Monday, January 22, 2018

I woke up to a tone of A-440.
You can play this on your Minimoog. 
There’s a little toggle switch that you switch
from down to up (I think) and then you hear this tone.
It sounds like the tone you hear when your doctor is about to draw blood.
When you are three years old and trying to look out the window but can’t.
Also the sound you hear that protects you from other sounds: like someone 
who says: “She doesn’t have much time left.” Or “the body was never found”
even when it was. And then you hear the sound: somewhere between a hornet 
and a honey bee. 

It’s  also the sound of Rachmaninoff, the man with the large hands, who had
troubles in life, many troubles, but nice big hands that made him play things 
that others simply could not play SO THERE he said in a manner of speaking. 
Rachmaninoff with a capital A. Hey. I shouldn’t forget the Minimoog in all this. 
Or the splendid EMS AKS “Suitcase” synthesizer or the ARP 2600 synthesizer 

which sounds like it was named after a frisky dog and is a joke but I assure you 
it was not. And were it not for Moog we wouldn’t have the beautiful sounds of 
Abbey Road (or they wouldn’t be as beautiful). And without ARP we wouldn’t 
have the beauty of Baba (Teenage Wasteland) and Pete Townsend playing in a way 
that was not at all wasty. Syd Barrett would never have heard Dark Side of the Moon, 
although he never did, probably, and never played on it anyway. By then, young Syd 

had walked the long walk from London to Cambridge, settled down in a tiny house 
and now was old, his hair no longer matted with Mandrax and Brylcreem, the girls no
longer chasing the elf who would lock them in a closet and feed them biscuits. No,
A-440 brings a tuning to our life, but a tuning we cannot fully trust, like Syd, living 
in a simpler world painting sorrowful paintings and riding a small bicycle to the store 

for tobacco, and then back to a small beige room for the remainder of his quiet days. 

Wednesday, October 04, 2017


I spent several hours today trying to find recordings of old movie stars saying hello. It is much more difficult than you might think. After a while, I tried singers, but that was also difficult. I decided that perhaps if I broadened it to bankers and car mechanics and soda jerks and policemen and store clerks that it might be easier, but it wasn’t. I looked out in the street to see if there were any children playing, or perhaps a crossing guard, but no. I even considered traveling, perhaps abroad, but that would be an awful lot of work for all I really needed, which was a hello, and what if they said hello in French? Finally I gave up and went downstairs and turned on the tape recorder and just plain said HELLO myself. The next thing I heard was: How are you? And then, just around the corner, the moon.


I bought a present for you five years ago
and it finally arrived today but now you live
in Tunisia.* (**) (***)

* The language of Tunisia is known as “Tounsi.” Doesn’t that sound like the name of a teacup poodle? They are too small.
** Tounsi also sounds like a dance. An old dance like “The Watusi.” I imagine a really nice shindig and everybody is drinking cocktails.
*** By “Tunisia” I mean who knows where you are. Could be Tunisia for all I know. Tunisia is a way of saying: ? You are in Tunisia. Oh, how you love Tunisia. 

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

This witch was on television and she was beautiful and she played an electric guitar but only for one day that day in which she 
posed in front of a camera for a magazine. 

I am guessing that was 1966. And I am almost certain she had no idea that someone would be looking at her in these lovely bright beautiful clothes and also smiling about how different the world was then and perhaps in a way how much more beautiful and sweet and foolish because now it is 2017 but in fact that is what happened just the other day.

You might be the only person thinking these thoughts even though they are not unusual thoughts but only because you might be the only one looking at this photograph now, somewhat wistfully.  

If there is a magic to 2017, though, it is that you can take this photograph and all the wonderful thoughts it brings to your heart and put it and them on a computer and let everyone feel this in their hearts too. So in a way, there is something beautiful about the present, but it is of course partially about what it can do for us by bringing us the past, and whatever the past brings us and often does that by surprise. And it’s all because of the computers, that one day we never knew.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Louis XV became King of France when all the grown ups died of smallpox and heartbreak.

He was betrothed to what would not be his future wife at 11 and she was 3 at the time and he did not find her very interesting. Her name was Maria and eventually he did not marry her but married Marie instead. She was plain and wholesome and her father was deposed in Poland.

Louis was a handsome young man but his chin became pudgy. A crazy person tried to kill him with a knife but did not (because Louis wore thick clothes.) He cheated on Marie which was terrible but the good news is that he cheated on her with Madame de Pompadour, who was as great as she sounds and loved arty things and did good things for France they say.

Louis had several children including Louis and his daughter who I want to mention. Her name was Adélaïde just like my Aunt Adelaide only she didn’t have accent marks on her name and she smoked cigarettes and wore crazy hats in a little town in Florida.

Louis wasn’t a very good King and he lived a pretty long time and he liked to go to brothels and sigh.

Once I saw a painting of Louis and he was wearing armor coverlettes and he looked cool.

When Louis died he died of smallpox which happened a lot those days and his heart was not cut out and put into a special coffer with gold and rubies like his father but his body was soaked in quicklime instead and buried in a small box. Warning: quicklime sounds delicious but it’s really gross. Don’t eat it.


Louis didn’t do many good things for France, but there was the Seven Year War and Louis XVI and Versailles and wigs and brothels Marie and Madame Pompadour who I mentioned recently (see above.)


Sunday, July 02, 2017



When you think about it,
everything is the color of
a Lifesaver.



Think of all the money they saved
by putting a little hole in a lifesaver.
And think of all the lives they saved

by putting a hole in a life saver.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017


Every time I put on Guerlain cologne, which is both fancy and French, I think of the time that I stood outside a nightclub next to a woman quickly moved to the other side of the building. “I can’t stand that cologne that someone is wearing!” she said to her friend. 

That someone was me and I was her friend.

Monday, February 20, 2017


  1. Stole her name from Proust.
  2. Was expelled from the convent for “Deep lack of spirituality.”
  3. Was called “The charming little monster.”
  4. Wrote BONJOUR TRISTESSE at 18 about “a pleasure-driven 17 year old named Cécile.”
  5. Married a playboy and “would-be ceramicist.”
  6. Liked to spend time with Truman Capote.
  7. And Ava Gardner.
  8. Crashed her Aston-Martin, coma.
  9. Got better and drove her Jaguar to Monte Carlo to gamble.
  10. Had an affair with Bernard Frank, a married essayist obsessed with reading and eating.
  11. Had an affair with French Playboy editor Annick Geille.
  12. When police inspected her house, her dog Banko showed them her cocaine.
  13. Banko licked the cocaine. “He seems to like it,” the police said.
  14. Said: “A dress makes no sense unless it inspires men to want to take it off you."
  15. Wrote her own obituary:

Appeared in 1954 with a slender novel, Bonjour Tristesse, which created a scandal worldwide. Her death, after a life and a body of work that were equally pleasant and botched, was a scandal only for herself.

Monday, January 23, 2017


As I see everyone getting older, 
I know that soon enough I will
miss the old fashioned ladies
that we knew when we were
young. All that makeup and 
all those floral dresses and 
bonnets and perfume
and knitting needles
and cups of tea and
little stale cookies.

I wish I could say
something more,
but what more can 
you say when they 
are gone?  I think
they are gone


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