Tuesday, July 17, 2018


THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS is the fourth documentary in recent weeks to catch my attention and obviously a lot of other folks too. I remember the background story to this one. I was living in lower Manhattan when the tabloids exploded with the story of twins separated at birth who found each other on an upstate New York campus, and then the next day the news that there was a third.

The triplets became famous overnight, literally, and every aspect of their identities that they all shared became newsworthy, it seemed. And that was pretty much all I knew or remembered about them. This doc follows the rest of the story through less celebratory parts of their lives and eventually exposes and explores even darker elements.

All in all, it's a compelling story, though not done as well as RBG and WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?—the documentaries about Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Fred Rogers. These are great films, as well as great stories. THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS—and the fourth recent doc to gain an audience, WHITNEY—aren't as good as films, and definitely aren't as uplifting.

Sunday, July 15, 2018


Went to the memorial/celebration of Barbara Barg's life this afternoon at The Bowery Poetry Club and was overwhelmed with the ways in which everyone who shared a story about, or read a poem by, or sang a song by, Barb contributed to conjuring her up and into the room.

Though the highlight for me was the performance by Homer Erotic, one of Barg's bands, which it turns out hadn't played in eighteen years but sounded like they'd been playing gigs together every day for all those years and still had the same energy and stage charisma of the old days.

I got to see many dear friends, including several I haven't seen in person for decades. It filled my heart and gave me new fond memories, as well as reaffirming Barbara Barg's importance to so many and the world (if you don't know about her, find out). Thanks to Maggie Dubris, Bob Holman, and Rose Lesniak for organizing it and to everyone who participated.

Thursday, July 12, 2018


A World War Two photo of me in my mother's arms surrounded by family: my Irish immigrant grandmother, who lived down the street, farthest to the viewer's left, then my great Aunt Allie, who live with us then, my oldest brother Tommy in uniform, next to my second oldest Buddy who would be in uniform soon, in front of them my oldest sister Joan, cousins Rod and Mickie, with my third oldest brother Robert down front, next to my second oldest sister Irene on our father's knee (in the fedora), behind them my maternal Grandma Dempsey, and next to my mother and me my Aunt Peggy (Mickie's mother) who lived down the street with our Irish immigrant grandparents, and my Aunt Mary (Rod's mother) who lived next door with her husband John, only some of our clan from the neighborhood...

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


On July 26th I'll be reading from my new book, Another Way To Play: Poems 1960-2017, (Joy Ladin, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and Roberto Harrison will be reading from their new books as well) at 7PM at Poets House, 10 River Terrace NYC

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


"Everyone is finally out of the Thai Cave. Let this serve as inspiration for those of us who feel trapped by the politics of darkness. We need a rescue mission in November. Air tanks filled with votes. Let us breathe again and fill our eyes with righteous light. Faith is a good thing and so is goodness."
—Ethelbert Miller