Sunday, February 28, 2021
Friday, February 26, 2021
I don't remember it saying so, but the premise of I CARE A LOT is based on a New Yorker magazine article exposing manipulation of the legal system by for-profit companies that get themselves appointed legal guardians for old folks and then sell those folks' property and assets for the guardians' own profit.
The film, written and directed by J Blakeson, turns the premise into a thriller that is mostly thrilling, and at times, for this old folk, anxiety inducing. But it's worth watching for Pike's kick-ass performance alone.
Thursday, February 25, 2021
Randomly stumbled on this photo of graying me, and actor/director the famously handsome Hart Bochner, at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market in I'd guess the 1980s or 1990 when we'd meet there once a week for breakfast and to catch up. Normally I don't like photos of my profile, but I like this one, especially our smiles and wonder who's taking the picture.
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
When I was a young poet in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Lawrence Ferlinghetti's A CONEY ISLAND OF THE MIND was said to be the best selling book of poems in the history of the USA. Which made me envious despite my then liking a lot of his poems. So I was both in awe of his accomplishment and mad about it when I went AWOL from the military in the summer of 1962 and ended up homeless in San Francisco for a few weeks where I spent a lot of my daytimes in Ferlinghetti's City Lights Book Store.
When I got out of the service in 1966 and ended up at the U. of Iowa on The GI Bill, he came to do a reading and I went to see him cause my then wife Lee loved his poetry, but I brought along the log on my shoulder. He read a poem called "Gone World" (as I remember it) to which I wrote a sarcastic challenge called "G'on World" (as I remember it, it's in my archives at NYU so this is off the top of my head remembering) that was immediately published in a proto-hippie magazine called GROCK, and I think I even addressed Ferlinghetti with my critique of his poem.
Then in the 1970s when I was living in downtown Manhattan, poet Barbara Guest invited me to a party at her apartment for Ferlinghetti, and he and I had a long talk including about a manuscript I had sent to City Lights (I'd sent a few by then but this was after Tim Dlugos had called my poem "My Life" the "Howl" of my generation and suggested Ferlinghetti should publish it, but he didn't). He was very sweet to me then and ever after, but never published me.
A few years ago someone pointed out that in the collection of Ginsberg's and Ferlinghetti's letters to each other, in one Allen suggests Ferlinghetti publish a book of my poems (I think by then it was the 1980s) and obviously Larry did not. When I read that, I first of all felt comforted knowing Allen wasn't just blowing smoke when he praised my work to me in personal conversations, but I also wondered why Ferlinghetti was always so sweet to me when I encountered him and yet so resistant to publishing me. And then I remembered that nasty poem I'd written and was published back in '66 and wondered if it had anything to do with it, or if it was just a matter of personal taste.
So that's my personal connection to this icon of 20th Century poetry and publishing. And despite my youthful arrogance toward him, it was an honor to have known him, and I'm happy he got to stick around so long.
Saturday, February 20, 2021
Friday, February 19, 2021
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
My favorite TV show, FINDING YOUR ROOTS. Talk about "Black History"—and every other kind of history, filtered through explorations of individual ancestry, always deeply moving when the descendants of enslaved ancestors are involved. Couldn't be more enlightening, revelatory, or poignant.
Sunday, February 14, 2021
Monday, February 8, 2021
My dear longtime friend Ty Granderson Jones just posted this photo to my FB timeline. It's me and my youngest child Flynn and his mother Jaina taken just after his birth 23 years and four months ago by, I think, another dear old friend, Emil Alexander Schneeman.
Saturday, February 6, 2021
Here's five more "Black writers" that are favorites of mine I missed in my last list:
Jean Toomer's CANE is actually one of my all-time favorite books and I have no idea why that wasn't at the top of my mind when I made the last list.
James Baldwin, of course, his first novel, GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN, and his first essay collection, NOTES OF A NATIVE SON, are what first impacted me as a teenager when they first came out.
August Wilson's plays, all of them, but especially MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM.
Andrea Lee has been a favorite author since I first read her; I love everything she has written, but if you don't know her work, INTERESTING WOMEN, a collection of her stories is a good introduction.
Mindy Thompson Fullilove is a psychiatrist who studies the psychology of communities and may be best known for her book URBAN ALCHEMY, but every one of her books is worth reading, including her latest, MAIN STREET in which (full disclosure) she quotes some of my poetry.
Friday, February 5, 2021
Here's just ten (off the top of my head) of my many favorite books by "Black" writers:
THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD by Zora Neale Hurston
KNOCK ON ANY DOOR by Willard Motley
TALES by LeRoi Jones (on my first edition, later Amiri Baraka)
SOLITUDES CROWDED WITH LONELINESS by BOB KAUFMAN
BORN OF A WOMAN: New nd Selected Poems by Etheridge Knight
THE COLLECTED POEMS OF LORENZO THOMAS
THE COLLECTED POEMS OF AUDRE LORDE
WILLOW WEEP FOR ME: A Black Woman's Journey Through Depression by Nana-Ama Danquah
A LUCENT FIRE: New and Selected Poems by Patricia Spears Jones
AFTERSHOCKS: A Memoir by Nadia Owusu
Thursday, February 4, 2021
My dear departed friend Lynn Manning and me at the LA club Largo in the 1990s. Every month is "Black History Month" to me, but in reference to this officially designated one I suggest you look into poet/playwright/performer, world heavyweight blind judo champion Lynn Manning and his work.
Wednesday, February 3, 2021
one of my favorite musical theater songs and a challenge for any singer, but Joshua Henry moved me to tears (despite some of the lyrics being mid-20th century unwoke, having been a single parent for much of my adult life I identify with a lot of the lyrics, thus the tears
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Monday, February 1, 2021
Sunday, January 31, 2021
Friday, January 29, 2021
This came out of a conversation the other day, some favorite movies with people's names as the titles:
ANNIE, ANNIE HALL
BECKET, BILLY ELLIOT, BONNIE AND CLYDE, BULLITT, BULWORTH
CAMILLE (1936), CAMILLE CLAUDEL, CARRINGTON, CAROL, CYRANO DE BERGERAC (the 1950 one and the1990 one, both favorites)
ELIZABETH, ELMER GANTRY
HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSON, HUD
JACKIE BROWN, JULES AND JIM, JUNO
LAURA, LENNY, LILI, LINCOLN
MARTY, MICHAEL CLAYTON, MICHAEL COLLINS (though Julia Roberts was miscast)
RAY, ROBIN AND MARIAN, ROBIN HOOD (2010), ROB ROY, ROMEO AND JULIET (1968), ROXANNE, RUDY
SABRINA (1954, though Bogie's too old for the role it's still a great performance by Audre Hepburn), SHAFT (1971), SERPICO
THELMA AND LOUISE
Thursday, January 28, 2021
I met Cloris Leachman when I moved to LA a decade after I'd been knocked out (along with millions of others) by her performance in THE LAST PICTURE SHOW. She became and remains one of my favorite performers. I got to hang out with her a few times, including in her home, and she was just as you would imagine: smart, funny, generous, humble, and honest. To me she was also physically beautiful, and I think she knew I had a crush on her. It was a gift to have known her as marginally as I did, I'm only sorry her enormous talent wasn't used more by those who wield the power in the movie biz. One of a kind, who fortunately had at least one performance that will live on as long as movies do.
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
I referenced the selection from "New York Notes (2004)"—a serial poem in the last section of my last book ANOTHER WAY TO PLAY: Poems 1960-2017, that was written over the course of a year chronicling my walks around Manhattan—on the phone today with a friend, and he immediately read these lines from it:
The backs of women's
Knees stil intrigue
Me, especially in
Winter when they seem
To wink at you from
Between the tops of
Boots and hems of
Skirts or dresses, I
Want to bless them
With gratitude and kisses—
(C) 2018 Michael Lally
Sunday, January 24, 2021
Here's the last lines of a poem I wrote the day after the 2016 presidential election (and one of the last poems in my last book, ANOTHER WAY TO PLAY: Poems 1960-2017), seems to me now to bookend the final lines of Amanda Gorman's inauguration poem:
"'You / can't have up without down, / success without failure, / pleasure without pain,' and I / would add, dark days without / ones filled with light. Let us / be that light for those who will / need it now."
(C) 2018 Michael Lally
Friday, January 22, 2021
Woke up this morning with an alphabetized list of some favorite movies (as works of the film arts and crafts, not necessarily woke political perspective) that begin with the word "THE" and here it is:
THE AFRICAN QUEEN
THE AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY
THE ASPHALT JUNGLE
THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES
THE BIG LEBOWSKI
THE BIG SLEEP
THE BLACKBOARD JUNGLE
THE BLUE DAHLIA
THE CAINE MUTINY
THE COOL WORLD
THE GODFATHER TWO
THE GREAT SANTINI
THE HATE U GIVE
THE LADY EVE
THE LADY VANISHES
THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS
THE LAST PICTURE SHOW
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
THE MALTESE FALCON
THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE
THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING
THE PETRIFIED FOREST
THE PHILADELPHIA STORY
THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO
THE QUIET MAN
THE RED SHOES
THE REMAINS OF THE DAY
THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER
THE 39 STEPS
THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA NEVADA
THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG
THE WAY WE WERE
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Well no one can say gaga, lopez, and garth can't sing, especially in such a challenging environment (the wind alone was causing problems with the mics) but what purity of tone and pitch...and so went the whole ceremony, everyone doing their bit pretty terrifically, including biden's speech, but the highlight(s) for me were gaga and gorman, the latter's poise and focus delivering such a well wrought poem opened the door to the future for all of us...
Sunday, January 17, 2021
There's way too many poets whose work I like and love whose names didn't pop up in my post-op brain in my last two posts, the miracle for me is that for ten years after the 2009 brain operation, I lost the compulsion to make lists so I'm just happy it comes back now and then...there is no ranking to any of these lists in relation to each other, except alphabetically...if I ever said I liked or loved your poetry, your name should be on these lists, and even if I never did, if you're friends of mine, in the real world and/or the online one and you write poetry, you should probably be on here, but the mysteries of the brain offer me only so many names at a time and I want to stop somewhere so this is the last addendum...
E. ETHELBERT MILLER
Woke up this morning with another list of some favorite poets I forgot in yesterday's (Jan 16th) list:
LEE ANN BROWN
MARIA MAZZIOTTI GILLAN
TY GRANDERSON JONES
JEFFREY CYPHERS WRIGHT
[I know there's tons more but this is who popped up in my head this morning]
Saturday, January 16, 2021
Here's an off-the-top-of-my-head list of some favorite living poets [just went through the alphabet in my mind and typed the names that sprang up, sorry for the many more that didn't spring to mind in this one moment but will as soon as I post this]:
ANGELA LOCKHART ARONOFF
SEAN THOMAS DOUGHERTY
PATRICIA SPEARS JONES
HARRY E. NORTHUP
[I'm missing so many others, can you help me remember?]
Friday, January 15, 2021
In honor of his birthday, I took down from its shelf A TESTAMENT OF HOPE: The Essential Writings Of Martin Luther King, Jr. I decided to open it at random and point to a sentence and post it. The page was 226, the end of his Nobel acceptance speech, and this was the sentence:
"I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits."
Thursday, January 14, 2021
That's me in the hallway of the Hyattsville MD apartment me and my wife Lee and our two toddlers were living in when several Iowa City SDS activists and Chicago Rising Up Angry activists (a white leftist greaser newspaper and group allied with The Young Lords and The Black Panthers (led by the brilliant Fred Hampton assassinated by the Chi cops a year earlier) were sleeping on the floor of our kitchen/living room during the May Day protests of 1970 where around 10,000 were arrested...
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
"Probably very few, if any, of us have led a life free of hypocrisy, especially politicians, but today's blockbuster illustration of the height of hypocrisy is the Republicans calling for "healing" the nation who still refuse to wear masks which have been proven to lower contagion from the pandemic." —Michael Lally 1/13/21
Monday, January 11, 2021
37 SECONDS is a Japanese Netflix movie well worth watching. Written and directed by first time feature director, Hikari, it stars a novice actress Mei Kayama who suffers from cerebral palsy. It is a hauntingly poignant story and Kayama gives an amazingly brave performance. All the performances are terrific. Check it out.
Saturday, January 9, 2021
Wednesday, January 6, 2021
There's a lot to bemoan about the rioting of TRAITORS AND TERRORISTS today inspired by THEIR TRAITOR-AND-TERRORIST MOB BOSS "leader"—especially the death that occurred—but what pissed off this radical activist who ascended the steps of The Capitol at an anti-Vietnam War protest where over ten thousand protestors were arrested (the charges later dropped) after serving four years in the military was the kid glove treatment from the cops of these mostly white TRAITORS AND TERRORISTS plus the presence of one of them in The Capitol carrying the "confederate" flag, symbol of TRAITORS AND TERRORISTS.
Monday, January 4, 2021
I know I'm missing some but here's a quick list of some books from friends that came out in 2020 and I loved:
SEEING-EYE BOY by Terence Winch (a totally entertaining and enlightening young adult novel set in a pre-expressway 1950s mostly Irish Bronx neighborhood that anybody can enjoy)
MAIN STREET: How A City's Heart Connects Us All by Mindy Thompson Fullilove M.D. (the subtitle says it all about this personal and professional take on reclaiming Main Streets by a brilliant psychiatrist and social historian—with some quotes from me)
AFTERSHOCKS: A Memoir by Nadia Owusu (A knockout must read multi-cultural story of and by one of our best living writers)
LOVE POEM TO MPTF by Harry E. Northup (a collection of poems chronicling a poet/actor's loss of his and his poet wife Holly Prado's LA apartment in a fire ending up at The Motion Picture Television Fund home where Harry then suffered the loss of Holly, a profound and moving poetic and spiritual document of endurance, resilience, and transcendence)
GREAT BALLS OF DOUBT: Poems And Prose Poems by Mark Terrill (terrific new collection by a favorite poet of mine who has written some of the greatest prose poems of my, or any, generation)
IT WASN'T SUPPOSED TO BE LIKE THIS by Greg Masters (lots of great poetic takes on a poet's life mostly in downtown East Village Manhattan in the last decades of the 20th century)
PIVOT and ASIDES by Geoffrey Young (two of the poet/artist's limited edition short books of poems that are marvels of construction and insight and humor)
and among the dozens of poetry books I was sent this year that I'm still reading and digging:
SOMETHING SOMETHING MORNING by Chris MASON
NONE OF US by Ted Greenwald and Kyle Schlesinger
THE COURSE by Ted Greenwald & Charles North
A THOUSAND WORDS AND OTHERS by George Tysh
DERRIDA'S IN/VOICE by Chris Tysh
[please forgive my leaving out any I'm forgetting, just an exercise in old guy's spontaneous list making]