Jul 29

Paleolithic Bone Hut: A review of Tim Murray’s chapbook “Dinosaur Ditch” by Frankie Metro

It’s not going to do you any good by questioning the reasoning for a blue wooly mammoth on the cover of Dinosaur Ditch (Tim Murray CFDL Press 2012).

A hand- made, screen- print, card-stock saddle-stitch, this book exemplifies the spirit of DIY publishing; igniting the same excitement an avid reader found in the days of the mimeograph… the ages of Micheline and Levy.

Part 1

is an introduction to the American Black Heart i.e. Northwest Indiana. Tim’s perception of his birth rite is a place riddled with smoke stacks, pollution and an almost unredeemable, thus unapologetic, existence.

Thru blind birth luck
I live in Indiana
Frozen crossroads of the American conundrum
Under the legalized gusts
Of steel mill exhausts
Where the mercury-laced waters
Of Lake Michigan lap in the north

However, in the same state of affairs are traditional family relics and boyhood candor.

Where boys spend summers pissing from trees
In Dinosaur Ditch
Where grandma’s iron kitchen skillet
Fist received its golden commandment from heaven

The key transitional points of the poem are located in the vinyl coated, mechanized blood of factory workers, fathers with balled fists and:

Where summers lasts for two hours in July
Then returns to comforting gray chilled skies
Where Tina was snuffed out at 19
Stabbed and discarded like a sack of trash
Still no suspects in sight

The Perils of Language

explains (through a trilogy of arrant and brazen metaphors) how so much of basic communication is lost in modern language.

Sometimes language gets in the way of
relaying a particular image thru ink
to page
and it is a real drag because
I end up saying something like…
Tin can zombie
when what I really mean is…
Your milky skin
In the early morning

I particularly enjoyed the guest appearances of both Geddy Lee and Kamala within the poem. Rush has always been a guilty pleasure of mine, and when I see T/M’s speculation on The Spirit of Radio:

Like when Geddy Lee sings…
Digital airwaves crackle with life
when you sense his true observation
is something along the lines of…
My life has absolutely no significance
And I could better serve humanity by returning to
Ontario and finding work in a paint factory

I don’t feel as bad by not owning up to my admiration… before now.

Pages 6-8 show T/M’s own conflicted admirations for pop culture icons, and considering the magnanimous presence he exudes (both on page and in person) I think it’s safe to say Tim Murray is an iconoclast in the making.

If I gotta read biography
I wanna read the last chapter
Last moments in the life of the immortal images of pop culture
The paunchy slouched version of
James Douglas Morrison
Tearing tab from beer can
w/suds streaming through tangled beard
(wounded child clown angel perhaps)

A Unicycle Built for Two

is a map of domestic booby traps, fail- safes, shattered vanity mirrors and no more misconceptions.

We all know that a private corner
Devoid of all human interaction is completely
Necessary and therefore impossible
Yeah having time to live with the person
Who gives your tummy a tingle and your
Butterflies a stir
Is surely a curse
Because we soon find out the truth about steamy Hollywood
Shower scenes
At the very best they are a hilarious joke
In theory they sound as good as ice cream for dinner
In practice your partner always hogs the side with the
Warm water leaving you shivering with your back against
The frigid tile wall
Then there’s the toenail clippings in the living room
And the rough way your partner handles your records
On the turntable

Page 12’s continuation is a very, very, very (familiar) common discussion, which frightened me on 2 levels:

A) Does T/M have an invisible x-ray telescope with built- in video/audio recording equipment that can see and hear from great distances- interactions between monogamous couples, even in the sanctity of their filthy bathrooms.

I can’t find the car keys!
Uh…well I obviously don’t have ‘em.
Where did you last see them?
In the front door lock.
When was that?
(grunt) Last night when I came home.
Oh great…so you left the fucking keys in the door all night…again?

B) There are more couples besides my wife and myself that have similar conversations?

(longer grunt) Uh…I…uh…guess…there’s a strong possibility…yes.
If they’ve been in the door all night I’m gonna kill you!
(lighter grunt)…

Finally, the title poem suggests that such minor inconveniences only serve as learning tools for ultimate/simplistic appreciation; the minor infractions are forgotten over time, and dancing through schoolyard tornadoes, crashing into walls of disappointment, fleeing the scene during appropriate/inappropriate times- leaves you with memories of all the last times.

then one afternoon my younger brother called to say
D.C. was gone
and I heard how he’d been home for a stretch
before the army decided to redeploy him to Iraq
and they sent him down to Missouri for
some training maneuvers
and it was in the Missouri woods
that a couple of ticks decided to hitch a ride on his bare
skin and D.C. fell ill
and within a few hours he made the great departure
and they say it was rocky mountain spotted fever
or Lyme disease or perhaps a combination of both
the only thing certain is that D.C. is gone
and he left behind a son as young as we once were
and that spilled forth the realization of my own certain mortality
flooded with the memories I’ve related in this pome
and I remember the last time I spoke to D.C.
circa 1994
he sat in front of me in Mr. Krieger’s health class
and one day D.C. was sleeping at his desk as papers were being
passed and
I nudged him and said
take one pass ‘em on
and without saying a word he raised his head
took the papers from my hand
passed them forward
and returned to his school day nap

(if you would like to purchase or read more about Dinosaur Ditch, please visit Citizens for Decent Literature Press)