Ordinary Lies by Robert J. Duffey

ISBN 1-88229100X

(c) 2003

Cover art & illustrations by Jared Tuverson

Oyster River Press, 20 Riverview Rd.

Durham NH 03824



Reviewed by LB Sedlacek

Robert Duffey's "Ordinary Lies" is dividedinto four sections in this book of forty-sevenpoems. The first section, "What RelentlessUndoing," begins with "Aunt Camie'sClock" a sharp portrayal of an old womanfacing the ravages of time in a somewhatunnerving unaware realism. Section two,The Mystery Pounding Music," takes on amore mecurial flare, religious and mythicalat the same time.

From "Zeus":"I hear you, Cronos, grumbling up fromunder the earth all the / discontent ofsuch longevity as ours. And what /could redeem such diminshed histories?Like you, / forced to vomit up all yourregrets, brought down / by childrenspitting and clawing continents. Or me /named first among infants, chattered andquarreled to ruin, / voices like the quibbleof water over rocks that even my / Olympuscannot long resist ...."

"Boy Dreams" (section 3) begins with thepoem "Wormwood." "In boy dreamswe measured ourselves large / againstthe wall, against each other, / againstleap and run, fist, taunt. / Told talesto make us broad and tall, / wantedmost to be huge ...." This section delvesinto boyhood with familiar themesof sons at war, the bond of brothersand homecomings.

The last section "Never Was" is afanciful acknowledgment of what was,what could've been, or what could neverbe. From "Reconcile," "Consider thischain of difference / from what is feltto what is said / from what is said towhat is heard / from what is heard towhat is believed ...."

From "The House Not Lived In," "Look,up there. Did you see it? / No? Well,it's gone again / behind the shoulderof that hill. / Stands right on the oldroad into town, / before they madethis one wide and straight. / Hardlyanyone goes that way any more ...."

Robert Duffey is a plumber and pipefitterwho lives in Franklin, NH where he hasraised four children in a small houseoverlooking the Winnipesaukee River.In the last few years, he has performedoccasionally at poetry readings.

Copyright 2008 LB Sedlacek

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