Saturday, May 27, 2017

TIMMY LALLY GOING FOR IT

This is my grandnephew Timmy who moved to L.A. a few years ago from Maryland to try to make it as a comic. If you watch to the end he gives a pretty smooth set that had me laughing.

Friday, May 26, 2017

DENIS JOHNSON R.I.P.

I only knew Denis Johnson briefly, while he and I were at The University of Iowa Writers Workshop back in the late 1960s. I liked him and he seemed to like me. We talked some and were friendly, but not hang-out friends. He was eight years my junior and I was married with one child and another on the way.

The most vivid memory I have of him then was at a protest against recruiters from DOW Chemical, the makers of napalm, the petroleum based jelly bombs dropped from "American" planes that stuck to clothes and skin and burned innocent and "guilty" alike. Or maybe it was Marine recruiters, I no longer remember (though there are newspaper articles and photos in my archives at NYU that could verify which it was).

A bunch of pro-Viet War jocks attacked the front lines of the protesters blocking entrance to a university building, and I remember Denis's innocent, boyish face as the jocks punched and kicked us, trying to create a break in the line, but we held firm. Eventually the police arrived and arrested the protesters, not the jocks, typical of those times, and these.

This photo (unattributed on the site I found it on) doesn't capture the Denis I knew back then who was  around twenty at the time, slim and like I said, boyish. He was quiet and undemonstrative to my boisterous radical persona, so I assumed he found me a lot to respond to. But I let him know how much I liked his writing already, and was happy when years later he and I had poetry collections published by the same elegant small press run by the late Kim Merker—The Stone Wall Press.

At this stage of my life I'm trying to reduce the things in my life, even my precious library, so last year I sold some of it to a rare book dealer and friend who took that book of Denis's—A Man Among The Seals—that I had held close for all these decades. I missed it as soon as I let it go. I know there are many who will miss Denis, who was taken too soon from family, friends and fans. But he left a great legacy of great books, which is what any writer would want.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

THREE QUARTERS OF A CENTURY

Me in my baptismal "dress" not long after I was born seventy-five years ago today. Sitting on my mother's lap surrounded by my father and brothers and sisters. All gone except for my sister Irene over my right shoulder in the photo. We're still here. All of them still with us.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

BILL EVAN'S PEACE PIECE

When tragedy strikes, I always turn to some form of art to console and sustain me. This recording has been a standby for that since I first heard it, shortly after it came out, when I was a teenager wannabe Bill Evans. I'd put the album on, place the needle on the groove where this tune began (improvised on the spot in the studio as I heard it), turn the speakers up loud to get lost in the eternal now of the creative process and let the emotions come.

Monday, May 22, 2017

CHECK IT OUT

I can't make this, but if I was anywhere near Brooklyn tomorrow night I would be there to see my good friends, poet Rachel E. Diken and writer/comic Boo Trundle join their fellow Atticus Review writer David Olimpio give a reading at Pete's Candy Store, 709 Lorimer Street at 6:30PM.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

YOUTUBE VIDEO WORTH WATCHING

even though I knew all this from reading about everything mentioned in it, it's still worth watching to the end as a great synthesis of what we know about what we know...