Out of stock

poems by

Rich Furman

Poetry book, 70 pages, $12 cover price

ISBN: 978-1-59948-071-8

Released: 2007

Rich Furman, MSW, PhD, is associate professor and MSW coordinator in the Department of Social Work at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. His over 250 published poems have appeared in Hawai’i Review, Coe Review, The Evergreen Review, Black Bear Review, Red Rock Review, Sierra Nevada Review, New Hampshire Review, Penn Review, Free Lunch, Colere, Pearl, The Journal of Poetry Therapy, Impetus, Poetry Motel and others. His work has been described as “neither street nor beat nor meat nor academic, but an emotionally evocative mix of styles that can be brutally imagistic or powerfully terse.”

His most recent book is Practical Tips for Publishing Scholarly Articles (Lyceum Books). Future books address social work practice with at-risk men (Columbia University Press), and two edited volumes on social work practice with Latinos (Lyceum Books) and transnational social work practice (Columbia University Press). He has published over seventy academic articles on social work practice with Latinos, expression qualitative research, poetry therapy, friendship, social work theory, and other topics. Rich has two groovy children, a wonderful wife, and two very, very small dogs. He loves working out and tasting single malt scotch.

Rich Furman’s COMPANERO ranges wide in its attempt to reveal the intricate, obscure, and too often overlooked sphere of male friendships–from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Philadephia, Colorado, Latin America, and Nebraska. It’s not surprising that many of the encounters depicted in COMPANERO occur in bars. What is surprising is how heartrendingly human these men are, how deftly Furman handles the pain of friendships lost through betrayal, neglect, and death, and how tenderly he honors those friendships that have endured through sometimes impossible circumstances.”

Ladette Randolph,
author of This is Not the Tropics
Associate Director of University of Nebraska Press

If Only For A Moment

Do you remember lying fully dressed in your bed in that Japanese hotel in New York a few years ago? Writhing in mad laugher like brain diseased cows. Perhaps at our own stupidity. Or that of others. At our sadness that overtook us like legions. At the absurd things women have said to me during sex, inane things whispered in return. Perhaps about that time in high school; I pretended to be a radio disc jockey, booming corny voice and all, and a granted false limousine ride to that grim girl from math class. I remember always our laughter, holding off that Egyptian dark dullness of your depression, for moments fleeting like the blur of blue wind. Maybe we were seventeen, that one time I tried to kiss you. Why didn’t you close your eyes? Perhaps you knew, that if you locked them tight, your eyelashes pointing down like thin fingers towards your center, if you had let go, that we would have fallen in love. Perhaps, you knew you needed me never to see you, to know you, as a woman. But sitting here, imagining you having fallen again into that auburn void, that bottomless despair, I wished you would have shut your eyes, if only, but for, a moment.


Jack, why do you always apologize? When you are only two minutes late, when you watch a young ass wiggle out the door, when you don’t love a line or two in one of my poems? Jack, they often stink, ok? Maybe though, I too should learn to tread lightly on this budding chamomile sprouting through the city sidewalk. I can recall others on whom I treaded, needing to be right, ranting and philosophy. I learned it all from dead men Jack, dead men. You thank me for my time, always thank me for hanging out, for calling. I should learn from you, you seem to know how to cultivate the city weeds, this torrid plant growing in our shared path. Sometimes, I still am the young boy, angry about some broken tonka or a game lost. Forgive my silence, hard growing up, pushing forty towards the sky.

The Call

Not hearing from him since his heroin days in the Brooklyn loft where the lights stayed off until almost dinner, I sent a note to his mom’s asking if he were alive or what, and got no response and forgot as we do with most things of vital importance. Returned to walking the dogs, taking out the trash, work. Some days later the phone rang, his mom says she is sorry, he died a year ago today, a heroin overdose. Gripping his sketchpad tightly, they had to pry it out of his hands, along with a school application, ready to try life again. I hung up the phone, picked it up again to listen to the dial tone. Outside, a car tried to grip the ice and fails, as we all must finally do.

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