(Copyright © 2002 Al Aronowitz)

BLACKLISTED JOURNALIST poetry reviewer and LUCID MOON editor Ralph Haselmann Jr., who suffered extreme injuries in a freak accident near his home more than four months ago, has been transferred from Morristown Memorial Hospital to the Summit Ridge Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Summit Street in West Orange, N.J., where he faces months of further care and recovery. Although he remains unable to speak because of a tracheotomy tube and although he remains paralyzed from his chest down, his mother, Kathy Haselmann, told THE BLACKLISTED JOURNALIST that he may now receive visitors. She added that he has been much cheered by the cards and messages he has received.

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"The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware." -- Henry Miller

The Butcher's Block

The Butcher's Block, poetry journal, Vol. III Spring 2001, 38 pages, thick stock paper and cover, with color photographs, sidestapled with tape covering staples, $10 check made out to Butcher Block Press, David Greenspan Editor, 30 West St. Apt. B, Oneonta, NY 13820. This is a fine quarterly journal unique for its thickness of pages, color photography and nice typography, different on each page. I enjoyed the mix of well established post-Beat writers, including the likes of Tony Moffeit, Herschel Silverman, Steve Dalachinsky, and Catfish McDaris. Not all of the poems work, but so many do that it leaves you with a good feeling inside as your brain molecules are tickled and rearranged by what the intriguing poets have to say. This is the finest homemade magazine around, so do check it out!

Dwindling Light

Dwindling Light, poetry chapbook by Michael Keshigian, 2001, 40 pages, $3 check made out to John Berbrich, BoneWorld Publishing, 3700 County Route 24, Russell, New York 13684. This is a strong collection of poetry about nature, the universe, the moon, night breezes the whisper in your ear with delight. The poems are delicate, beautiful, and concisely painted with details. Lake Dance reads: "peaceful undulation gently raps the brownish-green barnacle pier crystal blue pulse of the extensive lake abounds with life below its pristine surface fettered only by a rustling breeze instigating ripples to momentarily dance out of step against the placid mirror which reflects its tranquil message enrapturing my mind to join in a serene pas-de-duex gracefully waltzing upon wavering crests till the whispering breath ceases." There is a feeling of serenity in these images, as if the author is inhaling a deep breath and taking in the beauty of it all. Highly recommended.

Earthly Magic

Earthly Magic, poetry chapbook by Margery Snyder, 2001, 22 pages, $7 ppd to Margery Snyder, PO Box 471493, SF CA 94147. This is an okay collection of poetry about such earthly mysteries as Stonehenge, the moon, nature and other scientific mysteries. The general tone is pleasant and contemplative of life's mysteries, but the language is a little dull and stilted, very academic. I longed for the wordplay, wit and juice of an underground poet. This is the kind of poetry that is pushed in academic and college journals, and it is lacking something. Not a bad collection, but not majestic enough in its descriptions of wonder at the earthly magic it purports to write about.

Ghost Worker

Ghost Worker, poetry chapbook by Whitman McGowan, $7 ppd to Whitman McGowan, PO Box 471493, SF CA 94147. I would assume from these poems that Whitman is a janitor, for the poems all describe janitorial work. Some of the poems are jokey, as in this line from Extra Long Pink Hose, "…as long there's no kink in my extra long pink hose it has a tendency to spurt uncontrollably when a pretty woman walks by smiling at me. And I don't want to get all the women wet in my neighborhood, now do I?" These poems are not very poetic and are kind of boring and jokey. Not my cup of tea, or most of yours out there either.

Lesbian Trapped In A Man's Body

Lesbian Trapped In A Man's Body, poetry book by Brian Daly, 2001, 75 pages, $12.95 to Black Greyhound Media, PO Box 40367, Nashville, TN 37204. The cover on this book looks beautiful, with some very good to some just average underground post-Beat poetry inside. Six of the poems have appeared in Lucid Moon, and they are the stronger ones, including the last poem, The Demon Child. Brian Daly writes with a wry sense of humor and a bemused attitude at life and love and sex and hope and death and dreams. The Demon Child reads: "I break the surface of the dream and plunge back into real life--–night and the body sleeping beside me ---seized by a bones-jumpin' frenzy. I jump under the sheets and bury my mouth in her muff. Her hips wake first. What bad boy is this bringing her to life? She groans, then fumbles in her night stand for a square blue packet. I lie steaming while she peels the foil and fits on the sticky ring, fisting it down my length before she lets me enter. Empty, I shrivel in her and pop out---the rubber with its new weight dangling from my dick like a sick balloon. She retires to herself, I to the toilet with my prize, plopping it for the white bowl to wash to the sewers. I stand watching myself swirl and disappear with a final sucking gurgle, waiting for the smoothness of the restored waters. Lighter by a lot, I tiptoe past the baby's room in a daze, feeling that I've drowned his brother." Not all the poems are great, but enough of them work to recommend this very enjoyable collection. The titles are funny, too. Keep chooglin' and writin, Brian, we need more of your humour in the small press.

The Lummox Journal

The Lummox Journal, Sep/Oct 2001, PO Box 5301, San Pedro, CA 90733-5301, website e-mail This is a fine bimonthly journal, with reviews, calendar of events, some poetry, and this issue's two features, on poet Maggie Jaffe and exploding the myths of Hemingway by Gerald Locklin and Charles Stetler Subscribe for $20 a year or $2 a single issue. You'll become addicted as I am to this fun, informative journal.

Next Stop Oblivion

Next Stop Oblivion, poetry chapbook by David Greenspan, 2001, 20 pages, $5 check made out to Butcher Shop Press, David Greenspan Editor, 30 West St Apt. B, Oneonta, NY 13820, (607) 436-8591, . Next Stop Oblivion is a fine collection of poetry with tribute poems about Garcia Lorca, Jackson Pollack, Leonard Cohen, Jesus, and the victims of Pompei. The poem There Were Ashes In The Shape Of People Kissing reads: "In Pompei, a husband returned home to find his simple wife in bed with another man. After chasing the mysterious man out of the arms of his woman he began to beat the man out of his wife's thoughts. Two days later, the stranger was, still deep in the woman's thoughts, the husband's pride was still buried under the mattress, the sky was still blue for the houses around theirs. When he went to work the mysterious man would enter the room in the shape of the wind. When the husband returned he never found a thing; his wife never loved him anyway, some traditional marriage that does not consider love to be as vital as she would have wished. At night the stranger became the stars and the husband wondered how staring at the sky could make his simple wife so happy. Two days later the sky exploded. The husband was working in a far off town, when he unburied his house he found his wife in bed alone, her ashes were in the shape of two people kissing." Often, poet David Greenspan finds the right words or turn of phrase to make the poem memorable and unique. With a wry sense of humour and wistfulness, he decorates the poem with a wit and wisdom that is amusing. Highly recommended.

Over The Roofs Of The World

Over The Roofs Of The World, The Barbaric Yawp Interviews 1998-2000, 2001, 60 pages, $5 check made out to John Berbrich, Boneworld Publishing, 3700 County Route 24, Russell, New York 13684. The complete quote from Walt Whitman is: "I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable, I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world." And from over the roofs of the world comes this fine collection of nine interviews with staples of the small press such as Mark Spitzer, Errol Miller, myself (Ralph Haselmann Jr.), Bill Schlondrop, Jennifer Jane Tobkin, Mutang, Jeff Grimshaw, Christopher Jones and Lindsay Wilson. Most hilarious was the interview with Jeff Grimshaw, who publishes Crystal Drum and writes a humour column for Delaware Valley News (Central Western New Jersey). A mock fight almost broke out between interviewer and interviewee. Also interesting was (if I don't say so myself) my own interview. Hell, all were interesting to a degree. Buy this handy dandy collection for a fun, informative look at the small press. And thank God these interviews occurred before the Lucid Moon/Diarheapunk letters caused a controversy in the small press and opened up debate about editing! Screw it! I'll edit my magazines, books and website any damn way I want to, my critics can go fuck themselves!

Poets & Writers

Poets & Writers, magazine about writing (no poetry), Sep/Oct 2001, $4.95 single issue, subscription inquiries PO Box 543, Mount Morris, IL 61054. Poets & Writers is an academic mainstream journal that features interviews and articles with mainstream writers. You'll never find an underground Beat poet featured, although this month's issue features an article on the small press. Other features this month are how to look at a book contract and an article on novelist Jonathan Franzell (who?). Each issue has extensive calendar events listings, and listings of poetry grants and poetry contests, and ads, ads and more ads. Brought to you by the people who publish Poet's Market yearly book of listings. A good source of info, but kind of boring mainstream hohummery.

Reefer Madness In The Age Of Apostasy

Reefer Madness In The Age Of Apostasy, an analysis by poet Charles Plymell, $5, Butcher Shop Press, 30 West St. Apt. 1B, Oneonta, NY 13820. This is a thoughtful analysis by Beat poet Charles Plymell on the ineffectiveness of the War On Drugs, the corruptness of U.S. officials and DEA officers and the police. Plymell makes many salient points and makes a good case for the legalization of marijuana, but this will never happen due to our immature attitudes on drugs, unlike other countries. I read this tract with fascination and amazement and just shook my head in disbelief at the ineptitude of our government. You won't find intelligent discourse like this in High Times magazine, so buy this pamphlet and make a difference!

Scrape That Violin More Darkly Then Hover Like Smoke In The Air

Scrape That Violin More Darkly Then Hover Like Smoke In The Air, poetry chapbook by John Gallo, 2001, 20 pages, $5 to John Gallo, Black Spring Press, 63-89 Saunders St #6G, Rego Park, NY 11374. This is a fine looking chap that opens up to reveal maggots squirming around in the dirt, for the poems are unpleasant and abrasive, rarely soaring to heights of poetic beauty. That's not to say the poems aren't good, they are, they just are dark in their own way. John Gallo happens to be a poet who pokes through the falsehoods of daily living to reveal the guts working beneath the surface. For this, he is a brave poet, following his own muse. His poem Even Pavlov Couldn't Imagine This describes the horror and cravings of drug addiction aptly: " It's given a little. Then a lot. Enough times so one becomes used to it, then is snatched away and you're deprived. You are observed as you writhe like an addict, and just when you think it's finished, you are given a little more again. Then a lot. Enough times so you become used to it, then it is snatched away and you're deprived. You are observed as you writhe like an addict and just when you think it's finished, you are given a little more again. Then a lot. Enough times so you become used to it, then it is snatched away and you're deprived. You are observed writhing like an addict…". Powerful stuff, if you like your coffee black.

The Nature Of Darkness

The Nature Of Darkness, A Collection Of Poems, poetry book by Charles Portolano, 2000, 75 pages, write to Quill Books, Wyndham Hall Press, Bristol, IN 46507-9460 for price and info. This is a fine collection of heartfelt poetry that examines what happens when tragedy strikes and darkness is all around. Charles and his wife have a young daughter who has many ailments, and he explored that territory in his first book Inspired By Their Spirits. Here Charles explores further moments of pain and darkness. All the poems are shaped the same way in a column and are exactly 30 lines. It would have been nice to see different poem forms or unique ideas expressed instead of such uniformity, for a breather, but overall the quality is excellent. A Place In The Sun reads: "All of us striving to touch the sky reaching out over each other we fight pushing our way to any opening making the most of all opportunities we branch out spouting up wherever a glimmer of her warm rays shine through we move in unison filing the voids as we soak in the golden glory without a concern for those under us our roots grow robbing as much water as possible to ensure success we work both ends even at the cost of those around us we block their view stopping all progress it means sharing our source of strength. Charles Portolano never resorts to maudlin efforts, but keeps his chin up through adversity and faith in God. He is a trooper and a brother of the road.

The Temple

The Temple, last issue of poetry magazine, Fall 2001, 80 pages, $5 check made out to Charles Potts, Tsunami, Inc, PO Box 100, Walla Walla, WA 99362-0033. Editor Charles Potts has moved on to other projects, so this is apparently the last issue of The Temple, a fine poetry journal. Charles writes, "The Temple is over, done, finished, complete, ended, kaput, toast, history. Like a coyote with too many children, I grow weary of trying to nourish and attend them all…" The Temple is a great read and leaves behind a fine legacy. Potts was a tough editor but always managed to put together great material. Some back issues still available for $5 each, write for details.

To The Dawn

To The Dawn, epic historical poem on cd by Dave Alber, 22 minutes, 7 parts, 2000, $17 to Dave Alber, 900 E. Hillsdale Blvd #105, Foster City, CA 94404-2106. This is an epic poem of the history of the earth and cosmology and man and civilization. It is ambitious, intelligent, poetic and beautiful, on par with such epics as Octavio Paz' Sunstone and T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland. We hear David Alber talking about the Big Bang, the birth of Jesus Christ, the Renaissance and the Age of Science and Technology, over a musical passage by The Hasta Brothers' Hindi Deff Beat Factory, which adds a sonic crispness to the mix. The lyrics are thankfully included, and they shine with detail and a sense of wonder. About the creation of species, in part III, Alber writes, "On and on, like algebra run amok, the equation sexes plants and those that eat them. Sex. Sexing and eating, impulse driven Lifing life forms swim in a FreudioNietzschean sugar plum sea. Big fish eat little fish who have laughable type A brainstems in which the observer's eye is imprinted already -- an enemy to be feared. Escape…" This is a wonderful teaching tool for students of high school age and older, and it entertains as well as informs. A bright light on the poetry horizon, I hope to hear more from David Alber.

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, J.J. Campbell's list and Frank Moore's list, after which they will be archived on my Lucid Moon Poetry Website. My reviews are also picked up by 5 websites, including Al Aronowitz' The Blacklisted Journalist website (, Joe Grant's BookZen website ( ),  Andre Cordrescue's Exquisite Corpse, (, Carlye Archibeque's The Independent Review Site (, Brian Morrisey's Poesy magazine and website ( Don Hoyt's Web Writer's Workshop (  My telephone number is (908) 735-4447, e-mail and my Lucid Moon Poetry Website is  Please visit my website often and sign my guestbook!

Ralph Haselmann Jr.  ##



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