Bogen Today and Tomorrow (My Life and Welcome To It 6)

August 16th, 2012   9:34 p.m.

Tonight I am thinking about my father. Tomorrow, August 17th, would be his 98th birthday if he were still alive. This is a difficult concept for me to visualize, as he seems permanently 55ish or so. My Father: Max Martin Bogen. Born in New York, the youngest of five children and the only one to be born in the United States.  Left the Old World as soon as he could and, at the end of WWII met and married my mother in Los Angeles after a two month courtship.  As a child I thought my dad was John Wayne, because he looked a bit like him. Plus dad was a P E teacher — so he was very buff all the time — and that seemed to be a prerequisite to being heroic, at least according to MGM or 20th Century Fox. Since I was not at all athletic I felt I must have been a disappointment to him: a nerdy girl with thick glasses who loved the books of L. Frank Baum and Nancy Drew. My dad did not understand girls so spent most of his spare time with my brother and left me to spend the weekends — when he was officiating track meets or the like — with my mom.

To be honest, I never realized that my father even liked me until I was 21 and  I attempted suicide. My father cried as I was being taken to the hospital. Surprised, truly, he hardly said more than 5000 words to me my entire life.  How could I know?

Ah dad, here is a poem I wrote for you. If only I could have said it to you when you were here.


Harvest Come Home


My father sits huddled
in his winter mind
stubble and chill
have aged him
I gather him in
to skirts as full
as I am — no longer a girl
but willow strong
gathering all my pretty
ones: poems and dreams

I call out father
who was oak
father who was tree
I reach for you
with twigs and nestlings
small gray doves to sing
in your branches

I billow my skirts
and send them flying
up up up
through your spare hours
your brittle leaves
you, whose song turns
back on itself and chokes
mute and stammering

Harvest I say
harvest come home
there is plenty for you here


August 1, 2012

What is the nature of competition? Why do we compete? Never very physically sporty myself, but I have enjoyed a good mental work-out with the best of them. At my high school, Marlborough School for Girls, I learned how to use my mind like a muscle — an excellent skill, for the 1970s and the ensuing flabby years. And, I admit it, I like to beat the pants off people in a metaphorical sense. I’m pretty forgettable as long as I’m not performing poetry. I guess you could say that this is my Olympic event. Wind me up and whew! Suddenly I am no longer invisible, old, creaky. Bette Davis once said “growing old ain’t for sissies” and she was absolutely correct about that. I could not imagine it would ever happen until Bang! There you are. And the guy behind the cash register asks if he can help carry your groceries to your car instead of  flirting with you.


So what I am trying to say is: I will never be Ryan Lochte, or Gabrielle Davis or Wilma Rudolph in my lifetime, but boy do I feel good when I can spin a metaphor or write a line that knocks my socks off or (best of all) someone tells me that my work has somehow helped or affected them. That is a gold metal experience.






July 30, 2012

The site is officially up today and (I hate to admit it) I’m very excited about it. Strange, when I look at this and that I think “who is that person?” And then I realize it is me, and then I get weird because I think people will be disappointed if they meet me. I look awfully good on paper, er, not paper, screen?


Wooo Woooo

Cannot wait until Friday: London Olympics opening ceremonies. Friends coming over for viewing and celebrating the human spirit. You may ask why I am so “into” the Olympics. Perhaps it is because in 1960, when I was a little girl, my family went to the Rome Olympics — and that experience has never left me. It was the first time I realized (I know this sounds corny) what it was to be an American. Of course 2012 is a lot different than 1960, and a certain amount of creepy jingoism has replaced sentimental idealism. Yet I still am moved.


Looking forward to Independence Day and being independent of all the emotional crap that’s been keeping me down. Watching the Olympic Trials in wonder at how athletes can use their bodies like robots despite pain, and what would be insurmountable difficulties — so many “up close and personal” heroic stories that I fear will go viral  and become fodder for the p r machines. Awww, I’m a sucker for this stuff. I think of my dad, my family — all gone now mostly — what is a hero now anyway?  Can one survive the 21st Century media?

How can anyone — any person, a human being with some sort of life — ever expect to run for office now that every aspect, every pore on your nose, the type of underwear you wear,  the small infractions in day to day life can be, no, are subject to such scrutiny and disseminated for public consumption, that  in the unlikely coincidence that one could fulfill both of the squeaky clean background check, and the extreme focus and energy needed to run and serve said office, who would want to do that?


Am I crazy or what?





Out of the smog and into L.A.’s fog. Thinking of theater in Los Angeles. I’ve been mucho disappointed over the last 20 years by endless revivals of Our Town, etc.  I cut my teeth on the Living Theater, The ProVisional Theater, Company Theater, work by Megan Terry, Jean Claude Van Ittalie and the like. Things had seemed so boring that I just stopped going.

Recently, however, I was extremely pleased to see Feeding Time by M. Nasorri Pavone.
This new dark comedy  is part of the Fringe Festival and has a limited run — go see it.

Wholly original, great dialogue and acting. Worth every penny.




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