26 December 2017

"Portrait in Black"

I often bemoan those days of yore when cameras weren't ubiquitous. so many precious ones with whom I have no photos. so many grand events just hanging on by a memory.

so it was lovely to find this online. it shows producer Ross Hunter arriving at Cleveland Hopkins with Virginia Grey & John Saxon & Anna May Wong. my stories abt them at the premiere of this film at the Hippodrome in 1960 are easy to find. & altho heretofore there has been no photographic evidence at last I have this. as close as I'll get to my actual memories of talking with these film legends.

21 December 2017


I don't understand them. I mean why do we dream what we dream?

maybe there is an answer which I haven't uncoverd. whatever..... I'm constantly intrigued by their content.

last nite I dreamt that I was meeting a high school English teacher named Jeri Lu Wagstaff. she was important in my development as a serious writer because she encouraged me. in the dream I did what I've been unable to do in real life -- to thank her in person.

this is the only photo I have of her. I took it when some of her best students (Roberta & Tom & Martha & I) surprised her with an art installation & performance art.

yesterday I rec'd my annual Xmas card from Roberta (now living in London). maybe that was a trigger for this dream?

so I may not understand dreams. I may not like all of them. but this one made me feel good. 

20 December 2017

a man in tights

I cdn't listen to any more news of the tax bill from the idiot in the White House & the Republican millionaires in Congress. so I watchd the Disney version of the Robin Hood tale.

as a boy I was a Disney fan & after seeing this fell for Richard Todd. it was decades before I finally saw him in Beverly Hills. I was a bit startled at how short he was. his date that nite was his friend & sometimes co-star Glynis Johns -- equally diminutive. they were so cute together   reminding me of the couple on the wedding cake.

a couple of side glances:

1) tonite's TCM screening was hostd by Leonard Maltin. in his post screening chatter he switched the names of actors James Robertson Justice & James Hayter.

2) I'd forgotten that Peter Finch playd the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham. one day we'll be neighbors for eternity. his space is down the hall & around the corner from mine.

10 December 2017

my newest book

I love  Poems For All. these wee books are publishd with such love by Robert Hansen. & now he's done a 4th poem of mine -- "loiter at my lines."

(photo by John Kenneth Alexander)

01 December 2017

ho ho & one mo ho

I'm not much of a Xmas person but I have had a box of seasonal items for decades. some years I take them out & "decorate." others not. last year was my first Xmas since becoming a Palm Springs resident. but my remodel had only been finishd weeks before & I was in no mood to strew the house with knicknackery. this year I decided to bring all the memories out of storage.

the wreath has special meaning for me now. Dad made it from grapevine in the backyard on Winckles St. the stuffd joy was a gift from Dug Funnel years ago.

I've never been a fan of Xmas trees but have assembled ornaments over the years. the first house I ever ownd by myself was the one on Morris Rd in Kent. my boyhood sled was mountd above the fireplace & I'd put the ornaments on it.

in my house in Santa Fe I brought the items out in the years I knew I was having houseguests. then is was on my fireplace mantel.

here the sled is in my master bathroom & I have no fireplace.  so I assembled the memories on my livingroom table.

07 November 2017

reading Metcalf

on Paul's centennial

he's with me every day. his work & friendship part of who I am. & this poster looking down on my computer as I write.

25 October 2017

Fats Domino (1928-2017)

the only time I heard him was in Akron in 1988. I still remember him pushing the piano across the stage with his body.

23 October 2017

the "president" is a racist

the "president" is a liar

the "president" is a coward

how much longer before the American people storm the White House & throw his fat ass in the gutter?

19 October 2017

the stench

from the White House
is so overpowering
the entire nation
is choking to death

15 October 2017

03 October 2017

27 September 2017

feeling good at 74

17 September 2017

in love with a dead man

a cute boy usher leads Mae Marsh in a large hat down a theater aisle. walking behind her is an actor playing her husband. he has a stiff collar & stern look. she takes her seat while he accepts a program from the boy. he sits beside her. they exchange words. & the quick scene is over.

the actor is Walter Miller (1892-1940). the film is D. W. Griffith's "Brutality" (1912). I encounterd the clip in a bit of Bill Morrison's documentary on the astonishing discovery of a cache of silent films buried for years in a swimming pool.

the whole experience is only seconds long. but as I first saw it that man spoke to me. over the decades his being made contact. & it was so powerful I was undone for a spell. I playd the clip again & again.  then I lookd him up. after a career as a leading man in silents he became a villain in Poverty Row serials. his later self looks a bit bloatd & not as mysterious as those seconds of him as a beauty. I see him sitting with his precise attire & head cockd. he doesn't appear to be acting. he is simply being. & it's strong & disquieting. I want to know more abt him.  I want him to lean toward me & whisper his secrets.

walk down the aisle Walter Miller. sit beside me Walter Miller. talk to me Walter Miller.

I will continue my day. I will eat some of this & drink some of that. I will look at art on walls & words on page. I may talk to myself. & I may talk to Walter Miller who died before I was born. I don't know how long he will stay in my life. maybe just this week. maybe forever. he isn't the first mysterious man to unnerve me & hopefully won't be the last. but how thrilling on a simple sunday to have such a man walk into yr life & for just moments upset it.

13 September 2017

"In This Heat"

happy to have the first year of Palm Springs poems available in a book done with John Dorsey. it's available here. only 100 copies. so order one now.

17 August 2017


tonite I found a batch of comments all new to me.

when I moved I changed e-mail addresses. there were so many things to do I never went into my blog settings to change the address in the section on forwarding notice of comments.

so if you wrote & I didn't respond I'm sorry.

15 August 2017

rant against the "president"

I do that frequently on Facebook. however not so much here. but day after day of evil from this idiot is wearing me down & infecting all my actions.

I wake up every morning hoping to read his obituary.

06 August 2017

my idea of Hollywood

a Facebook friend just postd some screen captures of the William Holden episode of "I Love Lucy."  so I watchd that classic show again & laughd as deeply as I'm sure I did as an 11 year old.

when I lookd it up I saw its original showing was on 7 feb 55. that's a month after the first episode of "So This is Hollywood."  I've written before abt how influential that sit com was on my notion of what Hollywood was.

so the short-lived Mitzi Green series & the Hollywood episodes of "I Love Lucy" came together to inform my young mind abt the movie capitol of thw world.

after I grew up -- & startd visiting Hollywood regularly -- things changed. however on my walks of those old neighborhoods I'd think of Queenie picking oranges every time I passd a group of bungalows straight out of that series. & I bet that the first time I went to the Brown Derby on Vine I rememberd Bill Holden as I orderd Cobb salad.

in some ways Hollywood for me will always be that mythical place that it was when I was 11.

31 July 2017

Jeanne Moreau (1928-2017)

I've told these tales before but for the record here they are again:

1) in 1984 I attended the AFI salute to Lillian Gish. after the ceremony I went over to the head table which the silent screen star shared with a circle of powerful & talentd women of cinema. & there I was face to face with Moreau. I don't recall all I sd to her but I do remember asking abt distribution of her Gish documentary. seeing Gish & Moreau together was a stunning moment.

2) exactly 5 years later I was sitting in Plaza del Triunfo in Seville when Moreau & some male pals sat at a nearby table.  I wasn't close enuf to hear any of their conversation but it evident they were all enjoying each other. when they left I went to her table. at her place was her crumpled cigaret pack. altho I abhor smoking I took the pack. I needed a souvenir to bring back to my friend David Meredith. "Jules and Jim" was his favorite film. so when I got back I gave him the pack. I suspect it got tossd after David's death.

23 July 2017

Big Bear

I moved to Palm Springs a bit over 14 months ago. yesterday I returnd from my first vacation since the move.

Dennis De Groot drove us to Lake Arrowhead for lunch then to the cabin of our host Brian Webb & his companion Rolando Ramos in Big Bear Lake. it was a lovely respite from the valley's heat wave.

Dennis & Brian

with Luis Osuna (photo by Dennis)

27 June 2017

one year ago today

I closed on the condo & put the key in the front door for the first time.

in just a year I transformd the place into mine. it feels as much like home as any place I've lived.

23 June 2017

for almost 45 years

I've told the story of the nite I kissd Ava Gardner's hand. it's in The Year Book & Alex in Movieland. it's one of my favorite Hollywood tales.

today I encounterd for the first time a photograph taken that nite.

I was immediately overwhelmed & have been all day. on this sultry nite as I swam alone in the closest pool it was all Ava. that image. there she is again in the tux I've described again & again.

& it gave me hope. maybe after all somewhere out there is the photo Timothy Greenfield-Sanders took of me with Lois Wilson at the Beverly Hilton. & what if David Hockney never destroyd the drawing he did of me in Paris. & maybe those pictures Kevin McCollister took of me in the Dresden Room weren't deleted.

I'll always have memories. they are lovely. but they will die with me. I know now that there is evidence of Ava in her tux the nite I kissd her hand. & I still hope those other moments will be uncoverd & will linger.

16 June 2017

Monterey Pop

this seminal festival happend a half century ago this weekend.

my generation will never forget this performance:

in 1980 I wrote this poem based on that footage.


                                    13 years later

we still echo
a dead mama’s wow

& heat our ink
on your fire


11 June 2017


it's been too long ago to remember when I first saw or heard Judy Garland. I think "The Wizard of Oz" was the first film I saw. & I was totally caught up in "A Star is Born" before being a teenager. I was a diehard Judyist long before I knew I was gay. I saw her perform but once. 2 years before her death. at the Palace. a magic evening.

there was an article a while ago claiming Judy is not an icon to baby gays.  maybe they never heard this:

yesterday Facebook was full of notices of her 95th birthday. most were from gay friends & I suspect gentlemen of "a certain age." but if the young now exclude her from our history they not only are missing a rare talent they are not reading history correctly. her connection to Stonewall is part of the record.

but last nite there was something else. I was walking under a gorgeous moon from one part of town to another. I got to Arenas before my friends.  so I poppd into bars. I was delightd to see that Judy's birthday was being rememberd. bars on both sides of the street were showing clips from her films.

the street was blockd to traffic. not for a birthday celebration but for the somber business of remembering the Pulse massacre one year ago. Judy's birthday doesn't have the historic connection to what happend at Pulse to what did at Stonewall. but for someone who investigates the layers of history & makes connections I suddenly connectd her to Pulse.

it wd take a book to document Judy's role in the history of our community.  maybe someday one of the baby gays will write that book.

at Judy's new grave at Hollywood Forever

04 June 2017

Charles Nolte (1923-2010)

it happens often. I'm searching something online & find something else which sidetracks me. today it was the famous 1951 photograph Carl Van Vechten took of this actor in costume for his greatest role -- Billy Budd.

I was first aware of Nolte via Daniel Blum who lovingly included him in Great Stars of the American Stage. it was odd because I never saw Nolte on stage & have no memory of his few film & tv appearances. but his image in the Billy Budd photos is indelible.

many years ago I saw him sitting alone in a Broadway theater before curtain time. to this day I regret not having spoken to him. I don't recall why I didn't. it might have been that I hadn't actually seem him act & simply was in love with how he lookd.

he appears to have had a long & full life. his partner for more than half a century was former child star Terence Kilburn (who made his film debut in "No Greater Glory" which featured my friend Lois Wilson).

I'd like to find that handful of Nolte performances that survive. I especially wonder if there exists a copy of the 1952 tv adaptation of his famous Billy Budd.

30 May 2017

29 May 2017

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)

the only time I saw him he rode thru Elyria in an open car. I was near the photographer who I believe took this picture for the student paper.

at a time when the presidency has been reduced to a joke it's heartbreaking to remember when intelligence & beauty were alive in the White House. 

16 May 2017

every morning

I wake hoping the president is dead. instead we get another embarrassing tweet.

11 May 2017


one year ago today & just a month after burying Mom I signd closing papers on my Santa Fe house of 22 years & flew to Palm Springs.

I put everything I ownd into storage while I searched for a new home. in abt 6 weeks I found a condo to which I brought those possessions. there was a grueling period of renovations which took place while I was making friends & becoming familiar with my new city.

one year of a new life playing out while the country struggles with the most disastrous presidency of modern times. one year already.

09 May 2017

Anna Sophie Kovach Hause (1916-2000)

last year I was so busy getting ready to move that I forgot it was the centennial of my godmother.

I had quite the complicated relationship with Aunt Sophie. as a child I adored her. she seemd to be my Auntie Mame. always cracking jokes. & she liked the newest gadgets. she was the first to pop corn on the stove in one of those foil pans. & I recall she bought a sheet of multi-color plastic to tape over the tv screen so she cd claim to have a color tv. she was generous in her way but also boastd abt her giving. she gave me some money for college but I've forgotten how much. however she was fond of telling people she helpd me thru school. & when I was clearing up & cleaning up before the move I cashd in a small savings bond she'd given me decades before for a birthday.

it wasn't til much later that I had to deal with her prejudices & dishonesty. there was a period when I found her embarrassing.

in many ways I'm still trying to balance the many aspects of her life. she remains a colorful figure in our family. I feel she knew I had issues with her but of course we never spoke of them.

however today is her birthday & I'm focusing on the Aunt Sophie of my boyhood where my memories are fondest.

Mom with her sisters Sophie & Mary

Aunt Sophie with me & Regina

Aunt Sophie with a cake she brought to the party for my high school graduation

30 April 2017

A-Z West

Andrea Zittel runs an arts community in Joshua Tree. I joind a small group of fascinating people for a tour.

23 April 2017

17 April 2017

"Men in Love"

as antiquity laps at my toes I find change a daily occurrence. a new case of solar lentigo is visible. an attitude shift can arrive without trumpets.

one activity age seems to have discouraged is rereading. Ned Rorem told me he read Nightwood every 10 years. I never had that sort of romance. but I remember returning to favorite passages. now not so much.

however last nite something jumpd into my mind. it was a simple message: John Perreault's "Men in Love."

all the way back in the fall of 1974 I edited the Perreault issue of The Serif.  I askd John for some new poetry to include in the issue. he gave me a sequence of 26 sonnets. I was thrilld. 

one of the intentions of the author issues of that bibliographical journal was to spur academic attention on contemporary writers. I've been out of that scene for so long I don't know what has or hasn't been done. however I don't think Perreault -- who died less than 2 years ago -- is receiving the sort of review for which all writers aspire.

"Men in Love" is juicy. the poems poke & tickle. there are flares of language & flames of lust. I can't explain how the notion of them appeard last nite. but I quite adore the hour I've spent fondling them.

I wish some publisher wd reprint the sequence as a chapbook. I wish some grad student wd write a chapter in a dissertation on John Perreault abt "Men in Love." I wish that whatever will drop another title on me some nite soon.

I can't do anything abt liver spots. but I can still get frisky with a poem.

06 April 2017

Lucille Garfield (1926-2015)

searching abt the internet I found a death notice which seems to match the sculptor I knew decades ago in Santa Fe. I no longer have contact with anyone from that time who also knew Lucille to verify her death but the few facts presentd make it highly unlikely that 2 women share them.