The “R” word

5/13/14 It used to be the “C” word. C-c-c-ommitment. Normally a young man’s word. Why ever get married, settle down, have a family, limit your (sexual) options? What about freedom? Opportunity? Spontaneity? Improvisation? Living in the moment? Be...

read more

bar mitzvah blues

5/17/14 today, a scorchingly-hot, sunny california day in LA, i went to my friend’s son’s bar mitzvah. sheldon mandel, let’s call the friend… or the son. doesn’t matter. a double jewish name, with a particularly challenging first name to...

read more

for mom

5/13/2014 a couple of days ago it was mother’s day. no big deal. my mom passed away in 1999. suddenly… from a cerebral stroke. she never knew what hit her. it’s been a long time. fifteen years, seems like fifty to me. it’s too bad she never got...

read more

there was a horse

may 7, 2014 there was a horse. a golden palomino. ginger. like her color. a perfect, golden palomino. no bridle, no saddle, just naked and free. across the street on valentines road. on the bolson estate. tall oak trees, green grass, and a golden horse. she would come...

read more

on the bus to palookaville

may 3, 2014 it’s another nocturnal and nefarious crime caper. naturally, i’m with my uncle harvey, the black sheep of the rosenberg clan and “the con” in my documentary film, “the poet and the con”. we’ve stolen a bus. not ken...

read more

sky’s the limit

may, 2, 2014 first day of the rest of my life. i’m “semi-retired” as of today. taught my last USC class of the semester… yesterday… and will be teaching no more fall semesters. just 3 more springs. half time at half pay. “phased...

read more

Henry Miller

April 28, 2014 How did my main man, Henry Miller, outcast and misfit of Brooklyn’s 14th ward (Williamsburg), American literary giant & “pornography”/anti-censorship pioneer #1, and one of the most unique and creative voices of the 20th century,...

read more

on retirement

“RETIREMENT”… with guaranteed income and/or a pension doesn’t exist in our country anymore. And SOCIAL SECURITY simply isn’t enough. The basic “contract” with workers has been “broken”. “Work long and hard...

read more

on marriage

i wonder if there’s an honest husband alive who would not secretly admit to actually enjoying his wife’s planned, but still unexpected, 2 week call “out of town”, much to his own surprise. who wouldn’t have to admit to the temporary...

read more

gino cumeezi, outlaw clown & provocateur

as many of you may, or may not know, i used to be a clown. “gino cumeezi”. that was my name. great grandson of the infamous and toothless “gums” cumeezi. a cross between charlie chaplin, jack kerouac, and grand central station. i like to think of gino as a subversive public fool. a comic outlaw. a provocateur to the max. truly one of new yawk’s “finest”. in fact, gino ran for mayor of new york city in 1977. against the recently deceased (february, 2013), one and only mayor of new yawk, ed koch. “put a real clown in gracie mansion.” that was gino’s campaign slogan. he finished 5th out of 4 candidates.

read more

ripples in the pond

may 17, 2013 beware. this is a story of curmudgeonliness turning into beatitude. let’s start with the first. it’s the merry month of may. time for college graduations. i never go. never went to my own, never will. you know the routine: 1969… the me generation,...

read more

R.I.P, Clay the Dog, 1998 – 2013

It ended the same way it began. On a hard, linoleum-covered wooden floor. Me lying next to Clay, the Dog. Comforting him at the very beginning. And comforting him again at the very end. Clay, my homeboy companion. My escape artiste extraordinaire. Clay, the canine outlaw of Echo Park. The cat killer and coyote enforcer. The sweetheart and heartbeat of Elysian Heights. Clay, the Dog, who is no more.

read more

dancing with L

i saw her first
on the BMT line
the RR to be exact, heading uptown from 23rd to 57th street
she’s sitting… diagonally across from me
wearing bright red and white candy striped pants

read more

act three?

“act 3”, you know, of a play? it follows its 2 predecessors: act one, which brilliantly sets up what’s at stake for the protagonist. followed by act two, in which the play develops with tension & suspense as it builds in “rising” action, when finally, you have,...

read more

the klown, the motorbike, 9 lives times 2, and good karma

about 90 seconds after my first hill climb and descent, i confront my 1st fellow motor biker, a brown-skinned local dude puttering uphill with a fellow passenger on back. i’m heading down, he’s coming up, and i pull over to the right. so does he. that is, he swerves to his left, my right. what the hell? we’re heading right at each other. we simultaneously swerve to avoid one another. in the mili-seconds before impact, my life doesn’t flash before me. i think something like, “what the fuck, man… you idiot, you’re gonna run right into me. don’t you know the rules of the road? it’s your country, you boneheaded yokel, what the…?

crash! bang. head-on. i go down. he goes down.

read more

mountains and ocean and hollywood sign… and yet?

look to the right, exactly 90 degrees from the terraced hillside back deck of lucretia gardens, and there are — the san gabriel mountains — gently looming over the hazy glendale flats. turn 180 degrees back to the left and there’s — the glassy silver rim of the pacific ocean, dividing the big sky of another multi-colored california sunset from the slightly high-rise sprawl of snarky century city and the equally-hazy flats of LA’s toney west side. turn back another 90 degrees to the right, and there, straight ahead, is the white dome of the griffith observatory, the shrubby tree tops of tom mix hill (of legendary silent film cowboy lore), and lo and behold… the iconic hollywood sign itself.

read more

the slow fade of the perfect easter lily

i go out and sit on the plump, stuffed designer chair on the narrow, red-tiled front porch, in a little corner i like to call “mi rincon de memoria” (my corner of memory), amongst the low hanging creeping charlies and the wood-carved mexican religious figurines, and i notice a single white easter lily growing through the green ground vegetation towards the black wrought-iron fence. it is singularly beautiful and very alone. i know that it is way too late in the season for a white easter lily to be growing in the garden. but there it is. i look a little closer to admire it, and i see that its white graceful edges are now fading to brown. in a few days, it will be gone. it stands there entirely alone, so fragile, in its slow, elegant decline. inevitably, it will crash like a springtime flower into the cold of september.

read more

confessions of an ageing rage-aholic, part 2: the mad prof

and… i aim my RAV 4 directly at mike. he sees me coming and his eyes start bugging out of his head. captain of industry, huh, mike? mike tries to maneuver out of my way, practically falling off his tan beach cruiser. i hit the brakes to a full stop… about 2 inches from mike’s front wheel. mike looks terrified. he should be.

read more

confessions of an ageing rage-aholic, part 1: when i’m 64!

i’m a civilized man. intelligent, educated, compassionate, even, some might say, sophisticated in the ways of the world. i’ve traveled a good deal of the planet, survived cancer; i have a good job at a major university, i married for the 1st time at 54 years old; hell, i have a lot to be grateful for. then why, oh why, dear shiva-allah-buddha-yaweh-whoever the fuck is in charge, is my goddam temper still on a such a short leash, threatening to explode in the most unpredictable, humiliating, and inopportune times? am i a fool? or am i just cursed?

read more

lenny, me, and the “N” word

“well, you see, ms jones, i was using a metaphor for the disempowerment of the gypsy people of romania. a metaphor for the dispossession of the entire roma people. i was actually standing up for the underdog people of the world when i said that “the gypsies were the niggers of europe”. just the way john lennon and yoko ono said that “women were the niggers of the world”. just the way lenny bruce used the words, ‘nigger. niggger. nigger. fuck fuck fuck. nigger nigger nigger. fuck fuck fuck.’ they’re just words, ms jones. understand? nigger, fuck, cunt, pussy. words! just words! but we load them like guns. and we shoot them off at each other. and some of us can use them. and others of us can’t. how are we supposed to know, ms jones? who’s to say who can say which words to whom? i didn’t call anyone a ‘nigger’. i don’t hate black people. i didn’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings, ms jones. if i did, i’m sorry. i already apologized to everyone i could think of. why won’t fucking white liberal rachelle get the fuck off my case, ms jones?”

read more

end of the empire?

but ay, here’s the rub. as promised, i’m thinking as much about american empire as i am roman. specifically, i’m thinking about mr. gibbon’s insight and explanation for the decline and fall of the great roman empire… and finding it frighteningly parallel to the current state of our american empire. no doubt, our 20th century, and now 21stcentury, american empire is the greatest in the history of mankind. with our cyber and post-industrial tentacles of the age of technology, the internet, and the global economy reaching ominously and lucratively around the entire planet, we have had more influence and more control over the the economies and politics of the world than any empire in history. the reach and scope of the current american empire simply dwarfs such predecessors as the greeks, romans, chinese, mongols, moghuls, autro-hungarians, british, soviets, or any other previous conglomeration of tyrant, government, religion, or nation-state. simply put, the power and influence of hollywood, wall street, and madison avenue have collectively hypnotized and seduced a good majority of the rest of the world. and sure, the muslim and chinese civilizations have been giving us a good recent “clash” or two, but what i’m most intrigued by… should i have the courage to admit it… is the end of the american empire.

read more
BLOG:
  • No categories