From about the time of high school or so, I've been
repeatedly urged by a wide variety of people to somehow explore more deeply
my writing proclivity. During my senior year a notorious cynic and renowned
teacher at Hollywood High, Harry Major, quipped that I should learn to
develop more substance and less fluff in my writing.
We've remained good friends for the nearly 50 years since that advice.
My mother and father both prodded me from the early 1980's to publish my
poems. My father, in fact, had commissioned me to write a biography of his
life around 1981, and upon seeing the first 100 pages exclaimed, "This makes
Mommy Dearest look like a tribute!" That terminated the biography work.
I'm still working on a book about him, me, our family, and growing up in
show biz entitled "Under Niagara."
I first penned a poem about December 1979 for an intense and energetic girl
friend, Barbara Reade. From 1979-1985 I spent several months at a time on
the road with my father doing concerts across the US, Central and South
America, and Japan. I even took along a large IBM Selectric II typewriter in
a special carrying case I built in order to be able to write during the
concerts while manning the record table in the lobbies.
Needless to say, a great many poems during those time had to do with
fleeting relationships with women, the futility of those endeavors, and the
general malaise of life. It seems that trouble, pain, sadness, etc. seem
more of a motivator for expression (read: relief) than overwhelming joy and
happiness. Perhaps that's because when we're happy, we're BUSY, engrossed,
and not thinking of an excuse and some way to relieve the feeling.
I was able to displace quite a bit of the women-malaise with
construction-malaise from 1985 on.
The relationship void, the endless striving for acceptance, love,
relationship, sexual gratification, money, security, etc. all provided ample
inspiration for continued poeting.
It is very interesting for ME to look back and see the repeating theme of
being misunderstood, a victim, trying so hard to achieve and succeed, etc.
It is NOT comfortable to see this, but it is illuminating, hopefully more so
than just ruminating (sorry, I'm a poetolic, remember?).
In the latter 80's and into the 90's my relationship with my father provided
a deep well of poeting possibilities. My poems were one of the high points
for his appreciation of me. We struggled through very tough times, egos,
confusion, hurt, socioeconomic limitations (even the rich and famous are
hampered), and decades of familial adaptation to get to a point of loving
and appreciating each other. It never was perfect, and never could be. But
it was definitely as good as it could get when I hugged him for the last
time in early September 1992 and we both cried, just 2 days before he left
for Europe, where he died 10 days later.
I read some poems about him during the funeral. It was then that I realized
just how powerful and accurate some of my writings were.
Every writer has some uniqueness in style. Mine is that I'm able to convey
exact facts and nuances of events, and do it both in a rhyming way, often
humorously, and nearly instantly.
For the most part I don't ponder, fret, and rework my poems. They erupt in a
flash through my fingers, and with very few exceptions they're done when I
stop typing. I HATE handwriting, but enjoy typing. My lamentable penmanship
(or lack of it) is offset by my ability to type quickly. However, I did
graduate from Physicians Handwriting School "Summa Cum Illegibility".
Anyway, I've organized these over 1000 poems according to subject matter. If
you're in the mood to reflect on LIFE IS TOUGH, there are 58 poems to give
you some additional insight. If you're in the mood for OPTIMISM, there are 6
or so to bolster your spirits.
I sincerely hope that these writings will somehow be of assistance to you,
get you to laugh now and then, give you some cause for reflection, bring a
few tears, appreciate love, and best of all perhaps enable you to make an
improvement somewhere in your life.