Heroin’s Harbour Poetry Review During The Plague by Everett Hoagland. Review of Marc D. Goldfinger’s Heroin’s Harbour ( Ibbetson Street Press; ISBN:978-1-79473-012-0)
I just finished reading your book’s unsparing, powerful, testamentary poems, and I have some favorites. I hope my specificity compensates for my late response to your strong work.
“Cotton Fever” is gripping and makes you the addict ” …body, mind spirit” …” as you read it.
“A Junkie’s Prayer” reminds me, as per ” “…please keep our needles disease friend” of when I was on the board of New Bedford’s grassroots clean-needle- exchange and advocacy organization for prevention of & treatment for HIV-AIDS. It was named Treatment On Demand. And we did good, meaningful, lifesaving work.
“Junkie Love” poignantly dramatizes the mentality of “stinking thinking”, yet twistedly caring, co-dependent addict’s love.
Some of your shortest, sparest, bare bones poems images and similes make them among the most powerful ones. Your existential “And I’m Not Kidding” is one of those.
The last 3 sections of “Drug Store Christ (Heist)” are heart-wrenching! But with a grim laughing-to-keep from crying blues humor.
The succinctly & perfectly put truism “addiction only remembers what it needs” in the middle of p. 13 echoingly rings true in the consciousness and memory of any “clean” addict. And the bottom of p. 14 reminds me of the late poet Michael S. Harper’s line ” The first act of liberation is to destroy your own cage”.
Your finely and appropriately crafted synesthesia in the last 10 or so lines of P. 16 are perfect at what they do
Your use of repetiton throughout the poems is excellent. “What Would You Do For A Fix?” is an outstandingly effective poem in that regard.
“Powder Road Blues” last 12 lines on p. 28 are as memorably truthful a testamentary warning to anyone tempted to try heroin as I have ever read.
I like the way you humanize the experience of addiction beyond it being “bad”, “unfortunate”, sickness, plight.
Your take on the classic chestnut song of the same title. “All Of Me”, especially in its 4th section does this.
Again, the tale-teller’s grim humor works at the end of “Allergies”
Good allusion to morning-after, hung over Bukowski in “I Have Trouble With Names”. He would have appreciated your poetry.
On p. 48 I like the fine touch of “steel and stone” then “cast the stone”.
“A Couple of Kids” is as good a poem re: “the Human Condition” as I have read recently. A really poignant piece of work.” Seems as if I and everyone has seen/heard a young couple like that one in our routine daily comings & goings. A masterful piece of empathy-encouraging story-telling on just a page & a half!
I read thru page 70 and look forward to reading the prose pieces. You, your poems in this volume, are particularly adept at rendering, as if by surrealistic collage, the addict’s interiority, his/her inner landscape of a living nightmare.” This collection’s stark, haunting honesty communicates a vivid narrative of it.
What a meaningful accomplishment and body of work, Marc!
Again, powerful work, Brother. Thank you for sharing it.
Everett Hoagland was the first Poet Laureate of New Bedford. He is a recent recipient of the annual, national Langston Hughes Society Award. His poetry has been regularly published in periodicals and anthologies for over half a century. One of his recent books is Ocean Voices, published by Spinner Publications.
Marc D. Goldfinger has been published by more places than he can remember. He’s the Poetry Editor and a regular columnist for the Spare Change News, a member in good standing with the Road Scribes of America. Goldfinger grew up in hell, conned the devil into letting him out and now works for deviant angels. He’s happily married and can be seen dancing in the streets at 2 in the morning, humming a few bars of the “Eulogy For Lenny Bruce” by Nico. Goldfinger understands that song. Heroin’s Harbour Stories And Poems by Marc D. Goldfinger