"I wish I had a friend like River or his character Mike. I think my life would be complete if I did have a friend like River."
- Ralph Haselmann, Jr.
Wounded Heart, Naked Soul
by Ralph Haselmann, Jr.
First published in 2001
ISBN 0-7388-6247-9 (eBook/Paperback, 137 Pages)
Wounded Heart, Naked Soul, available in either regular printed format or as a downloadable file, becomes the first "electronic book" to be reviewed here in Phoenix Bookshelf. Having had his work published in nearly 50 magazines, author Ralph Haselmann Jr., is now venturing further into the world of publishing, presenting here a collection of his poetry that he has been writing since 1989. Several of the poems featured in this book are either about, or dedicated to the author's favorite actor, River Phoenix.
River, for a brief shining moment
you were the light of life in everyone's eyes
Don't disappoint your mother, see how her heart is broken
Don't disappoint your fans, see how they are grief-stricken
Don't grow up, stay young and innocent forever
River, through your films you will last an eternity
A beautiful ghost that haunts the spectrum
Thank you for sharing and baring your soul with us for a while
We celebrate and commemorate your birth and life, not your death
Au Revoir, Rio, my brother...
A lot of the poetry relating to River was actually written on the day after his death, and the author has since admitted to us that his heart was full of both sorrow and anger when he wrote them. Those emotions come across clearly in his work and enable the reader to feel a strong sense of empathy towards the author.
If I burned all my notebooks,
would the flames release a ghost of you?
If I threw away all my inhibitions,
would you come back and be my true?
Take me away on a magic carpet ride
to a dream world where from reality I hide
River, River, River running free
wash away my pain and let it all be
Hey Jude please answer my call
all I ever wanted was a friend like you that's all
If I started out tomorrow on a search for someone new
could they ever replace the way I feel about you?
If I woke up from this long nightmare dream
would I feel better about life, is that the way it seems?
And that's the way it is, cause I can't change the way that I feel
River, River, wish you were still real
Shower me with love and teach me again how to feel
Hey Jude please answer my prayer
How I wish that you were still here
If I could turn back time you know that I would
I'd save you from yourself if only I could
River, River, River running deep
I pray for you my soul to keep...
For River Phoenix
Included as part of the book's closing pages, the author also re-prints a letter of thanks he wrote to Premiere magazine after they printed a moving tribute to River. Again, his words speak for us all.
River deserved better than this, he deserved a more caring environment of people who could help him with whatever problems he may have had and tell him when he was screwing up. I realize River was an adult and was ultimately responsible for his own actions, but he obviously couldn't cope with the pressures that the film community placed on him and the phony, clean-cut, healthy, straight image his publicists and the movie business demand he portray in order to remain bankable. But what can you expect from a place that eats its young. River's death will have little effect on the club going scene, except now
they have something more to feel numb about. The world seems a little less caring, a little less friendly, and a hell of a lot colder since River died. I wish I could say that River Phoenix will rise from the ashes like his namesake, but in the end all that we have left is a hauntingly beautiful screen presence and a river of tears...