Sunday, April 30, 2023


Not a well-framed or shot photo of my last (2018) book, but can't find a better one of actual cover (i.e. with blurbs). Thought I'd post for end of poetry month, though every month is poetry month (and black history and women's history and lesbian and gay and bisexual and transexual and queer plus pride month etc.) to me. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2023



Ahmad Jamal and Harry Belafonte had a huge impact on me in the 1950s when I was a teenager and they were first making their mark on the world. I saw myself as a jazz musician, and Jamal became the biggest influence on my piano style. But also my politics. His name alone was a political statement in those Jim Crow times and made him distinct in ways I was inspired by.

I sang along to Belafonte's records like almost everybody did then but was much more impressed with his choices as a movie actor and public persona, and the ways he used his beauty and natural charm to disarm a lot of the white world into accepting his activism against racism.

I never met Jamal, though I saw him play back then many times but was too awed to speak to him. I did meet Belafonte in the 2000s at a small gathering in a NYC apartment of activists in the Screen Actors Guild and was awed then as well but still said hello and maybe mentioned I knew one of his daughters.

I didn't consciously understand as a teen in the 1950s what I understood well decades later, that I didn't just admire and try to emulate these two, but in fact I had big crushes on both of them. Still do. Rest In Peace icons. 

Friday, April 21, 2023


for poetry month, my first perfect bound (i.e. with a spine) book  of poems (1977 Blue Wind Press second edition, the first in 1975 was smaller, with a blue border)

Tuesday, April 11, 2023


I spotted Michael Lerner in the kitchen of a Hollywood Hills mansion at an after Oscars party in 1982 when I was brand new to LA and told him I was a great admirer of his acting. This was a decade before he was nominated for an Oscar for BARTON FINK. And he responded that he was a great admirer of my poetry, mentioning specifically my then seven-year-old book ROCKY DIES YELLOW, totally surprising and delighting me. Turned out he was a book collector, like me. Everytime I ran into him over the years, we'd talk books, as well as  other creative endeavors. An extremely nice person, who will be missed.

Friday, April 7, 2023


Artist/cartoonist/comix-letterer Rick Parker did this sketch of me when we were beginning our friendship in 2001. 

Monday, April 3, 2023


It's "Poetry Month" (every month is to me), and the best way to celebrate it is to buy Terence Winch's latest poetry collection: "THAT SHIP HAS SAILED"! Every poem in this book is worth the price of admission. There's humor, tenderness, pathos, storytelling, jokes, philosophy, sarcasm, romance, suspense (where's he going?), lyricism, melodies, insight, nostalgia, realism, fantasy, rhymes, rhythm, healing, uplifting, wise-ass-ism, beauty, sorrow, love, and so much more. Everyone should have a copy and (full disclosure) not just because Terence is my best friend and the book is dedicated to me, but because it's an instant classic and the title poem is already an anthem for so many of us. It'll become like a favorite record you'll want to experience again and again. Here's a taste with the title poem:

That Ship Has Sailed

In our old life, we ate ice cream and bread

pudding. We drank glass after glass of

Grand Marnier until it made us sick.

Our libido was as big as a billboard.

Our libido was larger than a drive-in

theater screen in the middle of nowhere

playing endless adolescent pornographic

classics. We had an appetite for appetite.

We poured melted lard all over our

popcorn which we then covered

with a snowstorm of salt. We smoked,

we snorted, we cavorted with people

who were best left alone. We talked

all fucking night on the phone. We read

Keats and Yeats and all the greats

day and night. We got into fights

in pubs. We drank sixteen cups

of coffee every day. We called in sick

and spent the day in mysteries, doubts,

uncertainties. We shirked our

responsibilities without a second

thought. We ate Chinese food

and pizza for breakfast. We rode

the bus to visit friends wherever

they might be. We stole books.

We cheated, we lied, we cried.

We danced all night in the living

room around the Christmas tree.

In our new life, we try to remember

the names of the people we think

we might have slept with. We haul

the bags of frozen broccoli out

of the freezer. We light a candle

to commemorate crossing

the great divide between

the green island of the young

and the songs in our bones

that have come unsung.  

Saturday, April 1, 2023


Women's History Month ended yesterday so here's a list of some women heroes of mine:

Helen Keller

Eleanor Roosevelt

Dorothy Day

Martha Gelhorn

Frida Kahlo

Katherine Hepburn

Theresa Harris

Barbara Stanwyck

Billie Holiday

Ella Fitzgerald

Ingrid Bergman

Ida Lupino

Marilyn Monroe

Dorothy Dandridge

Simon Signoret

Anita O'Day

Kate Chopin

Zora Neale Hurston

Gertrude Stein

Anais Nin

Muriel Rukeyser

Diane di Prima

Mary Wells

Abbey Lincoln

Barbra Streisand

Jean Seberg

Louise Bourgeois

Louise Nevelson

Nikki Giovanni

Audre Lourde

Lee Lally

Sylvia Schuster

Angela Davis

Robin Morgan

Gloria Steinem

Shirley Chisholm

Bernadette Devlin

Bernadette Dohrn

Bernadette Mayer

Barbara Guest

Jane Freilicher

Donna Dennis

Eva Hesse

Patti Smith

Sara Rudner

Maureen Owen

Elaine Equi

Nan Goldin

Cookie Mueller

Jan Kerouac

Joanne Kyger

Bobbie Louise Hawkins

Cecilia Vicuna

Joanelle Romero

Karen Allen

Sharon Stone

Edie Baskin

Lynne Goldsmith

Susan Campbell

Annabel Lee

Eileen Myles

Elinor Nauen

Maggie Dubris

Sally Silvers

Susan Bee

Rhonda Haines

Marlee Matlin

Eve Brandstein

Anne Beatts

Wanda Coleman

Susan Dey

Laverne Cox

Janet Mock

Yvonne de la Vega

Nana-Ama Danquah

Mello-Re Houston

Susan Hayden

Patricia Spear Jones

Angela Lockhart

Nadia Owusu

Maria Serrano

Stella Keating

Mindy Thompson Fullilove

Caitlin Clark 

Caitlin Lally Hotaling

[what came to me off the top of my head going back through my life, so many more I'm forgetting in this moment]