About Me

My photo
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.

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