Last Frontier Village – Old Las Vegas, 1940-’50s

The Last Frontier Was One of the Firsts

The Last Frontier Was One of the Firsts

Here’s a menu

like a book,

because it tells

the story

of old Las Vegas’

gamblin’ days

before the glitz &

glory.

In the ’50s,

Last Frontier

was pretty near

the only place

to stay -

when venturing

‘cross the desert

to throw your dough

away.

Once there,

of course,

you had to eat

& such a treat,

The Silver

Slipper diner -

with

Macaroni,

50 cents,

Hell -

what lunch could

be much finer?

The same price

for Roast

Turkey leg,

and breakfast

just got better -

for

a mere 45 cents -

a plain & simple egg

(with buttered toast

&  jelly).

such a deal,

for such a meal

meant

more coins

left for slots -

We all know

how that turned out -

but some of us

forgots

Vegas as a Youngster

Vegas as a Youngster

 

The Last Frontier – the first themed Las Vegas hotel & gambling hall – was built in the 1940s. I’m sure I visited there in the 1950s, when my parents dragged me along for a road trip. Not that memorable, honestly – I couldn’t wait to get back to civilization! Over the years, The Last Frontier changed ownership faster than a 21 dealer turns up cards – one of the owners was Howard Hughes. (but that’s another poem).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snow White – Walt Disney’s Big Golden Book, 1971

Friends in All the Right Places

Friends in All the Right Places

 

When I’m feeling

blue

all I have to do

is pull out

my Big olden

Golden Disney

book -

Snow White

and, her friends,

The Seven Dwarfs.

I have a thing

about heading

back to the

past

when I feel

I can’t last

another damned

day. So,

books, like

these, are my

happy pills -

they take away

my hurts &  ills.

Cuz, Hey,

Something Good

Could mebbe

Happen!

Just

look at how

Snow White

turned that whole

poison apple

thing

around. (You

can’t keep a

good girl down! )

Was old Walt

Disney (and his

adaptation) a genius,

or what?

 

a Pile of Happy Pills

a Pile of Happy Pills

 

Here’s a stack of five vintage (1970s) Walt Disney illustrated children’s books, including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Since we’re just on the cusp of celebrating women’s empowerment and achievements, we might as well salute Snow White’s resilience and inner strength. No evil witch could get the best of her. Go, Snow Whites, everywhere!

 

 

 

Modern Family – the book I’m going to write, not the TV series

Family drama

leads to trauma

& also writer’s block

and though I

write a daily poem

I can not

beat the clock!

and so here

is a book-less

ode

to solving lovers’

woes

I wish I had

a book to help

but that’s just

how it goes —

 

 

This is a poem about a book I would write called “Modern Family.” It would be non-fiction but no one would believe it, because the stories I’d tell are so insane & inane (in the membrane). So my book would become a movie by David Lynch. And I would get rich or at least a screen credit.

Scenes From a Marriage, Ingmar Bergman, 1974

A Swedish TV series, an American film, 1974

A Swedish TV series, an American film, 1974

 

Now that I’ve

watched “Married”

on FX

I can’t imagine

Ingmar

Bergman’s

Scenes from a

Marriage

will have much

effect.

It was aired

in Sweden

in the 70s -

ah, tamer days!

Now and then,  I

long to

return

& dance the

night away,

under a glittery

disco ball.

it was then

I thought I had

it all

Ha Ha

on me.

I’m so inured

to scenes of sex

and dirty talk

in today’s

TV married

shows,

I know

Bergman’s book

is likely to

be as dry

as a bowl

of shredded wheat

without the milk.

40 years have

done much

to expose

the fabric of

our lives -

especially,

where it con-cerns

husbands

& wives

(whatever that

means)

 

 

A Scene from The Scenes of A Marriage

A Scene from The Scenes of A Marriage

 

Books about TV series or films are fairly rare. Here’s “Scenes from a Marriage,” by Ingmar Bergman, (c)1974. a First American Edition. This 199-page book includes all the scenes from the film, as well as commentary by the great director, Bergman. With one or two b/w photographs, as seen above.

Ernest Hemingway’s The Dangerous Summer

Hemingway's ficition finale, 1985

Hemingway’s non-fiction finale, 1985

Hemingway was

no stranger

to danger -

exalting in

wars, love affairs,

writing – (the most perilous).

His last work of non-fiction

was

on

bullfighting in Spain -

he wrote of

dust, of blood,

of pain — the

matador vs.

matador – he

described in

thrilling

detail,

the gore of the bull,

the magnet-pull

of the ever–get-closer

dance in

the ring.

Win:

the ear,

the tail,

Lose:

the fall, the fail -

mano a mano

(hand to hand)

Hemingway watched

two legends fight

from the stands.

He wrote as if

his own life

depended on

defeating the bull -

not

the animal, but

the

metaphor

for

facing down

fear

 

On The Dangerous Summer by Ernest Hemingway. First Edition hardcover from Scribner’s Sons, 1985. Some see it as a seminal work of non-fiction on bullfighting in Spain in 1959 – others view it as an autobiographical work of the iconic artist, reluctant to be conquered by age.  Introduction by James A. Michener is especially compelling.

Mary and Vincent Price: Come into the Kitchen Cook Book

the art of American cookery by Vincent and Mary Price

the art of American cookery by Vincent and Mary Price

I might have guessed

Vincent Price

would know his Rice.

The Master-Movie-Villain

found cookin’ just

as thrillin’

as acting in a

Poe show

or as a

Monster on TV.

Quite the guy,

Vincent collected art,

but  left

his mark on

cookbooks,

co-written

with his wives.

Actually, he

led three lives -

actor, art historian,

cook book writer.

Legions of young-uns

know him better as

the Background Voice

on Thriller.

What they don’t know

was how killer

his Onion

Soup recipe is…

Surprice

surprice !

 

Illustrated by Charles M. Wysocki

Illustrated by Charles M. Wysocki

After Mary and Vincent Price’s Come into the Kitchen Cook Book, a Collector’s treasury of America’s great recipes. This 212-page hardcover, published in 1969, is an American history book of recipes – from Early America, to the Young Republic, to Ante Bellum, to Victorian, and ending at Modern. The book is illustrated by the great Charles M. Wysocki. And the recipes seem quite unusual & even tasty, like something you’d find on a Chopped episode; a re-purposed Young Republic appetizer concocted by an edgy new chef. I think I might try out the Onion Soup recipe (Victorian era) – but perhaps more-to-the-point, the Bonne Femme Soup. Sounds great! Bonne Appetite!

The Life and Times of Chaucer

The Life of Chaucer - Heavy Reading

The Life of Chaucer – Heavy Reading

Raise your hand

if you still

remember

any part of

a Chaucer poem

you had to recite

by heart

in school

like a fool,

stumbling badly

o’er

this word & thattte

sadly,

never catching

up to

the rhythm or

the rhyme

of the Tyme

of Middle English.

I confess

I was better

at  wood-shop (if

I’d taken it)

than memorizing

Chaucer’s dipthongs

and sing-songs.

I had a mental block -

I froze & could not

unlock The Canterbury

Tales. 

Who knew a poet,

like Chaucer,

could be so

utterly vexing

& perplexing,

yet endure

so long ?

Students

today

still mumble-jumble

the Great Father’s

Poetry, but,

like me,

caught up in the

ramble of

archaic

words -

birds to  bramble,

tumbled down.

I much prefer

the poems

of

E.E. Cummings.

simple

yet profound

The Father of The English Language

The Father of The English Language

 

The Life and Times of Chaucer by John Gardner. This biography by the noted fiction author is a 328-page hardcover. It appears to be as dense as some of the Chaucer poetry I remember from my school years- The Canterbury Tales, in particular. If you would like to know more about the 1300s and Chaucer in particular, here’s a bookkee for you! The jacket is beautiful, so that’s a plus.  Published by Alfred Knopf in 1977.

 

 

 

J.D. and Me – a gift box set of four paperbacks, 1969

    Fan Club Icons

Fan Club Icons

I’m in a fan club

of three -

Me,

Myself & I.

We three are

fan-tasizing,

(as all fan clubs

do)

that one day

we’ll meet

the ikon

we’ve desired.

For us – for sure -

that would be

and is,

J.D.

(Salinger).

Problem is,

he expired -

which

greatly

decreases

our chances of

encountering him,

from

slim to none.

But, I, for one,

believe

it could happen,

anyway.

In a J.D. story,

all irony is

possibly true -

like a trip

to the Wild Blue

Yonder

to meet your Guru.

Writers, like J.D.,

don’t end

they transcend.

they make the unlikely

seem probable.

Ponder that.

 

The Perfect Vintage Book Set, Bantam, 1969

The Perfect Vintage Book Set, Bantam, 1969

With a nod to my scarce 1969 Deluxe Gift Set of four J.D. Salinger paperback books – novels & stories, published in 1969 by Bantam. They’re all here – Catcher…, Nine Stories, Franny & Zooey, Raise High… & Seymour. Salinger’s books live on – engaging and entrancing us, again and again, with the power of the word and a writer’s fierce imagination.

David O. Selznick’s HOLLYWOOD

Plant your feet in cement

Put  your foot in cement

I’ve been touched

by Hollywood,

but it hasn’t been touched

by me.

I wonder why not.

Maybe

if I try harder

I

will make it

to the big time

one day -

or be convinced

I could have,

if I would have.

Hollywood’s a

dream some ppl

make come true,

while others lose it

out on Wilshire Boulevard

or Sunset,

where the sun

never does go down

even if you

close your eyes.

Hollywood’s

an Oz to some

or a lost cause

to others

(sisters or brothers)

it doesn’t seem to

matter who

if you have

the X Factor -

you’re either

starving actor

or Tom Cruise.

Win or

lose

out in Hollywood.

I know

I sure would have

if I could have

 

The Road to Riches or  Ditches

The Road to Riches
or
Ditches

 

Inspired by the 1980 First Edition, David O. Selznick’s Hollywood - a glitzy coffee table book on the history of Tinsel Town, from 1926-80. Written by  Ronald Haver &  illustrated with great old photos, movie posters, behind-the-studio-scenes, forgotten movie actors & much more. This book is 424 pages long and weights 7 pounds. That’s a lot of star dust.

 

 

 

 

Robert’s Rules of Order

 

I move that we discuss the merits of writing a poem every day

How to Amend and Defer

Okay.  Do you

suppose there

are enough people

here to make a

quorum?

I think I already

knows the

answer.

No.

So,

we can’t

vote.

Make a note

to bring it

up next time

I spin a rhyme

about parliamentary

procedure.

I move we

adjourn.

 

P1020943

 

If you’re on The City Council, The Board of your Assisted Living Community or the Leader of your daughter’s Girl Scout troop, you will need to know how to run an orderly meeting. Or not. With Robert’s Rules of Order in your pocket (like this 1901 version), you’ll know how to Suspend the Rules, Call for the Previous Question, or Defer Action. This is why there is such a thing as a “gavel” (rhymes with gravel and unravel).  You might have to pound the gavel mightily to get the proper attention. Many people today don’t know anything about Robert’s or his rules of order. This small 218-page book does not make for good reading, but it is a necessity if you encounter a gadfly at your next confab.