Wednesday, May 17, 2023



Almost 81-year-old (in a week) eating a slice of pizza with arthritic-Parkinson's hand, i.e. very slowly, savoring every bite and grateful for every moment. Photo taken by my son Miles. [That's my sister Irene and me in the framed photo behind me.]

Sunday, May 14, 2023


Me, my mom, and my dad, in front of my Jersey childhood home, Easter 1966. I was 23, married, and recently discharged after four years in the military, living in Brooklyn trying to make a living as a writer. My mother would pass only weeks later on Mother's Day, making this the last photo of me with her.    

Thursday, May 11, 2023


Here's two books of poetry I highly recommend by two uniquely original wordsmiths (and, full disclosure, dear friends).

Sala has a PHD in American Studies but to me he's the genius philosopher of ethnic punk urban working-class poetry that employs the language of consumer culture and blue-and-white-collar workplaces to expose the most deceptive misdirections of advertising and exploitation and the deeper truths beneath them. And I don't mean to say his poetry is turgid but in fact the opposite, stripped down and sparkling with clarity. HOW MUCH? is a "New and Selected" collection of his classic hits from his earliest (1980s) to the present. Should be an essential part of any discerning reader's library.

As should the late Doug Lang's IN THE  WORKS. Doug was a self-taught immigrant from Wales novelist when I first encountered his work in the 1970s, but he became the master of innovative poetic technique and this book contains old and newer jewels from his language experiments, some more music than logic, some seemingly straightforward in meaning though resonant with more subtle meanings e.g. "This Poem" that states:

This poem doesn't like you

Doesn't like you at all and

Likes me

even less

Doesn't like other poems either and

Regards the whole literary world with pain and disdain

And the non-literary world likewise



This poem despises itself above all

But takes some pleasure in its own pretentiousness,

superficiality and vanity

These are qualities that it appreciates

And most particularly it enjoys it's own miserable need for


Wednesday, May 3, 2023


To me, the most beautiful person and creative artist in the world, for a while now.

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.