Thursday, November 30, 2017


writer Dale Herd caught reading the racing form somewhere in California, I'm guessing, around the time we met c. 1982?
me at "my booth" at Cafe Largo going over my selection of poems to read at a Poetry In Motion night with my lady Kim helping me by reading some of my choices, L.A. c. 1990? 
me reading at a poet Annabel Lee's wedding in NYC c. 1990?
the late great poet Scott Wannberg at a reading in the valley, was it one of Luloo's Beehive cafes? c. 1995?
poet Frank T. Rios as the same reading in the Valley c. 1995
and the late great Hubert Selby Jr. at the same reading in the Valley c. 1995
me reading poems from my lates book CANT BE WRONG in a bar in San Francisco 1997
me reading something in a 1999 episode of NYPD BLUE
not sure who the woman is reading from my book IT'S NOT NOSTALGIA with actor Kale Browne in the background reading something else in the Beyond Baroque bookstore in Venice Beach CA early 2000s
me reading from my book MARCH 18, 2003 I believe at Beyond Baroque in Venice Beach in 2004?

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


"There has been chatter for years about Lauer. It only took 20 years of sexual misconduct to fire Matt Lauer. For Ann Curry and Katie Couric it just took turning 50." - Heidi J.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


Spent most of the day (and I mean from 10AM to just now at almost 4:30PM) on the phone with folks from Apple and Microsoft trying to make data from my old computer (MacBook Pro) work on new one (MacBook Air). Is there anything more frustrating than having to deal with corporate America's ineptitude and systemic customer thwarting that the poor folks (in my case today from India, Ireland, and the USA) working in "customer service" and "tech support" etc. are forced to try and explain or defend or just be the unhappy instruments of...? Well, probably, but it didn't feel like it to me today.

Friday, November 24, 2017


me reading a manuscript shortly after I moved back to Manhattan 1975
me reading what my daughter Caitlin is writing DC 1975
me reading my poetry, upstairs at the reborn Cedar Tavern in NYC I think c. 1975
Terence Winch reading at Folio Books in DC with, left to right, Doug Lang, me, and my then lady Gloria, watching c. 1977
me looking up from reading what looks like a newspaper, before or after a reading at Books and Company in NYC, with Gary Lenhart to my right, Greg Masters behind me, and Steve Levine back toward the stairs c. 1980?
actress Mary Beth Hurt reading my latest book, HOLLYWOOD MAGIC, in 1982
(this was from a slide someone took but I have no memory who)
my friend director Susan Seidelman looking up from reading a shooting script 

Thursday, November 23, 2017


Jon Hendricks was one of the first and foremost influences on my poetry. The lyrics he wrote to jazz instrumentalist's tunes and improvisations, echoed in my ears and heart throughout my life, so much so that I can give you my favorite quote from them off the top of my head right now and probably get it right:

"If you be still, and never move, you're gonna dig yourself a well-intentioned rut and think you've found a groove."

Not only did that kind of writing impact my own writing, but Hendricks' philosophy conveyed through his lyrics impacted my way of seeing life, myself, and the world.

I heard him sing with Dave Lambert and Annie Ross as the Lambert, Hendricks & Ross vocal jazz trio several times back in the day, and interviewed Annie Ross when I was an eighteen-year-old disc jockey in 1960 and the trio was playing nearby. And I heard him later when he sang with his kid(s).

I'm just sorry I never got to hang out with him. But I'm grateful for his artistry and its impact on mine, and that he lived a long, fulfilling life. His spirit lives on in every song he sang and/or wrote lyrics to.

[Here he is doing Gimme That Wine, a song I drunkenly sang, accompanying myself on piano, in an Air Force talent contest in 1964 and won the trophy for best comedy act!]

Sunday, November 19, 2017


LADY BIRD was on my must-see list because I've heard nothing but praise for it, and because it was written and directed by Greta Gerwig, a movie actor I consider to be among the best. The film scores high on her directing. All the actors give great performances, with the main stars—Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf—deserving awards for theirs.

Another reason I went to see the movie was Lois Smith. Since I went to see EAST OF EDEN when it opened in 1955 and I had just become a teenager, I've dug every performance she has ever given. This one, as an aging but ebullient nun, no less. She should have won every award there is by now, and if they don't give her a lifetime achievement award soon (she's gotta be in her eighties or close to it), it's a crime.

Though I recommend seeing LADY BIRD for the acting, and its moments of profundity, poignancy, and humor, and though the benefit of having a female director and writer for a female coming-of-age story was obvious in scenes that a movie junkie like me had never seen in a movie before, the writing was inconsistent becoming surprisingly cliched at times—the wealthy mean high school girl nemesis of the protagonist, the obligatory vomit-on-or-near-the-guy-on-the-first-date, etc.

Also, some scenes offered unique situations the movie fails to explore, or raise questions the film fails to answer. But Gerwig sure gets a lot about growing up not rich, and Catholic school stuff, right. And most of the packed audience I saw it with obviously loved it.

Saturday, November 18, 2017


Men! It's time to take a count:
There's a president
There's another president
There's the current president
Who says "Believe Me" and grabs
Then there's the senator
There's the Hollywood Mogul
(Do we know what a Mogul is?)
Then there's the comic, the doctor
There's another comic
There's the senator who used to be a comic
Then there's the actor
And there's a director
Of course there's the priest and the teacher
There's a professor also
And another professor
And another
There's an even older president
There's the Sunday School teacher
There's a pastor minister rabbi guru
Here comes another president
The famous writer, all the celebrity
Crackpots are here too
There's the student
There's the guy at the copy machine
There's the guy who cleans the office
Then another senator
A candidate for congress
There's a very rich man
There's a not so rich man
Chalk up another senator
We could be here all night
Every man needs to dig deep
That means me too
There are pinches
There's "seduction"
There's the grab
There's the glad hand
There's all of this and more
Each man and more
Now - no more
One more president and that's it
Done and over and out
Keep your hands to yourself
Welcome to a new social contract
Sign on the zipper

—Hilton Obenzinger

Thursday, November 16, 2017


Dorothy Dandridge & Harry Belefonte reading a script 1950s (I had a crush on both of them as a kid, though I only realized it with Belefonte in retrospect)
Marilyn Monroe (had a crush on her too) reading Arthur Miller 1950s
Ken Wessels in my apartment in Iowa City c. 1967
the late poet Ralph Dickey either in Iowa City or San Francisco late 1960s
the late poet Steve Shrader in San Francisco 1969
poets Simon Schuchat standing, the late Ray DiPalma leaning and Paula Novotnak reading at Trinity College in Washingtong DC 1969
shots of the weekly poetry reading series Mass Transit at The Community Book Store in DC with me reading top far left, Terence Winch reading far right middle row and Bernard Welt reading far right at bottom, DC c. 1972
Washington Post article about the Mass Transit readings and Some Of Us Press, which came out of them, with photo of poets Terence Winch, me & the late Ed Cox, DC c. 1972
the late poet, and my first wife, mother of my two oldest children, at an art opening of individually designed envelopes for the poetry mag Salt Lick, published by the late Jim Haining,  Baltimore c. 1972 
Terence Winch reading in DC c. 1972
cover of second edition of ROCKY DIES YELLOW originally published by Blue Wind Press in 1975

Sunday, November 12, 2017


THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES came out when I was four. I saw it at our local movie theater with my older sisters, who were forced to drag me along with them on Sunday afternoons after we had "the big dinner" and my father took his weekly nap and us three youngest were sent to the flickers.

I have seen it many many times since, and though I don't make many lists since the brain operation ended that lifelong compulsion, this movie was always one of my top ten and in recent years' viewings I've decided it's my favorite movie of all.

Watching it each year, on its annual screening on TCM around Veterans Day, despite some dated bits in some scenes, this story of three World War Two veterans returning home after the war has only grown more relevant and prescient and fulfilling.

The female leads especially impress. Mryna Loy's performance should be the template for anyone ever wanting to act in a movie. She can play poignancy, romance, wisdom, comedy, and more with only the turn of a shoulder, or pause in a step, or slight upturn of an eye. For me Loy is the quintessence of screen acting skill.

And Theresa Wright, from my home town but graduated and gone before I was born, is always a delight to watch on screen, her emotional range vast as well. Virginia Mayo, playing the bad girl, as she often did, gives maybe her best performance too. And the male leads keep up with them and anchor the story with their postwar inner demons.

I could go on, but suffice it to say THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES is a classic Hollywood masterpiece that still lives up to its original worthiness.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Friday, November 10, 2017


One of the many differences between Liberal Democrats and Conservative Republicans is that when we saw that the Viet Nam War was wrong we went against our party's leader and then president LBJ, but when they realized Bush Junior, their then president, had misled us into a war they mostly continued to support it (and mostly still do for that matter), or when some Hollywood bigwig donater to liberal and Democratic causes gets outed as a sexual assaulter we support their being kicked out of their own companies and their upcoming projects being aborted...while the other side runs to the defense of their offenders, or if the offenders are forced, for corporate reasons, into early retirement (a la Ailes and O'Reilly) they're given gigantic going away prizes in the millions...just a thought...

Thursday, November 9, 2017


the late Kenny Graham, friends since boyhood
John Godfrey, friends since c. 1974
Annabel Lee, friends since c. 1975, Don Yorty, good friends since c. 2014, Simon Pettet, friends since c. 1975
Mindy Thompson Fullilove, good friends since 2015
Jim Coleman, friends since c. 2012
Angela Lockhart Aronoff, friends since c. 2007
Mike Winch, friends since c. 1995, Terence Winch, friends since 1969
Jeanne Donahoue, friends since c. 2006, Sue Brennan, friends since c. 2004
Rachel E. Diken, friends since c.2014, Jeff Coleman, friends since c.2008

[I have no idea if these dates are accurate, nor do I remember who took the photos]

Wednesday, November 8, 2017


The best thing about the elections yesterday was that the Dems showed they have returned to their roots, using the strategy the Repubs got from the Dems after the Dems abandoned it, and that is to work for victories at the local level first, then the county, then the state, and then the national...seeing all those Dems taking over as mayors and other municipality political positions, and as school board members, and county execs, and state legislators, made the governorships that were won an even sweeter victory...and establishes a new generation of leaders ready to move up to greater levels of government in future elections...

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


“Please exercise caution when calling these mass shooters mentally ill, or insinuating it is to blame. If mental illness is to blame... I wanna know why mentally ill women aren't going to schools, churches, movie theaters, and concerts with assault rifles and slaughtering people?
Cuz it's not mental illness, it's white male entitlement to terrorize and use violence to oppress. When they don't get their way, they use violence to oppress. Again and again and again and again.” ~Val Stephens

Monday, November 6, 2017


Thanks to friend, poet Don Yorty's reposting this on Facebook today and reminding me to remember my own analysis.

Sunday, November 5, 2017



Todd Haynes-directed movies are hit and miss for me. I loved CAROL and came to appreciate I'M NOT THERE. As for his latest WONDERSTRUCK, it's a mixed bag. Brian Selznick's script, adapted from his novel, is extremely contrived and full of holes, but the filming of it by Haynes' and his crew is original and at times dazzling in its authenticity (as in the most realistic depictions of New York in the 1970s I've seen in a long time in any film or TV show).

The main reason to see it, for me, is the lead young actress Millicent Simmonds who plays a deaf girl in 1920s New York (some very creative uses of vintage footage and other devices make her black and white experiences seem of the time), and also happens to be deaf. There are not enough deaf characters in movies and on TV and never has been (as can be said about a lot of minorities mostly missing from films and TV), but here's one who should have more characters written for her unique talents.

Julianne Moore plays a few real, as well as a few stage and movie, characters entirely (as far as I can remember) without ever using her voice, quite an achievement too. Other actors, like the two male child actors Oakes Fegley and Jaden Michael in the color parts of the movie set in the 1970s, do pretty good jobs as well. All in all a daring attempt to make a unique film out of a pretty contrived and manipulative script.