jul 29

Up 7. Finished the Williams and Young books. Went to Rancho Cucamonga on an errand around 9:30, listened to Motown disc 3 (horns on an Isley Bros. song are a good reference point for “Faith and Credit”), stopped at Ontario Public Library to revise for an hr., bought a few $1 classical CDs, 2 SF paperbacks, and a Bennett Cerf collection for Bree. Home at 1, turned around to take my dad to an uneventful eye appointment. Home at 3, called Bree, watched a two-part L&O, played a little piano. Finished Boyer. Not sure what to say, it’s ambitious in a couple of senses, and virtually criticism-proof. Read the first few pages of Jay Gorney’s biography, by his widow. Made a tax appt. for my dad for next week - I probably have to drop off some documents Thursday. Dinner, out to Starbuck’s at 8, revised for another couple of hrs. Home before 11, had decided yesterday to give up on the daily poetry notebook but changed my mind and wrote 2 entries. Caught up on episodes of Unaffected.

jul 28

Had to get up at 6, so that one caregiver could leave and to let another in at 7. (I don’t know who’s reading this or cares, but if you wonder: if you are in the house, why does your father have a 24 hr. caregiver - even this hour gap between shifts was rare. Well, first, ask him. Second, I’m here for a few weeks at a time, the routine is very…routine, and the ladies of the agency would obviously rather work steadily than piecemeal. It would be too disruptive to cut their hours, and possibly lose the most reliable entirely, when I’m around. Last, I’m not going to help him bathe [though I did a good deal of physically intimate work when he was very ill on 2017.]) Skimmed most of a book on “writing in flow,” w/ a lot of excerpts from author interviews, mainly poets and novelists. I don’t think the terms are that useful to me, and it’s notably that no one in the relevant chapters on blocks, resistance, fear + anxiety and the like say much about guilt over the selfishness of a writing life, and none gives that a political (class privilege) spin. Everyone thinks they deserve or have earned all the time they need.


Took a ride to Claremont Farmer’s Market around 10. Eggs, tomatoes, almonds, berries, and 2 books at the stall that the prison library charity sets up - a little pb of Auden’s The Enchanted Flood, and Showalter’s anthology of feminist criticism. Came home, read 10 p. on Williams and 75 of Boyer. Took my dad to lunch at 12:30. Fine, back about 2. Turned around and went to the office - though by way of downtown Upland, where I bought a Jackie Wilson LP w/ versions of “Light My Fire” and “This Bitter Earth” at a generally not-great record shop b/c (not Penny Lane, saving that for later in the trip), and a new coffee place called Lucky’s that I think is trying to be classier than Rad, and finally the actual Prison Library bookstore, where I picked up Gerald Posner’s Motown book and some poetry (Garrett Caples, Alfred Starr Hamilton, the rest are in the car). Worked 3-6 trying, w/o much luck, to cut down and reorganize TPA material. Listened to disc 2 of the 1967 Motown set on today’s drives — best lesser-known song on this one is Barbara McNair’s Smokey-penned “Here I Am Baby.” Back at 7, dinner. Didn’t go out. Read 20 p. on Williams, and a good bit of Stephanie Young’s Pet Sounds. Opening poems is powerful, and I’m entertained by the digs at Greil Marcus re Van Morrison’s relationship to black culture, some of the other personal/political material isn’t my cuppa. The overall worldview is akin to Boyer’s (as I already knew). Probably fell asleep around 11.

jul 27

Not a great day. Stayed up doing nothing in particular online too late last night, woke up at a normal hour, but tired. Stared off ok w/ 20 p. of the Williams book and 75 of Boyer. Went out for a couple errands around 11, came back, printed out some sheet music pdfs and the TPA background sections of the current chapter for revision. Foundered after lunch - had planned to go out again, but there was a police incident on our block. Multiple squad cars apparently trying to get an old guy in the cul-de-sac across from our house to come out. He finally did, and then the cops brought out several shotguns from his house. Don’t know the whole story - dad’s caregiver Loretta watched more of it unfold than me, and thought maybe he’d assaulted/threatened a pool boy from a cleaning service that had been parked outside earlier (saw the kid talking to the cops). The were gone by 2 or so, but by then my will had dissipated. Watched an old Dragnet, napped for 2 hrs, watched a Perry Mason. Played some piano before dinner - Carla Bley’s “Ida Lupino” and “Lawns,” and some Misha Mengelberg heads. Dinner, no Jeopardy on weekends. Went out at 8. Read another 10 p. on Williams (end of a long discussion of In Dahomey and start of a chapter on Claude McKay.) Read and commented on a chunk of John Holbo’s book. Managed to start the new draft of the TPA-history sections, retyping and cutting/editing material from previous draft. Went to The Press in Claremont a little before 11 — I’d missed Yeux Verts, but saw Falcon Eddy, and a much younger band of skinny boys called Still. The singer works at Rhino. The playing was fine, in a kind of goth-meets-R.E.M. (or maybe Miracle Legion - a lot of chorus) mode, lyrics incomprehensible, drummer was the saving grace. Saw John Davis, in town visiting his mom in Redlands, the Callacis, and the expected gang. One beer, and bought Amy a vodka-soda. Home about 1, found a multi-hr Brahms playlist on YouTube and went to bed.

jul 26

Up closer to 7 - internal clock resetting. Read 15 p. on Williams to get a jump. After breakfast, started Boyer - it reads quickly. Bedroom had gotten chaotic, tidied 1/2 hr., with Josh Whedon’s mumblecore adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing on in the background. Did a bit more of Dad’s office work - email and looking things up. Started a potentially distracting twitter exchange about music w/ 2 poets, wisely didn’t pursue it beyond 1 response. Left 12:30, had been shooting for 12. Put on the first disc of the 1967 volume of the complete Motown singles - man doesn’t live by Schubert alone. Went to Rev Up coffee 1-5 instead of the office, finished/polished a draft of the intro section, about 1500 words, sent to Holbo. Got a snack at Wolfe’s, headed home. The Miracles’ “The Love I Saw in You Was Just a Mirage Came On.” Great song. Read rest of 50 p. quota of Wms. book, and to p. 75 of Boyer. Remembered that I’d said I’d make zucchini for dinner, did so. Jeopardy! Went out at 8:20 to buy a fan for my room at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, stopped in a nearby Starbuck’s for a bit (in the evening, a quiet location I don’t frequent - worth remembering), finished reading Katz. There are individual poems I like quite a bit, inc. an odd 2-column piece called “Hadrian” quite different from the rest of the book - the historical notes give the observational/lyric-ish material something to react against. That’s worth remembering. Home before 10.

I had a much better batting average of doing what I told myself what I’d do today than most. 

jul 25

Up, kind of, at 5:30. Read a bit more Katz, though the prose title sequence “Swimming Home.” After breakfast, spent 8-9 on office work for my dad, read a few pages of that Bert Williams book, which I’d like to finish off soon. Discussed some outstanding issues/next steps w/ my dad, made a related phone call. Some progress. Watched the rest of Laura. Went out for errands before noon. Stopped at Upland Library book sale (I think I’ve been to all of them except Ontario this week), main find was a copy of John Strom Robert’s The Latin Tinge, another book I should have read long ago. Coffee at Rad in downtown Upland. Office from 2-5, got a couple more grafs in. Borrowed an advance copy of Anne Boyer’s The Undying. Home, dinner, Jeopardy! Nothing dramatic after that - hot and tired. Made a list of tomorrow’s to-dos. Lights out 11.