The Writer's Life: Film & Book Reviews, Observations, and Stories
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Posts from — March 2011


Harold and Maude played for years at a theatre at the edge of Edina. The residents finally had enough and complained. Their complaints had the desired effect and the theatre is now a laundry. I suppose that’s appropriate. Either you liked the film or you hated it. Anyway, it’s not Harold and Maude I’m interested in but the song “Trouble” by Cat Stevens. With radioactive iodine and cesium pouring into the ocean off the coast of Japan, Cat Steven’s words could not be more appropriate.

March 31, 2011   Comments Off on Trouble


Flatter than flat
A thin layer of dough
Between the rolling pin and table
Made increasingly thinner
Until it is just the right thickness
To become a liner for a pie tin
Filled with fruit and baked
At the requisite temperature
Until fully cooked,
Removed from the oven
And cooled
Ready for eating.

March 30, 2011   Comments Off on Crust

The Two Escobars

Buried in ESPN’s 30 for 30 series is a gem of a film, The Two Escobars, about Pablo and Andrés, the drug kingpin and the defender, whose lives crisscrossed several times and both ended in violent deaths. The film is notable for its honest portrayal of the events that occurred during the drug wars in Colombia and during and after the 1994 World Cup. It asks the question whether our hegemony is ultimately for the betterment or destruction of mankind and gives no clear answers. This film is necessary viewing for those who want to see how our actions truly affect events.

March 28, 2011   Comments Off on The Two Escobars

The Offering

You make an offer
A gesture, part of yourself
A sacrifice that even though it is rejected
Does not matter
Because it is still your offering
An act of giving
That cannot be taken away
Or negated–
For how do you remove the smell of a rose
Or the sound of a ringing bowl
Or the air you breathe
Except by your own hand.

March 28, 2011   1 Comment

Nice Combos

Can you imagine a better combination than a good Amontillado and fine taleggio? I can’t, but then my experience of the world is somewhat limited.

March 27, 2011   Comments Off on Nice Combos


It had an odd sweetness
The dry huskiness of ripe melons
Tobacco at its fragrant best
Rank urine in a toilet bowl
Which I only discovered later
By accident
In remembering the taste
As I lay dying.

March 26, 2011   Comments Off on Death


Last night I put myself to sleep listening to the tunes on the Smithsonian Folkways CD “The Harry Smith Connection.” It had been years since I last heard it. “Minglewood Blues” sung by John Sebastian and the J-Band with Geoff Muldaur is very funny and true, but it doesn’t compare with the tune “Nothing” sung by The Fugs. This version was recorded live and is very humorous–unless, of course, you happen to be in a black period of nihilist nothingness yourself (which I wasn’t). The Yiddish and Spanish are just repetitions of the English. Imagine it being sung by a folksy, Beatniky, knish-stuffed-with-irony klezmer band and you’ll know how it should sound.

Monday, nothing
Tuesday, nothing
Wednesday and Thursday nothing
Friday, for a change
a little more nothing
Saturday once more nothing

Sunday nothing
Monday nothing
Tuesday and Wednesday nothing
Thursday, for a change
a little more nothing
Friday once more nothing

Montik gornisht,
Dinstik Gornisht
Midwoch an Donnerstik gornisht
Fritik, far a noveneh gornisht pikveleh
Shabas nach a mool gornisht

Lunes nada
Martes nada
Miercoles y Jueves nada
Viernes, por cambia
un poco mas nada
Sabado otra vez nada

January nothing
February nothing
March and April nothing
May and June
a lot more nothing
July nothing

’29 nothing
’32 nothing
’39, ’45 nothing
1965 a whole lot of nothing
1966 nothing

reading nothing
writing nothing
even arithmetic nothing
geography, philosophy, history, nothing
social anthropology a lot of nothing

oh, Village Voice nothing
New Yorker nothing
Sing Out and Folkways nothing
Harry Smith and Allen Ginsberg
nothing, nothing, nothing

poetry nothing
music nothing
painting and dancing nothing
The world’s great books
a great set of nothing
Audy and Foudy nothing

fucking nothing
sucking nothing
flesh and sex nothing
Church and Times Square
all a lot of nothing
nothing, nothing, nothing

Stevenson nothing
Humphrey nothing
Averell Harriman nothing
John Stuart Mill nil, nil
Franklin Delano nothing

Karlos Marx nothing
Engels nothing
Bakunin and Kropotkin nothing
Leon Trotsky lots of nothing
Stalin less than nothing

nothing nothing nothing nothing
lots and lots of nothing
nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing
lots of it
Not a God damn thing

March 26, 2011   1 Comment


Migrating monarchs
Flitting among wild daisies
With no sense of time.

March 23, 2011   Comments Off on 324


A Turner landscape—
Barren trees shrouded in white mist
On a sea of snow.

March 20, 2011   Comments Off on 323


Dozens of spring birds
Beneath a crab apple tree
Eating rotten fruit.

March 18, 2011   Comments Off on 322