I met poet Ray DiPalma at the U. of Iowa in the Fall of 1966 and we became lifelong friends. We had periods of estrangement, but we always got past them and his last words to me over the phone only days before he passed were "I love you." Here we are in the late 1960s, and at a reading we did at Saint Mark's Poetry Project in the early 20teens.
Wednesday, April 27, 2022
As I've said before, every month is "Poetry Month" to me, and "Black History" and "Gay Pride" and "Women's History" etc. month too. But I still woke up this morning with a list of thirty (one for each day of April) off the top of my head favorite living poets (and could easily add 30 or 60 or 90 more):
Wednesday, April 20, 2022
Off the top of my head, this list for "poetry month" of twenty poets I knew personally who are now gone but inspired me early in my life as a poet:
Diane di Prima
Michael S. Harper
Sunday, April 17, 2022
Thursday, April 14, 2022
Tuesday, April 12, 2022
Monday, April 11, 2022
Saw that yesterday was siblings day (who determines these "day" designations?) so here's a photo I'm sure I've posted before of me and mine during World War Two. My oldest sibling Tommy holding me in his arms had just joined The Army Air Corps, the next oldest, "Buddy" to his right, would soon join The Navy. Next, to Tommy's left, is Robert, then Joan in front of Robert and me, then Irene, and in the gap between Irene and me was John, who passed as an infant. All gone now, only me still here, but on that day (I would guess by the clothes that it's Easter Day) entire lifetimes were still to come.
Friday, April 8, 2022
Thursday, April 7, 2022
I forgot to mention last month marked half a century since I "came out" and became a Gay Rights activist (already being a Women's Rights, Civil Rights, and Anti-War activist). I was 29 and it was March 1972 when homosexuality was still considered a mental disease and homosexual intimacy a crime. It led to my losing some friends and family and my then job teaching at Trinity College, a Catholic women's school in DC.
I was what most people called "bi-" but I called "pansexual" because I didn't see my sexual relations as only two kinds but as varied as each encounter was. I was part of The Gay Liberation Front but backed away in later years when the movement fragmented into opposing positions on various goals, and because in the latter 1970s I was raising a young son in New York on my own and didn't want to lose custody.
I wrote poetry about it from that March moment on, including some graphically sexual and sensual poems and suffered exclusion from some literary scenes and magazines, but was embraced by others. Some bookstores refused to carry my poetry books grumbling to the publishers that they didn't know where to shelve them: "Is he gay or straight orr what?" etc. I always preferred the term "queer" because it encompasses so much, and I wish we'd had the term "fluid" back then too (we called it gender bending).
Here's three photos of me in DC shortly before I came out, shortly after, and two years later [the steely-eyed one was taken by Len Randolph, the Madame Binh tee shirt one by Tom Wilson (tee shirt by Jimmy Fouratt) and me in the chair by I don't remember] (I wish someone had photographs of me when I wore dresses at protests and public events etc.) .
Wednesday, April 6, 2022
Tuesday, April 5, 2022
I met Bobby Rydell in 1960 before he was a big star, in movies and all, but was a star to those of us his age, 18, who hadn't come close to achieving what he already had. It happened when I briefly attended a Catholic college in upstate NY. Here's a sonnet I wrote about it from an unpublished series about that time:
Tom was from South Carolina. Smart, dark,
and good looking, he dressed more like
someone on their way to church than ready
to jump up on a bandstand and wail, like me,
when we ran in the black clubs around Olean.
My roommate, Marino Vincente, Champ to
his friends, a tough little Italian from Philly,
dug Sinatra as much as I did. Old friends
with Bobby Rydell, Champ took me to see
Rydell’s show when it was in Buffalo, then
backstage to meet his neighborhood buddy,
whose real name, Champ said, was Riderelli.
My first time in a star’s dressing room. Both
unexpectedly humble: the room and Rydell.
Monday, April 4, 2022
Sunday, April 3, 2022
I've almost finished binging MONEY HEIST, a Spanish language Netflix series whose premise and plot twists are so preposterous it keeps me coming back to see what I'll be saying "Oh no you dint" to next. A lot of the fun for me is in the characters, several of whom I have crushes on. Mostly "Tokyo" (they are almost all named for cities), who I'm totally in love with (played by Ursula Corbero). Partly because of her beauty and energy and x-game style daring, but also because she evokes one of the loves of my life, actor/writer/homeless activist Lycia Naff, not only in looks but gestures and facial expressions, so that every scene with Tokyo feels a little like a visit with Lycia, who was also not afraid of heavy action scenes (see BIKER CHICKS IN ZOMBIE TOWN).
I also have mini crushes on Nairobi, Julia (the trans woman character, not the non-trans actor), and surprisingly Bogota. Not surprising because he's a man, anyone who knows me or my writing knows I'm what others call "bi-" but because Bogota's a big bearded bear (the dark-haired one in the top left corner in the group shot) not usually "my type"—but the idea of cuddling up in his ams is very appealing. Anyway, check MONEY HEIST out, a preposterous but entertaining ride.
[here's photos of Lycia Naff and Ursula Corbero to show the resemblance]