THE NEW MORAL ORDER
The Poems and Essays of David Martin
Reviewed by Brian Francis Redman
I think David Martin, a.k.a. "D.C. Dave" is on the right track.
The November 1995 Conspiracy Nation Newsletter, "Tales of Dead
Foster", alludes to the literary qualities of some conspiracy
theories. Just when books are written saying that "literature is
dead," along comes a whole new genre disproving the idea. And the
ever-expanding "Tales of Dead Foster" are, I think, a sub-genre
among the "growth industry of the '90s," conspiracy theories.
When I first began covering the various conspiratologist theses,
I had to, early on, confront the worry: "What if none of this is
true?" What I realized then was that, hey, even if it's all
bullsh**, at least they're great stories. (However, I should
emphasize that I happen to consider much of the literature to be
Conspiracy theories are where fact meets fiction: some are fact,
some are fiction, and some are a little of both. But *the* thing
about them is their current fertility. Just at the time academic
literati are sighing in their ivory towers about the hopelessness
of it all, the American genius for invention makes the fake ennui
of the professoriate and their sycophants, finally, meaningless.
I think these elegant, bored poseurs of the academy will wake up
in the next decade and "discover" that quite a lot was going on
right under their noses in the "dead" '90s.
Dave Martin has carried the above to its next logical step: he
has branched out into poetry. His is the first "conspiracy
poetry" I have seen. Let's hope there is more of it. (While we're
at it, why not a "conspiracy theater"? Someone may someday put
together a play called "Dead Foster", or whatever. It could start
with a park, a man walking through it, and light filtering
through the leaves. The man could then stand at the bottom of a
45-degree berm, shoot himself with a 1913 Colt revolver, lie down
perfectly straight, place his arms straight out by his sides, and
Martin is, among other things, a "poet of Dead Foster"; Foster's
death has, as it were, caused him to burst forth in song. But
these are not joyous songs but rather songs of grief and anger.
The poet is unrelenting as he hammers on his theme:
Our top of the line law enforcement agency
Should have got the designation.
Did the woefully inadequate Park Police
Come to do the investigation?
And that is exactly where Martin falls down: too often, his poems
are just mathematical formulae that rhyme; statistical essays
with good rhythm. Art, in this reviewer's opinion, is *not* the
language of facts and logic; it is the language of the emotions,
something subtle that lives only so long as it transcends
definition. The Russian philosopher P.D. Ouspensky says this very
thing in his great work, *Tertium Organum*:
The content of emotional experiences can never be wholly
fitted into concepts or ideas and, therefore, can never be
correctly and exactly expressed in words. The interpretation
of emotional experiences and emotional understanding is the
aim of art. Thus, in art we find the first experiments in a
language of the future.
All art consists in understanding and representing these
elusive differences. Art sees more and further than we do.
Art is already a *beginning of vision*. It sees much more
than the most perfect apparatus.
At the same time we know that not everything can be expressed
in words. Therefore, not everything can be logical to us; a
great many things are essentially outside logic. Feelings,
emotions, and religion are outside of the domain of logic.
All art is a complete illogicality.
Ouspensky goes on to add that art, besides being a language of
the emotions, also embraces intuition. He sees it as a superior
way of seeing.
Ouspensky's *Tertium Organum* deals heavily with the so-called
"fourth dimension." Art is the language of the fourth dimension:
when it lives in the fourth dimension, it is art; when it either
does not reach that dimension or is analyzed down from there by
inwardly dead yet gleaming literati bent on three-
dimensionalizing the creation -- then it is not art but
"something else". Being myself what I call a "de-frocked grad
student" -- having once studied literature -- I am familiar with how
academics normally preoccupy themselves with performing
dissections of still-breathing masterpieces. Bent on pigeonholing
the works of genius, they too often cannot see the forest for the
trees and wind up killing the very thing they ostensibly try to
understand. Art belongs to the fourth dimension. When you analyze
it to death, you kill it -- but perhaps that's just what the
inwardly dead yet gleaming literati secretly want.
"D.C. Dave" however is not so hopeless as that. In this, his
first book of what it is hoped are more to come, he is taking his
first steps away from sledgehammer logic and toward what cannot
be fully told on this plane -- the Truth. At times, he succeeds
in *The New Moral Order*. He is at his best when he is able to
escape his too-dominant brain and open up a bit, letting his
Killdeers swooping over stone-strewn hills,
Embankments embellished with daffodils,
Show horses grazing in meadows serene,
And sycamores clustered in every ravine,
This is old Virginia.
Passages like the above give hope that Dave will grow towards his
Other plusses about Martin's first book are that his poems rhyme
and you can understand them. Martin writes for the People and not
just to please the snobs. Martin is not, thank God, part of that
incestuous clique. That, his populist sympathies, gives hope that
he will grow over the years into one of our great American voices.
(*The New Moral Order* by David Martin. DCD Publishers, PO Box
222381, Chantilly, VA 22022-2381. $11.95. Please add $3.00 per
copy for mail orders.)