Hollow Tin Jingles


poems by

Fred Rosenblum

ISBN: 978-1-59948-447-1, 80 pages, $14 cover price

($12 if ordered from the MSR Online Bookstore)

Release date: February 18, 2014.


FRosenblum_PxFred Rosenblum was born in St. Louis, MO and grew up in San Diego, CA where he enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1967; and where, by no coincidence, resides today with his wife of forty years.  In addition to obtaining a four year business degree from the University of Alaska, Anchorage in 1980, Fred sold firewood and delivered the US Mail for a combined quarter of a century.  He and his wife, after raising two children in Anchorage, moved to rural Northwest Washington State in 1998 and retired there on twenty, heavily-forested, acres teeming with wildlife.  Fred found writing and gardening to be good medicine for treating his demons; and the country life, in general … intrinsically tranquilizing.  Family and health issues brought Fred back to San Diego where he and his wife are currently enjoying a pleasantly, therapeutic existence “in the warm California sun.”

I met Fred Rosenblum many years ago when he was beginning the long journey that has led to these powerful poems about his time in Vietnam. Fred has somehow found the appropriate language, raw and searing, to convey his experience in a place that has long ago faded from our rearview mirror. These poems may be set in Vietnam but they are timeless and universal 

Tom Sexton, former poet laureate of Alaska


Rich with stunning imagery, rampant with irresistible language, Rosenblum’s poems are strong enough to rank him with such key American soldier-poets as Yusef Komunyakaa and Brian Turner 

Jim Bertolino, author of Every Wound Has a Rhythm


… so strong, so moving, so psychologically insightful about the madness and inhumanity of war 

Ralph Thompson, whose latest collection is entitled Taking Words for a Walk, Peepal Tree Press, UK


I don’t remember the last time I was so moved by poems about our war. Many of these sent me back to the field in ways I didn’t think were possible … I could feel them deep in my body at times, and I cringed more than once from the familiarity of their terror 

Bruce Weigl, author of Song of Napalm



two months prior to my enlistment in the Marines
my brother Wally and me
dropped two hits of Owsley White Lightening
in a run-down Victorian two-story
on Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley California

a naked junky lived upstairs

I was fresh out of high school
and confused with the script
of a satirical deity
who would manipulate his characters
from The Summer of Love
to The Eve of Destruction

In ‘67
The Beatles were recruiting
for Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

I was eighteen
romantic anxious
pull-up-push-up master
Devil Dog student
of killer technology

one of our instructors
a certified sadist
named me maggot and lady
punched me in the face
with a Korean War fist

he hazed and tortured
our entire platoon
of skin-headed recruits

for something as trivial
as an imaginary fart in the chow line
he had a nose for the punitive
a necessary trait
to the ruthless
ten week curriculum we’d endure

In ‘67
Cinderella Liberty
was the sum of a formula
for hard-asses
milling around California seaside
Greyhound whitewall temples

pulsing chewing
restless smoking
square jaws torquing

we shouldered chips
on Friday nights
ached for fist fights
at the back…of the
green bus

and couldn’t hit the side of a flipping barn

all fated for a little more rehearsal

prior to the total betrayal
of our ethereal
nineteen fifties corn-fed sermonized ethos.


for Terry Boot Rat Taylor


at first
you’re cranked-up
ripe and anxious
to roll around in the mud
and fire on the enemy
for America
but later
when you hit the shit
you learn who you really are

it was the day
I got my name

we’d dug into a hill
with entrenching tools
caught concussion
on our way
to the core of absolution

carotid arteries pumped jets
into the shock
on our commander’s face
Groundhog lost his right testicle

Big Foot and I played pick-up sticks
with dried twigs

between the whistling of projectiles
during the intermission
of a ferocious barrage
that had us craving displacement
like two kids
on the living room rug of the war

I dug a pit
for our gun to sit
and waited for my firing mission

I was the A-gunner of our team
but Gator was wrapped in fear
so I leveled the bubbles
while Big Foot dropped rounds
into the tube
Nagoolian returned fire
a fine metallic
peppercorn pellet
smoldered in the lunchmeat of my forearm
… a razor flake
sizzled in my wrist

neither merited medevac
nor a comforting stay
in Cam Ranh Bay
where rumors
had round-eyed nurses
pleasuring heart-sick lads

later that day
when the blood had dried into the hills
and the natives
returned to their mysterious jungle

I was Spunky
a flattering
albeit ambiguous moniker
befitting me more perhaps
for my propensity
for masturbating
on my watch at night
in order to stay awake




where evacuation
from gut-shot
flesh-torn fields
of thousand yard stares
permeate dimension
and bare essential

where we discover
the rain-to-red
on canvass abscess

take pilgrimage
from abdomens open-with-rope delirium
and the same blood
same mud
marijuana captivity

where out of Cam Ranh Bay
and into the R & R
antipodean Sydney
side walking piss cutter
& ditty bag paranoia

we pub-crawl
all the way to Bondi
khakis covering stitched-up trunks

into the infamous quagmire
bloods do their dapping
and ensembles from the soul

…colloquial assertions on the hamma
and figurative insertions to the ho

where thin occidental barbarians
in rain-soaked narcoses
pop their big orange pills

SKU: 978-1-59948-447-1 Category: Tag: