Friday, December 11, 2015

Diversion - George Murray (ECW Press)

Today's book of poetry:
Diversion.  George Murray.  ECW Press.  Toronto, Ontario.  2015.

Diversion - ECW Press

George Murray has a very eloquent chip on his formidable shoulders.  Let's call these raucous rants the shot across the bow for the real rebellion.  Murray jumps on the gas with his foot to the floor from the first line of this opus and he never lets up.  Full speed through to the last page, out through the back cover and blasting into your head as though slammed there by collision.


Come all you haters and see what I have wrought.
Our primary role as teachers is to demonstrate how to best waste time.
I survived Seamus Heaney and all I got was this lousy career.
Monuments are built daily to distraction.
The terms rescuers and salvagers are mostly interchangeable.
Before the sun has risen it is just a bright hill.
Only 24 men have walked on the moon and/or behind Jesus.
Crack the spine of The Gutenberg Bubble.
Statistically speaking there has to be a secret door around here somewhere.
Moses flicked his cigarette into the dead bush.
Plan your strategic withdrawal from wishing everyone a happy fucking birthday.
You have 73 important updates waiting.
A more likely zombie apocalypse would be a horde of abandoned buildings.
What we call the sociopaths among us is neighbours.
The number of Aboriginal women missing from this line is difficult to estimate.
Heaven don't want him and Hell's afraid he'll go to Columbine.
Poets are the unacknowledged escalators of the world.
We all see dead people now.
The subtitles have been subtly lying to us for years.
Sleeper cells awaken and begin plotting in your spreadsheets.
Ennui is an alert that pops us to tell you there are currently no alerts.
The Illuminati left their lights on again.
Bombs strapped to our babies in their dear little TNT onesies.
A Room of One's Pwn.
If I had it to do all over again it would be a cookbook.
Simply breathing is moving forward.
Every breast exposed in the Sistine Chapel is a new big bang.
xx is right next to cc.
The emperor of YKK pulls himself together.
Look into the dead shark eyes of our leader.
You are what you contract.
Violence has an exchange rate against the price of oil.
I heard about him but I never dreamed he'd have blue eyes and blue jeans.
Truly elegant equations deserve cartouches.
Naked old men in flip-flops roam the change room with their hanging tits and balls.
Religion is like sucking in your gut while standing on the scale.
Glitter arcs from the TV remote.
There's been a sudden spike in the number of lives ended on knees in front of a SWAT unit.
I want to die with my boots on or at least my slippers.
Hitler's ghost slow claps in the silence men call Hell.


Reading George Murray's Diversion makes me feel sorry for almost every other poet out there.  You could build a rock solid poem out of almost every single line in this book.  Most of us are digging rocks, Murray is mining diamonds.

It's like watching Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier create such beautiful carnage.  These poems aren't amateur swats, these are professional punches and they will take the wind right out of you.  Make no mistake, George Murray isn't the least bit interested in taking prisoners.


In Xanadu did Newton-John a freaky pleather-dome decree.
Heaven fills up with dogs and lesser popes.
Cut in half a circle of fifths to make a chromatic rainbow.
Meteors tangent the planet and skip their cataclysms back into space.
Police say the victim and assailant were known to one another.
The genocide expert's accent is too thick to understand but there isn't time anyways.
Rome wasn't spilt in a day.
An ambulance sits outside the cathedral on Good Friday.
He speaks as though he has a pimple on his tongue.
Birds ghosts only walk.
Rock and roll is using a guitar pick to scratch your lottery tickets.
Gendarmes round up gendarme-costumed actors on a porno set.
Danish albums arrive in the mail again.
Hoodie strings hang like an idiot's garrote.
You have to take the sample mid-stream for this one.
Skin is a kind of armour.
All the news fit to print comes in flyer form now.
Splinters chip from every wooden eye.
A million lights dancing slightly out of sync is just called light.
Coronal mass ejaculation.
There's nostalgia in realizing that now is the only possibility.
A one-size-fits -all crown.
Murderers are one-person riots.
Tsks from a cranky old lady are the chick-chick-chicks of life's hi-hat.
Monks chant harmonies for girl choirs.
Santa's knowledge of your sleeping habits isn't creepy or legal.
The last good band name caused a brawl among dirty musicians.
Keep some confidence as your shield and make the rest your sword.
This is as sexy as 41 can be.
All the psychopaths starts to bioluminesce.
The equator's tracksuit waistband cinches tighter.
Since the advent of robot handjobs in Japan we don't even need ourselves anymore.
These kids today have solid selfie-esteem.
I can't keep up with which aspects of my life I should be ashamed of.
Do miles fall just behind you or other directions as well?
The circle of life touches a line of inquiry.
Wipers push away the snow even as the motor burns out.
Aiming piss directly at shit stains on the porcelain is not a public service.
This woman's pigeon-growling stomach just warbled a bar of "Ave Maria."
Hey you with the sad eyes.


This morning, at today's reading, people were screaming in line.  Milo surpassed himself with three or four excellent kicks at the can, Kathryn let us see yet another side of her very together Sybillian self.  They raised the roof.

And why not?  This is incendiary stuff.  Today's book of poetry enjoyed this danger/unexploded bomb of a book, this encyclopedia of charm and nasty virility as much as anything I've read since Buk bit the dust.  Bless Charles Bukowski and never take his name in vain.

Don't get me wrong, there is no comparison to be made between Murray and Bukowski.  Both are great in my house but they are different drinks entirely.  I just wanted you to know how much I liked this one.

Diversion is quite simply riveting.

You should always try reading poems aloud, it gives them a different life and you, the reader, a better feel for the meat of it, the weight of the poem.  And you should especially read George Murray's Diversion out loud, loudly.


Be strong and discreet in how you end things.
Enter every room and immediately scout out the emergency exists.
Our tiny reflective robots sprinkle infections over planets we hope to one day shit on.
The most prevalent disability is thought/no thought (circle one).
It's increasingly difficult to not offer a direct assessment.
Lenticular clouds hover as though picking a spot to start their counterstrike.
Every point is terminal in infinity.
Paying dues to people more privileged than you is called culture.
You say I love you and I say I love YouTube.
Seek religiously battery LEDs not flashing red.
The huge bellies and dangly bits of naked old men look dredged from the sea.
Scientists chip away at our constants as effectively as priests shore them up.
No one ever talks about all the goats at the mountain's foot.
Warship is just a misspelling of worship.
Schrodinger's babies wriggle under the rubble.
How do you provide a buck and change in an age dedicated to penny nails?
Death continues to a mostly boom industry.
I was baptized in utero by rum and Marlboros.
Set a circus-worth of zebras end on end and climb the stripes.
Teeth grind down in the face of performed politics.
Irony and parody fucked one night and left us this kid to raise.
You can raise up or you can raze down.
Direct all self-harm into one spot and hope it's not lethal.
If the world had a biography it would be titled Are You Fucking Kidding Me?
The difference between a six pack and a small keg is 15 years and a bad marriage.
My people are only recently mutted.
Who needs art when you got a hatred of women and a selfie of your dick?
The life coaches are tsking.
You now own all the blood I can spare for my enemies.
Photon sails unfold in space like God's hankies.
Fuel lights continue to blink their tyrants orders.
Consciousness is a virus infecting the brain's software.
I wish I didn't have an opinion on the root of our nastiness.
Please consider this slapping you as foreplay.
I made a deal with the Devil that I don't plan to honour.
How easy it would be if the choice was really only red pill or blue pill.
Death the crash and sleep the logout.
Negotiating the point at which I won't bear anymore is more exhausting that just bearing.
The emergency is there is no emergency.
Dozing will overtake me the moment I finish typing this line.
Is this thing even on?


No other way of saying it, Diversion is without doubt one of the very best books of poetry I have read this year.

Today's book of poetry wants to remind you all that the 3rd annual KITTY LEWIS HAZEL MILLER DENNIS TOURBIN POETRY PRIZE is coming up in the next two weeks.  Our previous winners are Kayla Czaga's For Your Safety Please Hold On and Nora Gould's I See My Love More Clearly From A Distance.  Diversion is a strong contender for this year's prize.

George Murray

George Murray is the author of five acclaimed books of poetry, one bestselling book of aphorisms, and two books for children. He lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland.



Poems cited here are assumed to be under copyright by the poet and/or publisher.  They are shown here for publicity and review purposes.  For any other kind of re-use of these poems, please contact the listed publishers for permission.

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