Saturday, December 30, 2017


La-di-da, no one coming...I proceed on.

Air molecules dissolve, airbags explode, car spins 180 and shudders to a stop. I can't move, seconds pass, out of the corner of my eye I see someone driving in slow motion, staring into the window, making a call. A few beats later I hear, "Oh, I was wrong... she's a lot older than I told you!"

Thanks alot, bitch, just what I needed to hear! This is my first thought after I start thinking again. My brain is working. What a relief!

The only thing I can feel is pain shooting through my back, right where I fell 2 years ago, in Joshua Tree. It's deja vu all over again. Oh no! Not again!

The truck rammed me on the driver's side. For some reason this kind of accident is called a T-bone, as if it's somehow connected to a cow, but how? No cows here.

But I wouldn't mind if there were more cows and less cars. Life would be easier. Life would not be this urban nightmare. Yes, more cows, less cars and while we're at it, how about no cars! No cars, no cell phones, no computers, no cops, except the ones directing the cows. 

But back to my immediate situation. Someone's cutting away the airbags and reaching inside to pull me out of the car and into an ambulance.

On the way to the hospital, I experience a case of deja vu; wasn't I just here a second ago on my way to the ER in Palm Springs? Where am I? I should call someone, wait a second, I don't have my phone. Oh NO!

Once at the hospital, I'm wheeled into a room, nurses come and go, something's pumped into my veins. I wait. After more waiting, a young boy wheels me to another room, a room that looks strangely familiar.

Are we at the airport?

Inside the black hole, a warm flow of dye curses through my body and I panic!

The robot is right, 30 seconds later and it's over. I'm wheeled back to my room.

I call a friend, who brings food and, remarkably, my phone from the shop. The doctor reads me his report in a somber tone (perhaps he's falling asleep as he talks, an overextended resident) and I'm finally released. I'm anxious to get home. I insist my friend drive slowly, take all the side streets, avoid the freeway, go ten blocks out of her way, and before it's morning, I'm home!


Talking to a friend a few days later, I tell her everything's okay, but I'm damaged. A fracture in my lower lumbar and cotton balls floating in my brain. I'm back in bed, not able to walk further than the bathroom, and trying to put a sentence together what... searching searching....right word where, ah there...impossible. I'm not suppose to think, not suppose to read on a screen, not suppose to tax my brain. 

"Well, that's a good thing for the next few years, don't you think?" my friend says. 

I laugh. It's the first laugh since the accident. We both find hilarious the idea of being slightly brain damaged as a useful strategy for getting through the Trump years. Maybe there's a silver lining after all.


This accident happened 7 weeks ago. I complained a lot during my recovery, mostly about how long it was taking to get better; most days it felt like I was going backwards. I'd attempt some activity, like walking to the mailbox, and end up back in bed for two days. But today, recovery is almost in reach, walking, thinking, almost normal again. I still wonder why that jerk had to race through a light that had already turned red, but that's LA. Could I really live where there are no cars, no cell phones, no computers, no cops....I don't think so, but the thought is tempting, especially the idea of skipping through daisies in a field of cows. Throw in a few wild foxes and I think I'd be happy. But what is happiness in the age of Trump, an existential question I hope to explore in 2018.

Here's wishing you, dear reader, a Happy New Year and a very good year. Let's get out there in 2018, knock on some doors, make a few hundred calls, talk to strangers, and bring those mother fuckers in Congress down. That's all i can say from this end of the nightmare, but still alive to say it.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Donkey's Inferno

A Short Fable for Children

The thing about these Asses was, despite their swollen ankles, they galloped along so fast that before you could protest one of their antics—like opening up public lands to Uranium mining— they'd landed another doozy and pulled you by your hair to Hell.

They told so many lies, they couldn't keep track of them. They purposely caused your head to swivel (whiplash, not covered by insurance) and, like the Cuyahoga River, there was a chance of bursting into flames spontaneously. Soon it became the country's no. 1 danger!

Like what happened to me this morning. 

I showered for my allotted two minutes, but then couldn't leave—thinking about all the lies, so many of them, falling out of those smug Jackasses' asses.

But back to our fable.

Especially egregious was the bloated Jackass named Trump, (but let's not discount his tag along buddies). They lied so deliciously, young children began to believe them.

For instance, some of the lies: 

Nature is ugly

Losing your healthcare is Freedom

If liberals like it, than it's wrong, therefore.... Wrong is right!

So Children, a warning: You're being sold a bundle of lies by the whole fucking lot of them.

But Club Hell, where TrumpMcConnellRyanSessions are members, is restricted (like certain clubs of my childhood), so...

If you're brown black native indigenous yellow red blue gay transgendered binary Bahai Jewish Muslim Atheist Mongolian vegetarian student scientist citizen journalist
just a lover of books,

You won't be allowed in Hell. Turns out it's an all exclusive club for lyin' Jackasses. Good news, Children! And even though this is a long ago fable (from three days ago), that's the truth!

(Bigger donkey than the Devil)


Saturday, March 25, 2017


If there's one thing we can be certain of in this uncertain world it's that Trump will NEVER take responsibility for any of his actions. Thus far in his reign, "responsibility" has never fluttered forth from his lips (come to think of it, I can't think of any 6 syllable word he's uttered; tre-men-dous has only 3). I find this surprisingly reassuring: it will always be the Mexicans or the Muslims or the Democrats—of course the Dems are to blame for the demise of Ryan's disastrous health care remake, of course!—it will never be him or any of his white party. Which got me thinking....

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

In love with love

Over the holidays I saw the new Jim Jarmusch film, Paterson; it was splendid, more than splendid, it was about poetry and the urge to write and the urge and the need to create. Critics panned it of course, too slow, they said. Too slight.
But for me it was a revelation.

So I thought I would try my hand at a poem. I wrote poetry when I was in my twenties, very bad, very slight. But I sat down the last day of this year, with the rain coming down, and mulled over the words that would go into my poem, like Adam Driver does in Paterson. Mulling is part of writing poetry, I believe, different than writing an essay or a work of fiction. Those take different skills, but I quite like mulling, and I quite liked how Adam Driver did it in the movie, so I'm giving myself permission to copy his method, at least for this first attempt.  

In love with love

Life is so precious
so fragile
so finite....
Yet love is infinite.
Or at least it seems when you’re walking in the rain and a small black towhee sits above you singing.
It gets you kicking up your heels and thinking that love will last forever, that you will always love, love will go on and on and on.
But then you grow disillusioned.
You grow out of love. You face the end of love alone.

But what of this: You’re young and full of life and infinitely in love with life. You’re in love with love. You touch everyone with your love. You are the wind and the salt sea. But then you face your death alone. You fly away singing. Where do you go? Where does that infinite love go? How does the universe contain that finite being full of infinite love that touched so many?

Maybe I’m thinking of all this because it’s raining, because it’s cold and gray, because my family is scattered. Because love is both infinite...and finite. Because the one who loved love and the multitudes who loved him back has died. And where did that love go?

I think I got his eyes

Monday, December 5, 2016


The expression, cut off at the knees, fell to my knees, on my knees, I had heard these words before but had never really thought about what they meant, but now I felt it: this weakness in my chest and solar plexus, this inability to stand because my thighs and knees were jello; I wanted to sink to the floor and stay there. i felt hopeless and afraid; there couldn’t be any worse news than what was going around on Saturday morning. I can’t believe it and I won’t believe it and I have to remain down here on my knees because I can’t stand up to face that which might be the the expression cut off at the knees I suddenly understood.

Nick Gomez-Hall, a beautiful vibrant love of a young man, 25, a fierce independent soul, a lover of this planet and his family, a devoted friend, in fact, the “glue” that held those friends together. They lived together in a big clapboard house
on Wickenden Street in Providence near the coffee shop and across from the ice cream store and they played music, Nick on guitar, and when they weren't in classes they sat around laughing and talking and eating, playing with the little dwarf rats that Maya kept, each roommate in his/her own pursuits but helping the other. Kindness and laughter you found here. Sure there were bad moods and disagreements and closed doors but mainly there was light inside.

This guy this cool dude Nick was for a time tangentially in my life through my daughter’s college years. They loved, they struggled they eventually broke up but they remained friends. He stayed in Providence, a little too long, a little too stuck, and then moved out to San Fran, where he would start anew. He had friends there, he had a life, he bowled every Tuesday with Katie; he was starting again and enjoying his life. And then Saturday morning the news: Nick had gone to a concert at the Ghost Ship in Oakland where there had been a devastating fire, and was one of the missing. On Sunday, after an agonizing wait, his death was confirmed. 

This loss of Nick, this tragedy, has affected his friends in ways unaccounted for, in words that can’t be articulated or even imagined, they too are on their knees, with disbelief, denial, anger, numbness, love for him like they’ve never felt before, denial again that this can’t be true. He was the one who kept them together, he was the one that could make friends with anyone, who knew more about music than anyone, who could do anything, a brilliant writer, poet composer musician friend. The disbelief is beyond words for these friends.

The only imaginable explanation for why Nick didn’t make it out, his closest friends believe, was that he stopped to help a friend or a stranger. That would be Nick, that would be why he didn’t follow down the steps when others did.

There were so many dreams his friends had for him he can't be gone. Who will fulfill those dreams? It feels as though he’s still around, with that smiling grin and that kindness in his eyes... there were so many things he was capable of doing and now denied at 25. There isn’t anything more cruel, this death to someone young. There’s only pain, only sadness and sobs as this sinks in, it still can’t be, but his name is there, black and white in the papers.

I can still see the bunch of them walking to their graduation, it was a warm day to start out (but got cold), they walked so breezily the bunch of them mingling together in pairs separately all together. The girls in dresses, the guys in suits and ties. Flowers along the way and in some of the girls arms. They had big smiles on their faces, their beautiful young faces and Nick in the center.

That day went by in a whirl (although the ceremony went on forever). There was a party afterwards as I remember it, but when i see the order of photos, it was the day before, and there he was, Nick in the middle of everyone, Nick beloved by all.

Please pray for his family and for his friends, for Nick, keep them in your hearts today tomorrow, help them get through this painful challenging cruel time that they are in together.

Nick Gomez-Hall
 rest in peace

Monday, November 28, 2016

Dreams of the Ruling Class

It's been a long while since I've posted, but I've been motivated by recent events, which have left a good many of us either speechless, jaws wobbling, babbling like a mad man, bereft, or wondering, what the hell do we do now? For me, comics came to mind, so here goes; firing up the ol' comic wing of the brain again.


Despite the lowest approval rating in the Senate, Mitch McConnell is the longest serving U.S. Senator in Kentucky's history. Way to go, Kentucky, my home state!

After his father's death, Paul Ryan received SSI benefits from the age of 16 until his 18th birthday, which helped pay for college. He wishes to thank you, the American people, by privatizing Medicare.
Steve Bannon, Trump's Chief Strategist, fancies himself the "Thomas Cromwell in the Court of Trump." Cromwell served as King Henry VIII's Chief Minister and helped formulate radical changes to the English constitution, expanding the power of Henry VIII, with the theory of the divine right of kings. Hail, King Trump!

Purged by Trump... (or was it Jared Kushner?). Some believe Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, sought revenge for Christy, who as U.S. Attorney for the district of New Jersey, sent Jared's real estate investment father to jail. The older Kushner was accused of everything that Trump holds dear: lying, tax evasion, fraud, etc. Also had to pay a big fine. Trump no like big fines (but will pay them if he absolutely has to).

And last but not least....your royal majesty, Donald J. Trump, dreams unparalleled and of the highest quality, I mean HIGH, FINEST QUALITY. Here's a look inside:

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

My scarf inhabits me

I lost my scarf somewhere between NY and Albuquerque. When I realized it was gone, it hit me hard; I've had that scarf since India 2007, wore it almost every day through CA winters, NY visits, kids’ graduations, in all my travels. I always had it by my side. It inhabited me. It was my security blanket; it kept my head in place.

my scarf holding my head on

My daughter says forget it! It's over! Maybe it's a lesson in acceptance, that it’s gone, that I can’t get it back, that I was distracted, and in that moment of looking away, it disappeared. But I can’t accept that I can’t change that outcome. I can’t move beyond wanting back what I’ve lost. But it’s gone. It’s gone. And no going back.

In NY, people walk around the city talking to themselves. I suppose in LA they’d do the same if they walked....but when you’re on the street in NY you find people staring straight ahead, gesticulating, talking to some unknown; or bobbing their head up and down to some distant music. 

This is something new, this talking and listening into thin air.  Along these lines, I noticed too that no one reads the newspaper on the subway anymore, no crossword puzzle to solve, no annoying person leaning in to read over your shoulder. Now people are looking at their phones, sitting in their bubble, bobbing and smiling to themselves.

Although the New York I once knew is not totally gone, it’s hard to find among the shiny new stores that have pushed out the mom and pops, the climbing new buildings that totter uneasily against the skyline, the fixed up parks, the swept up sidewalks, even the dirty, last-century buildings in Alphabet City have been pressure washed. Where are all the crazy drug dealers, the agile jugglers, the young, hopeful folk singers in Thompkins Square Park? Now you see families, spreading blankets, having picnics on the ground!  

I had breakfast at B&H on 2nd Ave, and am happy to report that at least there, the old is still true to itself. The challah bread is piled high on the counter, the home fries on the grill. The cook sips the soup, endlessly dipping her ladle to make sure there’s still enough salt, her hair in a net so we don’t get any strays, the big metal pot boiling up behind her. 

Young men come in on their breaks and order pancakes and chew the fat with the guys behind the counter in a language of the east shore, a tough guy vibrato, calibrated for ears that have gone soft from all the noise and the traffic.

They josh, they eat piles of potatoes and pancakes, they ask about the wife, they come to collect the rent (excuses are made), they’re there for the first time and are accepted...while I sit wondering how I can join this club. Admit it, I say to myself, you can’t join. You live in LA now, not the LES. You can't go back. 

But when I walk down 2nd Ave, my old stomping ground, oh, how happy I am to be here for awhile in the land of the everyman and everywoman, the land of the rapidly changing facade, the land where the young still go to reinvent themselves, where newcomers come lugging hope; the land that doesn’t ask much, but takes everything.