Saturday, January 15, 2011

Richard on Facebook

Monse Richard Morris and Michael AndreOx

  • Erin Gregston likes this.
    • Pamela Hesser wow!
      Thursday at 9:10pm ·
    • Jeanette Cave awwww, thank you, suzinn and thank you, Michael, for being there for him...this is the dear, dear man who talked to us nightly, perhaps even when he wasn't feeling too good
      Thursday at 10:52pm ·
    • Pamela Hesser I have one of his books. I cherish it.
      Thursday at 11:31pm ·
    • Mary Butkovich Byberg i remember kind
      Thursday at 11:51pm · · 1 personLoading...
    • Michael Andre Richard was unusually helpful and always reasonable and answered almost every letter within a day.
      Yesterday at 3:00am ·
    • Jeanette Cave
      at one point, he was voted the sexiest man in books and lit...we took the 'vote' at varying times throughout a few days...I can't even remember who was involved in or initiated this, (I didn't do anything but cast my vote)...he was quite pl...eased when we told him that most of the women in books and lit said that intelligence was far, far sexier than any of the other criteria...I remember his reaction, a little shy, a little embarrassed but extremely flattered and pleased.

      When people were debating and correcting others about physics and things that Richard specialized in, I would IM him and say, "Is this driving you crazy?" He answered, "No, actually I find it amusing that neither of these guys knows what on earth they are talking about but they both think themselves absolutely right!" (or something along that line)

      I was always amazed by his patient advise re: writing and his encouragement. He was in several of our clubs where we would try our hands at group writing efforts or post our articles or poems and he was always encouraging and never overly critical. I'll bet he was a wonderful professor!

      One of my strongest personal memories involved a night when he and 'long-legged fly' were in the room and I said something about being too undereducated to join the discussion and they both came back at me not to ever say that about myself again. Richard told me that he knew people with Masters Degrees who weren't even half so meant a LOT to me that he said that...I will remember it always.

      Regarding books we'd read, he and I both contended that some of the books we read we had read before some of the people in the room were even born so asking us to discuss it was like asking us to pull some vague memory out of our hats.

      Okay, these are fond memories...but they still make me sad...wish he were here.

      (okay, sorry about the long post...*sighs*...yet AGAIN!)
      See More
      15 hours ago · · 3 peopleJeanette Cave and 2 others like this.
    • Jeanette Cave hahaha, I clicked on my own to 'like' it...I'm so dorky...I meant to 'expand it'...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

40 Minutes and 33 Seconds

As Allen Ginsberg was known as the Beat poet, John Cage was the Silent composer. His most famous work is 4’ 33” of Silence.

I published a lot of Cage’s writing. On the morning of 11 September 2001, I had it all in the Kinko’s on Reade Street, and was determined to make it into a book. But the building shook. I said to myself, “Gas explosion. Someone’s been careless.” I looked out the window. There were flames a couple blocks south. Damn careless! I resumed my work with greater care. Eventually there was another explosion. Parts of the World Trade Center bounced off the window. People outside were running. Only the cashier and I remained in Kinko’s. “Oh my God,” she said on her cell. “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.”

I danced the John Cage Waltz starting precisely at 3:00pm 26 April 2008 at the southern foot of Trinity Place and then concluding north of there in the middle of James Street at 3:40.33pm. I walked silently past the site of the WTC. It was a mediation and a mourning. I mourn John Cage and Richard Morris and my mother who died March 6 and the victims of 9/11 and the many more victims of miasmal America’s horrible revenge.

I walked to a waltz composed by Elodie Lauten. I entered St James Church at the last second.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Letter from Angie Babbit


I think my email address used to be "" because the offending university took first six letters of one's last name (if one had that many) and the first two letters of the first name and voila, a clever email address.

So, in fact, my name is not Babbitan. It's Angie Babbit. Angela Michelle Babbit (formerly Talbert), if you want to be precise. You can call me Babbitan, if you want to. Nobody will ever know the difference.

When I asked Richard months later why he was embarrassed by my question, he said something like, "nobody had ever asked before." I guess everyone else had assumed it was a play on words, or maybe they were afraid to ask?

Did I ever tell you about my second meeting with Richard? I got lost on the way to the restaurant. He'd given me directions -- something like "It's just south of the sex clubs." I wasn't about to tell the cabby to take me to the sex clubs, so I found a pay phone and asked information for the address to the place. When I got to the wrong restaurant, I told the cabby to take me to Richard's house. After paying the $35 cab fee, I was completely broke, considering I still had to get back to Kansas. Richard wasn't home. There was a little restaurant down the hill, and a skinny waitress was very eager to help a lost girl from Kansas. I waited her tables while she called over to where Richard was still, an hour after our meeting time. I took a bus, which I should have done in the first place. I think it was $2.

By this time I had a splitting headache which didn't go away. We walked across the street for dinner, and once we were seated he said, "I left my pen at the other place." He looked pretty intent on getting that pen back, and I assumed it was something special to him, so I offered to go find it and he agreed. Without further (or previous) conversation, I went across the street, and the pen was gone. When I returned he said, that's OK, he'll just ask the waiter for one. It turned out the pen I had been searching for was just a disposable Bic pen, and the only reason he wanted it was to sign one of his books for me. You should know that Richard's books were never the primary reason I was interested in him. I have two, and I am embarrassed to say I haven't read either of them through. But there he was, giving me his book, first thing. I gave him a candle that I'd found in Oakland.

There was veal with capers, and some zucchini on the side. I'd already told him I couldn't afford it, and I think he was put out. He had to wait over an hour for me, and I was asking him to pay for my meal!

My headache persisted, and I went to bed early that night on his roommates' hard bed. I was grateful for foghorns and wind chimes.

Michael Andre wrote:
Angie --

Flipping through an old notebook, I encountered remarks you made about Richard, and I posted them.


Saturday, July 28, 2007

Angie Babbitan

"Take Richard Morris to bed with you. He's a surprise at every turn of the sheet." Angie Babbitan asked him if he had slept with that reviewer. Richard was embarrassed, then admitted she was speaking from experience. It was more than a play on words.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

When Bad Things happen to Big Cities

Jo Ann’s Bed & Breakfast
(San Francisco 9 July 2003)

Jo Ann’s décor favors the pretty over the beautiful, the trite over the thoughtful.


Alcatraz -- what a laugh to see it at dawn! New York could do so much more with Riker’s Island.


Jo Ann not only owns a B & B; in the basement she runs a day care center. She’s mild & sweet to please the children.

(10 July 2003)

They are retrofitting the Golden Gate Bridge. Many buildings are still closed after the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. I had forgotten it. As people outside New York have forgotten the WTC. Actually there are WTC-deniers, folks so opposed to war in Iraq that they pooh-pooh 9/11 entirely.
People mark time in cities from great disasters: the Chicago Fire, the London Fire and Plague of 1666, the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. Old Saint Mary’s Cathedral is undergoing a “seismic strengthening project.” The motto on the clock tower is from Eccl.: “Son, observe the time and flee from evil.”

Richard Morris
(11 July 2003)

San Francisco fears earthquakes the way New York fears terrorists.

I came here to see Richard Morris as he lies dying. I was also going to see Yvette, one of the women who flutter about him; Yvette too has cancer, although hers seems to be in remission.

Richard has made me his literary executor. I’d like to meet his executor and Mary, his heir. I’d like to get a copy of his will. I’d like to get him to write something nice about John Brockman & the Reality Club so that I’ll be able to approach John about Richard’s novel and a collection of letters.


Hummingbirds audibly sip.


Ethan Ellenberg is his agent, Louis J. Phillips his executor, Mary van der Slice his heir.


San Francisco de Asis
(Sunday 13 July 2003)

Junipero Serra founded a mission house, Mision San Francisco de Asis, more commonly called Mission Dolores, according to my guide book, right here where I’m sitting this Sunday morning. There’s a park called Dolores a few blocks from here, ands I guess “dolores” means “sorrows.”

Dolores strikes me as an unhappy name for a child. I chatted with a black woman and her toddler on the bus; she’d named the child Destiny. I got off before I reached my destination--the child was growing restless. At another bus stop, near Baker Beach, a talkative black man told me he’d won the lottery, i.e. he’d received Section 8 housing in San Francisco. The Chronicle says the economy is so bad here in San Francisco that a lot of folks are getting Section 8 housing. That’s housing for the homeless, part of the mission of the state.

The man also told me he’d spent years on the lam as a Viet draft dodger. He got on disability after he fell from a window while stoned on drugs & alcohol.

Life is Hell when you forget your mission. Despair is unattractive in men past 40. Mary van der Slice displays her despair like a medal of honor. San Francisco was once someone’s mission.

Bastille Day
San Francisco

If God exists, Satan has controlled the Catholic Church for a thousand years. Should the Vatican, like Alcatraz, be stormed by sans-culottes? Today’s the day.

Three years after 1903 the Trinity struck Frisco down. Now the very name, Frisco, is despised. Frisco and Oakland have Brown mayors.

The victims of the priest sexual abuse scandal were unemancipated believers. Are ’hos emancipated? They sure can free a man of his wallet.

I’ve had no luck lately at fresh amatory conquests.

Last Day in San Francisco
(15 July 2003)

The shadows are getting longer, my hours here short. I visited Richard probably for the last time this afternoon.

The Palace of the Legion of Honor is an art museum with an encyclopedic approach; little bits of everything--high quality--a mini-Met. There’s a portrait of the founders’ daughter by Dali. It’s surreal. The museum is, oddly, a “three-quarters-scale replica” of Napoleon’s Palais de la Legion d’Honneur, according to my guide book, Moon Metro. It has a Francophile cast; can a museum have too much Rodin? It was built in 1924, after the Great War. It’s surrounded by a golf course and a Veteran’s Hospital called “Fort Milley.” I wonder if the V.A. hospital in Brooklyn by the Verrazano is “Fort Hamilton”? It would be a nice way to honor men who have fought for their country. It implies that they are still on duty, still guarding us in their fort.

I think yesterday I tried to liberate myself from the whore ideal, the whole ‘ho ideal--to render silly homage to Stewart Brand & the Whole Earth Foundation. I met Stewart through John Brockman. I wonder if Richard knows Stewart?

Richard never indulges in trivial small talk. He’s best answering questions, although when Lew Phillips and I crossed swords over L.B.J. Richard threw in facts which made his opinion clear.

Mary showed me some of her artwork. It was much more sophisticated than I expected. She doesn’t like the Legion of Honor, but artists often disdain the art of the past. I gave her a hug. She wondered why I didn’t kiss Richard.

Richard can’t eat solid food. Like David Bourdon, Richard has cancer of the esophagus--and the heart, the stomach, the liver, the lymph nodes. He’s calm. He’s self-sufficient; he asks his own questions and answers them. He’ll also answer my questions and your questions.

Napoleon knew soldiers fought for honor. The American Legion is merely a veterans association.

Richard submits graciously, at least in my presence, to the ultimate grim necessity. He’s a soldier of philosophy. He fosters an alt.reality.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Wine & Perrier

Harry Smith was the master of ceremonies for the Richard Morris memorial 30 November at Karin Taylor's Small Press Center. Bob Heman, Jeff Wright, and Vyt Bakaitis read from Richard's works. Robert Buecker, Maude Boltz and Fletcher Copp invoked Ray Johnson. Friends of Richard sent testimonials which Harry read or handed out.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


A memorial for Richard Morris will be held at the Small Press Center in New York 6-8pm on Thursday November 30.