It’s hard to pin this little book up against proper scenery. Sikkema throws it around too quickly, like a noxious ball of fire. Poems tumble in the depths of outer space, or dodge anglerfish mouths in the alienesque pockets of deep sea. Either way, there is the one consistency of a looming threat. One that is carved from rotting flesh and animal bones. Sikkema’s book is a scientific opinion, often preposterous, but perhaps warning us of something. A mass extinction. The culprit, a human being of sorts.
Die Die Dinosaur is a reckless experiment. There are no control groups. The subject matter is usually something grotesque and lurching, like a squad of maggots or barfing starfish. Sikkema keeps his poems small, usually only a few lines. They could fit under a microscope as permeable prose bubbles. By the end, you feel as if you’ve discussed 99 little specimens with a mad scientist, and they are all utterly worthless.
Making the sea sponges expel
A lime green plume
Served little scientific purpose
Beyond being sick as frick
Amongst the preposterous concoctions of prose and nonsense, there is a sense of denial. A paranoia stuffed tightly in the pipes, between wreckage and maggot eggs. Sikkema glues three layers of language together, living, dead and political. Human life exists weakly alongside new species birthing out of destruction, and feckless political talk implies mankind is on the brink of vanishing. But the apocalyptic hue in the book is faded by the utter absurdity of all the scientific exclamations. They help to redeem looming annihilation as harmless.
Shit really went
Sideways, water shortage, roving
Mobs, exploding pets, but we
Safely tucked into our
Solid gold basement.
The only man left on Earth is apparently Nigel, and “man” seems like a gratuitous label. Nigel is a breathing body, speechless, yet he affects the occurrence of all things, usually for the worse. He could be a perverted alien, or a debauched electoral candidate In words Nigel comes off as a creep, but perhaps because he is the only obvious human in Die, Die Dinosaur, and thus he’s an outsider. He is naturally assigned to witness the hopeless, garbage state of the world. So he alone is the only thing that makes it all slightly relevance.
In his own unconventional words, maybe Sikkema is saying “the end is near”. If you’re a creature, lay your eggs now. If you’re a human being, find a podium and give your last words. Nigel is probably against you, so who is there left to trust? Man is in the middle of rotting away. The natural and societal world are eating each other alive, and we are likely to lose. The last edges of survival and hope come from ambiguous political jargon and fruitless experiments. But in the end,
It’s all just candy and rust.
You can buy Die Die Dinosuar here: http://www.blazevox.org/index.php/Shop/new-releases/die-die-dinosaur-by-michael-sikkema-480/