About Me

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Paso Robles, California, United States
Novelist, poet, songwriter, and journalist, I bring over four decades of experience to the written page. I just finished Mental Hygiene, a coming of age novel set in Fort Jackson, SC circa 1967-68.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Meteorolgy and Metaphysics - a poem

meteorology and metaphysics

it was partly cloudy for the crucifixion;
some say it stormed later,
but who would do that to their kid
on a holiday/

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Art of Never Leaving Well Enough Alone

OK, so the book is edited, queries out to agents, web site up, media kit finished, Facebook page filled up with new friends, and Scribd scribed.  Surely, that's enough already!  Nope, not for the terrier Timothy.

Being one who has an exceedingly rich inner life, there is always something unsaid or undone, with a multitude of twists and endings.  I always need a new toy,  something to add to the constant mix.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Memory Accompaniment

"How does it feel
How does it feel
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone ?"

     Like a Rolling Stone
     Bob Dylan

I was on the beach in Santa Monica.  Bikini babes, sun, and surf, were my world.  And then I heard "Like a Rolling Stone" on somebody's transistor radio.  I changed, and the memory of that song embedded itself in my brain.  Every time I heard it repeated, I would always remember exactly where I was and how I felt at that moment.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

MENTAL HYGIENE - Excerpt Chapter Seven


            As with most things, emotional edges fray with wear. Murphy kept his 
personal mending to himself, but epiphanies were coming between his self-
serving nature and his circumstances. The specter of maturity was beginning 
to get in the way of avoidance, and there seemed to be nothing he could do 
to stop it.  He could no longer ignore the person he was becoming, his 
conscious part in the scheme of things, the fact that he was now the very 
pawn he despised.  
            Those thoughts lay in his head as he shared a cheap motel bed with 
a fresh WAC. What was her name?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Another Poem from the European Trip

On My Birthday

on my birthday in 1945
the philadelphia record reported
that a dozen peach growers in new jersey
filed suit; blaming
the atom bomb for ruining
their crops/ that was the big headline;
the nuremberg nazi war criminal trial
began that day with less fanfare/
both events were far away
and not my fault/

Friday, October 8, 2010

The First of the Poems From European Trip

     Venice Vision

i capture a glimpse;
a snapshot of your crossing
the rialto bridge in september/
the shadow of you reversed
on the water;
the whisper of autumn
catching in your hair
like a frieze/

and venice,
the world's last stop
before a poem,
turns down the sheets;
you're gone
with the good light/

Sunday, September 12, 2010

MENTAL HYGIENE - a novel by Timothy Dean Martin (Chapter Two)


"So, I understand that you're from Los Angeles which means that Sergeant
Gonzales won’t like you."

"I'm very likeable, Major Green,” Murphy answered.

Major Bert Green, who arrived back from lunch before Sergeant Gonzalez,
immediately ushered Murphy into
his office and made him feel totally at ease. “Sergeant Gonzales can wait to
chew on you,” Green said as he sat down.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Deja Vu All Over Again - Mental Hygiene Musing

"Are you bitter?" a friend asked me.   I was escorting her and her husband home after a dinner party the other night.

"No, I’m guilty," I answered immediately.  We were discussing the reason for writing my new novel, Mental Hygiene.

Mental Hygiene is a coming of age story of Michael Murphy, a privileged twenty-year old Southern Californian, who has been drafted at the height of the Vietnam War.  His considerable manipulative skills aid him in avoiding the warfront, and land him at Fort Jackson, SC as a Psych Tech in the Mental Hygiene clinic.  Its subject matter is loosely based on my own experiences at the same time and place.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Mad Men & Me - the Shortest Success in Advertising

The other night on Mad Men Don Draper won a CLIO, the world’s most recognized global awards competition for advertising and design.
I should have been more impressed.  Draper out does me in almost every department, good and bad.  I couldn't be as good looking as he is if I had the guys from Nip/Tuck all over me.  But Don and I have one thing in common.  We both enjoyed success in the advertising business, although he did it for way more seasons.

Friday, August 27, 2010

MENTAL HYGIENE - a Novel by Timothy Dean Martin


"There must be some way out of here,
Said the joker to the thief..."

All Along the Watchtower
Bob Dylan 1968

Chapter One

The tailpipes of Michael Murphy’s ’65 red Mustang convertible played a backbeat to the rock and roll on the car radio as he waited at the main gate. It was a hot, sticky South Carolina March day, and he was stuck in yet another line. The long indoctrination in boot camp, and his ability to see the futility of pushing back, kept him from honking his horn.

He was owned, a draftee, an ill-trained Psychological Social Work Technician, undergraduate English major with just enough military training to be incompetent. As a Southern California upper middle class, handsome white boy with a particular gift of manipulating circumstances, Murphy held a clear idea of how lucky he was to be stationed in the land of magnolias and rednecks.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Veneer Freeze

ice lays on the field
like a threadbare sheet;
its marriage with the earth
running thin/ shadows
take a temporary stand
and testify to cold facts;
birds no longer on the wire
and smoke from the chimney
curling like a whip/

there is a wolf somewhere,
and you know it;
his howl is in your pillow/
but even here in the outside
dawn he closes on you/
having his attention will
not be enough,
and a veneer freeze
will not keep either of you
from your fill/

Friday, August 13, 2010


back when my mother used to say
my sainted aunt
without much thinking
about what it meant,
it was happily familiar/ before things
got different and strange
like someone else's sweater/

back before shared memory
and so many funerals/ before
i discovered that god was not
in the details,
i had a loose smile,
used like a wreath/

i don't do much
of what i did;
i have no aunts left/
i write family histories
in obscure rhymes
about how the saints
are unrelated/

Sunday, August 8, 2010


the trouble with reminiscing
is that i know
how it ended up/

when it
happened the magic
was in the now (like in
this now) and in
rumination i remember
the rest of it/ i guess
one can’t remember just part
of a thing without
everything else in its
afterward changing it/

memories aren’t a still life,
like snapshots
of memories/
afterward is memory’s

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


This poem of mine from my past reminds me of today....

what it’s like

lines change like shadows,
short and sweet or longer
than they ought to last/
the slicing and pasting
and not quite gripping,
worn down to what’s left;
cold coffee and metered resignation/

this is what it’s like,
like it or not/ a dozen lost relatives
standing at a bus stop
and suddenly realizing they are going
to the same place/

when i got there,
where I was
yelled you’re at the wrong
place/ house/ page/ moment/ conclusion
and everybody else knows/ but being
used to having the last word,
i edited the line
and had everyone captured
in my place/ house/ page/ moment/
with my conclusion/

Saturday, July 10, 2010

poem from Flinch

I came across this poem of mine today and thought I'd share it.

forever & always

there are words
too big; we live them
without speaking out loud/
they fit tight like bands
to fingers,
they hold together
against gravity/
making smooth spots
under their meanings;
leaving marks when they
are taken away/

and so we wear them;
around our heartbeats,
and in love’s
whispering eyes/

forever and always/

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dinner Party - a short story by Tim Martin

Dinner Party
By Tim Martin

Her house, perched on a central coast California hillside, had always and only resided in his head.  Yet there it was, a three dimensional understatement, with him the exclamation point on the curb outside.  The wind orchestrated the waves below, and he hummed a song from way back when to cover his nervousness.
     Tom wouldn’t even be there, shouldn’t would probably be a better word, if it wasn’t for that lunch with Kate.  Kate had told him that Liz’s husband had Alzheimer’s, and that it would be a good idea to check in on the two of them.  At least that’s the way Kate put it.  She was good for that, starting shit up and then taking a front row seat.  After all, what are friends for?
     Anyway, it didn’t surprise Kate or Tom that he grabbed the crumb leading him to Liz’s door, planting him in the wind above the surf, and filling his vision with a life that should have been his.  His, except for the truth that he fucked that life up twenty-five years ago with a lot of booze, drugs, and irresponsibility.  His, except he was the one out in front of the house instead of in it.  He rang the bell.  The door opened and there she always was.  
A page turned back, and they didn’t speak until it became uncomfortable.  She took his hand first, then they hugged like old lovers must, and she said something that he would never be able to remember because he was lost in the touch of her.
“Hello, Tom,” interrupted her husband Gene, who had appeared behind her like a shadow in the foyer.  Again, the touching of hands, but this time it felt like a Sunday morning greeting outside the church; like a careful choice.  It psychically marked the first time during that visit that Tom wondered what kind of person he’d grown up to be.
The three of them sat in the living room, smiling.  He’d been shown the house, sans the master bedroom.  The main living area had French doors leading out to a deck, and then out past the Pacific to the crouched edge of the earth.  On a lower level were Gene’s art studio, chaos in color, and a guest bedroom where Tom assumed he’d never be invited to sleep. 
Tom sat facing a fireplace, his back to infinity.  Liz was sitting on the sofa, and Gene alternated between sitting too close to her and pacing an area rug in the middle of the room.  They were trying to seem comfortable.
“Liz couldn’t believe it when you called, Tom,” Gene said, rising from the couch, beginning to pace.  “She actually cried a bit.  Right, my dear?”
She nodded, paused, and answered, “It’s just been a long time since we heard from Tom, Gene.  I was touched by his call.” 
Turning to Tom, she said, “It must be at least ten years since we’ve spoken, Tom.  I think it was 1998, right before your wedding. What have you been up to?” 
Tom imagined her continuing with, “I missed you so fucking much I thought I’d die.”  That didn’t happen.
“I sold out to my business partner five years ago at fifty, and I’m writing full time,” he answered casually.  In fact, he hadn’t written a word in over three years.  “I had lunch with Kate the other day, and she suggested I call you.  I thought it would be nice to come up to Aurora for a weekend away.”  There, he’d said practically nothing.
“Did you bring your wife along,” Liz asked, in an equally casual manner.  “Where are you staying?”
“My wife and I divorced last year, and I’m staying at the Aurora Pines Lodge,” he answered, and began to feel defensive.  “I think it was you, at least according to Kate, who said that it would never last.  I wish you’d told me.  It would have saved a lot of wasted time and money,” Tom continued, giving it one of his best sarcastic smiles.
“I would have never said that, Tom.  I’ve only ever wished you the very best.  You know Kate.  She’s always editorializing for me,” Liz replied, things taking a very wrong turn.
At that precise moment Gene stopped in the middle of the room, turned toward Tom, and stuck his right hand out, saying, “Hi, I’m Gene and this is my wife Liz.  And you are?
“Tom; how about a drink, Gene?” he replied.  With that they broke out the scotch.
Over the next couple of hours and three scotches, Tom revealed that he was hard at work on a novel, had been socializing like a thirty year old, and had never been happier.  It was all lies.  Liz listened with a smile on her face, and seemed to be glad for his company.  It was enough.  Gene, on the other hand, was fixated between asking Tom’s name repeatedly and staring out the window at the ocean with a frown on his face.
By late afternoon Tom began to run out of lies and knew it was time to go or beg Liz to leave with him.  “I had better get back to the hotel,” he said, as if there was any reason at all.
“We are going to a dinner party at a close friend’s house this evening, and you are invited if you’d like to join us,” she said.  “It would give us a chance to show you off.”
He was willing to do anything not to say goodbye, even lie to strangers, so he accepted.  They agreed to meet back at the house and go together.  “You can drive,” Liz added.
“No, I’ll drive,” blurted Gene.  
They both stared at Gene for a moment, and then she said, “Let Tom drive this time, Gene. I’m sure he has a new car to show off.”
“Gene no longer drives,” she whispered to Tom at the door.  They hugged goodbye and he walked back to the car alone.
“Hi Janie,” she said softly through the bedroom phone.
“Hi Liz.  What’s up?  Are you going to be on time?”
“Yes, no problem.  I do have a big favor to ask, though.”
“Sure, anything for you.”
“We’ve got an unexpected guest who showed up from LA, and I’d like to bring him along tonight if it’s not a big imposition.” 
Liz knew that Janie wouldn’t turn her down.  She hadn’t wanted to ask in advance in case Tom said no thanks, or more unlikely, if it didn’t seem to be a good idea.  That would be too difficult to explain to the overly curious Janie.
“So who is your mystery guest?” Janie asked.
“An old friend of mine from many years ago,” Liz answered, trying to say as little as Janie would let her.
“Oh, I can’t wait,” Janie answered, chuckling.  “Is he good looking?”
“Yes, as good looking as the two of us are married.”
“That good, huh?  Bring him on, girlfriend.”  They were both smiling when they hung up.
Tom lay on his hotel room bed staring into his past and future.  Part of him wanted to jump in his BMW convertible and roar south as fast as he’d run from most things in life.  The other part wanted to take advantage of the fate that seemed to be placed at his feet. 
He’d never truly been happy since he and Liz broke up so many wasted years ago.  He might have a chance at that happiness again, but she was so hard to read.  He knew it was impossible to live in the past but the present and future required trust, something that he’d learned to live quite well without.  His walls kept him outside that house on the edge of the Pacific and the horizon beyond.
Normally, the dinner party he had been invited to would be no problem. He was very capable of being charming, light, and witty.  How he would somehow avoid staring  at the object of his wants and desires, however, could be difficult.  Twenty-five years had not taken away the youthful beauty he saw in the doorway that afternoon, and all of the accompanying memories had rushed back as if they were yesterday.  The problem would be how not to be a fool in front of her friends and husband.  Not that the husband would notice, or at least remember later, he mused.
He denied himself any of the wine that he’d bought on the way up from LA and took a long shower.  Donning a turtleneck, jeans, and a blazer he was ready or not.
Janie and Ron Garnet’s house clung to the pine-crested hillside, daring gravity to upset the fantasy design.  A slice of wrap-around windows bordered by cedar trim created a crow’s nest to gaze down on Aurora’s less impressive homes.  It reminded Tom of houses he’d been to in the Hollywood hills, homes that defined their occupants.
Janie and Ron turned out to be accessible and warm, greeting him like an old friend and introducing him to the other guests who were clumped around the comfortable living space.  Tom, who was not adept at remembering names, paid close attention.
“Tom, this is Franco, a long time friend of ours from Bakersfield.  He’s a poet and retired professor from Bakersfield College.  Ron and he worked together for many years,” Janie chirped.
“Hi, Tom Marshall,” Tom said cheerily. “Nice to meet you.” Nothing but a nod from Franco the poet, who turned back to his never introduced lady friend dressed in a black jersey dress with no accessories.  On to the next torture, Tom thought.
Another group of four stood by a side terrace door drinking wine and arguing the merits of letting the deer run free throughout Aurora.  They paused as Janie led Tom by the hand, joining them.
“Guys,” there were two men and two women, “Say hi to Tom.  He’s an old pal of Liz’s from LA.”
One of the couples, smartly dressed, looked Tom up and down and wanted to say something derisive about Los Angeles, but they were too well mannered for rigorous honesty. “We’re the Taylors,” they said simultaneously, followed individually by, “Randy and Ann.” 
The other couple whom Tom found out later were Leif and Hilda Rassmussen, just stared and grinned.  Loaded, thought Tom, and knew why they were by the side terrace door, all the better to slip out for a toke.
Liz and Gene were across the room chatting with Ron. Tom, wanting to take advantage of every opportunity to gaze at Liz up close, worked his way in their direction, noticing that everybody was pretty much following his every move.  He changed course and asked Janie for a glass of white wine.
“How rude of me,” she exclaimed.  “You must think we’re a bunch of barbarians!”  She poured an Italian water glass up to the rim, and Tom had to take a gulp before he could move.
“Liz bought sets of these glasses for everyone when Gene started spilling and breaking regular wine glasses regularly,” Janie explained.  “It’s worked out pretty well so far.  Cheers!”
In the meantime, Liz had disappeared so there was no logical place for him to go except back to Gene, who was staring at him strangely from a distance.  Tom took a chance that Gene would remember him, but no such luck.  This time, however, no introductions were made.
“So what do you think of our fair town, sir?” Gene asked.  “Does it meet you standards?  Maybe you can settle here in…………in………” 
“I think it’s just fine,” Tom answered.  “I think it might be an adjustment to live in a small town, though.”
“Nonsense!  There are plenty of people here,” Gene answered.  “There are so many that I can’t remember all of them!”
A joke, inside Alzheimer humor, wondered Tom. 
Gene winked, and then said, “Come on Tom,” let’s shake things up a little before I lose my sense of playfulness.  Who are those people over there by the terrace door?”
“Leif and Hilda and Randy and Ann,” Tom replied correctly.
“Watch this.  Follow me,” Gene advised.  They crossed the room briskly.
“What are you doing in my house?” Gene asked firmly as he approached the group.  “Get the fuck out of my house before I call the cops.”
The word “cops” pushed Leif’s paranoia button and he backed against the terrace door, ready to flee outside.  The rest of the group stood transfixed.
Gene broke into roars of laughter.  “I’m only kidding, folks.  I know who you are, Leif and Ann and……… whatever!  You’re welcome in my house.  My wife is here somewhere.  Honey!  My dear, get these folks some drinks!  What kind of hosts are we?”
Liz appeared from the hallway and rushed over to Gene saying, “Yes, my dear.  Drinks all round.”
“Dinner is served,” warbled Janie from the kitchen.
All eleven fit nicely at the black sleek dining table made of some unidentifiable petroleum product; five on a side and Ron at the head, men on one side and women on the other.  “It helps to avoid the cross talk,” said a somber Franco, the poet.
Liz sat directly across from Tom.  He was hoping for side-by-side seating so they could talk semi-privately but such was not the case.  Gene, on the other side of Franco, attempted a toast.
“Welcome to our redecorated home.  I’m hoping to get to know all of you by first name by the end of the evening,” he said smiling, and then drifted off as everyone lifted his or her glass.
Tom caught Liz staring at him wistfully and she mouthed, thank you.  He smiled back at her and blew her a kiss, and then caught Janie capturing the moment with her eagle eye.  He quickly turned to Franco.
“So Franco, have you written anything lately?  Being a poet is a full time job, you know,” he commented, since it was all he could think of to say at the moment.
Franco grimaced and answered, “Poems are not on a time clock.  They wait to come out when they are ready and society cannot set the time it will happen.”
“So that means, not lately, right?” Tom asked.  He was already tired of Franco.
“Ron, who had been eavesdropping, laughed and said, “Franco, Tom’s a writer too from what I hear.  What’s on your plate, my boy?” he asked.  The entire table of diners seemed to turn its attention to waiting for Tom’s answer.
“I’m currently writing a novel.  Unlike poems, novels come out whether society is ready for them or not.  Otherwise editors and publishers would have nothing to ignore or denigrate,” Tom answered.
Nothing, not a sound came from anyone.  Finally Liz spoke up.  “What’s the novel about, Tom?”
Before he could stop himself, he answered, “Missed chances.”
More silence abounded, and way more staring.  “Or maybe it’s about life on the edge and social grace,” he added, at which point Gene let out with a belly laugh.
“Sounds like a hell of a plot,” Gene said.  “I’ll drink to that!” 
The spell was broken and everyone went back to his or her previous prey, Liz turning to Franco’s date and asking where she bought her black dress.  She left out a perfectly divine mortuary joke as a matter of taste and good manners.
The main course was Mexican fusion that tasted Asian to Tom.  Compliments came from all, and Janie cooed her appreciation.  Leif ate his portion and had another, saying little, giggling and pointing out that he had a serious case of the munchies.
The Taylors picked at their plates and nibbled on each others’ neck, which was definitely a strange time or place to do so.  They seemed to be oblivious, as Liz darted her eyes back and forth from them to Tom.  She asked for another glass of wine.
After the meal and a cup of sherbet each, Janie announce that an old song, Paper Moon, had been running through her head, but she couldn’t for the life of her remember the lyrics.  That caused a mad dash by Ron to the Internet to look up and print several copies.
“I think that’s a great segue into the entertainment portion of the evening,” he announced, handing a copy of the printed lyrics to each of the women.  “All men retire to the living room.  Our damsels are about to serenade us,” he said.
All settled, the five women stood in a line and began to sing:
Say, it's only a paper moon 
Sailing over a cardboard sea 
But it wouldn't be make-believe 
If you believed in me 
Yes, it's only a canvas sky 
Hanging over a muslin tree 
But it wouldn't be make-believe 
If you believed in me 
Without your love 
It's a honky-tonk parade 
Without your love 
It's a melody played in a penny arcade 
It's a Barnum and Bailey world 
Just as phony as it can be 
But it wouldn't be make-believe 
If you believed in me 

It was cute; it was borderline darling, in fact.  And truer than anyone else but Liz and he knew, thought Tom.  Her eyes never left his throughout the entire song, or was he just imagining that?
Gene asked, “What was the name of that song again?”  No one laughed.
There was much left unsaid and no one saying it on the way back to Liz and Gene’s house.  Tom knew he wouldn’t be invited in, and the start of the rest of his life was slipping away in the shadows of propriety.
“Thank you for coming and for putting up with the dinner party, Tom,” Liz said as she stood in the darkness outside her house, Gene’s protective arm around her.  “I hope we’ll see you again soon.”
“Actually, I thought I’d drop by in the morning to say a proper goodbye,” Tom answered, grasping at any chance.
“Good idea, Tom,” Gene piped in.  “Maybe we can all take a walk on the ranch down by the ocean if it’s nice out.  How about ten o’clock”
“Sure, Gene.  That sounds like a swell idea,” Tom answered.  “What do you think, Liz?”
“That would be nice,” she answered softly. “Goodnight, Tom.”  With that, she gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and walked away leaving the two men standing there in silence.
After a restless night’s sleep full of dreams of Liz, Tom woke at dawn, ate an early breakfast in the coffee shop, and waited.  Looking out the hotel lobby front window at the pines he wondered if he could live here. 
Foolish thinking.  There was no reason to live in Aurora except to be with Liz. Gene was ill but didn’t look like he was going anywhere soon.  Yet, eventually he would be gone.  How long, he wondered, and then caught himself wishing it would be soon.  You are a cruel and selfish cad, he thought.
At ten sharp, Tom was at Liz’s front door.  She answered, slipped through, and closed it after her, motioning him to follow her as she walked out on the street.
They walked silently for half a block before she spoke, “Gene’s having kind of a rough morning.  I decided that a walk by the beach is not a good idea for him, and he reluctantly agreed.”
“Good. I mean, whatever you think is best,” stammered Tom.
They walked quietly awhile downhill until she finally asked, “So, honestly Tom, how did you like the dinner party?  That’s about as good as it gets in Aurora, unfortunately.”
“It was fun, unique people actually,” he answered.
“In other words, you hated it,” she fired back.
He stopped, turning to her.  “I loved being in your company, Liz.  That’s how I liked the dinner party.  Ok?”
“Ok,” she answered simply with a half smile and walked on.
They reached the ranch gate and followed the path on the other side.  She explained to him that the ranch had been donated to the town for everybody’s use and the trail was maintained by the townspeople.  It was a powerful site to behold; tall grass whipping in the wind, stands of pines to the east, roaring surf to the west, and the two of them stuck in the middle.  They were totally alone.
Liz walked along in front of him for a few minutes and then suddenly turned with a grin on her face.
“You know, that bit about Janie thinking of the song Paper Moon was a set-up by me.  I wanted to have that  specific song performed last night,” she said.
“Unfortunately, no one knew the introduction to the song.  That was the part I especially wanted to be heard.”
Tom looked confused.  “I don’t know the intro,” he said.
“It goes like this,” she answered.    
“I never feel a thing is real 
When I'm away from you 
Out of your embrace 
The world's a temporary parking place”  
“Nice,” he murmured.
“True,” she answered, and continued on the trail.
“So what is the prognosis on Gene,” he asked, and saw her back stiffen.
She walked on and spoke.  “Gene has maybe a month or two until he’ll have to go into a facility.  He’s been on a downhill slide for some time and eventually will be too
Hard for me to handle at home.”  She turned and asked, ”Why do you want to know, Tom?  It’s not your problem.”
“I was just concerned that………” he started.
“Concerned about what?  Are you just curious?”  She was trembling and tears appeared on the edges of her eyes.
“He’s not too far gone to be jealous, if that’s what you’d like to know.  He tried last night to make love to me and it was pitiful.  We don’t even sleep together anymore, Tom.  Is that what you want to know?” she yelled, and turned away.
“Wait!” he called out.  She was just a few steps away, and turned back sobbing.
“I can’t think of anything else but being with you,” he said.  “I never want to let you go again.  I’m sorry, but that’s the simple truth, and it doesn’t matter to me who knows or cares.”
Tears streaming down her face, she replied, “Good, because I was going to have to throw myself off a cliff into the ocean if you didn’t tell me that.”
Neither could recall how they ended up in each other’s arms, kissing.  It didn’t matter to either one of them who made the first move.  Passion defeated propriety and the infinite horizon applauded.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Two Cutting Edge Views

My friend Nelson e-mailed me last night and included a poem that his daughter had written recently.  It was not only a wonderful poem, it reminded me of a poem that I wrote a few years ago with a similar subject.  I've included them both:

"IN "
by Kathleen Sartoris

The edged knife
permanently lodged

Perfect posture
and forward motion,
slows feelings
minimizes pain

Blinders off
daily armor off
vulnerable openness
fetal position,
it cuts through channels
vital for worldly survival

confronting and truth exposing
writhing compulsive movement
internal agitative terror,
it then pierces the soul - indiscriminate

pain with no palliation

serrated knife
    by Tim Martin

a serrated knife cuts best
for things well done/ you chew up
the results; the flavor goes
away/ you don’t care so much,
the next bite is the tastiest/

a serrated knife cuts best
when you need
to separate meat from bone/
you excise the bad part,
making sure
of a sliced clean plate/

a serrated knife cuts best
and after all,
tools are what separates
us from the other animals;
not to say
that there is no beast left over/

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"There must be some way outta here, said the joker to the thief."

"There must be some way outta here,
Said the joker to the thief."

      All Along the Watchtower
     Bob Dylan

With the above quotation running through my head, I began writing the novel, Mental Hygiene two and a half years ago. It became the theme of the book.  Welcome to Write Running, my blog away from story lines  Future posts will include excerpts from Mental Hygiene as well as poems and ruminations.

Mental Hygiene is the first novel in a trilogy, the coming of age tale of Michael Murphy. Murphy, an intelligent, manipulative, and self-centered twenty year old caught in the draft at the height of the Vietnam War and stationed at the Mental Hygiene Clinic, Fort Jackson, SC as a Psychological Social Work Tech, becomes caught in the web of mental health, military-style. Against a backdrop of eccentric co-workers and unforgettable patients, Murphy navigates his way through a world he'd never considered.

The historical events of 1967-68; assassinations, race riots, and the emergence of the anti-war movement in the military, all play a supporting role in Murphy's story, all defining the sad truth that nobody gets away unscathed.