When does a hallway become a vestibule? You step into one (or the other) when you come in the front door of my house. On the wall to your right hangs a print of a calm English waterside scene. A lake? Could it be coastal France? Impressionist. Nicely framed. Not something I bought but rather inherited form a friend who died several years ago. He may have told more about it at one time but that’s forgotten. My friend isn’t. Best part of it, for me, is that you can’t read into it anything about me.

On the right side of the door is this stained glass window (original with the house) with this owl standing on the sill. The owl is my partners & he owned it before we met so it goes back at least 45 years. Metal (of some sort) painted black. On the base it says Austin Prod 1976. Prod is not a weird last name but short for (Austin) Productions Inc. The owl represents wisdom & thus is a good thing to see when I leave the house after I check to make sure my hat is on straight.

A little deeper in the hall one is confronted with one of my original paintings! Painted way back in 1981 when I was newly sober & reawakening creatively. ‘Clowns At War’ is written on the back so I guess that was my working title. The guns are cut out from a magazine. It tells several stories – clowns fighting over a hat, shocked dress shop sales person. I love the details in the windows over the dress shop. 


As one goes up the stairs hangs this very Cocteau/Toulouse Lautrec sketch of my friend, the late Jackie Burroughs. It was done by one of the stage hands when she was in a production of Colette’s Chéri. She played the maid. It was fun play. The secret to her performance was getting the right shoes. She insisted there be at least one moment when those shoes were seen by the audience.

Here’s a piece I wrote after Jackie’s funeral

. . . walk through . . .

her casket unadorned pine


unvarnished for burning

heavy even with three on each side

the gentle struggle

to get it up church steps winded me

all glad to let go

let it glide on the gurney

through the narrow granite arch


the vaulted cathedral

massive stained glass window

images promised resurrection


we followed the minister

a slow steady pace

he held aloft a silver cross

each a single hand on the casket


oppressive organ music

muffling the simple choir

I longed for unadorned chant

then wanted the droning reverential

minister’s voice smothered

too much scripted polished scripture talk

and none of the real in the casket




then her voice

  previously recorded

  “… I walk through … ”

  all breaths held

  to take in

  her reading “ … I fear no … ”

  sobs for this real presence

  I looked to the casket

  expect it to shake   giggle


next the rites

  holy water sprinkled

  dense incense wafted

  I choked   gasped

  air thick

  smothered through the rest of the ritual

  we walk the casket out

  again the gentle clumsy struggle

  out the narrow granite arch

  the dead weight down the steps

  to the hearse

  where we all took a deep breath

  as it drove off into the sun



March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies and Bad Times Theatre


Richard III – Stratford Festival


June 25-26-27 – Capturing Fire 2020 – Wooly Mammoth Theatre – Washington D.C.



All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee

at Ted’s Bulletin in Washington DC

at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

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