously mine.


swimming among the
seeds I touch your
porcelain foot with
my hair
               & wake up

30 March 2015

more inscriptions

James Broughton

Paul Metcalf

Thomas Meyer


in reviewing my library as I send off so many volumes to Kent I find much I'd forgotten.

Richard Howard was a house guest in 1974. here's what he wrote in my copies of a couple of his books:

"For Alex Gildzen
who has (quickly) become 
one of mine"

Alone with America
"For Alex Gildzen
with whom I am
not alone"

reading these now they seem like stock responses. wd be interesting to compare with the copies of others to see.

& then there are the marvelous inscriptions of Kenneth Irby:

29 March 2015

hiding in plain sight #3

Kevin McCarthy came to my house in Twin Lakes one fine day in 1976 to make use of the swimming pool.  while there he took some photographs. & they turnd out to be the best photographs I now have of that property.

this one has me in the living room:

but as I've begun doing at this stage of my life I'm reading the photograph not so much for me but for what's around me. & there in the background is the Anuszkiewicz seriagraph which looks down at me as I type & near it Berrocal's "Mini-David" which is on top of the shelves on the other side of this room. there's the antique doll's head from France which Mom bought me when I took her to Manhattan so many years ago. I still adore that piece.

there too is the old gumball machine my parents gave me for Xmas of 1972.  it's currently in my kitchen. I see a Judy Collins album & my Rockwell Kent edition of Moby Dick -- both of which are in my great room.

28 March 2015

the rest of the story

so I return to the file cabinet & pull out another stack.  & suddenly I found this:

the mind is strange. a dozen years after all this I still remember that "Halloween" image. but I'd totally forgotten that Joel kindly sent me this next.

& this time there's a printout of my response:  "I told you while posing that I trust an artist. so when I saw the 1st image (which came in an envelope with a Warhol stamp) I thot…. o well   my nose & lips ARE my worst facial attributes. if that's the way he sees me so be it. anyway I guess I'm more vain than I thot. the new image (which appropriately came with a Cary Grant stamp) does make me feel like a movie star."

another surprise

& so one more respite from plowing thru files. this certainly was enuf to stop me.

in the fall of 2003 Joel Singer photographd me in his NYC studio. I was excited. I'd be joining the likes of Mark Morris & Jonas Mekas in his portrait gallery.

a couple of weeks later I got an envelope from Joel. I rippd it open in anticipation of seeing his portraits. this is what greetd me. 

after the shock I was hurt. I cdn't believe that this was how my friend saw me.  I must've eventually recoverd enuf to write him because tuckd in the envelope is a printout of an e-mail response. Joel wrote: "sorry to have alarmed you with the first image. it was meant as a Halloween mask and certainly not as a 'serious' portrait."

I filed that away & haven't seen this image again until today. it continues to disturb me. so now it goes into the next Kent box just waiting to frighten whoever one day comes across it.

Icebox Beauties of 1999

in reviewing my correspondence to my parents before sending it off to my collection at Kent I discovered this piece:

when I did it I didn't photograph each piece so it was exciting to see this. the work appears in Making Circles. as you'll see there I did photograph another from the series:

copying that brought back a memory of a photograph of one other piece in the series but I don't know where that is.

hiding in plain sight #2

the other nite I was channelchasing & came upon Bill Raymond gueststarring on "Miami Vice." in 1985 I appeard in the Mabou Mines production of "Cold Harbor" on campus. Bill was the lead. during that time I had a party for Bill & the others who came from NY (including Ruth Maleczech & Dale Worsley). here's Bill in my kitchen on Morris.

the thing I see this time is the matchbook collection in the glass jar on the fridge. this was exactly 30 years before my piece "Matchless."  that jar is on the floor near me as I type with some of those same matchbooks in it.  others of those matchbooks are now scatterd across the country.

& on the fridge is the postcard of myself with James Broughton in "Jungle Girl." on the walls in the background are posters by Robert Schultz & James Rosenquist.

27 March 2015

hiding in plain sight #1

this is Newbery medalist & MacArthur fellow Virginia Hamilton (1934-2002) in my office on the 12th floor of the Kent State University Libraries in the mid-'80s.

but what interests me today are those shelves that I wd see from my desk everyday. there is an Ira Joel Haber drawing which is now in my bedroom. & that exquisite Henry Halem piece which is also in my bedroom. next shelf down is the portrait of Mom which Dad took to war. it's now in the guest room. beside it is a memento which the American Film Institute gave to special donors. it's in the guest bathroom. & on the next shelf is a James Dean postcard which I think was sent by Edward Field.

26 March 2015

2 artists named Craig

it was 1984 on Morris rd in Kent. I was giving a party to celebrate the publication of P. Craig Russell's Elric of Melnibone. I took this picture of the guest of honor (on the right) with another friend of mine -- the painter Craig Lucas.

it's not the best photo of either of them. but it's important to me now because it may be the only picture I have of the 2 of them together. & both of them have been on my mind in these past few weeks.

for those who mite ask: the painting is a portrait of me by Billie Jo Clayton.  & the print is my only Picasso.

25 March 2015

blossoms real & created

Andria Derstine was visiting this morning. I had her take a picture of me with my beloved apricot tree & a lovely little Roberto Marquez watercolor from 2000.

21 March 2015

Margarete Bagshaw (1964-2015)

she was unique. the last of a dynasty of female painters.  daughter of Helen Hardin & granddaughter of Pablita Velarde.

here we are at her gallery in 2012:


2 stressful days which left me pissd at both government & big business. so when I woke to such a glorious day I decided I wantd something other than my usual cereal & banana. I walkd the several miles to Counter Culture for this:

of course they're famous for their cinnamon roll.  so I got one of those to bring home.

19 March 2015

on the verge of spring

weepy eyes &

"scrawled alephs aflame,
hint of a hatchway torched open,
a fiery blink each spring"

Steven Riel

17 March 2015

she had red hair

& was quiet. Karen Nelson. a classmate writes to me that she's dead. I'm trying to bring back memories of her from when we were little. I look at pictures of us lined up against the stone structure that was Garford School. I look at the faces. some have stories. others no longer have names. we were so little then. we grew. we partd. we lived lives the others knew nothing of. & now we're calld elders. & each year there are fewer of us to try to remember the cloakrooms where we hung our leggings   to remember the snake dances at Halloween   to remember the candy store across the street.

I knew you very well Karen Nelson. but now I struggle to retrieve any memory. & what I think I remember I'm not sure I really remember.  so I count the little ones in the pictures who are dead now. & I think of us sitting in rows at our desks asking the questions that little ones ask. & wondering how many of us ever got the answers.


I don't celebrate St. Patrick's Day:

1) I no longer drink
2) I don't like cornd beef
3) more than one St. Pat's parade is less than welcoming to my tribe

however -- the outlaw in me likes to shake things up. 

& in the "going thru" phase of my downsizing I found this t-shirt & decided to wear it one last time   posting the proof today.

Shea-nanigan's was a restaurant & Irish pub near campus that I first went to in 1979. its heyday was the first half of the 1980s. it was popular with the theater crowd. & I certainly took my share of young actors & dancers there. but it was also a spot to take poets & those with whom I shared flagons & morsels were Tom Meyer & Jonathan Williams   Kenneth Irby   Jacob Leed   John Moritz.

this particular t-shirt became mine when I "borrowed" it from a hot bartender.

16 March 2015

I know it's the wrong holiday but

I'm still going thru files & piles preparing things to send to Kent & other things to other places.

I found the documentation for valentines I made in 1995. I made & sent 43. I didn't photograph them so I don't know what "Jock Itch" (the one I sent Kevin Killian) looks like. I maild them to my closest friends as well as people I didn't really know like artist Mamie Deschillie & poet Gavin Dillard.

 this one I sent to my parents:

the old woodcut is from the small town of Napoleon where they were married.

14 March 2015

Al Rosen (1924-2015)

those who know me know I have little interest in sports.

however when I was 12 I met Al Rosen. & since the Cleveland Indians were ubiquitous in northern Ohio I had a brief affair with baseball.  somewhere I have a signd picture of Rosen. & a 1956 letter from him is in my papers at Kent State.

thinking back I bet my infatuation with Rosen was partially because he was a gorgeous man.

I wrote this prose poem in his honor. it first appeard in the baseball issue of Io in 1971. & that same year it was one of the prose poems that Steven Saylor turnd into glamorous broadsides for our portfolio The Origin of Oregano.


after dreaming

of doing a duet with Judy Garland I was full of some old memories.

this painting hangs in my guest bathroom.  it's one of my oldest art purchases. 1966. & instead of cash I traded artist Don Walker a scarce Nina Simone album I had.

Walker was a character. my first memory of him was one of G. Harry Wright's spring theater trips. we got on the train in downtown Kent & traveled to I believe Hoboken. then took the ferry across to Manhattan where we stayd at the Picadilly Hotel.  I still recall Walker flouncing around the train station.  he was a large man. & he was doing some sort of routine in which he spoke French.  something abt a handbag -- "sac" in French. for the time he was pretty outrageous.

later I got to know him thru friends in the school of art.  I believe he was a few years older than me. if memory serves he appears in Dick Myers' 1965 film "Coronation."  I think he's the priest who puts the crown on Terry Corley's head.

as so often happens I lost touch with him. again if memory serves he taught art in the Akron school system. I don't remember if he still made art. but soon I will have had this piece for a half century.

10 March 2015

a breathing bibliography

J C Gonzo stoppd by to photograph me with some of my books.  I'm putting together a massive archive which I will offer for sale here. it's a bigger project than I expectd.  the house is in disarray.


woke me at 3.

it seems unforgiving that we survive the agonies of winter with the promise of spring.  only to have forgotten that spring brings sneezing & tears.

09 March 2015

Emory Bass (1925-2015)

back in 1979 when I was sort of seeing Robert Drivas he was having a couple of his actor friends for dinner at the Hollywood apartment of James Coco which he was subletting.  I was staying at Chateau Marmont but came over to do the cooking. those friends were Emory Bass & Tony DeSantis.

08 March 2015


Mike Busam writes abt "Matchless" -- & so much more -- on his blog

I've been writing & doing my odd little pieces for the last half century.  most of it goes unnoticed. I can hold the reviews my books have rec'd in one hand. & a few of those few were not kind. I know….. none of us do it for fame.  but we don't create just for ourselves either.  & when I read what Mike has written I'm overtaken with emotion. there's someone out there who knows what the dimes were abt. what the matchbooks are abt.

well I don't want to blather on.  so I'll just thank Mike.  & I'll add a sprinkle of synchronicity.  he mentions Tom Beckett.  I recently sent Tom the romertopf that Nancy & Paul Metcalf gave me as a house gift during one of their visits.  I no longer remember which visit -- but it may have been the one in 1978. & on that visit Paul went off on his own for a reading somewhere & Nancy stayd with me. & dear friends took us to the REA Express in Quaker Square.  I'm too old now to remember any exact conversation but I can be honest in saying it was wonderful. & that I took that matchbook as we left.

so Mike as you take yr library on the road with that matchbook you're not just taking me. but I dont have to tell you that.  you know Mike.  you know.

07 March 2015

I startd crying

as John Lewis was introducing the president but by the time Barrack Obama finishd his speech in Selma there were so many tears I cd barely see the television screen.

at the gym

yesterday a guy was beaming because it was his third year working out. that got me thinking.  I began after moving to the house on Morris Rd which was 35 years ago this summer. I think I startd at the university before joining Tree City Nautilus.  here's a sheet I still have from there:

these days I have a normal routine at Mandrill's Gym but don't keep such notes.

06 March 2015

Dirk Shafer (1962-2015)

I haven't seen him since we met in 1996 but we were Facebook friends. so his death is quite the shock.

Albert Maysles (1926-2015)

the last time I saw him he was filming Rufus Wainwright in town. lighting that nite wasn't the best so these photos are a bit grainy.

Bellini's doge

what fascinates me abt reviewing my various collections is the discovery of real treasures.

there among my hundreds of postcards was this one I purchasd in London in 1984.

what makes it so special is that it is the very card which I mention at the end of the poem "At the National Gallery."  (that piece appears in my most recent chapbook Jumping Over the Moon.)

it was like finding a lost friend.  & I will make note of it & put it in the next batch of papers to be sent to my collection at Kent State.

05 March 2015


any collectors out there?

in my determination to cull my past I'm going thru nearly everything I own. today it was my postcard collection.  I have hundreds going back decades.  & I'm now willing to part with them.

if you'd like a large bundle contact me. I'll be happy to give them to you for just the cost of postage.

03 March 2015

homage a Dad

this ipad picture isn't very clear but I was so hungry I ate instead of reshooting

National Pancake Day

here's Dad who always enjoyd making pancakes.

& here he is in the army where I'm sure he perfectd his pancake skills.

hard to believe he's been gone 7 years already.

01 March 2015

first day covers

this is me at the Y.

the adult is activities director P.F. Johnson. & the activity here is stamp collecting.

one of the things Mr. Johnson encouraged us to do was send in for first day covers.  I put mine together in a little blue photo album which has my first bookplate.

as I attempt to lighten my load I'm reviewing my past & finding new homes for "stuff." this little album has 27 first day covers as well as a set of 3 Grace Kelly wedding stamps & some miscellaneous envelopes.

also for the rabid Gildzen collector you'll see one of my earliest autographs on the Nebraska centennial cover in the photo.

if anyone is interestd I'll part with this treasure for $75 (or the best offer).