Saturday, December 15, 2012


Newtown, Connecticut

Not even when my parents died did I feel this sad. I abhor guns, as those who read this venue probably know, but I am realistic and there is little we can do to wholly stop such tragedies, but it seems we can certainly work more diligently at it. I fear that this, like others about which we've read this year and the past will fade without any action, real action. I am also grateful that when my children were growing this sort of thing never entered my mind. My heart and thoughts go out to the the families and friends of these families and children, and all of Newtown.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Social Media and Other Stuff

I am, indeed, becoming increasingly cynical and intolerant of foolishness. I've always been somewhat so, but while it's not out of control, it is increasingly there. Forgetting about Washington and our leadership, which is simply intolerable and our own fault, I'm talking about "social media" sites, Facebook in particular.

Yes, I'm on Facebook, but rarely post anything except comments or news links. Over the past few days, I've followed an acquaintance, or in Facebook parlance, a "friend," would was married a couple of months and now is no longer so.

Now, imagine this: This fellow is a reporter and he is now "pouring his heart out" on a public venue about how he feels: "I really miss my wife;" "I loved her so much;" "The sky is blue today," etc. Okay, fellow, that's how you feel, but don't you have any "real" friends with whom you can sit down and talk to privately? Or are you "trolling" for a following who will commiserated with you? Really, don't you know that this will be on the Internet forever and one day this over-romanticizing will come back and bite you in the butt, one way or another?

I've written about "My Drunk (ex-) Wife" quite a few times on this venue. However, it's not to evoke sympathy, but rather to discuss what it's like to live with a drunk and, perhaps, a chronology that will sometime soon serve as a basis for a book.

Apropos of that woman, I've not heard from her in a while which means simply that she has a boyfriend and some dollars in her pocket. I'm quite happy for her, but mostly for me as I don't hear from her.

That's it for now.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dating Sites Part III


The other day I approached a woman on a dating site, who characterized herself as "more a city girl than a country girl," who enjoys many of the things I enjoy. But, of course, she also enjoys dressing up, five-star dining, and so forth.
In her profile she wrote, "Looking for a friendship first and possibly a long term relationship later. A tall, health-conscious gentleman who takes care of himself and enjoys going out and having fun. Someone who is romantic, easy-going, considerate, and loyal. Financially and emotionally secure. A gregarious, polished, educated and well-traveled man who is a non-smoker, social drinker. A man who respects and admires an intelligent and independent woman," among other things.
She also said, " If you can't bother to write an original message to me, I will delete you without response; I get tons of these canned responses and I will only spend time on someone who cares enough to actually SAY SOMETHING ORIGINAL!!!!!;"
It was clearly a profile at least tinged with anger and reflecting bad experiences on the dating site. Well, I wrote something original, perhaps a couple of hundred words, responding directly to who she appeared to be, what she was seeking and so forth.
Well, I ws summarily rejected: "I'm definitely more the high-heeled city type rather than the laid back casual type (once in awhile is ok, on a lazy Sunday maybe, but I love going out, eating out, etc...). I love my creature comforts, including the spa, champagne, etc. So, I wish you the best of luck in your search."
When I wrote her the note, I saw the anger in her profile. However, notwithstanding that I'm neither tall, nor "health-conscious," I am a smart, witty, empathatic and engaging fellow and I thought that might mitigate her criteria somewhat. It obviously didn't, though it did continue to confirm that I should go with my old reporter's instinct, rather than what is in those profiles.

The rejection doesn't bother me. What does is that I am, indeed (and I say this without arrogance), "A gregarious, polished, educated and well-traveled man who is a non-smoker, social drinker. A man who respects and admires an intelligent and independent woman."
I was born and raised in a city, the biggest in the nation and perhaps the most sophisticated; travelled the world; flown on Air Force One with two Presidents; covered some of the most important events of the 20th and 21st centuries; published poetry and, yet, it is the proverbial book cover in which women in their late 50s and into their 60s seem interested; the accoutrements and someone to provide them.
The phase of live into which I've seemed to move is one of introspection, deep self-examination; recollection; where I've been; what I've done; accomplished and I want a partner who wants to know herself that well through revelation, if you will, to her partner. One who's willing to bare all, as never before and to try to learn the depths of our lives while we still have them. Of course, sex would be nice as well, but it's not the most important aspect to me.
Well, I have Rex and a good life…

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

One of the greatest jazz tunes ever by one of my favorites: Nina Simone

Thanksgiving And Other Stuff




As most, if not all readers of this blog know, I rarely publish comments. I appreciate them, but it's my venue and it's not my intention to engage in colloquy or banter. That noted, I get several questions or comments via email weekly, some of which I answer, others, just a "Thank you" note.

That out of the way, I've received more than a dozen notes in the past week since my postings about the holidays, i.e. Thanksgiving, and dating sites. I thought it appropriate to address them en masse.

With regard to spending Thanksgiving alone, I'll be spending it with Rex, who enjoys turkey and it will be his 11th Thanksgiving. As you know, he's my Cocker Spaniel. Equally, I'll be speaking with my sisters, sons and grandkids. That I will be "alone" in my home is true, but in my mind, I will be so.

I can't be truly certain of anything. However, I am fairly certain that I'll enjoy cooking my traditional dinner and, of course, eating it. I'm good at that. Perhaps looking about my dining room table's empty chairs may give me pause, but maybe I need that pause.

Would I like to have a "significant" other with whom to spend these holidays? Sure. But that doesn't seem to be in the cards, considering my luck on dating sites. Maybe I'll feel a tad lonely, but I seem to be able to sublimate that feeling pretty well.

I do feel that way from time to time, as I live in a three bedroom apartment. Just so you know, all are used: One's my office, another my bedroom and the so-called "guest room," my studio (a bit of a luxury for a fledgling painter who can't draw a straight line and who's color mixing seems always to turn out to be shades of brown).

It gives me room to ramble about, so to speak. In honesty, it gives me room to be a bit lonely from time to time, not enough to be be of concern to me, but enough to let me consider the advantages of my situation. There are many, as you can imagine, and I tend to look on that side of the coin.

What interests me the most is that this is my life today. I've lived alone in the past, but always with the consideration that it would not be lasting. Now, that is a consideration.

Right now, it's not really what I want, yet it seems alright. I don't know how it will be tomorrow, or next year. But now, it's fine.

On the other hand, I wonder about those dating sites and if there's anyone out there with whom I think I could be compatible. I just don't know. What I do know, is that if I don't characterize myself with absolute candor, then I run the risk of using the bad judgment I have in the past.

That's it for now. I'm feeling pretty good, Rex is fine and I've got to do a little work in this otherwise slow week.



Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Holidays

Sometime in the mid-90s, I recall preparing myself a traditional Christmas Dinner, a very ecumenical Jew I am. It was 2-Rib prime roast, Yorkshire Pudding, fresh peas, carrots and Spotted Dick for desert.

Divorced, with children gone and not dating anyone "special," at the time, I decided I wanted to spend the evening alone, though I'd been invited to a couple of friends' homes for dinner.

I recalled that time a few days ago. This year, I'd intended to drive, with Rex, to Arizona to spend Thanksgiving with my sister and her husband. Upon reflection, something I've been doing quite a bit lately, it came to me that I just didn't want to make the trip. Perhaps it was a matter of a long drive, but I don't think so.

There was some concern that my sister would be a tad upset, but I explained to her that I was going
through a somewhat pensive period, one of self-examination and that I thought it would be "good" for me to spend the holidays alone. She was disappointed, but understood and I was grateful for that she wasn't "angry."

Though I don't see them much, I am grateful for my family; my sister, my boys and grandkids. They are always there for me and I love them more, as I wrote once in a poem, "…hearts can tell."

However, I am growing to believe that I am at least modestly destined to live the rest of my life alone (with Rex, of course). I am, indeed, an imperfect fellow seeking a woman who is "perfect" for me.
I'm not the "tall, dark and handsome" fellow who loves to dance, spend a lot of dough on upscale dinners and travel a lot. But I am an intelligent, witty and engaging guy. If I could find a woman who enjoys jazz, blues, folk music, watching old movies, talking rationally about politics and current events, is not especially religious, who's attractive and has a grand sense of humor tinged with a bit of cynicism, that'd be great. It's highly unlikely though.

So, Rex and I will prepare a small turkey with cornbread stuffing, a vegetable or two, salad and a pumpkin pie (from scratch, I'm a helluva baker) and spend Thanksgiving together. We'll watch the Macy's Parade, or whatever parade's on, perhaps a football game, though I tend to fall asleep during them, as does he, and talk together about the "old days," "cabbages and kings" and how important it is for us to have a wonderful, loving family despite the distance.

On Christmas, we'll do the same thing, though with my "traditional" English dinner.
As T.S. Eliot wrote, "I grow old … I grow old …I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled."
Rex and I will be just fine.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dating Sites Part II: Women
"Want someone intelligent, sense of humor that doesn't want any dating hassles." "I enjoy a good conversation, and sometimes like to do things on a whim. I like straight forward honesty, not games and riddles say what you mean and mean what you say." "...you want a committed, genuine, long term relationship. I am looking for that incredible man to love and be happy with." "You should message me if you're not into games, good conversation and a great companion to spend time with and see where it goes." "I'm crazy about a man's good 'Character'." That what turns me on. A man sensitive side, a tear only we share...We can share baggage because it makes up who we are and want to live...But, knowing when to visit there rather than continue to carry baggage. Everything we should be to each other. I am a loyal person and expect the same in return, a relationship all about giving to one another, that taking is impossibility."
As I've written, I've been frequenting a dating site. I've posted a "Profile" and responses to "personality," for lack of a better characterization, questions. And, I've "expressed interest" to a few women on the site. However, I haven't shown interest in the way most seem to, e.g."I like your photo," "I'm interested in you," and other terse and trite messages.
On the other hand, I've spent the time reading women's profiles. Those who interest me, I take the time to respond to them, sometimes to the point of line by line regarding their profiles. My responses are often long, the limit allowed. They're ingenuous and written in a manner to show that, perhaps, we are compatible and could have a relationship.
More than arguably, I'm not Paul Newman or Clark Gable. Notwithstanding my "stockiness," I've been frequently characterized a "cute," or looking a bit like Richard Dreyfuss. That's clear from my posted photos, one or two less than six months old, the others a bit older with my kids, and, of course, Rex.
I assumed, apparently incorrectly, that when women reach our age and are single for whatever reason, they are seeking someone with whom to wind up in a rocking chair, so to speak. Sure, sex is no doubt a desire, but I would have though a profound, remarkably honest relationship of sharing, to be somewhat pedestrian, joys and sorrows would be the primary "driver," so to speak. At least that seems to be so with the women I've "approached" online. My responses rarely yield a reply. I could speculate, but what's the point, save to say that it does seem that candor, the physical element and so-called "financial security" appear to be the "subconscious," to be euphemistic, drivers.
Perhaps Joseph Conrad was correct when said, "Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men.”
I'll keep you posted on this adventure.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dating Sites...Again

I plan to write more about "dating sites" today, but first I am posting my "complete" profile, as the site to which I am presently subscribed requires fewer "characters," which in itself should preclude me from the site. To wit:

I like long walks on the beaches, five star restaurants and hotels, Europe in the Fall, New York City and Sydney in the Spring, the Bolshevik Revolution and Ernest Borgnine.

Well, I do like Ernest Borgnine especially for his perfomance in "Marty." I live every day with this consideration: If things aren't funny then they're exactly what they are; and then they're like a long dental appointment.

To save you reading time, I prefer getting in the car, pointing it in any direction and heading off without a destination in mind to almost any other kind of travel these days. Yes, I've traveled abroad extensively and now it holds little appeal.

I'm kind of a "raggedy" fellow who prefers old jeans to anything else, though I have been known to "dress appropriately." I'm neither tall, athletic nor toned: I'm "stocky," witty, empathetic and engaging. I am slightly taller than Woody Allen, Nathan Lane and Richard Dreyfuss (we're all short Jewish guys from New York). I could clearly stand to lose a bit of weight. That noted, I do not intend my last meal to a tuna sandwich.

The characterization many use as seeking someone who's "financially stable," is unseemly to me, though I suppose more than a few have run into some challenges with "matches." I've run a successful crisis management firm for more than 2 decades. I'm neither "spritual" (what is that?) nor religious. In fact, I find rather offensive these days that many wear religion on their sleeves; if that's you, I'm not your guy. It's not an issue of "believing." Suffice it to say, I remember those who not only wore their religion on their sleeves, but tattoo'd on their arms, both of which were requirements.

My greatest accomplishment: Raising my two sons as a sole custodian, single parent from the ages of 6 and 3. They are my best friends, along with, of course, Rex, my 11 year old Cocker Spaniel.

Listening is something at which I believe I excel and want a partner who has depth beyond the the deepness of the dark; who can discuss any problems she may have without fear of judgement and who will know that while I may not be able to solve them, I'll always be there to listen. Equally important, you've got have a sense of humor, tinged with a bit of cyncisim about the world and not afraid to ask any question. That you may be on the "other side of the aisle" than me on an issue isn't important. It's important that you are interested in issues that effect us on a daily basis and want to discuss them, rationally. "Idealogues" need not apply.

For me, it is important that you have heart, empathy, a good, if not quick wit, a broad sense of humor and intelligence, as well as a serious interest in the world around you.

I have the heart and soul of a poet, and write pretty good poems as well. I would rather grab a hotdog at Pink's, or a pastrami on rye at the Greenberg's than attend Bouchon; dress down, rather than up. I've done the "fine dining" gig, it bores me now, though I do enjoy Bouchon more than any other top restaurant in town. What can I say, save quote Popeye: "I yam what I yam."

My favorite movies are "A Thousand Clowns" and "Nobody's Fool." If you're a fan of these two movies, or even seen them, we could well be an immediate match and if you've seen the original "Breathless", that would be extrordinary, apropos of which, we ought to "...steal a car and drive to Rome." I'm not a fan of movie theatres, as I think it's more fun to pause a movie and exchange comments on it as it moves along. It'd be great to find someone willing to order in Chinese and just watch an old movie; sort of a New York thing.

The line I will NOT cross: I will not go out with an addict of any sort, no matter how long "sober."

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Election, My Time Out, Dating


I have worked on this campaign, yes, for the President and the Democrats. Though I'm paid for it, I'd do it for nothing if asked. It's something I've done for more than two decades and now, I'm done. It is a relief to be done with a project.

The outcome, however, remains unclear. I'm not a believer in polls these days, or for years for that matter. They're so frequently skewed and there are so many of them. I'm not at all confident in the American voter these days. While the Democrats remain in their contant disarray, that which has defined my party for years and of late, at least somewhat less so; the Republican party is no longer the "Republican" party of old.

It's been hijacked by self-interests, the so-called "Religious Right," which in my view is not "religious" at all, but rather mostly comprised of uninformed zealots and the wealthiest of the wealthy.
While I think that none of that will matter tomorrow morning, I also think that it won't be over then, not with both parties lining up lawyers to contest virtually everything.
For me, many issues in this "campaign" are important, but the most important are the two or three Supreme Court seats likely to be filled in the next four years. If Romney wins, the change will define the word "watershed," and not for the better, especially for women. It is too disturbing to write about.
Perhaps I will return to a dating site and look for a "soulmate," whatever that means. I did meet someone recently. Fearless, she came to my apartment and we chatted for a few hours. While our extensive email colloquy was quite wonderful, sometimes personal meetings just don't work out…this one didn't.
I hope you voted. And, my hiatus is now over and I'll be back to posting regularly.

Monday, October 22, 2012

John Hiatt - Lyle Lovett

Bonnie Raitt Austin City Limits

How Medicine Used to Be

With all the debate over the Affordable Care Act (I refuse to call it "O........" primarily because if I recall, Michele the Facist nut from Minnesota coined the phrase when it was being debated) I thought it appropriate to post a tribute to how medicine used to be, by W. Eugene Smith, one of my two favorite photographers. The other one, by the way, is Walker Evans and if you've never read "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men," by Evans and James Agee, I recommend it, it's about that 47 percent, except back in the mid-30s.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A quiet day

It is, as is generally the case, a quiet Sunday. A balmy day, almost definitively so, with a light breeze drifting about. Rex and I went for a long walk, perhaps three miles or so, though we stopped a park near us so he could play with his friends.

Now, he's stretched out, relaxing and I'm doing what I'm doing, typing. There was an intrusion on this otherwise lovely day: The shooting in Minnesota. It brought to mind the lack of responsibility of our government with regard to gun control and and the almost absolute abdication of commitment by both candidates in the last debate on the issue. I'm hoping Bob Schieffer brings it up tomorrow night and presses the hell out it. He's good at that.

I have voted, by the way and hope that if you haven't, you don't follow the lead of our leaders and abdicate your responsibility. I encourage to vote for the incumbent and I assure you that if you do otherwise and the opponent wins, your life will return to that of the "Bush years" and our nation will quickly, or as quickly as a monolth can move, still the waves, that will become tidal, of a recession.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

They Don't Make News Events Like This Anymore

On Oct. 20, 1973, in the so-called Saturday Night Massacre, President Nixon abolished the office of special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox, accepted the resignation of Attorney General Elliot L. Richardson and fired Deputy Attorney General William B. Ruckelshaus.

Again with the online dating

Yet again, Online Dating
Well, I haven't faired to well. I suppose my "profile" is doing the trick. Unlike most up on Match, it's absolutely candid; my defense mechanism so to speak, to let potentially interested women know exactly who and what I am (intellectually oriented with a propensity to talk about our deep, dark fears and secrets, a bit stock, to say nothing of old and one who likes quiet conversations while watching a movie).
It seems the women who interest me all like long walks on the beach, five star dining and financial security, or even have the temerity to request certain income ranges, which I find offense.
I went out with one with whom I wander about an outdoor market so she could talk with her friends. I knew it wasn't going anywhere and became quickly bored. The second seemed to talk quite a bit about herself and rarely asked a question.These are women who have apparently "grown up." While I have remarkable company and what many think is a fascinating business (it's high profile), it doesn't seem to interest them.
At this point, from their profiles it seems they're all seeking someone to support them or many are in any event.
My sense of humor is a bit off kilter and cyncal at times. It short, pushing 70 there are clearly parts of my psyche that have "grown up." All the women in their late 50s and early 60s have done so…and for me, that's not much fun.Really, long walks on the beach, five-star dining and first class traveling? That tells me "You better have dough son, 'cause I'm expensive." Definitely not my cup of tea and more on this tomorrow.
Here's my profile from Match:

I like long walks on the beaches, five star restaurants and hotels, Europe in the Fall, New York City and Sydney in the Spring, the Bolshevik Revolution and Ernest Borgnine.

Well, I do like Ernest Borgnine especially for his perfomance in "Marty." I live every day with this consideration: If things aren't funny then they're exactly what they are; and then they're like a long dental appointment.

You've probably figured out at this point, this is not a profile typical of what one sees on Match. The simple reason is that I want to be categorically succinct about who I am, what I believe, how I perceive myself and who I am. No hyperbole here. But who knows? If my profile appeals to you, neither of us may have to look further.

I'm kind of a "raggedy" fellow who prefers old jeans to anything else, though I have been known to "dress appropriately." I'm neither tall, athletic nor toned: I'm "stocky," witty, empathetic and engaging. I am slightly taller than Woody Allen, Nathan Lane and Richard Dreyfuss (we're all short Jewish guys from New York). I could stand to lose a bit of weight. That noted, I do not intend my last meal to a tuna sandwich.

My greatest accomplishment: Raising my two sons as a sole custodian, single parent from the ages of 6 and 3. They are my best friends, along with, of course, Rex, my 11 year old Cocker Spaniel.

Listening is something at which I believe I excel and want a partner who has depth, to be a bit poetic, beyond the the deepness of the dark; who can discuss any problems she may have without fear of judgement and who will know that while I may not be able to solve them, I'll always be there to listen. Equally important, you've got have a sense of humor, tinged with a bit of cyncism about the world and not afraid to ask any question. That you may be on the "other side of the aisle" than me on an issue isn't important. It's important that you are interested in issues that effect us on a daily basis and want to discuss them, rationally. "Idealogues" need not apply.

For me, it is important that you have heart, empathy, a good, if not quick wit, a broad sense of humor and intelligence, as well as a serious interest in the world around you.

I have the heart and soul of a poet, and write pretty good poems as well. I would rather grab a hotdog at Pink's, or a pastrami on rye at the Greenberg's than attend Bouchon; dress down, rather than up. I've done the "fine dining" gig, it bores me now, though I do enjoy Bouchon more than any other top restaurant in town. What can I say, save quote Popeye: "I yam what I yam."

My favorite movies are "A Thousand Clowns" and "Nobody's Fool." If you're a fan of these two movies, or even seen them, we could well be an immediate match and if you've seen the original "Breathless", that would be extrordinary, apropos of which, we ought to "...steal a car and drive to Rome." I'm not a fan of movie theatres, as I think it's more fun to pause a movie and exchange comments on it as it moves along. It'd be great to find someone willing to order in Chinese and just watch an old movie; sort of a New York thing.

At this point, you're probably thinking, "Who the h*** is this fellow?" Well, I was a reporter in Washington, DC for longer than I care to remember for one of the two top newspapers in the nation. I run a crisis management business, and have for years. I was quite good at the first, and nationally known in my current business. So for those of you looking for "financially stable," I am. Mentally so, were she still alive, my Mother, who was a psychiatrist, would debate.

So, there it is. If you're interested, let's chat on the phone for a bit and see where it goes. If it goes somewhere, well, give me almost any menu you want, I'll cook it for you and we'll take it from there. Want to know more about me, check asternglance.com.

The line I will NOT cross: I will not go out with an addict of any sort, no matter how long "sober."

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Rose Garden Comment

For those of you who watched the debate tonight and think perhaps the President was prevaricating with regard to the "Rose Garden" comment about Libya and terrorists, there's the video:

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The "Debate?"

It occurred to me that there's no reason to watch the Biden-Ryan debate tonight, as the media seems to have posed all the questions that will be asked and answered them, as well.

Not even a close decision for me: I'll watch the Yankees take the Division Series against Baltimore tonight.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Good Old Days


The only car I ever truly loved: My 1974 Triumph TR-6, which after three clutches and nearly 200,000 miles decided not to run anymore. This was taken in '76 I believe and sent to me by my nephew (in the jump seat behind my niece in the front). Beside him, barely seen, is my youngest son and in the back, my oldest. My nephew and niece's Granddad is leaning on the car and I'm behind the wheel.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Online Dating Part III


As I continue my chronicle of my online dating experience, increasingly I am beginning to understand that I haven't "grown up," or "grown up" the way most women to whom I'm attracted have. On the other hand, perhaps my "frame of reference" just isn't in sync.
There, of course, is the "car issue," my "Grand Experiment," which ended this will for my own convenience rather than social issue: I bought a car.
The upside of the "Grand Experiment" is that I never stop being astounded by the opposite sex and not necessarily in a positive way. In fairness, a couple of women responded and I met them. However, as I'm more than a bit chary of "dating" these days, neither would have worked out for me, as I think I've pointed out in earlier posts.

It's interesting how some view themselves: "individualistic," "casual," "laid back," low maintenance," "sophisticated," "romantic" and "seeking a long-term relationship." When I read those charactistics I can think nothing but "Where have you been all of my life?" Then, far more often than not I go on to read that they're not so "sophisticated" as to have moved into even the 20th century with regard to driving or picking up a date; "casual" doesn't mean grabbing a burger and talking for hours, "romantic" often means "five-star dining" or "five-star hotels," and "laid back" means "casual Friday," in almost the strictest sense possible.

All of that said, I had contacted a woman who responded that we should get together this weekend, either yesterday or today. We corresponded via email and she said she'd pick place for coffee or a drink. Never heard from her again. Whether or not it would have "worked out into a relationship" isn't really the point. However, she was remarkably interesting and sounded quite intelligent with a wide range of interests; attractive as well.

But all worked out for me, as I had a rather social weekend in any event.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Shame On The Media

Shame on the LA Times for the Page One photo of Ambassador Stevens dying, and on the Huffington Post for it's excuse to run under the headline: "Papers Run Graphic Photo Of Christopher Stevens, Ambassador Killed In Libya."

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

CLEPSYDRA

Water through the water’s clock,
Merciful fluid
Through ships’ harpings,
Salt-billow
& the tide’s warped spring;
water,
water measures everything.

At 6 I found a river,
ran half-way up
& back again, but never
knew its name.
In swimming, why must I make
a floating reference
to myself? Why not take
what currents that I can
with clever steering?
The reflections that I make
is the river’s face,
its nose ripples
& its chin. the cause:
a stone I tossed;
effect: a momentary loosening.
Water,
water measures everything.

Water through the human frame,
spit & sweat.
It is not tears I name,
but feelings that swam away
in a fevered spray
of one warped spring.
Water,
water measures everything.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Good Day


I suspect that most would view my day as at least modestly, if not wholly pedestrian. It was a simple day during which I had planned to do nothing, simply nothing that even resembled work of any sort: No housecleaning, no laundry, no cooking…nothing.

It's rare when a bolt of compulsion doesn't hit me to move something about during the day. But today, well, it was different. It wasn't a typical Sunday when I watch "Meet the Press" and "Face the Nation," the only two news shows I ever watch. To hear Mitt Romney prattle on would be akin to taking an Ambien; and Bob Schieffer wasn't going to be on "Face the Nation," so no great commentary would occur on that show.

Rex and I took a long walk, well mostly he took the long walk or "run," as we went early to the dog park where he and about a half dozen of his friends chased balls. He does pretty well for a fellow who just turned 11 and a grand time they had before the heat came up on us and I took him home.

Rex is a special fellow who, as he's grown a bit older, has developed his own routines. Three times a day, at about 9, noon and 4 he must visit his friends in the apartment complex clubhouse. His friends are the two or three women who manage the complex; then, of course, as he leaves he seeks new ones, or ones he already knows. My firm belief is that he's running for office.

I decided to watch a couple of movies and read virtually all day. I've got about 400 DVDs (my firm represents a major entertainment company). "Harold and Maude" suited him as he stayed awake for about a quarter of it, but did sleep through "Must Love Dogs," which increasingly is becoming one of my favorites.

I have what some call a somewhat disconcerting ability to watch a movie while reading and today it was a collection of Alice Munro short stories. For me, she's the best living short story writer around, replacing John Cheever who remains great, but died some years ago.

There was a bit of guilt in me while reading the book (and oddly, I have the hard cover, as opposed to having it on my Kindle), as I'm about three weeks behind on The New Yorker, which I consider to be the best publication in the world. I do read the news section when it comes, however.

There were few interruptions during the day in the way of phone calls, which is unusual. I heard from my oldest son and oldest granddaughter (3 years). He suggested that we "Skype" regularly. I wondered why we hadn't thought of that before, as I use the process for clients. I wonder also if it isn't nice to leave something to the imagination, what Abigail is doing while on the phone: bouncing a ball, tormenting the cat. She was quite happy to see Rex though.

So, all in all, not a bad day, in fact, if I take my constant, though low level continuing concern about the way of the world out of it all, it was a good day.

 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Black and White Work


My Art: The Clown

 
The Clown
(Work Print c. 1962 Final Print Approximately 30x60)


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

FOR FRIEND, DYING

This morning is 9/10ths regret,
For a man I know is dying of cancer,
His cells doing what his mind
Should do –  the mathematics of life,
With quiet efficiency. Nurses will soon set
Their watches by him, but find
Minutes & hours sadly lacking.
Their fingers are 10 slender needles.
 
This day has suns only he can see,
A man now so frail he casts no shadows.
Many lives away, his friends wait,
Who visualize his model-like gait
Sloping side to side under the windows
Of light he cannot see, his  humor
Sitting shyly on the integral-laden air.
His pulse is yesterday’s flowers.

If this man’s soul had cells,
Would they have fallen, broken
With such lethal joy? I have tried
To find an answer, but the doctors tell
Me nothing – his sodden arteries
Float from room to room, place to place.
I leave him through the back door, but the grass
Is so sharp, it is painful to step down.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

GOING TO THE RIVER

1.
If you take
A short-cut
The river
Will never see you,
Go the long way,
The long way,
Go the long way
Around.
 2.
Thursday I
Strut out my bones,
Knee-deep
In wet grass,
Knee-bone
Connected to my head-bone,
Head-bone
Connected to the river.
Connections.
A multitude of connections.
 3.
A moth flares
Her skin in the dust,
Flicks its tongue,
Drags his colors
Across the shore.
At this distance
Who can be sure
Of sex, that such creatures
Have any bones at all,
A snake, a moth.
A man has bones,
He tells you so,
Yet his shadow
Bends without breaking,
Glides without flying,
Folds without tearing.
I break myself apart
& put myself together,
Strutting through
The high grass,
Going to the river.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Peevish


Today was mediocre at best. It began with a call from my editor reminding of deadlines. I thought it odd as my contract has but one deadline: Finished First Draft. That one's months away. I pointed that out and politely hung up.
My new physician told me my blood pressure is high, but we chalked it up to personal issues and I'll see him again in a month.
My youngest son called just to chat. While I didn't "blow him off," I did, uncharacteristically, tell him we'd talk tomorrow.
Tomorrow I have to see a client in the AM. I don't usually do that, but he pays on time and he's in trouble and needs some personal "hand-holding."
It all added to my current phase on introspection, self-examination. No more, no less. However, I did conclude that we're all entitled to an irritable day.

Sign of the Times: 8th Street & 6th Avenue

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012

Letters





No natural thing confesses,
Mole-silent & eye-sore,
Upside-down, the earth is still;
Along any moon-rift shore
Tides cast up a solitary shell.
The long dunes are quiet.
If, in the Pacific roar,
Animal secrets find release,
It is of death or caprice alone.
Muffled by water, by stealth,
Cradled in leaf by stalks
That sonnet & rill,
The smallest orchid tells
No secrets, a small blue mouth
With nothing to say;
Braced to the wind’s way,
The tenderest shoot
Casts a redundant shadow…
Still. I’ve heard field mice cry,
Constant threat from above,
Owl wing fluttering
When I was helpless to save
Its victim, to save anything
From itself & its own escape.
In that predatory swoop,
Moons & meadows
Wrinkled pins in a hush…
No natural thing tells all,
For what is at the lips
Is the nerves’ slow progress,
Sun’s battering, slip
Of the throat in distress.
I would tell all I could
About myself, if I did not know it
As a way of covering my tracks
                                                           When the wind was on me & the rain.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

BE NOT AMAZED BY BEAUTY FLASHING


Be not amazed by beauty flashing,
By skeletal hands soothing a fever,
The arthritic fingers of weavers
Of tapestries. Lovers, curled together
Before the marriage vow is fashioned,
Are not amazed. The splendid whip
Of the moon is theirs, & their
Many imperfections are digested in air
That feeds them. Still, the most clever

Of musicians is driven to despair
When his oneness is not demolished
By a simple song. Lovers who wished
That they be one are wrenched apart
With brutal frankness, but dare
Not say how single & solitary
They become. Their separate cells
Flash upon their minds & swell
To music, until they stand astonished

& betrayed. Cleopatra knew it; chills
Slithered up & down her Grecian spine
Whenever she dare to puzzle on how fine
Her body was; or more recently, Marilyn
The actress, knew it, yet swallowed pills
To ease her pain. Beauty is not its own
Undoing; we undo it. By refusing to see
Its oneness, we undo it. Be
Not amazed by lovely flashings, by signs

Of fish or stars above the faintly
Damning praise of planets, by slanted
Light that arches into prayer. Hunted
By artists & lovers, momentary grandeur
Never dynamites the mind, but silently
Unnerves the world. Seasons are murdered
In the snowy wind, waterfalls run
Into clouds & collapse while we look on.
We love only what we take for granted.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Whither Goest the Beat Generation

The f¬an spins noiselessly above me in the bedroom. The quiet in my home could be penetrated by the drop of the proverbial pin, and even then on a carpet.

There is always sound when I think, ponder; when I write. Whether it’s XM or iTunes, tonight there is none. Just quiet and it takes me back to West 9th Street, where there was never such silence; always the clatter of a garbage can, lovers wandering down the street, a dog…something. Always noise.

Wherever I’ve lived there has been something extraneous. I wonder what the silence will bring. It is almost enough to drag me from this bed to pick up my guitar, which for some reason I’ve been playing increasingly over the past few months.

It is not a Simon & Garfunkel “Sound of Silence.” It is pure quiet. Rex, asleep in the hallway, makes not sound. I can barely hear the air conditioning.

It makes me wonder if I enjoy, or like this silence. Or wonder if the silence is simply a matter of being alone, which seems to appeal to me.

Recently I signed up for a couple of “dating sites.” I did so in hopes of finding a woman who remains in her soul a child of 60s. One can certainly mature, grow older, wiser and maintain that feeling of freedom; feeling of, well “craziness,” lack of inhibition.

Now, for those regular readers of this venue, you’ve no doubt discerned that after my experience with my ex-wife, an unrepentant, unrecovered “functional” alcoholic prone to violence (to say nothing of the Anti-Semitism and racism that became manifest toward the end of our “relationship”) I approach women now with more than just a little trepidation.

I feel quite free in virtually all senses of the word. I’ve never been remarkably inhibited. I know my patterns and while what I do for a living is quite serious and I take it as that; outside of that I’m the old beat who read and played in the Village. That’s my heart, my soul.

There’ve been periods in my life, probably many of them when money was important for what it could buy and it often bought meals a top drawer restaurants all over the world; great hotels and first class airfare. I remember the Raphael in Paris, a wonderful “apartment” hotel; the Negresco in Nice, the Bel Air in LA…to say nothing of those great ones in New York, Chicago and so forth.

It was a taste that I enjoyed, I suppose, for a good portion of my life, until I realized some years ago, while at a five star restaurant here that, well, “What the hell am I doing here. I don’t enjoy this sort of food anymore.” The Bessie Smith tune, “Gimme a Pigfoot [and a bottle of beer] came to mind. No, I don’t eat pig’s feet, but it was a symbol.

I’m at heart an old Greenwich Village guy, my heart filled with folk music, blues and the cool jazz of the 50s and 60s. I saw Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Sonny Stitt and so many others when the cover was a couple of drinks and the dress was jeans. Dylan, Baez, Collins, Ochs and others played at real coffee houses and passed the hat.

I suppose that is my soul…my heart. My intellect, of course, dictates the mask I wear for my business.

But alone, when the dark and quiet surround me; I wear no mask.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

It was the very late 50s, 1959 probably and I was kid living in Greenwich Village just starting to write poetry, not what I write now, but the Beat sort of poetry. It was summer and hot, sticky as I wandered down MacDougal Street past MacDougal Alley and stumbled upon the Gaslight Cafe.

A small looking place, down a few stairs and into a dark coffee house. John Mitchell had opened it a year or so earlier and Ginsberg read there. A hero then, as he remains now. I recall later seeing Paul Stookey, before Peter, Paul and Mary doing standup, much like Peter Ustinov's "car racing" riff.
I tend to think of things like that now. I read poetry there as well, even played the guitar a bit, though not very well, with a voice that was just dreadful I thought then (as I do now), though everyone seemed to accept it as they snapped their fingers in applause.

Thinking about that, I found an old, very old poem I wrote and read there.

WON'T IT BE FUN
when i come and shear you from your pedestal
and kick you naked in the street where you
pick golfballs and live from puma droppings
then you'll know what it was like to be loved
and you'll want to crawl back and kiss my mirage
when i take my knife
and cut kaleidoscopes on your nose
you'll weep and moan and yea,
much gnashing of teeth, for
rememberance is corroded brass
and huck finn never made it to the island
for the raft went down
and huck broke his teeth.

call me ishmael said the man in the whorehouse
and id did and he kicked me out on my ass
and said that this was a clean place
and only gentlemen were allowed inside
now i want you to think about that
when you go downtown sometime
and ask for a dozen red or green roses.

listen, girl, i blew my nose this morning
and when i looked on the handkerchief
like i always do
i don't know what i ever expected to see
(and now i know why i always looked)
for there was mahatma ghandi
and his glasses were broken and he said
this is brotherhood week

i got pissed on by a cloud the other day
and when i looked up i found it was a limp bagel
so then i knew was only the air-conditioning
and didn't give it another thought
until i went home and mother told me
that the russians had come
and we were all dead

yes, you're going to live it, honey
when chicken little hatches in your christmas tree
and i get my finger caught in the electric fuse
so i can't deal anymore
and you'll have to work for a living
well, won't it be fun sweet mama
when the baby comes and everyone can eat.

Reading it now, I think how it worked then...and sort even works now. But mostly I think that I am glad I raised in those times and retain values devoid of many things I find tedious, at best, these days.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Daffodils


When loose ends remain loose, they tangle and often a darkness settles in. We all have a murky spot into which we sometimes descend.
It is a spot from which I look about not for light, but for direction, for answers. It is not a place of depression or despondency for me, but rather a place that allows for deeper thought, profound, if not almost unfathomable self-examination, self-inquiry.
There are few, if any answers to be found there: Questions beg questions that beg even more questions. It's not happiness or joy I seek, or even meaning, just a sense of inquiry. As Camus wrote, “You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.”
I've never believed that life itself had much meaning; or if it does, it's impossible to discern. Who, after all, can attach meaning to the mad dance of electrons we are.
There's nothing disturbing to me in these long thoughts. They do prompt me to continuing pondering it all for more time than I would like.
However, a simple daffodil brings me back and makes me smile.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Relinquishing of Dreams


I touched
A nerve within me,
Dredged it forth,
Hoised it
To a fat clabber of clouds,
My cipher of light
Upon the world's shoulder,

& women mulled me,
Open & closed,
Moist as a well,
My planet flared into water,
Flood-tide orbits,

But the rat's tooth bit me,
Money made a fist about me,
Envy made a fist within me.
I sorrowed in my spine
For all the old truths.

I have relinquished
Everything in my life
Save memory
& the stiff conjure
Of a few dreams:

My finest self
Rages
In a coxscomb sun
Spawning a make-shift hydrogen.

My wish now?
To be startled into sleep,
Desiring nothing,
Not death - certainly.
Desring only my being
As intractable as waves
Riding the surface,
Surging to the world's end.

Friday, August 3, 2012

THE TRAIN TO CONEY ISLAND GOES ON FOREVER

The train to Coney Island goes on forever
Plastic blue benches
Where Summer sits,
Daily News clutched to its paw,
Crossword puzzles of eternal poems,
& women with no bras, in tight white shorts,
Upon whom I would leap, saying
Take me into you with exact change.
At the end of the line
Worlds spin with uncertain gaiety,
Ferris-wheeled licks of childhood,
The sun itself a ride of vacant chairs,
But everything is so expensive.
The fishing pier is a clutter of cards & dice,
Chug-a-lug gambling games crayoned upon cardboard boxes,
Fishing weights as markers,
The Spanish man throws
A black queen between 2 red ones,
If you win, you win, if you lose, you lose,
All along the boardwalk
Buildings stagger in a rotten reel.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Dating Sites And My Friend Susan


I am on a couple of "Dating" sites. I "joined" them thinking "What the hell!" and "Who knows?"  An old friend of mine, Susan, who lives 3000 miles from here (we've known one another for about 40 years, perhaps a bit longer), after reading my "Profile," which is below, said, "You're really not taking any chances...anyone who responds to that is going to know and perceive just about everything they need to know about you."

She added that "It's about time. You've had such bloody poor judgment with regard to women in all the time I've known you. Any woman who goes for that is going to know exactly what she's getting into, though you took a little time to get there. Who knows, maybe you'll finally find an ex-Beat or dyed-in-the-wool hippie...remember, you and I never entirely left that era."

When we talked about it, we both thought the same thing: "Why didn't we ever get together?" We had spent a helluvalot of time together when we both lived in New York, we went out to dinner and just about the City regularly. We both think we probably even slept together.

We both concluded that it was probably fortunate that we didn't and just remained close friends over all these years, perhaps the closest of friends. And neither of us had any idea what would have occurred had we lived together for any length of time, or even married. She's not now, nor ever has been though she lives, somewhat uncomfortably, with a fellow.

There is no way, is there, to ever tell. Following is the profile about which she spoke.

It's always challenging to write about oneself, but it occurred to me that I'd face it as the ex-reporter I once was and try the answer the questions I would ask.

That noted, my Mother, from Greenwich Village where I was born and raised, was a psychiatrist, my Dad, a reporter, from Indiana. The combination, I suppose accounts for what I think is my rather wide range tastes and interests.

Notwithstanding an in advanced degree in 19th Century Literature, I worked as a reporter for a very long time, mostly in Washington, DC, covering Congress for a major national paper. For the past 2+ decades I've run a Crisis Management and Communications firm.

I raised two boys from the ages of 6 and 3, as a single parent and sole custodian. That, simply put, was my greatest accomplishment and they remain my best and closest friends.

My interests, well, are modestly eclectic: I'm a great fan of old movies, 19th and early 20th century art, music and the New York Yankees, among others. I'm not a fan of the gym. The only places I travel any longer are to France, and then only to the south, St. Didier to be precise, though I do enjoy Paris, but it's been several years and New York. When I was a reporter, I spent a great of time traveling, almost everywhere; after that I did for my business. It no longer excites me.

I'm not at all a fan of cell phones (when did we ever need to be this well connected), or those who constantly check these devices in movie theatres (why I rarely attend movies these days, as well as because of Woody Allen's quote in "Annie Hall," "My feet stick to the floor." I abhor the so-called "experts" on MSNBC, CNN, etc. While interested in politics, I'm no longer the political junkie I once was as the process has become so tawdry and mercenary that it now falls into my "life's too short" bucket. That noted, I am a liberal left-wing Democrat from NYC.

While this may sound a bit odd, we could well be a match if you've read "Herzog" more than once and liked it and seen both "A Thousand Clowns" and "Nobody's Fool" multiple times and could again. Arguably, that's a bit obscure perhaps, but it would be a remarkable beginning in a relationship for me.

My dog, Rex, a Cocker Spaniel who just turned 11, is my "second" best friend, after my kids. I live in a "clean well-lighted place," to quote Hemingway, that's filled with art and I think well appointed. I'm a helluva cook and baker. I play a bit of guitar and a dulcimer, and love jazz, blues and folk.

I'm happy to answer virtually any question you may have about my life as I consider it "penance" for asking so many as a reporter. However, perhaps I can answer a few of them in advance. It seems many here, if not most, seem to like "fine dining, long walks on the beach, dressing up, men who are 'athletically toned,' over 5'6" or the like" and so forth.

Here's how I feel about those things: I'd rather cook for you than attend a restaurant. I've done enough of that in my life, many of the greats around the world and I find them now rather boring, if not distracting. I've had enough "long walks on the beach," and to paraphrase Captain Renault to Rick in "Casablanca," "There are no waters in Las Vegas." "Dressing up" is something I can certainly do, however, it's a rare day when I'm not wearing jeans and sandals. While I'm not obese, I'm clearly not "athletically-toned."

That might sound a bit arrogant. However, I don't want any misperceptions about who I am. And I don't want to sound arrogant when I say that if you're seeking a long term relations, a partner, a lover and a friend who's witty, engaging, empathic (perhaps to a fault), well-informed, politically astute, quite artistic (published poet) and who listens, I might be your guy.

DRIVING THRU THE MOUNTAINS WHILE LISTENING TO THE CAR RADIO LATE AT NIGHT

15,545,000 radios sold last year,
But that doesn't keep the rain
From falling
On our windshield
To and fro go the wipers
& we are nowhere near
Where we wish to go.
Listen. The radio waves are scribbling
A thousand names
Across the dial
If we had a child,
What would we name it?
Ph.D. I say.
You have to have a Ph.D. to survive.
Give it a number.
Make it ahead of the times.
Whatever happened to Station KDKA?
In the middle of nowhere
We pick up Pittsburgh,
Detroit, Nashville
(AM 14 on your dial)
As far away as Cleveland (AM 13),
Stations that no longer exist,
XTO, San Francisco.
This is the magic radio.
War of the Worlds comes beeping thru.
104,000,000 car radios in use,
& we have the magic one.
Here's to the world!
Ears to the world.
You want a baby you say.
How in the hell can we afford it?
Damn these dark roads.
Listen, there's no sense
Crying about it,
Sit back & listen to the music, baby.
Someone is singing to us
From a long way away.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

My All Time Favorite Blues Tune

I damned near wore out this LP, but fortunately it was re-released on CD a year or so ago.

Loneliness?

My home, a three bedroom apartment, is spacious for my minimalist tastes; it is furnished sparely, though I think well, with appropriate furniture and artwork.

The "third" bedroom, could easily be designate a "guest" room. As you can see from the below photo, it would be defining of the word "spare" were it not for the two chairs and poster.

I have purposely not placed a bed in it, so it clearly cannot be called a "guest" room. "What about your kids?" I've been asked. My family has always been of the notion that we don't stay with relatives unless someone has died. Obviously there have been exceptions, though that's pretty much the way it was and is now.

My kids, of course, are always welcome. However, whenever they come they prefer a hotel. I love that idea. After all, I'm not going to serve them breakfast in their room(s).

I use that room sometime to simply sit in what you might consider an uncomfortable chair, I don't, and simple, "ponder." It is a room with no noise, really no distractions.

What prompted me to sit there for about 20 minutes today was a question last night by my oldest son: "Dad, aren't you getting a bit lonely?" My response was, "I absolutely don't think so. If I am, it's quite sublimated by the removal of my former wife and the fears of violence attendant to her cohabitation, as well as defining void of love and even friendship that existed.

There should be a disclaimer here that this is not written in bitterness, of which I feel virtually none; but more as a consideration of a question that is quite old on a psychological and philosophical topic that as always interested me.

However, in the reflection, a quote from Clark Moustakas, the great psychologist, came to mind (no doubt as a result of having a Mother who was a psychiatrist). Dr. Moustakas wrote that, "A basic feature of human life is the desire to understand ourselves and to construct meaningful accounts of our experiences. Self-evaluation-the process of learning about and judging ourselves-is an important element of loneliness."

One of my views of life is that, on some level or another, we are all in a process of "self-evaluation," and probably all of the time. It then occurred to me that given this important man's view, have I "blocked" something central to that self-evaluation, to that exploration?

I thought not, at least for those moments to feel "lonely," I would have to, perhaps, force the emotion upon myself, an action that would prompt even more questions, not the least of which is that of "reality."

My immediate conclusion was quite simple: If it doesn't exist, I probably don't need it. While many toss about the term "existentialism," my experience that is, much more frequently than not, utterly misused.

My leaning, my severe leaning are toward that philosophy, center to which is that Sartrean statement that  "existence precedes essence."

It agrees with me and I with it.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Cheese Sandwich

A simple cheese sandwich, American cheese. I find it so simple as to border on elegant. And, for me, it is transportive...to a simpler time, an easier world.

Just a thought for the day

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I looked about my home (a three bedroom apartment for those of you new to this venue)this morning and once again thought how pleasant and peace it is living just with my best friend, Rex (a Cocker Spaniel who just turned 11), and without my drunk ex-wife. There is far more often than not, little tidying up to be done, as I do keep a, well, tidy abode.

Living single suits me well. This morning I made curried chicken salad; a single chicken breast (I bought about a half dozen and froze them individually)and that will provide chicken salad sandwiches for me for two or three days. It brought to mind the Jack Nicholson quote from "Five Easy Pieces:"

[Bobby (Jack Nicholson) wants plain toast, which isn't on the menu]

Bobby: I'd like an omelet, plain, and a chicken salad sandwich on wheat toast, no mayonnaise, no butter, no lettuce. And a cup of coffee.
Waitress: A #2, chicken salad sand. Hold the butter, the lettuce, the mayonnaise, and a cup of coffee. Anything else?
Bobby: Yeah, now all you have to do is hold the chicken, bring me the toast, give me a check for the chicken salad sandwich, and you haven't broken any rules.
Waitress: You want me to hold the chicken, huh?
Bobby: I want you to hold it between your knees.

I will, however, have it on homemade whole wheat bread.

While, like most I assume, have a bit of anxiety, e.g. certainly money in this economy, occassionally health and that omnipresent underlying current of at least minor stress about the way of the world.

What I no longer have, however, is a continual, relatively high level of anxiety and stress directly related to living with a drunk. Presumably, today will be the last day I see her for quite a while as she is removing the remainder of her belongings from the apartment; one carload of "stuff" at the most this afternoon. It resides on the guest room floor.

Once gone, that room will be a repository for my DVD collection and some office material. Mostly, it will be empty, save those things and a couple of director's chairs. I like space, as you will see when I post fresh photographs of where I live.

Clearly, I'm older than most, if not all who visit this venue. However, I do wonder how many maintain a fully stocked refrigerator and pantry. I cook for myself virtually always. Granted there's nothing "fancy" during the summer as the oven tends to heat the entire living area. Imagine how that would be today, when there's an "excessive" heat warning with the temperature approaching 115. Most often I'll cook something on a "portable" Weber gas grill on my balcony; a burger not infrequently, but also grilled vegetables and other things. As I've written in the past, I do make my own bread.

Even when I was in my 20s, 30s and beyond, and "between wives" I did that. It just seemed easier than attending a restaurant...and I never went ot "fast food" places.

I do like my life and lifestyle. I like it very much.

The Most Important Meal Of The Day

Out Of Context, But Appropriate

I bought you a new Ford, you said I want a Cadillac. Bought you a ten dollar dinner, you said thanks for the snack. Let you live in my penthouse, Lord, you called it a shack. Thank you BB King.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Never Date A Drunk

She was an alcoholic, I suppose. But to characterize her “condition” as a “disease,” as the American Medical Association describes it is to give her far too much credit. She was a drunk, a bad one, though she concealed it well. In fact, I’d never known an “alcoholic” before I met her.

When one couples that condition with a definitive sense of entitlement and almost clinical narcissism, according to a shrink, it equals a person who is absolutely incapable of living among others.

She was a nice or funny drunk. She was a mean spirited one. The psychiatrist said that it was probable that one of her parents, probably her father, was an alcoholic and highly likely that she was sexually abused as a child.

I was with her for more than a dozen years, and knew the issues. I didn’t think I could “cure” her. However, I was a sucker for her “promises,” none of which were kept.

Here is my new universal rule and counsel: Never date a drunk, recovering or otherwise.




I found myself without bread in the house, so I baked this loaf of honey whole wheat...no bread machine involved.

Friday, July 6, 2012



“No typewriters – ha! ha! – no typewriters –
Alas!
For I have much to open, I know immense
Troubles & wonders to their secret curse.”
&; so he wrote in Op. Posth. no. 6,
“Dream Songs” &; all that
Until he opened the secret curse
&; leapt from a bridge in Minneapolis,
His coat tails flying,
A pair of glasses
Bulging somewhere in his pockets,
Knowing
He did not need to see
the Mississippi River.
                                    2.
On Xmas ’71, he wrote me:
                        “Thank you very much
                        for your booklet which
                        I’ve read with interest
                        and admiration esp. for
                        the tel. poem &; ‘Edges’.
                          May I wish you
                        the good luck we all
                        need and His blessing.
                                   
                                    Yrs
                              John Berryman
Yrs, mine, his nobody’s (Like Henry
He thought God was on the edge of things –
From Op. Posth. No. 5
“Jehovah. Period. Yahweh. Period. God.”

                              Period.

                                3.

It was “Edges” that interested him,
A poem that ends
“My cells are in a boil for death.
Death, like a circle, is self-defined.”
But now his death
Is self-defined,
Another alcoholic
Who couldn’t make love work,
Wandering to the brink
(Bridges are such marvelous inventions)
Memories of his father’s suicide
Welling behind him
Until the flood-gates burst
&; the water shimmied
With coat-tails
Flaming behind him,
His beard like Jehovah’s
His Pulitzer-Prized body
Wobbling
In 100 feet of air,
No minstrel-face
No playing on tambourines,
No polite applause of the moruners,
(How he loved that phrase – End-men)
& now he was his own end-man.
Put on a little soft-shoe,
Do a little black-face, boys,
Harmonize the tributes,
The minstrel show’s begun:
Twang it on your banjos,
Bang it on your knees
(His own final instructions
Were quite clear:
“Bury me in a hole, and give a cheer”).

                                    4.

Bidding Mr. Bones Farewell:

A few seconds in the air,
Arms outstretched
In a panicked crucifix,
His face gone white,
The tie loosened,
Eyes hurting with the pressure
Of the fall.


We’ve all been on that bridge
Until the shyster water close,
History loomed
Upon the buckling of a bone,
He fell: Like that humpbacked king,
Touseled Richard,
Amid a battleground
Of unbridled horses
He cries, “My life, my life,
My Kingdom for my life.”