Wednesday, June 20, 2018


Turns out the reading I'm taking part in at unnameable books isn't next Thursday but actually tomorrow, June 21st, with two other poets and a band on the bill, 8PM, 600 Vanderbilt Avenue (corner of St. Mark's) in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn...if you can make it I'd love to see some familiar faces...


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

sorrow song

for the eyes of the children,
the last to melt,
the last to vaporize,
for the lingering
eyes of the children, staring,
the eyes of the children of
of viet nam and johannesburg,
for the eyes of the children
of nagasaki,
for the eyes of the children
of middle passage,
for cherokee eyes, ethiopian eyes,
russian eyes, american eyes,
for all that remains of the children,
their eyes,
staring at us, amazed to see
the extraordinary evil in
ordinary men.

Lucille Clifton, "sorrow song" from Next: New Poems. Copyright © 1987 by Lucille Clifton. Reprinted with the permission of BOA Editions, Ltd.
Source: Next: New Poems (BOA Editions Ltd., 1987)

Monday, June 18, 2018


The documentary Rachel E. Diken is making about my life and poetry has run out of funds and needs an infusion of money to continue, here's how to help:

and here's her recent interview with Ethelbert Miller:

Sunday, June 17, 2018


I want to wish a happy day to all those who
never had or knew their fathers…or whose
fathers were unkind, or even cruel to them…
may your day be filled with love and affection

...and to those who parented the young and 
old alike who needed it and had no one else
to turn to, may your day be as happy as the
hearts of those who benefited from your love...

Friday, June 15, 2018


Went to the opening of Charles Mee's new play, FIRST LOVE, and was swept away by the experience. The direction by Kim Weild makes the abrupt transitions in this story of "first love" coming to two seniors easy and more subtle than the writing indicates, and the acting is worth the price of admission.

Michael O'Keefe—a dear friend for many decades whose acting on stage and screen I have been observing since he made his initial impact in THE GREAT SANTINI—has never been better, displaying so many emotional variations that his performance becomes a master class in the art of stage acting. Especially when matched by Angelina Fiordellsi, both of them out pacing each other in the bravery of their performances.

Taylor Harvey, making her New York stage debut after being cast from an open call, in what could have been a thankless mostly silent role of observing spirit, transcends the limitations of the role to add an essential element to counter balance the two-character heart of the play. Her stage presence is so ethereal, the aura her character casts seemed to add a glow to the stage when she was on it.

Some of the credit also definitely goes to the costumer Theresa Squire and the set creator Edward Pierce, whose work enhances the story with flourishes of wit and economy. And all this in the intimate confines of The Cherry Lane Theater. If you dig live stage productions and are any where near Manhattan between now and July 8th, this one's totally worth experiencing.  

Thursday, June 14, 2018


Doug Lang, Terence Winch, me in DC in the 1970s
Terence Winch, me, Doug Lang in DC in 2018

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


In honor of the late Anthony Bourdain, I watched THE HUNDRED FOOT JOURNEY last night for the first time. I skipped it when it came out because of the terrible title and my guess that Helen Mirren, despite her acting genius, was a bit miscast. The title is still uninviting, and Mirren is miscast yet she mostly pulls off the role of a brittle French matron.

But like many movies that feature food and cooking as the central metaphor, this flick is sensually satisfying in so many ways it was worth watching. Part of the pleasure was also the delicious leading man, Manish Doyal, and his romantic partner Charlotte Le Bon. Another was the great actor Om Puri, who not only held his own with Mirren but pretty much stole the film in terms of performances.

Despite a predictable and even contrived script (a Steven Knight adaptation), the pacing and story development work because of director Lasse Halstrom, who makes even the obvious appealing. Check it out if you've never seen it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018


I remember reading many decades ago a study that was done about people who had jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge attempting suicide but somehow survived the fall and were rescued. As I remember it, every one admitted that as soon as their bodies left the bridge they regretted doing it. Most who jumped, of course, did not survive, so no knowing what they were thinking.

Monday, June 11, 2018


thanks to Bianca Scimmia for this photo of me reading from Another Way To Play at Politics and Prose in DC yesterday
 evening, great event (reading with Terence Winch) and great seeing so many old familiar faces from my DC days (1969-1975) and beyond....and thanks all for coming out...

Saturday, June 9, 2018


Though I didn't know who Kate Spade was when I heard of her suicide, many friends who only knew her from her public persona were devastated by it, or angry at her and devastated for the thirteen-year-old daughter she left behind. But I was surprisingly devastated when I learned Anthony Bourdain had committed suicide, even though I only knew him from his writings and his CNN show where he came across as a great embracer of life's pleasures and challenges.

Though they may have been part of the elite economically, I still see them as victims of the disastrous decline of the social environment caused in great part by the winner-takes-all form of "capitalism" that has turned our flawed democracy into a rancid oligarchic kleptocracy where human life is subservient to the relentless accumulation of useless wealth (useless except in the service of false pride and the illusion of control) for the one percent and soul-sucking despair for the rest of us.

Like victims of the opioid epidemic, or the suicide epidemic, anxiety and despondency are the legacy of the devaluation of human life caused by the drain-the-99%-of-all-financial-and-emotional-security-for-the-benefit-of-the-1% (even if some among that 1% fall prey to the same anxiety and despondency). The Resistance has to start, I believe, with not letting the bastards kill us—no matter what.


poets Terence Winch, me, and Doug Lang
June 7th, 2018
[photo by Sandra Rottmann
enhanced by Robert Zuckerman
who labeled the end product:
 "Don't Fuck with these Bastards"]

Thursday, June 7, 2018


Terence Winch and I sometime in the 1970s
(don't remember who took the photo)
we will be reading from our new books
this Sunday June 10th at 5PM
at the Politics & Prose bookstore
on Connecticut Avenue 
in Washington DC

Tuesday, June 5, 2018


Retweeted George Takei (@GeorgeTakei):
Trump disinvited Superbowl winning Philly Eagles to the White House over concerns some of the players had refused to come. In related news, Becky Sullivan won't go to the dance on Saturday if Shelley is showing up, even if she apologizes for what she said about her hair.

Sunday, June 3, 2018


For anyone who's in the Baltimore-DC area, I'm reading from my new book ANOTHER WAY TO PLAY, and Terence Winch from his, THE KNOWN UNIVERSE next Sunday, June 10th at 5PM at Politics & Prose in DC, more info here.