Tuesday, November 13, 2018


Willie Aron is one of the multi-talented music creators in L.A., and musicians there and elsewhere admire and respect his talent. But above and beyond that, he's just a really good guy. My oldest son, Miles, played bass in a band (originally called Spanish Kitchen, and later Mystery Pop) in which Willie played guitars and keyboards. He also played on some of the tracks for my poetry-with-music CD: Lost Angels.

He could not only instantly improvise the perfect riff I or Miles (he produced the CD) were looking for, but in any style of music we asked for! And he was always cooperative and modest. Working and playing with him was always fun for me. And hanging out with him was too, as well as with his lovely wife Giovanna.

My heart goes out to Willie over the loss to cancer of Giovanna, one of the kindest, most generous, most loving humans I've ever known. Our mutual friend Nancy Lee Nadel said it best in her post about this tragedy:

"To know her was to love her ... it was that simple. I met her when waitressing well over 20 years ago and it was love at first conversation and remained so throughout. I honestly never met a kinder more compassionate woman. Please send some love to her husband Willie and their 2 children in this sad moment of her passing. Another angel was most definitely needed in heaven. Rest in Peace Giovanna Aron you beautiful gift from god who never ever ever stopped smiling, you will forever be missed."
[I don't know who took either of the photos above,
but hopefully they don't mind my sharing them]

Monday, November 12, 2018


You probably already know this but no member of the current president's family, including his father his sons and himself, has ever served in the United States military. None. Ever. Happy designated Veterans Day.

Sunday, November 11, 2018


On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, one hundred years ago today, "The Great War" as it was known at the time, ended. Before there was a second "great war" so they ended up being known by their numbers, the end of the first one, World War One, was known as Armistice Day, i.e. the day The Great War ended and there was finally peace among the warring countries.

When I was a boy during and after the second one, World War Two, most adults still called November 11th Armistice Day. The boarder who lived in my home when I was growing up, an old friend of my father's, was a veteran of WWI, a "doughboy" as they were known. His nickname was "Jockey" cause he was a very small man. Another friend of theirs who was in WWI was nicknamed "Frenchy" cause he made it to Paris after the war.

My three brothers who made it to adulthood (another died as an infant) and me, we all served in the military, me the longest (four years), and a lot of the men in my neighborhood did. Here's a poem I wrote about that, from "The South Orange Sonnets" and in my latest book: Another Way To Play:


At first the world’s great heroes were FDR
Churchill and Uncle Joe Stalin. The block
hero was FLYING ACE who shot down Krauts

on a seven inch screen. One brother served
with the Navy Band, one with the US Army
Air Corps. Before TV we sat through Sunday
matinees with newsreel footage of Nazi war
crimes. The boarder in our house had been
a dough boy in World War I. We called him

uncle. My third brother worked on tanks in
Germany during the Korean thing. I joined
the Air Force on February eighth 1962. I
went AWOL July fourth 
1962. For a long time
no one we knew ever went away a civilian.

Thursday, November 8, 2018


Someone asked me why I didn't comment on the midterms, the simple answer is: they aren't over yet. But also, there's been so many responses and perspectives articulated online and off that the nuances of that many responses leaves me mentally exhausted. I'm happy the Dems took the House back. I'm overjoyed that there were so many firsts—first Muslim women elected to Congress, first refugee elected to Congress (also a woman of color), first gay out-before-the-election governor (Colorado), first indigenous (i.e. truly "American") women elected to Congress, first lesbian mother elected, and so many more.

As for another "mass shooting," how much more obvious can it get that the real terrorist threat in this country is and has always been mainly coming from white men. White men with any demonstrated domestic violence in their past, i.e. cop coming to their door for spousal or parental or pet or property abuse, or any affiliation with any organization that promotes violence, should not be able to purchase or own any kind of deadly weapon, period. Any kind of assault weapon should be banned too etc. etc. But the first suggestion would be a small start. Though unlikely to happen soon, possibly eventually.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018


SATURDAY CHURCH is a small movie with a big vision. Writer/director Damon Cardasis put together a great cast, led by Luka Cain who is the reason to see this flick. His character, an adolescent seemingly trapped by the contradictions of his desires versus his family's and community's expectations, is so quietly charismatic he elevates what could have been a predictable message film (the message being tolerance and understanding for gay and transgender youth) to an exceptional and truly independent film. It doesn't hurt that the musical and dance numbers are totally unexpected and uncontrived, for my taste. Glad I saw it.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2018