Monday, March 30, 2020

Fatal Steps

unconstrained maximalization
peeps from the undergrowth of
optimization theory undermining
all our natural inclinations as if
mathematics ruled reality so it is
the basic application classified
no one knows what's going on

my old friend follows fascination
into weaponry god knows what
will result from human curiosity
unbound by commonsensical
reasoning if I don't someone else
will take the fatal steps ahead
follow to the logical conclusion

I don't begin to understand the
math defeated as a freshman I
let it go did something other led
a different style of grownup life
who better richer more fulfilled
our beautiful being undefined
unmeaninged by epidemic death

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

No Secret

for example what is happening
in Afghanistan and Iraq
where we squandered billions
blowing things up thousands
of lives lost have we now
forgotten don't we even care

why was wonky even then
revenge power someone's lust
for more fatalistic falling
no one wiser could prevent
as if history was written
before we could even think

then you stop and wonder
what else we take for granted
is utterly disastrously wrong
warped priorities no secret
where do you start to fix it
better nothing like right now

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Terrence McNally

Terrence McNally, who has died of the effects of COVID-19, was a friend of Scott Burton's at Columbia. I had a fling with Scott around 1960, when he may have still been a senior but I think was already writing for Art News. Terrence was living with Edward Albee in a duplex in the West Village, with Edward's ex-lover William Flanagan on the lower level. Scott took me over to see Terrence, Edward not at home, and the three of us rolled around together on the big bed that filled the bedroom from wall to wall. I remember looking at Edward's writing desk, which faced a blank wall so nothing would distract him from his imaginings. After a few years Terrence broke up with Edward, who didn't want to be identified as gay and wouldn't publicly acknowledge him. Terrence went on to write a series of entertaining plays that helped make gay love relations imaginable and eventually acceptable to a general audience. It must have been the Albee connection that brought so much attention to his first play, "And Things That Go Bump in the Night," when it was done at the new Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis. I was flown out to see it along with other influencers and remember the Life photographer snapping pictures of us in the lobby more than I remember the play, which subsequently flopped on Broadway. But Terrence was just getting started and gave birth to many more in a long and beautiful life.


breathing is not enough
but it helps

Minus Readers

and no one will read
so I write into the void
minus readers to help me
find what I mean to say

still I like to put out these
traces of my waning days
hoping no fragile parts fail
while the virus rules

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Talking to Myself

thinking is talking to myself
if no one is asking anything
or interested enough to respond
then who am I to answer back

no more a critic or critical I
silently swallow my opinions
they hardly matter to anyone
and I could be entirely wrong

I'd pay for a sympathetic ear
someone smarter than I am to
hear what I am trying to say
as I talk to myself and think