Tuesday, October 16, 2018


another way to play, POEMS 1960-2017, by michael lally (published by seven stories press), is one of the best books of 2018. Michael Lally, a fearless poet, with strength of narrative, creates an infinity figure 8 between himself & the reader. A love poet, protest poet, personal poet, chronicler of family history, poet of the "other."
A revolutionary poet, poet of many forms, erudite, fluent, honest: Here's the entire poem of "NOW I'M ONLY THIRTY-TWO": "from 5 to 30 it was / only women, then / for almost one year / it was only men / now it's like the first / 5 years and back / to everyone again." The last stanza of his poem, "DREAMING OF THE POTATO," shows his excellent ear: "With people there has been trouble / With the potato we have been happy."
"MY LIFE," p. 45-56, an epic, exhilarating rhapsody! Amen.
His poetry from whatever city he writes, from whatever place he lives, gives me solace: a kindred soul who stands up for the outsider, the poet, for me who often feels alone.
I like "SPORTS HEROES, COPS AND LACE," with its deepness of heart & dignity, love of the other & love of the father. There's a warmth in this poem & in the following "HOLIDAY HELL"; humor in "THE SOUND OF POLICE CARS."
In "WHERE DO WE BELONG," set in Ireland, he writes about Paddy Lally, his relative & guide to his Irish ancestors: "I fell in love with his / way & his manner & the fact that / he obviously was addicted as I / am to words on the page as they / express worlds in the minds & the / lives of others so far from us --" Words: a common bond. Michael Lally is a brilliant American poet!
10 15 18
Harry E. Northup

Monday, October 15, 2018


"Fill you bowl to the brim
and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife
and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security
and your heart will never unclench.
Care about people's approval
and you will be their prisoner.

Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity."

—Lao-tsu (from Tao te Ching
translated by Stephen Mitchell)

Sunday, October 14, 2018


What makes this Netflix limited (what we used to call "TV mini-") series worth watching is the acting, most consistently Emma Stone's. The storyline is so over the top, it's like this is the last season of some show that's been running for twelve years and the writers have so run out of ideas they finally "jump the shark"—only it's just ten episodes that use the settings and characters of classic film genres to explore their two main characters' characters, played by Stone and Jonah Hill.

Hill is terrific too, except for the film noir episode where he misses beats and Bogart-style opportunities in his (or the director's) choice to only play one note. Other than that, watching the two leads interact was delightful to me, especially since the supporting cast includes Sally Field playing a guru, Justin Theroux playing her mad scientist son and almost stealing the show, and Sonoyo Mizuno playing his co-scientist and lover in a star making performance.

Once I surrendered to it, I wanted more.  

Saturday, October 13, 2018


If you've never seen J. Stephen Brantley's 2013 play PIRIRA performed, there's a production of it in my part of Jersey that you shouldn't miss (it runs until October 28th) at Luna Stage in a section of what we used to call "The Valley" where Orange and West Orange collide.

Directed and cast by Ari Laura Keith, this staging is finely tuned and the results are impactful, as intended. The cast pulls off the challenging and at times nuanced choreography of articulating two initially seemingly only slightly related stories. Without being too "clever" the stories suck you into the vortex their juxtaposition creates, until it's too late to not give in.

The four members of the ensemble live up to the demands of their characters' arcs, even those I was initially suspicious of (as written characters and of the actors playing them). But I left totally impressed by Naja Selby-Morton, John P. Keller, Kevis Hillocks, and a wonderful discovery (for me) David Gow whose seamless performance seemed to hold the play together.

I laughed, I cried, as the old cliche goes, but I really did. If you live anywhere near Luna Stage (555 Valley Road, West Orange NJ), I mean anywhere within driving distance, get thee to this theater and this production of PIRIRA.

Friday, October 12, 2018



With Ed at The Skyline Faggots commune, Ted, a
young black man, called me Foxy Miss Michael
as he brought out a box of jewelry and put a tiara
on me, then looked surprised as I picked out some
clip-on earrings and a necklace. Someone gave me
a mirror and my turn to be surprised, by the rush
when I dug myself. Someone else got a big piece of
purple velvet I wrapped around me, gliding around
the room posing, moving in ways I never had before,
discovering a whole other side to myself, not man,
as I’ve known that, not woman, shocking the gay
men with my unexpected grace and poise. A young
redhead said I looked like an English Princess. Earlier
he read a poem ending Faggots of the world ignite!