Thursday, August 26, 2021
Tuesday, August 24, 2021
When I lived in lower Manhattan with my little boy, Miles, in the 1970s, I would pick him up after work from his after school program and we'd tour the downtown galleries before eating somewhere that had hamburgers, his favorite dinner. I remember seeing a show of Chuck Close's giant photo-realist portraits and both Miles and I digging it.
Early in this century I took part in a Hollywood themed benefit poetry reading at the Bowery Poetry Club that included a few movie and TV stars and after it an assistant to Chuck Close came to say the artist wanted to meet me. Close was in his customized wheel chair and very gracious in his praise of my work and I had the feeling was studying my face, I hoped for a portrait.
The assistant got my number and said I'd be called, but never was. I figured that Close had more important things on his schedule. Condolences to his family, friends, and fans.
Though we didn't agree on everything, we were poets who shared a deep need (some would say compulsion) to write, no matter what, and did it our way, no matter what. Jack was an original in more than just his poetry, and though he had a long life, longer than many expected, he will still be missed by many, including me. Rest In Poetry, Jack.
Saturday, August 21, 2021
Woke up this morning with another list in my head inspired probably by catching the last few scenes on TCM of the film noir JOHNNY EAGER yesterday. There were a lot of Jimmys in my clan (my father and one of my brothers e.g.) but no Johnnys (just Johns). So here's the Johnnies, real and fictional, that came to my mind:
Johnny B. Goode
Thursday, August 19, 2021
I worked every day after school and Saturdays either in the shop (a space no bigger then a walk-in closet) or on people's homes, for "room and board" (which means no pay) so eventually picked up other jobs on weeknights and Sundays. Had a resentment about that up until my 60s. But in this past decade that's faded away, among many others, thankfully.
Tuesday, August 17, 2021
Today was (still is) Gloria Grahame day on TCM, which makes me very happy. I fell in love with her as a boy in the 1940s as Vi in IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE and every movie I saw her in that followed, in which her unique screen presence and energy made those movies better. And then was lucky enough to meet her and work with her (held her hand in the scene) in her last movie (THE NESTING) (aka MASSACRE MANSION) in which neither of us was at our best. But I can watch her in anything, especially from the '40s and '50s, anytime and be swept away by her performance.
Thursday, August 12, 2021
Joan, another of the loves of my life, and me, in someone else's home. We lived together in Santa Monica for several years in the 1980s. I was a regular on the TV show "Berrenger's" when we met and she worked for a small film studio. Her mother was Brazilian, a poor teenager when she met Joan's father, a French Canadian seaman, who brought her to the USA and was mostly gone. Joan had a tough childhood and adolescence unlike anyone I ever knew, but she transcended the tragic through her own unique magic and was so easy to live with (which I think this photo inadvertently reveals in the casual ways her left hand rests on my shoulder and my right around her waist).
I had been raising my children mostly as a single parent for most of my adult life and they were teens when Joan and I got together. Joan never tried to be a stepmother but instead just a friend to them and declared she never wanted children of her own. But after a few years changed her mind. I resisted that idea and we eventually separated and she met and married a really decent kind guy and immediately got pregnant. Then found out she had an incurable cancer.
She passed when her child was still an infant, her life ending tragically, as it had started. But in between, she lived life on her terms and achieved almost all she had set out to, a happy warrior for love's transcendent power.
(C) 2021 Michael Lally
Tuesday, August 10, 2021
From the first episode of this limited HBO series about mostly rich white characters, I thought they were already "jumping the shark"—but—I loved the cast full of some of my favorite actors so I decided to stick with it and then my old LA friend the always extraordinary John Gries showed up full of surprises and I was hooked and now can't wait for next week's finale.
Thursday, August 5, 2021
Another one of the loves of my life, Kim, and me in "my" booth at Cafe Largo, "the hippest club in LA" after mine and Eve Brandstein's Poetry In Motion weekly poetry gathering was asked to relocate there when it opened to help draw the crowds, and it did.
I'm around fifty in this shot (c. 1992) where Kim is helping me select some of my poems to read (I always brought piles of poems so I could make last minute choices and changes), some written to her. We were living together at the time and I referred to her after we met as "my last wife" which I believed she would be. But life happens and it didn't work out the way I thought it would. Which life (at least my life) had and still has a way of doing.