Al Young title

Archive for August, 2014

MARY MACKEY & AL YOUNG: Poetry at Ohmega Salvage, Saturday, August 23, 2014, 1 to 3pm

Sunday, August 17th, 2014


Katherine Davis Alice Pennes Mary Mackey AY @ Ohmega 23Aug2014magnifying_glass_icon

Ohmega owner Katherine Davis, poet-novelist Mary Mackey, Al Young, and Ohmega events coordinator Alice Pennes

Mary Mackey and Al Young
(Courtesy photos)

Ohmega Salvage logoMusic, Fun, and Poetry! Saturday, August 23, 2014, Berkeley, CA:  Mary Mackey and former California Poet Laureate Al Young will read their poetry at the burgeoning cultural arts center Ohmega Salvage, one of California’s oldest antique and salvage stores. Famed Berkeley slide guitarist Freddie Roulette will perform along with other musical guests. TIME: 1:00 PM; PLACE: Ohmega Salvage, 2407 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA. 94702 | MAP | Free and open to the public. 510.843.7368

Travelers with No Ticket Home cvr


ROBIN WILLIAMS (July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014) in memoriam

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014


Robin Williams As American Flag

Robin Williams as the American Flag (1982)

‘Busy Working, Robin Williams Fought Demons’
— ||| August 12, 2014

Robin Wms by Scott Wintrow Getty Images

© Scott Wintrow/Getty Images

“In the slow flow of those days, the early 1970s, I and my wife Arl not so much worked as played at staying out beyond popular opinion. When she was pregnant with Michael, she and I liked to ease into North Beach and go catch The Committee, which by then had grown so essential to its communities that they could afford their own storefront venue. Sometimes Arl would laugh so hard — memorably during The Committee’s improvisations based on audience  pormpts — that the baby inside her would kick back. After our son was born, we still got around. The San Francisco shopping plaza known as Ghirardelli Square became such a marketing nerve-center that street artists took to hawking and performing there. That’s where we first caught Robin Williams, whose name columnist Herb Caen ha droppd, long before the Mork and Mindy took wing. In the sweetness of an era in which just about anything comedic went, a time when even top mimes headlined, Williams’ bittersweet wildness took the cake. His presence was multidimensional; we saw, heard and felt him. We knew he was something else. What we couldn’t have guessed is how deeply the world hungers always for that precious Something Else. We’ve lost a consummate character actor and brilliant performance artist.” — Al Young

Mork & Mindy’ at

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“I interviewed him on the set of Mork and Mindy, for a piece I was writing about Garry Marshall for New York Magazine (the editor got fired and it never got published). We met him again, David Dozer and I, at the wedding of a comedienne friend. I remember being crammed onto a balcony next to him and him muttering, ‘How long do you think this is going to last?’ And we met him again when he and Billy Crystal and Whoopi were rehearsing the first Comic Relief. He always seemed a sweetie.” Janet Coleman

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Dave Zirin

Robin Williams and a Moment of Magic

the nation logo

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Peter Coyote


Robin and I were friends. Not intimate, because he was very shy when he was not performing. Still, I spent many birthdays and holidays at his home with Marsha and the children, and he showed up at my 70th birthday to say “Hello” and wound up mesmerizing my relatives with a fifteen minute set that pulverized the audience. When I heard that he had died, I put my own sorrow aside for a later time. I’m a Zen Buddhist priest and my vows instruct me to try to help others. So this little letter is meant in that spirit.

Coyote & Robin
© 2014 Peter Coyote

Normally when you are gifted with a huge talent of some kind, it’s like having a magnificent bicep. People will say, “Wow, that’s fantastic” and they tell you, truthfully, that it can change your life, take you to unimaginable realms. It can and often does. The Zen perspective is a little different. We might say, “Well, that’s a great bicep, you don’t have to do anything to it. Let’s work at bringing the rest of your body up to that level.”

Robin’s gift could be likened to fastest thoroughbred race-horse on earth. It had unbeatable endurance, nimbleness, and a huge heart. However, it had never been fully trained …

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Jack Foley


(half way through the year)

Which half of the horse are you?

            The jockey

Front or back?

            Whose name was Little Johnny Jones

Do you stick to the past like glue

            Was accused of throwing the race

Or are you the leader of the pack?

            Of course this was untrue

Sometimes I ask, What’s new?

            He was a Yankee

As I step out of the sack

            And his blood was blue

Are you red? Are you blue?

            Father fought in the “Spanish War”

Are you whole or halfway through?

            Mother was a Yankee too

Are you stern or tempt-y?

            And his name was really

Half full? Half empty?


The year is halfway up the flue

            And he danced


            And he danced

Which half which half which half

            And he danced—

Which half of the horse are you?





the tigers of the sun are perched on their tails

dear one,

the tigers of the sun are perched on their tails

Time has passed,

the night clear,

a window opens on my head.




An automobile crash in which no one is hurt except yourself

A gun to the temple (remember to squeeze the trigger!)

The “Neptune Society.” Why these thoughts?

Relief—the movement of life

carries so much, and you must carry it with you.

The daily tasks—life’s messengers—now burdensome.

But sleep, minus the consciousness of sleep.

(Voices in your head)


And without murdering everyone around you first.





For whom?

For oneself?




for Robin Williams

© 2014 Jack Foley

 “I should mention that the first two-thirds of the poem were written for Silver Birch Press’s call for half-year poems. Silver Birch Press is publishing the poem in that form. The last section and the dedication to Robin Williams came later. That won’t appear in the Silver Birch Press collection. The ‘George,’ incidentally, is George M. Cohan; the play, Little Johnny Jones, his first hit.”
— Jack Foley