Peter Bogdanovich, Who the Devil Made It: Conversations with Legendary Film Directors

I started rereading this fascinating book tonight.  Bogdanovich is to be thanked for making the determined effort to question film directors about their art and preserving their answers.  Allan Dwan is the first director in the book. He was born in Toronto in 1885. Dwan was among the earliest of directors, a contemporary of D.W. Griffith. He explains the techniques developed during the days of one reelers as well as his work on features with Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and Gloria Swanson. He was one of those who invented the language of movies. Other directors: Robert Aldrich, George Cukor, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Chuck Jones, Fritz Lang, Joseph H. Lewis, Sidney Lumet, Leo McCarey, Otto Preminger, Don Siegel, Josef von Sternberg, Frank Tashlin, Edgar G. Ulmer, and Raoul Walsh.

A great book. Highly recommended.

Poem – Midnight at My Feet

Midnight at My Feet

the dog is dreaming again
yips and yips and more yips

and his paws are running
and he’s not getting anywhere

he’s on the rug
chasing something in his sleep

we are both getting to be old farts
and Winter is fine with us both

as if that White Bitch cared
cackling crone, wheezing outside

throwing snow flakes and making
the tree branches shake and moan

the five wild kittens are six months old

and are replaying last night’s demolition derby
as they begin climbing the book shelves

to resort my collection and paste a smile
on my mug as I turn to call the dog’s name

in a slow low voice and tell him that
he is safe and that I love him

Poem – On Sunday Morning

On Sunday Morning

– William J. Gibson –


I knew a song once about crocodiles

You used to hum it on your bike


When you were ten and told me

about it one morning in bed


Your eyes were blue and I tried

to see you as a little girl who cried


But all I saw was the hot burn of your lips

the tossed gold of your hair

and the black ice

under your eyelashes

Poem – 38 years

– William J. Gibson

38 years

it used to be about addition
now subtraction rules

there was an old pair of shoes to throw away
a ratty pair of slippers wanting to end it all

the cat was lieing on the pile of clean clothes
the sun pouring in the window the lightest honey

birds singing absolutely sincerely in full contact competition
and the waves breaking insistently on the sand and rocks

I had been in swimming and my shoulders were a little tired
and the wind began to chill me down – my legs felt okay

now i stood in the shade of the oak tree
that I planted 38 years ago

making so many generations of squirrels very happy
a screen for the meteor shower of August

the next people who own this place
I hope they choose to cut it down

Vision and a Reading Life

My eyesight took a dip recently and my overdue eye examination is now scheduled. Makes me consider the possibility of blindness or at least reduced vision, reduced to the point where I would be unable to read. Reading books has been a life time pleasure. To lose it would be a terrible change. A quiet world. A narrowed world. A long time ago a woman I knew asked me if I really needed to read another book. I looked at her and realized how little she knew me and how much of a stranger she was to me. The answer then and now is yes, I need to read another book. The answer will always be that I need to read another book. It is not a retreat from experiencing real life, but another course in the meal. An extended reach.  An essential pleasure. Now and then I wonder if she ever figured out what she might be missing.