Friday, November 29, 2019


As one of my favorite wits (Terence Winch) said before either of us even saw this move: there should be a warning saying "No Irishman was harmed in the making of this movie" and I got the joke, because "the Irishman" of the title is played by Robert DiNiro. And the Jimmy Hoffa character, played by Al Pacino, is constantly making derogatory remarks about Italians! Al Pacino pretending to be an Italian-hating non-Italian and DiNiro pretending to be an Irishman! That's only two things that bugged me about this film.

There are some classic Scorcese (director Martin) moves (including casting Italians to play Irish) like the opening extended dolly shot and mobster jargon and theme, with some new tricks thrown in like CGI used to make the main characters look younger and older than the actors playing them are, and jumping back and forth in time as if in an attempt to wow us with this gimmick. But like most gimmicks it only partially works (mainly in the old age scenes).

There's some good acting (Joe Pesci at his best, for instance) but to what end? To spend three hours watching soulless men joust for power while they kill people without care or feeling or remorse. I have friends who loved this movie, but not me.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019


On this date, November 27th, fifty years ago, 1969, my son Miles was born in Children's Hospital in Washington DC. This photo was taken by Beate Nilsen in 1976 when Miles and I were living alone on Sullivan Street in NYC in the period before his sister came to join us. It captures the sweetness and expressiveness of his personality then and still. Every day of his life has been a blessing for me.

Monday, November 25, 2019


Most people know Michael from his scene stealing performance in BONNIE AND CLYDE, and that's the way I first knew him too. Then in my Hollywood years (the '80s and '90s) I encountered him at social events and ended up being acquaintances who stopped to talk whenever we ran into each other. In my experience he was a very sweet, funny, and unique person. And a brilliant actor. He is already missed. I'm only sorry I never saw him after I moved back East. Condolences to his family, friends, and fans.

Friday, November 22, 2019


On a perfectly clear Fall day, heading back to
Fort Monmouth, I watched as other cars on
The Garden State Parkway veered onto the
shoulder and stopped, the drivers not getting
out, just sitting there. At the toll booth the man
said The president's been shot. As I drove on,
more cars pulled off the road. I could see their
drivers weeping. Back in the barracks we stayed
in the rec room watching the black and white
TV, tension in the room like static. When they
named Lee Harvey Oswald, I watched the
black guys hold their breath, hoping that meant
redneck, not spade, and every muscle in their
faces relax when he turned out to be white.

(C) 2018 Michael Lally [from Another Way To Play]

Thursday, November 21, 2019


me in the window of the loft I rented for 200 bucks a month on Duane Street in what would become "Tribeca" in the late 1970s where I lived with my then only two kids, Caitlin and Miles, and the composer/photographer who took this shot, Rain Worthington

Wednesday, November 20, 2019


Today is transgender recognition day, or so I read, and besides commemorating all those who have lost their lives to transphobic terrorists and supporting transgender rights, I want to once again publicly declare my love and respect for the transgender people in my life and pledge to defend theirs, and all transgender people's, lives however I can.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019


Ever since I read a translation of Dante's LA VITA NUOVA when I was a teenager, I've loved books that mix poetry and prose, and even did that myself in several of my own books—ROCKY DIES YELLOW, CATCH MY BREATH, JUST LET ME DO IT, ATTITUDE, HOLLYWOOD MAGIC, OF—and mixed the prose up too, like essays, memoirs, fiction, etc. with poetry in IT'S NOT NOSTALGIA and IT TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE.

The other night I made a list in my head of my top five favorite books that mix poetry and prose:

Jean Toomer's CANE
William Carlos Williams' PATERSON
James Haining's A QUINCY HISTORY

I know there's many more but that's all I came up with.

*But just as I was falling asleep I thought of three more:

Eileen Myles' INFERNO
Yvonne De La Vega's TOMORROW, YVONNE

Friday, November 15, 2019

Thursday, November 14, 2019


Two photos taken during the few years after my cataract operation when I didn't have to wear glasses all the time. The first is me with my longtime buddy Karen Allen, and the second, shooting into a mirror at the gym, is the only selfie I ever took.


If I was in DC today (Wednesday) I would have been outside the White House protesting the visit of the Turkish Trump, Erdogan, who the resident of the people's house was entertaining while Erdogan's death squads were murdering Kurds who beat back ISIS for us. Made my blood pressure explode just thinking about those two murderous power-mad men meeting while Kurds die. Why aren't people in the street protesting any visit of Erdogan's?

Wednesday, November 13, 2019


A four-hour distillation of the last decades of Russia's 18th Century ruler, Catherine The Great, this HBO mini-series depends for its appeal on Helen Mirren who is up to the task. Her ability to transcend any limitations of casting or script (including being too old for the early years of Catherine's rule) is once again on display. As a period costume drama it's sometimes campy fun, but the story is episodic and not very gripping. Mirren's performance, however, makes it all worthwhile, as always.

Monday, November 11, 2019


me and my buddy Murph during basic training in February or March of 1962 when I was 19 and at the beginning of my four years in the military...Veterans Day celebrates all veterans including those like me who didn't see combat (it's Memorial Day that commemorates those who died in wars)...

Saturday, November 9, 2019


"To oversimplify for a moment, it may be said that life stinks, the human experience stinks, every individual stinks, and having said that, from having known the truth of it, the validity of it, you begin to come out from under when you reply to this truth by saying, So what? By saying, Even so."—William Saroyan (from Here Comes, There Goes, You Know Who)

Friday, November 8, 2019


Thanks to my youngest, Flynn, for reintroducing me to this version of a classic:

Thursday, November 7, 2019


Nadia Osuwu (a new friend and favorite writer that everybody should read) and me after our reading at Pace Monday evening. Thanks to our host, old friend and poet Charles North, for pairing us for the event and giving me the opportunity to hear such a brilliant new-to-me voice.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019


So I did this reading at Pace in Manhattan Monday, a day when my body and brain weren't working so well (some days are like that). It felt like a struggle for me. Though a lot of people said they liked it including dear friends there to give their support, and several students bought my book.

But the revelation that put the evening over the top for me was the brilliant prose of the other person on the bill, Nadia Owuso. When she began reading from the beginning of her slim book—so devilish a fire—it made up for any problems I was having as I was totally swept away by the imagery and lyrical originality of her sentences, more like a poem's lines (as poet John Godfrey pointed out later), each paragraph the poem.

I bought the book, and when I got back to Jersey stayed up half the night reading it through and being more and more impressed with each page turned. It joins the company of my all-time favorites, this  unique blend of memoir, history, journalism, and literary essay, that gives a deep glimpse into an equally unique life and intelligence. Get ahold of a copy and see for yourself.

Sunday, November 3, 2019


Tomorrow, Monday, November 4th, at 6PM, I'll be reading my poetry and Nadia Owusu reading her work at Pace University, Schimmel Theater entrance, 3 Spruce Street (a block East of City Hall), up one curving flight of stairs, then bear left to Bianco Room on right, introduced by Charles North (includes a Q&A). Free and open to the public. And for Old-Timers who can't do stairs, there’s an entrance on Spruce St. halfway down the block, before you get to the Schimmel entrance. The Security guard will know—by 5:00 p.m. probably—that some outsiders may be entering there for the reading. Once past the turnstyle on the right (which the guard will have to open), walk straight to the Bianco Rm., first along a courtyard, then through a door and down an indoor corridor (maybe 100 ft. all told?); the Bianco Rm. will be on the left.