Brick Road Poetry Press

poetry made to entertain, amuse, and edify

The mission of Brick Road Poetry Press is to publish and promote poetry that entertains, amuses, edifies, and surprises a wide audience of appreciative readers.  We are not qualified to judge who deserves to be published, so we concentrate on publishing what we enjoy. Our preference is for poetry geared toward dramatizing the human experience in language rich with sensory image and metaphor, recognizing that poetry can be, at one and the same time, both familiar as the perspiration of daily labor and as outrageous as a carnival sideshow.

Pain Diary: Working Methadone & The Life & Times of the Man Sawed in Half by Joseph D. Reich


Pain Diary: Working Methadone & The Life & Times of the Man Sawed in Half by Joseph D. Reich


Paperback: 110 pages

Publisher: Brick Road Poetry Press (November 17, 2010)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0984100539

ISBN-13: 978-0984100538

Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.2 inches

Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces

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Written in the form of memoir or an old time shipping log, Pain Diary: Working Methadone & The Life & Times of the Man Sawed in Half can be viewed as two free-flowing stream of consciousness confessional poems.  Both are set in sea-faring locations:  New Bedford, home of Herman Melville and birthplace of Moby Dick; and Plymouth, where the Pilgrims came to settle and try to coexist with the Indian tribes of Massachusetts. 

“Working Methadone,” begins evocatively with a section entitled “Call Me Ishmael.  I Mean…Call Me, Ishmael!” and is set in a methadone clinic directly across from the Moby Dick Marina.  A group home for adolescents provides the background for “The Life & Times of the Man Sawed in Half.”  In both, Joseph Reich, poet and social worker, explores his work experience with the “chemically dependent,” the alienated and ostracized, and integrates it with his own unique voice and perspective.

Influenced by and echoing such wide-ranging and eclectic sources as Proust, Hemingway, Whitman, E.E. Cummings, Jack Kerouac, Plath, Nietzsche, Camus, Sartre, Dostoevsky, and Jim Morrison, among many others,  Reich’s style and point of view rises out of his own years on the road when, as Bob Dylan put it, “the only thing I knew how to do was to keep on keeping on,” which included such jobs as cab driver, grave digger, roofer, long-haul trucker, and, “for a bit of a time, hustling the streets in the black market of San Francisco.”  

While “Pain Diary” is a clinical term for the log kept by patients and clients to detail the moments when they feel most desperate and in crisis, the term is also an excellent descriptive for this one-of-a-kind poetry that seems to spring out of raw emotion in language that is, at one and the same time, natural, spontaneous and desperate.