December 28, 1960: Born in San Francisco, biological child of Marcia Cranston and Frank Verges, both students at the University of Iowa.
January 1, 1961: Adopted by Henry and Vera Frankel, two German-Jewish refugees. My two new grandmothers wait at the window as the car pulls up.
Circa 1973: I buy my first complete opera: Boris Godunov, attend my first opera: Der Rosenkavalier.
1975: I start San Francisco University High School and a year later start writing my first stories, novellas, poems and plays.
July 5, 1981, 5 pm: Vera Frankel dies; an Irish nurse makes the sign of the cross over her body.
1980-1985: New York: The cold and the Upper West Side and the wind of the subway and Kenneth Koch’s poetry course and Arthur C. Danto’s philosophy course and roaches and rodents and “love” in the city’s dungeons and an angry father shouting on the phone and homework and papers and nights in Butler Library and weekends at Fire Island and nights at Tom’s Restaurant and Happy Burger and the Hungarian Pastry Shop and the sound of Fred Neuhouser’s voice—Neuhouser, the noted Hegel scholar…where is he now? What happened?
1985-1995: Barcelona. A teacher now. Cut my teeth in the sleazy language “academies,” ride a moped all day and all night, hobnob with revolutionaries and outcasts, speak my Spanish wittily but with an American accent, so that people ask, “Why did you come here and when are you leaving?” “Love,” this time in the dungeons of Spain. My first stories! My one Spanish friend: Alberto Garcia Mur. (What in God’s name has become of him? What happened?) Eileen Wieland, my psychoanalyst. Long sessions on the couch, Eileen in her chair behind me. I read much Freud and Proust.
December 25, 1990: At last I meet my birth parents, Frank and Marcia. While visiting California, I find out who I am.
1995: Return to America. I drive a Mercury Sable, courtesy of my father. “Love” continues, now in the dungeons of Los Angeles. I’m still a teacher. I rediscover poetry.
1995-present: Friends? Mary Trautmann, the poet; Mike Grieco, a solid mentor; and many more, especially from the Saturday workshop at Beyond Baroque. Robert C. Jameson has helped a great deal—what a good soul and healer. Along the way I change my name from Marcel J. Frankel to Alex M. Frankel.
2007: My birth mother and then my adoptive father, Henry Frankel, pass away within a few months of each other. My father leaves much of his fortune to an old gold digger, Rhoda Goldfarb. Hey Rhoda, when you croak can I please have all the bread that was meant for me, please?
2009: I buy my own little condo in the quiet hinterlands near El Sereno and Highland Park. I begin hosting my own poetry event with featured poets and open mic and that started in Old Pasadena but moved to LA.
2013: My poetry collection, Birth Mother Mercy, is published, and so is a chapbook, My Father's Lady, Wearing Black.
2011-2020: I write reviews for The Antioch Review, which appear in every issue, and also serve as an assistant poetry editor.
2020: I adopt the pseudonym "Alejo Rovira Goldner" for some of my work.
2022: At long last my short stories (most written in Barcelona) come out as a collection, Flame at Door and Raisin.
Vintage stories from the '80s and '90s about the sex-starved and the lonesome and the loathsome who wander through the streets of Barcelona, Casablanca and the Central African Republic with few prospects or friends. Accidents, disease, betrayal, war, the police, higher-ups, thugs, terrorists--all these evils, and more, conspire to assault the alienated characters who roam through these pages, characters who at times seek refuge in art or psychoanalysis or drugs but rarely find peace. People are rarely "at home" in this world--they're caught in a foreign coup, or wander through the jungle, or miss each other's answering machine messages, or walk on the decks of cruise ships, or sit in exotic cafes all the while waiting, waiting...