Friday, April 26, 2024


So grateful that John Newt sent me this recording of me in my prime (1980, at 38) reading some of my poems and a story, demonstrating the breath control I learned from studying Frank Sinatra's and John Coltrane's techniques. 

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Sunday, April 21, 2024


My maternal grandfather, Tom Dempsey, died when I was a little boy, but I remember him. I knew he was known as "the silver thrush" for his singing and that he had owned a tavern in Newark where he and my grandma Dempsey lived until she was widowed and moved in with us. 

But I never realized he was actually a vaudeville headliner back in the 1800s until my niece Lisa shared scrapbooks handed down to her mother, my sister Irene, and I saw these programs. What a delight to now picture my grandfather when watching classic movies with vaudeville scenes, like YANKEE DOODLE DANDY or GYPSY et al.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024


This photo, shared recently by poet friend Greg Masters, I think is from a display of Dennis Cooper's Little Caesar Press archives at NYU, back in the 2000s. NYU also houses my archives, but fortunately I found a copy of this Little Caesar magazine #11 from 1980, on my bookshelves.

The cover photo is by early SNL photographer and friend, Edie Baskin, and inside part of the contents are two interviews Tim Dlugos did with me, one extended daytime session and a shorter one in his car at night riding back to Manhattan from a poetry reading we'd done (with Kevin Killian) on Long Island. 

We were stoned  for the latter and I probably was for the daytime one too. I hadn't read it since the mag came out over forty years ago and felt like a visitor from a distant planet, trying to decipher meanings and tone and intentions and pretensions and self awareness and self indulgence.

Made me miss Tim more than ever. Those were the days. As are these.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024


Another photo of me and my siblings during World War Two. Back row, left to right, Buddy, Tommy holding me, Robert; front row, Irene and Joan. They're all gone now, but what an impact they had on me as a boy.

Friday, April 5, 2024


I first encountered the poet John Sinclair in 1965 through the mail while I was still in the military stationed outside Spokane, Washington. I wrote in my latest book, SAY IT AGAIN (#76 in The Spokane Sonnets), "John Sinclair, editor of a Detroit little mag, rejects / some poems I submit but writes: Who are you? / I reply angrily I’m the writing you rejected."

I didn't know at the time he was my age, 23, but as we both became anti Vietnam war activists in the years that followed I admired his attempt to  bring the rock-n-roll world we grew up in into the anti-war movement. I organized some anti-war rock shows in DC, but he managed the MC5 and co-founded The White Panthers as allies to The Black Panthers, and fought for legalizing marijuana.

He got a ten year prison sentence for sharing two joints with an undercover cop in 1969, and the campaign to free him succeeded in '71. I finally met him in person shortly after when we did a poetry reading together and he was sweet and supportive. A 'sixties icon. Rest In Poetry brother.