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Alex Gildzen


When alex gildzen first e-mailed me, it was to weigh in on d.a. levy. levy had published some of gildzen's poems in the 1960s, & gildzen had published some of levy's poems when he was editor of toucan. gildzen sent me a poem he had written about levy before levy's death, which i published as a deep cleveland poem 'o the week. further e-mailing brought the following work to my desk. "mail & more" scatters the boundaries between nonfiction & poetry, listmaking & peculiar remembering. it is a combination of beautiful absurdity & historical stutter-stepping. there's something for everyone here. alex gildzen's books have been issued by abraxas press ("into the sea," 1969), ghost dance press ("funny ducks," 1973), visccerally press("postcard poems," 1978) & north atlantic books ("the year book," 1973, and "the avalanche of time," 1986). for many years gildzen was a rare books librarian at kent state universirty libraries. he now lives in new mexico. takis@cybermesa.com







24 oct 95:Santa Fe

as afternoon began I sat eating a shrimp & crab cake at Cafe Del Mar & got the idea for "Today at the Library" writing the initial entry in my head. then I walkd to the Coronado post office to mail birthday greetings to R.B.Kitaj. there I purchasd 3 sheets of the Tennesee Williams commemorative stamp. as I walkd back to Brother Abdon Way another idea: preparing 10 envelopes on which to affix the stamp to mail to 10 friends in memory of my favorite playwright. each envelope celebrates a Williams play with a quotation & watercolor.
1 "The Glass Menagerie"
sent to T.R. QUEEN who read Jim O'Connor opposite my Tom Wingfield at my boyhood
home in Elyria in the summer of 1961
2 "A Streetcar Named Desire"
sent to JOHN ERICSON who playd Stanley Kowalski opposite the Blanche DeBois of
Vivian Blaine at Kenley Players
3 "Camino Real"
sent to ROBERT NOTT who was to review a recent local production as his final piece for
The New Mexican until a family emergency took him out of town allowing me to review it
4 "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"
sent to DIMITRI KARAGEORGIOU who sat next to me (& not far from Carol Channing) at
the 1990 revival featuring Kathleen Turner as Maggie
5 "Orpheus Descending"
sent to CYNTHIA MAYER PRAMUK who during our undergraduate years at Kent State
University often spoke the lines of Carol Cutrere from memory
6 "Suddenly Last Summer"
sent to the composer of the music for the original production NED ROREM who reveals
in his diary that Williams thought of changing the title to "Music in the 12 Tone Scale"
7 "Sweet Bird of Youth"
sent to ROBERT LEWIS whose original Williams playscripts I brought to Kent State
University Libraries where so many of Hart Crane's papers reside
8 "The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore"
sent to JEAN-CLAUDE VAN ITALLIE who once agreed with me that Williams is
America's greatest playwright ever
9 "Night of the Iguana"
sent to IRA JOEL HABER who sat next to me at the 1976 revival featuring
Richard Chamberlain as Shannon (with Martin Rabbett listd as an understudy)
10 "Something Cloudy, Something Clear"
sent to DAVID W. MEREDITH who has heard the lines of Williams from the stage of
Provincetown Playhouse & who has seen his ghost sit by the fire at the A-House bar


petals from the daisy I placd between my toes for the photo of my feet
made for Christain Laporte
sent to John Held Jr. 26 feb 99
hair from 3 parts of my body
sent to Thomas Meyer 4 mar 99
3 a's from today's New Mexican
sent to Bill Berger 6 mar 99
Richard Martin's signature clippd from an envelope
sent to Nancy Holt 9 mar 99
an empty sugar packet from The Brown Palace
sent to Ken B. Miller 15 mar 00
earth from Dad's garden
sent to Ira Joel Haber 24 mar 99
a snippet of red underwear
sent to Rupert Everett 5 apr 99
tree pollen from St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery
sent to James Broughton 24 apr 99
wasp wing
sent to Gregg Hartnett 10 may 99
fortune from a Chinese cookie
sent to Mary Ann Begland 24 may 99
lint from blue sheets
sent to R.B. Sprague 26 jun 99
Comedie-Francais sticker brought back by Nancy Cope
sent to Joseph Chaikin 23 aug 99


one rainy sunday afternoon in Santa Fe I found a flower pressd in a book. I knew I'd savd that blossom for a reason & that that pressd flower wasn't alone. I began to hunt for more of the hidden garden. knowing that when I'm gone such keepsakes will be tossd I decid'd to plant them together so that I cd share the happiness they brought me with a few of the people abt whom I care. I crumbld the preservd memories into an antique coffee can (Guthrie's Elite Blend from Elyria) given me by my parents. being both archivist & listmaker I wrote down their origins.

here then dear friend is a part of the life I so much enjoy living a potpourri from the past to brighten yr future.

one white rose petal from the bridal bouquet of Helen Stevenson Meyner (1957)
a lily-of-the-valley worn by Jean-Claude van Itallie to the premiere of his adaptation of "Medea" (1979)
blossom of the nite-blooming cereus Dimitri Karageorgiou came to see on his first visit (1986)
a baby lemon & its twig from the tree my parents gave me (1988)
a chocolate lily gatherd at Denali National Park (1989)
red geranium petals pickd at the grave of Yannis Ritsos in Monemvasia (1992)
an anonymous grass from the ground of La Posada de Santa Fe (1993)
blue hosta blossoms from the backyard of 1129 Morris rd in Kent (1994)
eucalyptus from Mother to keep the car smelling fresh on the drive to New Mexico (1994)
a succulent transplantd from Bodega Bay (1994)
to remind me of the two best seasons of my boyhood: magnolia blossoms from the tree in my parents' front yard & a crimson maple leaf pickd during a walk in Elyria (1995)
a red rose from Dimitri (1996)
a sprig from Nancy & Paul Metcalf's mint bed (1997)
a spray of duranta repens pluckd poolside at Chateau Marmont on the 20th anniversary of my first stay (1997)
day lilies sent by Karen & John Ericson to Dimitri before he left for the monastery (1998)
yellow mums pickd in Provincetown (1998)

[Note: this was printd out & sent along with sachets containing a mixture of the above to 18 friends in feb 1999].



Cinerama ticket stub Cleveland: 18 may 57
half to Ira Joel Haber New York NY
half to Stathis Orphanos Hollywood CA
Diary of Anne Frank theater ticket Elyria: apr 61
half to Roberta Berke London England
half to Martha Braun Shelburne Falls MA
Royal Court Theatre ticket stub London: 5 oct 73
half to Alice Ripley New York NY
half to Sheila Smith New York NY
TEE train ticket Rome/Florence: 23 dec 83
half to Linda Lyke Eagle Rock CA
half to Roberto Marquez Weehawken NJ
Hungarian State Symphony Orchestra ticket Budapest: 20 may 85
half to John Grimes Newtonville MA
half to David W. Meredith Kent OH
World Figure Skating Championships ticket Cincinnati: 9 mar 87
half to Ruud Janssen Tilburg Netherlands
half to Mimmo Lavacca Monopoli Italy
Pan Am boarding pass Madrid/New York: 6 mar 89
half to Maggie Anderson Kent OH
half to Gwendolyn Brooks Chicago IL
Son of Heaven exhibition ticket Columbus: 19 aug 89\
half to Dave Hickey Reno NV
half to Lucy Lippard Galisteo NM
Indians/Red Sox ticket Cleveland: 31 june 90
half to Stanley Crawford Dixon NM
half to Mark Harris Tempe AZ
Epidaurus entrance ticket Greece: june 92
half to Jerome Lawrence Malibu CA
half to Jean-Claude van Itallie Rowe MA
Inauguration Day metro pass Washington DC: 20 jan 93
half to Sal Kovach Lorain OH
half to G.J. Smullen Waupun WI
Tina Turner concert ticket Northampton Township: 1 july 93
half to Nancy Harman Blackford Metcalf Chester MA
half to Cynthia Mayer Pramuk San Carlos CA
Luxor Hotel's Nile boat trip ticket Las Vegas: 14 feb 95
half to Algesa & Joseph O'Sickey Twin Lakes OH
half to Thomas Meyer & Jonathan Williams Highlands NC
Santa Fe Trails monthly bus pass june 97
half to Guy Ambrosino Santa Fe NM
half to Jim Provenzano San Francisco CA
Ten Thousand Waves public tub pass Santa Fe: apr-may 00
half to Bob Barnes Fort Worth TX
half to Richard Harrison Palm Springs CA


1 The Century Dimes to Stephen Sondheim 13 may 00
2 Grandpa Kovach's spectacles to Robert Nott 16 may 00
3 Blue Hole medallion to Rena Rosequist 18 may 00
4 Grandpa Gildzen's radio to Nancy Cope 23 may 00
5 Ninth Circle token to David Banky 27 may 00
6 sandal bought in Provincetown to Steve Sless 30 may 00
7 Howdy Doody face on jelly jar from Paul Metcalf to Pooka Longley Glidden 2 jun 00
8 3 keys from my Smith-Corona to Ricardo Legorreta 5 jun 00
9 ceramic tile brought from Denmark by Maggie Anderson to Harmony Hammond 9 jun 00
10 zipper on pants formerly ownd by R.B. Sprague to Jim Szakacs 15 jun 00
11 toucan letter opener from Rio de Janiero to Sean Patrick Williams 19 jun 00
12 lid from antique jar I use for sun tea to Arte Magazine 21 jun 00
13 chiga board from Aunt Mary Yando to Charmaine Szanyi Hrusch
26 jun 00
14 bottle opener from Gus' Party Center in East Liverpool OH to Paul Ludick 3 jul 00
15 Dimitri's Alaskan hematite bolo to Marcia Stamell 11 jul 00
16 fireplace screen to Lilian & Brinsley Tyrrell 24 july 00
17 Dad's hand saw to Thomas Ashcraft 4 aug 00
18 potato peeler from Coburn Britton to Mike Dubson 14 aug 00
19 Richard Dix & Lois Wilson silver spoons to Robert Altman 19 aug 00


16 Envelopes

maild 26 oct 00 from Santa Fe's Coronado post office

1) Marianne De Pury
2) Will Holub
3) Dean H. Keller
4) R.B. Kitaj
5) Mary & Jake Leed
6) Michael McCafferty
7) Todd Moore
8) Robert Peters
9) T.R. Queen
10) P. Craig Russell
11) Ron Schreiber
12) Tom Shales
13) Lara Tambacopoulou
14) Tony Trigilio
15) Thrity Umrigar
16) Story Waters


business card:

1) Cinemabilia
2) Erwin Peter J Hair Styling Shop
3) James M. Farquharson Silver Screen Productions
4) Lee Graham
5) James W. Grauerholz William Burroughs Communications
6) Eddie Leal
7) Mabou Mines
8) Jack Matthews Hock-Hocking Rare Books
9) Once Upon a Tart
10) Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park & Mortuary
11) Gary Plum The Framing Company
12) Jack Ramey The Royalton
13) Sacks Cafe
14) Father Guido Sarducci
15) Chris Steinbrunner RKO General Television
16) Maxine Thomas

name of a movie star picturd on page 45 of Daniel Blum's "Screen World":
1) 1949 John Garfield
2) 1951 Luther Adler
3) 1952 Philip Carey
4) 1953 Jose Ferrer
5) 1954 Charles Laughton
6) 1955 Judy Holliday
7) 1956 Richard Todd
8) 1957 Bing Crosby
9) 1958 Carolyn Jones
10) 1959 Leslie Caron
11) 1960 Richard Harrison
12) 1961 James Shigeta
13) 1962 Elvis Presley
14) 1963 Bob Hope
15) 1964 Ann-Margret
16) 1965 Vincent Price


1) The Rusty Nail Twin Lakes
2) Ciro & Sal's Provincetown
3) Ted Hook's Backstage NYC
4) Chateau Marmont Hollywood
5) John's Grill San Francisco
6) Flicks San Diego
7) Ovens of Brittany Madison
8) Hilton Budapest
9) Hotel Othon Rio de Janiero
10) La Cuineta Barcelona
11) Beryl's Sweet Shop Kodiak
12) Tale of India London
13) Santorini Restaurant Chicago
14) Rio Suite Hotel Las Vegas
15) Hotel Grande Bretaigne Athens
16) The Old Cunucu House Aruba

personal canceld check:

1) to Jean-Claude van Itallie 12 jul 68
2) to P. David Faust 15 jul 69
3) to Howard P. Vincent 20 oct 69
4) to Katie Condron 12 jan 70
5) to Gypsy Frog Records 31 jan 73 endorsd by Chris Robison
6) to Jeanne Youngson 7 aug 73
7) to Eden House 7 sept 73
8) to James Robert Parish 30 nov 76
9) to Kent Acting & Touring Company 30 nov 77 endorsd by David Prittie
10) to Tom Beckett 17 mar 78
11) to National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences 12 feb 80
12) to Thomas J. McMenamin 17 mar 83
13) to Asphodel Book Shop 14 jun 83 endorsd by James R. Lowell
14) to North Atlantic Books 17 dec 85
15) to Dimitris Karageorgiou 17 nov 86
16) to Nathan Sacco 6 jul 89

obituary maild to me from Elyria by my mother:

1) Ethelreda Leopold
2) William Gildzen
3) Margaret Mahaffey
4) Max Showalter
5) Jose Angel Valente
6) Walter Matthau
7) Alec Guinness
8) James E. Magner Jr.
9) Sophie Hause
10) Lucille Fletcher
11) Rose Hobart
12) Joan Marsh
13) Beah Richards
14) Joseph H. Lewis
15) Richard Farnsworth
16) Gwen Verdon



a large envelope arr'd in my mailbox from R. B. Sprague. in it were
pieces of an oil painting & this letter:


The only casualty of the departure from the Joyce Robins Gallery June 12 was a painting entitled "Blue & White Ball w/ Red Star" 24" x 22" Oil/Linen 1995 Retail $3600.00. After sorting and storing most of the 20 pieces returned, this particular painting was placed to rest against a roll of bubble wrap for later storage. This morning (Wednesday, June 13, 2001) I went for some bubble wrap to prepare for shipment a wedding gift ("Green Chair w/ Pillow" 6" x 4" Oil/Panel 2000) to Michael Hoover in Denver. In unrolling the bubble wrap, "Blue & White Ball w/ Red Star" fell face down onto an old palette caked with the ususal spires of dried oil paint. A spire of raw Umber pierced the skin of "Blue & White Ball w/ Red Star." I never considered this piece a successful painting and decided to re-use the stretchers and black frame. It occurred to me that your penchant for miniutiae might be piqued with a snippet of this now defunct piece. As a memento mori I have snipped out the title image and the offending hole. It is my hope that this will give you some pleasure.


in july I took the "title image" to Kirk Mullinax's frame shop.

in aug I began cutting the fragments (with the artist's permission) & putting them together with objects around the house.

here is this series:

1) antique cardboard frame which Ira Joel Haber sent me with other
items after being evictd from his loft after 31 years

2) Fisher Jewel Tray which Mother kept for years on top of a chest of drawers at the foot of her bed

3) cap from a bottle of Coca-Cola purchasd in Budapest in 1985
(featuring the "offending hole")

4) matchbox from El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon (1991)

5) box which originally containd a Todos Santos gold-coverd chocolate bee from Regina Yando

6) patron identification bracelet from Aid & Comfort (1999) used as a cock ring at Southern Decadence (2000)


& here's what happend to them:

1)given to Bill Berger in Culver City as a house gift nov 2001

2) maild to Cynthia Mayer Pramuk in San Carlos xmas 2001

3) presentd to T. R. Queen in Las Vegas as a token of 50 years of friendship jan 2002

4) maild to Bob Barnes in Fort Worth for his 39th birthday jan 2002

5) given to David Meredith in Kent as a house gift may 2002

6) presentd to Jim Provenzano on the opening nite of his play "PINS" in San Francisco aug 2002



a manilla envelope I addressd by hand on which is pastd a copy of the portrait of my mother that my father took to Europe during WW2.

inside is an envelope addressd to me by my mother & a copy of this text.

this was maild from the Elyria post office on 14 sept 01 -- Mother's 80th birthday.

note: after months of preparing this piece I wasn't able to send it from Elyria. the terrorist attacks on the United States closd the nation's airports for the first time in history preventing me from flying to Ohio for mother's birthday.

so that the piece wdn't be lost I addressd one & took it with me to the memorial service in New Mexico's capitol building. from there I walkd to the main post office in downtown Santa Fe & maild it to Maggie Anderson with a note of explanation.

14 sept 01:SF


in the earth between the rocks beside the water of my pond
I stuck 14 beeswax candles which had been in a kitchen cabinet
since Dimitri & I purchasd them from the monks who made them
on our only visit to a Greek Orthodox skete in northern New Mexico.

on opposing sides of each candle I had written the name
of a dead one I wishd to remember.

here are the names:

Susan Kirby / T.R. Queen
James Dean / Marilyn Monroe
John F. Kennedy / Matthew Shepard
Allison & Bill / Jeff & Sandy
Frank O'Hara / James Broughton
Janis Joplin / Judy Garland
Marianne Moore / Joseph Cornell
Peter Burnell / Gerald Mast
Howard P. Vincent / Paul Metcalf
Robert Drivas / Richard Martin
Andy Warhol / Ray Johnson
Julia Waida / Bernique Longley
Mary Yando / Sophie Hause
Mark Bingham / Mychal Judge

then I lit the candles & as they flickerd in the wind I rememberd . . .

2 nov 02:SF

45s FROM THE 50s

Sarah Vaughn "Make Yourself Comfortable" Mercury
sent to Daniel W. K. Lee New York NY

The Chordettes "Mr. Sandman" Cadence
sent to Fred B. Binckes Laurel MT

The Tracey Twins "Tonight You Belong to Me" Reserve
sent to Tom Shales McLean VA

Billie Holiday "Don't Worry 'Bout Me" M-G-M
sent to Judy Henske Pasadena CA

Peggy Lee "Crazy in the Heart" Decca
sent to Roberto Marquez Weehawken NJ

Al Hibbler "Unchained Melody" Decca
sent to Kent Taylor San Francisco CA

Bing Crosby & Grace Kelly "True Love" Capitol
sent to Garold Gardner Las Vegas NV

Jo Stafford "It's Almost Tomorrow" Columbia
sent to Martha Braun Shelburne Falls MA

Steve Allen "Lola's Theme" Coral
sent to T. Allan Taylor Los Angeles CA

Elvis Presley "Hound Dog" RCA Victor
sent to Howard Erlichman South Euclid OH

The Andrews Sisters "The Three Bells" Decca
sent to Gary Herb Salisbury MD

Debbie Reynolds "Tammy" Coral
sent to Roy Blakey Minneapolis MN

31 dec 02:SF

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