31 December 2015

an old poem to end the old year


Tournedos a la Vivaldi leak blood
beside the theater "La Traviata" failed in
Orwell's year begins with Mumm's
& roses pinned with needles

from Taverna La Fenice thru lifting fog
old friends & new walk to Piazza San Marco
celebrants smash bottles & snake dance
where Doges once plotted blood

a balcony on il Canal Grande unveils
a view of San Giorgio Maggiore
& the first morning of a new year
while Britten's fond bells peel

the bag lady returns to her bench
to feed a cat the size of the Vatican
cappuccino & little cakes at Florian's
revive memories of nun veils

David recalls breakfasts before church
hearing Lydia the Story Mixer
make tales from trios of words
suggested by needling listeners

then he gathers canal water in a bottle
to take back to Leipzig & is off
but I remain a tourist
ready for another jewelbox church

last night's boutonniere falls apart
in sight of the Island of the Dead
(I will leave the leafless rose
on Pound's grave)

& at lunch the year's first blood
amid talk of Byron & Vigny
at Locanda Montin I break skin
trying to pry scampi giganti apart

from needle marks I suck liquid roses
creatures of water wreak revenge
but cool passions of the sea pale
when an actor hams Shakespeare in Italian

-- a gobbo in black leather gimps
across wounded boards
oblivious of the century
spreading blood like roses --

& so it begins one more time
pigeons pecking fog-sogged streamers
shards of prosecco bottles stuck
in boot heels & friends floating off 

while I still remember that New Year's
alone with not quite a lover
drenched in champagne & semen
ignoring the avalanche of time

30 December 2015

looking back

I try to watch Kennedy Center Honors every year. & of course it brings back memories of 1993 -- the only time I was there.

one of the honorees on last nite's broadcast was Cicely Tyson.  I took this of her at the one I attended.

among the presenters this year was John Kerry.  here he is in the lobby before the presentation 22 years ago.

the most loved performer on last nite's broadcast was Aretha Franklin. I shot this of her at KCH in 1993.

25 December 2015

ho ho ho

this was me in Palm Springs in 2004. I expectd to be living there now.

but life isn't always what we want it to be.

so let's get this year over with & march on......

24 December 2015

as if

this time of year isn't depressing enuf I turnd on tv to find out exactly when the storm will arrive & there's no reception.  so I startd laundry & the washer is making unfortunate sounds.

22 December 2015

a story

from back in the days when I socialized in Hollywood with regularity.

I was exiting an awards evening at the Beverly Hilton. the International Ballroom has a couple of tiers. I was stepping from one to another when the person in front of me stopped abruptly. that action put me so off my stride I began to fall backward.  luckily the person behind me saw what was happening & grabbd me so I wdn't fall.  I turnd to thank that person.  it was Johnny Mathis.

so yes I can truthfully say that once Johnny Mathis held me in his arms.

20 December 2015


as a grad student I lived in a trailer for 3 months. this envelope on which I've written my name & address is the only documentation I have of that brief interlude.

the trailer belongd to fellow student & future novelist G.J. Smullen.  he & his wife got a job running an off-campus apartment complex & had to live on premises.  so they rentd their trailer to me.

18 December 2015

part grinch

my feelings abt Xmas are complicated.  I'm not religious so that part of the holiday doesn't exist for me. & its commercialization can be repugnant.

but I do have pleasant memories of some holidays past.

already packd away is a box of Xmas "things." some are gifts. others from foreign travels. when I expect company I arrange them on the mantle of my fireplace.

other years this is the single item that comes out of storage.

Dad made the wreath with grapevines from the backyard on Winckles. Dug Funnell made the "joy."  for the past 2 decades I've put it in the window of the guest room.

17 December 2015

memory books

in the past month with my computer down I kept busy doing collages.  but I also put 2 of these together. they're already in new homes in different states.

16 December 2015

that shirt

graphics card

apparently this has been my culprit.  why it took so many visits to the shop to discover this I don't know.  but I got a new one at considerable cost.  so I'm hoping this keeps my machine going for a while.