COLUMN SIXTY-SIX, DECEMBER 1, 2001
(Copyright © 2001 Al Aronowitz)
Please direct your prayers and/or whatever psychic energy you can
afford to the speedy recovery of LUCID MOON editor Ralph Haselmann Jr., who suffered serious injuries in a freak auto accident a few
doors away from his home. According to Kathy, his mother, he dropped a water container while driving off on an errand. When he reached
down to pick it up, he was distracted and ran into a mailbox. Panicking, he stepped on the accelerator
instead of the brake and ran into a tree. Now in critical condition in Morristown Memorial Hospital in
Morristown, N. J., he has had to undergo both hip surgery and heart surgery, has suffered recurring fevers, and must be kept in
isolation because of serious infections, according to his mother.
As someone who wishes to be considered a beacon of psychic energy in his behalf, I honor Ralph for his dedication and his refusal to be intimidated by his detractors. I have always found Ralph to be a very sweet kid who has devoted his life to poetry and whose poetry and poetry reviews both can be accessed in THE BLACKLISTED JOURNALIST'S indexes of columns.
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Following is a message from Ralphy's sister Chris found on the first page of the LUCID MOON website at http://www.lucidmoonpoetry.com/
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To All of Ralph's Poetry Friends (from Ralph's sister, Chris),
My brother, Ralph Jr. was in a very serious auto accident on Monday mid-morning, October 8, 2001. My parents, sister and I ask everyone to please pray with all of your might and reverence for my brother. Pray very hard that the Lord allows him to continue with his gifted insight and poetry. Please pray for Ralph Jr., as he is only in God's hands now. I am Ralph's sister, Chris, and cannot figure out how to reach everyone he keeps in contact with so I am writing to tell you that because of his accident he has not been able to do the Poem of the Day which many of you look forward to. I am writing to everyone who has supported my brother, inspired him and who reads his most recent addition/section- "Poems of the day...." Please, Please, pray for Ralph Jr., his life and his gift to all of you.Your love is needed through prayer to sustain Ralph's life. If he has touched you with his poetry in some way, Please, Please pray for him, his recovery and his future. With love in the Risen Lord, Jesus, whose peace surpasses all understanding, we, his family, beg of you to pray for our brother, my parent's only son, Ralph Haselmann,Jr. (Ralphy). With hope and love that all who care about Ralph receive this, you may respond by signing/sending your support on this guestbook so that if the Lord decides not to take Ralph to everlasting life, he may one day read your inspiring words, prayers or thoughts to sustain him through the long recovery that awaits him. With love in Christ,please pray for Ralph Jr. --His Sisters, Cam & Chris & loving parents, Kathy & Ralph Sr. & family.
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A Good Life It Is These Days, mini poetry chapbook by Dave Church, with illustrations by Joyce Metzger, 48 pages, 2001, $3 check made out to Dave Church, 30 Forest St, Providence, RI 02906. Dave Church tells it like it is. He's a poet of the streets, hot blooded, interested in the ladies and drinking and the joi de vie. These poems are straightforward, funny and wistful all at the same time. Only In My Dreams reads: "I left work went straight home. The little woman was there on her knees at the door. She removed my shoes and socks. Rose to take my coat and hat. She was gentle with her strokes - strong with the one that counted. All this while supper waited inn the oven." Sexist, yeah, but funny and charming as hell! Other poems in this collection are more wistful and thought provoking and poetic. A fine mini collection to check out. With amusing drawings by Joyce Metzger.
A Green Bean Sampler, poetry sampler chapbook, various authors, 28 pages, 2001, free for the asking, Green Bean Press, PO Box 237, NYC 10013. A fine sampler of what is available from Ian Griffin's Green Bean Press, one of the best small presses around. Featuring excerpts from Daniel Crocker, Jeff Grimshaw, Nathan Graziano, Michael Kriesel, Mark Terrill, A.D. Winans, Stephanie Lynn Hilbert, Leonard Gontarek, Sal Salasin, joe r. Especially fine are the pieces by A.D. Winans (Eulogy For Jack Micheline) and Stephanie Lynn Hilbert (Daughter Of A Rogue). This sampler is free for the asking, check it out and then buy the actual books from Ian and support the small press!
Aurora, poetry chapbook by Christopher Bowden, 40 pages, 2001, $5 check made out to Stone Soup Poets, INC., 5 Mechanic Court, Boston, MA 02113, email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org . In Aurora, poet Christopher Bowden paints a portrait of crazy lovers, mental illness, the sadness of lovemaking and dark sunsets. The poems are well crafted, stark and dark. Pillow Talk reads: "We plan our vacation. A winter week in Aruba where margaritas are poured naked into coconut shells and there is no tariff on being drunk. We talk. The midnight air aches with shadows. Her toned, fleshy arms wrapped around a pillow. Her body coiled into yellow lemon sheets. Snake. We kiss. I'm seduced by her lips. Draw mw closer. Sketch me on a pad. Read to me of muses. Pillow talk. Magic. This moment before sleep. The day was hard. Like some allegory of the headless horseman or entangled tale by Poe. A day of dark fantasy. Now, she lies in a cloud of bed linens. "Fine crystal china, Limoge and me sipping teas." Are her last words before sleep." Thoughts of suicide rear their ugly head often in this collection, as Bowden's literary heroes are Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton, three giant writers who all committed suicide. This is a powerful work of verse, but it leaves you uneasy.
A Woman Made Of Stone Is An Angel Turned To Dust and Hot Mud and Brain Stew, poetry and drawing chapbooks, $2 each, check made out to Barb Yordy, 650 Martha Ave #3, Lancaster, PA 17601. These corner-stapled and photocopied chaps of poetry are fierce, bold and sad, written in blood, writhing with pain. They will change your outlook on life. Barb Yordy writes from inside her soul, one that has been molested. She draws intriguing illustrations for these chaps and inlays the words like William S. Burroughs' cut up collages. The sum total effect is one hell of a dark ride, yet a catharsis that comes from draining the soul. A writhing hairy insect is allowed to grow into a beautiful butterfly and frolic freely among the flowers, flying high in the wind. Powerful stuff.
City Blues, mini poetry chapbook by A.D. Winans, 48 pages, 2001, $3 check made out to A.D. Winans, P.O. Box 31249, San Francisco, CA 94131. A. D. Winans is a poet of the streets. His poetry sings with the sweet blues in the night and swings with the jazz bebop of Beat poets. On Learning Of The Death Of Jack Micheline reads: "the shrill cry of Lorca rings out in the night jazz notes loud as thunder burst the eardrums like artillery fire the 4-walls closing in like a police dragnet poets are like butterflies spreading their wings reshaping the stars the universe cosmic matter waiting to be reborn." A.D. has it going on, just terrific words mingling with ideas. I wish I could write like him. Truly fine poetry collection.
Hidden Oak poetry journal, various authors, Summer/Fall 2001, Single copy $4, subscription $11, published 3 times a year, check made out to Hidden Oak, PO Box 2275, Philadelphia, PA 19103, email@example.com . A relatively new poetry zine, chapbook sized, with wonderful poetry from staples of the small press. Many of the poets were published in Lucid Moon, including Ed Orr, Tim Scannell, Kelley Jean White, Doug Holder and others, and many of the other writers were new to me. A fine mix of styles. I look forward to future issues.
The Life Of All Worlds, poetry book by Marc Widershien, 64 pages, 2001, $10 check made out to Ibbetson St. Press, 33 Ibbetson St., Somerville, MA 02143. The Life Of All Worlds is poet Marc Widershien's tender nostalgic portrait of growing up Jewish in Boston in the 1940's and 1950's. To read this wonderful poetry book is to leaf through a scrapbook of yesteryear, the photographs now yellowed or sepia toned with age, the pages earmarked and wrinkled with use, warm nostalgic memories flowing from each page. Memories of older brother smoking a cigar and letting him puff on it, memories of his father taking midday naps as if preparing for the big sleep, memories of his mother and aunts and uncles living with him in the tenement house, one big happy family full of love and tradition. Marc writes with a flair for his heritage, with humor and insight and a sense of foreboding of the war that makes for a humane and intelligent book of poetry. 10 reads: "The shofar thundering shatters time. I am alone at nightfall by the iron railing in my backyard, my wailing wall, the sun going down under the Blue Hills. The sky is plastered with color and with clouds in the shape of men and animals. The Jewish New Year is over. But my clothes are still pressed, and I wear a sharp necktie with a pin and a white yarmulke. I study the gray walls of the back porches,; my eye catches a tangle of weeds and bramble in the neighbor's yard where a woman who dyes her hair orange lives with her brood of pigeons. An alley cat leaps over barrels; they make a heavy, clanging sound. Company is on the front porch of Harvard Street, kibbitzing and taking in the cool September wind. The sky begins to darken. Fadeout. It is 1953, and the most popular song on the Hit Parade must be Ebb Tide or Secret Love. Tonight, the bed feels so warm. A tiny lamp suffuses light on the alcove of my room, and I spend half my childhood shuffling from one room to the other. I am afraid of the dark, but watch Lights Out and Milton Berle, perpetual clown living in perpetual mirth every Tuesday night. He has a number of disguises. The night reveals an inner world of unfulfilled desire, great candy lands and war in Korea still part of those visions at the end of the world, helmets dissolving into a sea of rain. But soon I lapse into a forgetful sleep in the arms of earth. New dreams pacify my spirit?" This is a terrific heartfelt collection of poetry that warms the spirit and soul.
Run, poetry chapbook by Bob Dombrowski, 30 pages, 1994, $6.35 ppd check made out to Bob Dombrowski, 805 6th Ave., NYC 10001. With Run, poet Bob Dombrowski finds new ways of describing a chaotic world of beauty and hesitation, as if the main character is on the run literally and there is no exit. The poems are imaginative, creative, and lovely in their description of physical beauty and longing for the female sex. I have a sneaking suspicion that Bob was influenced by the poetry of Jim Morrison, and how Morrison allowed for a free flow of thought and ideas, as if talking straight from the subconscious. In any event, it makes for a refreshing flow of ideas and imagery. A fine collection.
Please send poetry books, chapbooks, cds, broadsides or whatever for review to Ralph Haselmann Jr. at 67 Norma Road, Hampton, New Jersey 08827. Include price plus postage, who to make check out to, and address to order from. I will review them within 2 weeks and send you a copy of the review. Publishers have my permission in advance to reprint any part of my reviews as long as they send me a copy of what it appears in. The reviews go out to several small press discussion lists, including David McNamara's poetry )ism( list, Doug Holder's list, Kelly DeSaint's list, and J.J. Campbell's list, after which they will be archived on my Lucid Moon Poetry Website. My reviews are also picked up by 6 websites, including Al Aronowitz' The Blacklisted Journalist website ( http://www.bigmagic.com/pages/blackj ), Joe Grant's BookZen website (http://www.bookzen.com/ ), Andre Cordrescue's Exquisite Corpse, (http://www.exquisitecorpse.org), Carlye Archibeque's The Independent Review Site (http://www.irs.theroadlesstraveled.org), Brian Morrisey's Poesy magazine and website (http://www.geocities.com/bmorrise2/) Don Hoyt's Web Writer's Workshop http://www.webwritersworkshop.com). My telephone number is (908) 735-4447, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and my Lucid Moon Poetry Website is http://www.lucidmoonpoetry.com. Please visit my website often and sign my guestbook!
Ralph Haselmann Jr. ##
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