Here's a photo my dear old friend Bobby Miller posted on FaceBook earlier of me in he says 1987, though I think it's closer to 1978, anyway he includes it in a series he calls: "The Handsome Talented men series"!
Sunday, March 17, 2019
Something I heard today that I wanted to pass on (and I'm sure I'm not getting the wording as well as the speaker but you'll get the idea). A woman referred to that line in the typical "Irish blessing" where it says "May the wind be always at your back" then she added, "but if it isn't may you know how to adjust your sails."
Saturday, March 16, 2019
I met W. S. Merwin in 1967 when he came to the University of Iowa to do a reading to promote his new book LICE. I remember Marvin Bell, a poet teaching at the famous Iowa Poetry Workshop, introducing Merwin as "the prince of poetry" and thinking, the man does look like a prince. Merwin was movie star handsome, but came across whenever I was around him as humble and more interested in you than himself.
Like later that night after the 1967 reading, there was a party at some faculty member's house in "downtown" Iowa City (then only a few square blocks of bars, businesses, and some domiciles), a group of students were on the back porch passing around a makeshift pipe made from an empty toilet roll with a joint in it. I was still relatively new to Iowa City and coming from four years in the military and some street experience during those years and before that in the 1950s and early '60s, so was still too wary to toke weed in public with strangers.
I knew one person there, the poet Robert Slater, and he passed the toilet-roll-pipe to me and I just passed it on to Merwin without imbibing. We talked poetry and anti-war politics which I was very active in and I felt respect and appreciation for the guy. Five years later, in 1972, I was living in DC but visiting New York with a fellow activist in the "gay liberation front" that I was working with, and entering his apartment building in the West Village, we ran into Merwin, who lived in the same building, and as my friend introduced us, Merwin said "I remember you Michael, we met in Iowa City on that back porch where you were the only one not taking a toke from the marijuana being shared"—or words similar to those—and I thought wow, this guy has an amazing memory, and was struck again with his humility and generosity of attention.
I only saw him a few times over the years, but admired the man and the poetry. He had a good long run with many rewards and accomplishments, but will still be missed by poetry lovers everywhere.
Here's a wonderfully poignant later (2005) poem of his I love:
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Sunday, March 10, 2019
It won't be for everyone, and while I was watching it there were times when I thought it wasn't for me. But despite how uncomfortable some scenes made me, in the end it satisfied me, and not just for Simmon's performance. It may seem a little heavy handed in its use of the philosophic/quantum physics quandary of the Schrodinger's cat challenge, but ultimately, as I keep flashing on the film throughout my day today, fitting the pieces of the puzzle together and feeling more and more impressed, it worked for me.
Woodard also produced JUANITA, along with her husband Roderick Spencer (full disclosure, I've known them since my L.A.days), and Spencer also adapted the screenplay from a book by Sheila Wilson. Directed by Clark Johnson, there were times when I could have jumped for joy just with the unique use of a variety of filmic devises.
JUANITA is a delight, a story unlike any you've ever seen, though with elements you have. For one, the leads in JUANITA and most of the supporting actors are either African-American or Native American, and the combination of those distinct groups filling up any movie—let alone dominating the story and scenes—would be a bonus, but in one as fun as this it's a kind of movie heaven for me.
Don't miss this one.