Cowboy Poet Rudy Funk


There once was a wild one,
given for nuthin,
all alone in the saddle
he journeyed for days.

Once when he went where
he wasn’t supposed to,
up on a mountain,
his horse left to graze.

There he just sat there
his back on a boulder
his face was facing the sun
till late day.

The thoughts turned to no one
he never knew only,
only that someone
was with him that day.

The cowboy was faithful
yet wasn’t so graceful,
on the dance floor he failed
to get even one.

of those long legged beauties
that moved like the wind,
his thoughts returned
to that day in the sun.

Back to his horse
and away in his saddle,
he rode away
to the far setting sun.

That’s when he saw her,
by her garden as she watered,
writing a poem
with her roses for none.

But were these roses,
tended too softly,
were those roses,
really grown for someone?

She straightened herself
and with confidence and poise,
said, “cowboy, quiet down,
you make to much noise.”

It’s peaceful here stranger
you’re welcome to stay,
mind yourself now,
go sleep in the hay.

Well later that night,
when the moon shown above,
and the coyotes all howled
and fearful of none.

That’s when he went
where he wasn’t supposed to,
that’s when he came up,
facing her gun.

He said, “I can’t dance
I can’t talk and can’t sing,
but baby I love you,
and that’s a sure thing.”

She put down the gun,
with a few chosen words,
He smiled, then he told her,
the poem you just heard.

 

WHAT DO YOU GUYS KNOW ABOUT THE MOB


Benjamen Siegel

Benjamen Siegel

Dead Don’s, shopkeepers, policeman, government employees, drivers, wives, and sons are slaughtered every week. You won’t know unless you study it, like I do. They are in Calgary, Montreal, Sicily, Rome, the UK, Russia, India, Asia, Macao, …. You have no idea how different organized crime is compared to the founders. Read about Arnold Rothstein, and ask people who knew Benny, what kind of man he was.

OUR NEIGHBORHOOD, OUR LIFE


 

 

As a child I understood in a subliminal fashion that my father was unlike other neighborhood fathers who left each day to go to the office.   My father worked from his home-office in Bel Air, California, and hotels: The Beverly Wilshire Hotel, the Bel Air Hotel, The old Beverly Glen Terrace, and restaurants:  La Dolca Vita, Matteos, Copa de Ora, Scandia, La Scala, Purinos, Chasens, and building lobby’s,  parking lots, telephone booths, and race tracks.   Sometimes he talked about a really  big deal he was working on, and other times he said he was returning favors.  The exchange of favors between my father and his associate friends was written about way before I came along, by Damon Runyon and Mark Hellinger.

Deals and favors is what I understood as my father’s business. This kind of business made him available to me during the day, while other father’s had left their homes to go to an office. From the outside looking in; we were a stylish Westside family, with colorful friends, members of Sinai Temple, and frequently seen in the company of established Doctor’s, Oilmen, and Attorney’s.  My mother went door to door as a Red Cross Volunteer, and my father’s charity went to the United Jewish Federation Fund.

Our next door neighbors were movie actors:  John Forsythe, Burt Lancaster, James Gardner and Peter Morton, the legendary Hard Rock Café founder.   Peter was a few years older than I, and I loved his  mess of tousled curly brown hair, and his gentle birch brown eyes, slanted into the curve of sadness. I waited for him on some mornings to walk me to the bus stop.  I remember he looked after his little sister, and maybe I needed looking after too.  The memory of his kindness is sealed.   Most of the families in the circle had children, and it was only natural that we played together. At some point, all the kids quit meeting up at my house, and even my friends at Bellagio Elementary quit coming  to our house.

In the foyer of our home, there was a wall mirror and wall mounted table. That is where my father kept his grey fedora and trench coat. I remember the times he dashed out of the house with the coat and hat.

“Daddy why are you wearing your coat and hat today; it’s not raining?”

“I have to be ready for anything little sweetheart.  Daddy never knows what the weather will be like out there.”    The answer was a riddle, like almost everything my father taught me. A  simplistic statement on the surface, and a double down meaning hidden inside.  That is how he communicated with me, and it had a purpose like everything else.

When I was five years old, my father took me out driving in his powder blue the Cadillac, and he made regular stops,  to meet a guy about something, had the car serviced and washed, visit a friend, have the poodle bathed, and a stop at Schwab’s to see if there was any action.   He loved to sing in the car, with all the windows rolled down, and his arm wrapped around the back of the leather seat. He was as relaxed driving his car as he was lounging at home on the sofa. He drove with one hand, while he sang,

“Que sera sera.” When I asked him what it meant, he said,

“Whatever will be will be, the future is not ours to see, Oue sera sera–that’s the song of life sweetheart.”  He didn’t pay attention to stop signs, signals or fellow drivers; he perceived them as second in line.   Once a policeman stopped us as we were driving out of Thurston Circle, and my father opened the car door, got out, and, moaned,  “Oh my God, Oh God I’m having a heart attack!”  I watched him, and yelled out “Daddy Daddy–what’s wrong,” but he kept howling.  The policeman didn’t take notice at all.   “I’m having a heart attack, let me go officer, I can’t breathe you SOB. You’re going to kill me!”  By this time I was crying, and making a lot of noise in the front seat.  The policeman then approached my father, and handed him a ticket, while my father continued to whale, “HEART ATTACK.”  After the policeman drove away, my father got in the car, steely eyed, and swearing. “Stop crying. “Stop that right now!  Can’t you see I’m all right? Daddy just pretended to have an attack.  That stinking cop is always hanging around here. He should be ashamed of himself.  Policemen have better things to do, then give tickets. ”

“ You’re not sick?” I mumbled.

“ No, of course not.  Don’t tell your mother about this sweetheart, she doesn’t understand these things.  Remember now what I told you, when I say something you listen, and don’t question it.  I have reasons for the way I do things. ”

Adults try to deceive children with whispers, false identities, and lies, but a child has a superior emotional vision.  From that day on, I was always watching my father closely to see if he was acting, or playing it straight.

The outings gave me a chance to meet dozens of men and women who exaggerated their feelings for me with overt gestures that sometimes I recognized as an act. Picking out genuine friends developed into a sense I couldn’t necessarily ignore.  It got in the way of my comfort around many of my father’s friends later on in life.  Nothing seemed to please him more than to present me to his friends, and wait for their praise, “You’re lucky to have such a beautiful little girl, and so well behaved.”  I remember this line because it is the same line I heard throughout adolescence.  My behavior was conditional on my father’s mood.  If I misbehaved, spoiled my dress, or broke something, it would ruin everything. My father would blame my mother, she would retreat from the living room, and I would be left alone.  This was the second of the lessons, I learned very young, not to make any mistakes.   One error can ruin your whole life, he told me on all the occasions that I erred.

Today, it’s not too surprising that I am ready to sit in the front seat with a man of choice, while he drives around and shows off his driving and leadership skills.  It’s not that I just don’t get excited about driving myself,  it is one of those childhood activities that evolved into a life long course of pleasure. I escaped working in offices in 1993 after ten years of tolerating the cubicle life, and I work out of my home office much like my father, only I am not involved in illegal activities, even though it seems everything is becoming illegal.

When now, I have finished this personal essay I began two years ago, I went looking for images.   A photo of the house I grew up in at 11508 Thurston Circle popped up.   Our home burned in the Bel Air fire in 1961, and so I peeked through the interior of the house that was built on the lot after Dad sold it.  All post modern, nothing like ours, except this photograph I chose, the swimming pool he built, another childhood activity that evolved into a life pleasure.  The house is listed for sale, $2,075,000.  Dad bought our home for $50,000.

 

SWIMMING WITH GANGSTERS


300px-Ella-fitzgerald-lullabies-of-birdland

Ella blew out tunes like a smoke stack and with each soulful sound, her face drew more sweat. By the second song, the sweat was pouring down her face and into that gorge like cleavage that heaved with each breath.  I didn’t understand the emotions that distorted her eyes and mouth. Ella, crowned by a sizzling hot spot light overhead, transmitted every flaw and feeling on her face.   I hadn’t seen a singer suffer before. I looked up at my mother and started crying.

“ What’s wrong sweetheart?”

“ I’m afraid she’s going to die.”

My mother whispered assurances that Ella was not going to die.  I kept crying. She then excused us from our table and I followed her into the Powder Room.  She sat me on a chaise lounge, and wiped my tears.  The expansiveness of the Powder room compared to the ones today, was like being in someone’s bedroom. Soft cushioned chairs, a long dressing table speckled with ashtrays, perfumes, and miniature toiletries. We stayed there until Ella finished her show. Mom didn’t show her disappointment, she rarely showed despairing emotions, or caused me to feel ashamed of my behavior. Looking back fifty years later, I’m reminded of my mother’s selflessness, and how a legend can drop down into your path, and you don’t even know it.

Again looking back fifty years later, my succession of travel diaries, dim by comparison to the Vegas memories.  Swirling amongst the élan of prohibition era abandonment, gangsters were the Rothchilds, the royalty of the scene, and the non-members loved it. That’s why the woman behaved  roaring twenties ZaZu Pitts and Louise Brooks emancipated. Everyone was free of their wrappings, an0287_0019(small) ENTRATTER & SINATRAd responsibilities. They were partying with the men who they’d first met on screen played by Bogart, Robinson, and Cagney. I remember them now as being childlike. The outsiders may have been living the childhood that was stolen by WWII, and the depression. Their veiled heroes were gangsters who’d been breaking rules since being ripped from their mother’s breast.

Then one day the in 1963 the Rat Pack landed in Vegas, wearing black Tuxedos and intercepted the public’s fancy imitations of living vicariously.  Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis and Frank Sinatra invited Vegas to drink, make love, and gamble. And they did. If you find anyone over seventy in Vegas today, ask them about the Rat Pack, Johnny Roselli, or Jack Entratter, and you’ll know I’m not exaggerating. Vegas was the time of their lives. The drugs were minor, an upper or a downer to sleep, but no one came to Vegas to OD or commit suicide.  The deaths were in the desert, between the gangsters’. This was al before Tony Spilotro got wheels on his greed and went speeding into his own death.  TO BE CONTINUEDAT THE COPA ROOM

AT THE COPA ROOM

ROAMING TO THE UNKNOWN


When I look beyond the quarry of my own chains and tough rowing as a writer, to that glorious painting that transforms every day, as if the sky was a Puccini scarf; of fuchsia, tangerine and turquoise, my soul is nourished.

Santa Fe is star power, and can shower your life with photographic moments on the half-hour. Like any city, village, or town you have some culture to conform to, or else you won’t be taken seriously.
In Los Angeles, I learned you have to be able to put on slapstick phoniness to get a conversation going with a stranger. Here in Santa Fe, amongst us Anglos, the advantages come if you are believably bohemian, liberal, quietly subsidized comfortably retired and artistic.

I don’t score well, and my direction is following Lawrence Durrell, Spirit of the Place, and living where you would never expect to live. I wish I could control my impractical, impulsive and annoying spirit of adventure. I think about cities of high rises and Jewish deli’s, at least five movie theaters built in the early 30’s, and neighborhoods of discovery. I just can’t give up the comfort of cocooning with humanity.

I long for the city, just as when I was thirty, all I ever talked about was SANTA FE. I lead a confusing life.

PHONE PICS 164

SWIMMING WITH GANGSTERS-VEGAS 1960s


Lullabies of Birdland

Lullabies of Birdland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Photograph of Dean Martin with celebrities sta...

Photograph of Dean Martin with celebrities stage-side, Las Vegas, March 6, 1957 (Photo credit: UNLV Libraries Digital Collections)

PART THREE

THE CROWD TWITCHED IN ANTICIPATION, except for overly sensitive children, (OSC) without a prescription. My heart beat like a wild Pinto running from the rope as the doors to the Copa Room closed, and the lights dimmed. Streams of Parliament and Marlboro smoke desensitized the spring scent of Shalimar, Aramis cologne, and steaks grilling close by. The horizon of necks seen from the stage must have looked like a display at Tiffany’s.

Photograph of the Rat Pack performing together...

Photograph of the Rat Pack performing together in the Copa Room, Las Vegas, 1960 (Photo credit: UNLV Libraries Digital Collections)

We were in the front row of tables, two steps from the stage, so I had to raise my head vertically to see Ella.

I sat transfixed by this sensory tsunami at a table with a group of Uncles; Uncle Joey, (Joey Adonis, or Joey Fusco, or Joey whomever) Nick the Greek, Chuckie Del Monico (son of Charlie the Blade. I still squint when I read about him) and Uncle Charlie, (The Babe Baron) who enlisted or service in WW11 in Canada because the United State denied his application due an arrest record. Charlie was a stiff suited Four Star General under the hand of *General Curtis LeMay when he wasn’t managing the Riviera. Someone put that in “Vegas” the new television series.

The men and women composed a landscape of histories, though their costume like wardrobes were similar, except for the gangsters, who dressed according to Johnny Roselli standards. The women wore spaghetti strap cocktail dresses and strapless full length gowns, like a spring bouquet of color, transparency, and glitter. They, (I mean most of them that I met) were in a state of unconsciousness; shifting from cocktails, sun, lovemaking, gambling, and entertainment. Mad Women in the desert enjoyed their decorations of diamonds, fox fur wraps, and pointy spiked patent leather heels. Cocktail trays flew by in succession, because their husbands were not watching them. What was all the fuss about?

I could feel their panting exuberance before we even walked in the Copa Room. I felt it when we walked through the lobby, and everyone scampered before they knew where they were headed. It looked like an off stage performance; jittery anticipatory gestures that made any girl even without OSC dizzy. I was inside this swirl of liberation from the age of six to about twelve. We went to Vegas three or four times a year that I can recall. It was before I started my journal so the memories are part substance and part reflection.   TO BE CONTINUED

.

DAYDREAMING


When I watch my wild birds, I daydream of their freedom, and how free I was when I was eighteen.

East Palace Avenue Santa Fe

East Palace Avenue Santa Fe (Photo credit: paigeh)

When I listen to Wes Montgomery  I dream of Brazil,  and riding on a float at Mardi Gras, just once, with a feather hat, and dressed like Rita Hayworth.

When I sit at my desk and look at my mother’s photograph, I dream of those few luncheons in the formal  Garden Room on the top floor of Bullocks Westwood, watching the fashion show with her, proud of my model mother, and imitating how she ate the tuna salad.

When I lay in bed at night, I dream of him, and his strong  shoulder cupping my head, watching an old Cagney movie.

When I shovel snow I dream of Southern California, of old Del Mar and sitting on the bench under the crooked tree, in a triangular postcard of the crashing surf, prancing dogs, and the meter maid marking the curb.  When I walk along Palace Avenue in Santa Fe, New Mexico  I dream of walking  5th Avenue at about 6 pm, when everyone pours on to the Avenues, a fountain of limbs and accessories crisscrossing patterns of human tolerance.

Day dreaming unlike night dreaming that takes us on the back of fairy tales and science fiction  battling some inner masked trauma,  illuminates where we want to be, what we need to do,  and intercepts the embroidery of our life.  The medicine of daydreaming surpasses self-help books, health food, vitamins, yoga, religion, or mind altering experiences. It is the essence of our rising emancipation from complacency.

dramatic dream

dramatic dream (Photo credit: unNickrMe)