What Bob Dylan Has Meant To Outlaw Poetry

Early yesterday morning it was announced that Bob Dylan had been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Many people who had been fans of his celebrated. But some others were perplexed. They generally fit into two categories: 1) Those who just never liked or got Bob Dylan 2) Snobs.

Let’s talk about the second group because it is always a pointless exercise to question another person’s aesthetics. If one doesn’t like something, one doesn’t like it. No explanation is required, and many people just don’t care for Bob Dylan. I can easily accept that.

The second group annoys me.

I started to notice their Tweets and Facebook posts at midday. I interact with a lot of different kinds of people, and some are very, very accomplished writers, professors, editors etc. Many of these people opined that the awarding of the Nobel Prize to Bob Dylan cheapened the esteem of the prize and dumbed it down to the point where it meant less than it had before.

Horse shit.

These are the same people that tend to whine that their students and the American public don’t appreciate poetry, read it, or buy books.

Of course they don’t, because you treat them like dullards who are incapable of understanding it. You write indecipherable poetry only you and a few others seem to¬†appreciate, then scoff at the rest of us for not wanting to join in. You pay your bills from the public trough and don’t have to create anything other people actually want to be considered successful, then you mock anyone who does.

I have written here that I actually enjoy the poetry of Rod McKuen.

I edit two publications: Outsider Poetry and Zombie Logic Review, where my editorial policy is generally if a poet has expressed themself clearly and with some sort of originality and energy, they get published.

Back to Bob Dylan. He has inspired me as a poet from an early age. This is probably my favorite example of his lyrics as poetry…

“It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)”

Darkness at the break of noon
Shadows even the silver spoon
The handmade blade, the child’s balloon
Eclipses both the sun and moon
To understand you know too soon
There is no sense in trying.

Pointed threats, they bluff with scorn
Suicide remarks are torn
From the fools gold mouthpiece
The hollow horn plays wasted words
Proved to warn
That he not busy being born
Is busy dying.

Temptation’s page flies out the door
You follow, find yourself at war
Watch waterfalls of pity roar
You feel to moan but unlike before
You discover
That you’d just be
One more person crying.

So don’t fear if you hear
A foreign sound to you ear
It’s alright, Ma, I’m only sighing.

As some warn victory, some downfall
Private reasons great or small
Can be seen in the eyes of those that call
To make all that should be killed to crawl
While others say don’t hate nothing at all
Except hatred.

Disillusioned words like bullets bark
As human gods aim for their marks
Made everything from toy guns that sparks
To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
It’s easy to see without looking too far
That not much
Is really sacred.

While preachers preach of evil fates
Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the President of the United States
Sometimes must have
To stand naked.

An’ though the rules of the road have been lodged
It’s only people’s games that you got to dodge
And it’s alright, Ma, I can make it.

Advertising signs that con you
Into thinking you’re the one
That can do what’s never been done
That can win what’s never been won
Meantime life outside goes on
All around you.

You loose yourself, you reappear
You suddenly find you got nothing to fear
Alone you stand without nobody near
When a trembling distant voice, unclear
Startles your sleeping ears to hear
That somebody thinks
They really found you.

A question in your nerves is lit
Yet you know there is no answer fit to satisfy
Insure you not to quit
To keep it in your mind and not forget
That it is not he or she or them or it
That you belong to.

Although the masters make the rules
For the wise men and the fools
I got nothing, Ma, to live up to.

For them that must obey authority
That they do not respect in any degree
Who despite their jobs, their destinies
Speak jealously of them that are free
Cultivate their flowers to be
Nothing more than something
They invest in.

While some on principles baptized
To strict party platforms ties
Social clubs in drag disguise
Outsiders they can freely criticize
Tell nothing except who to idolize
And then say God Bless him.

While one who sings with his tongue on fire
Gargles in the rat race choir
Bent out of shape from society’s pliers
Cares not to come up any higher
But rather get you down in the hole
That he’s in.

But I mean no harm nor put fault
On anyone that lives in a vault
But it’s alright, Ma, if I can’t please him.

Old lady judges, watch people in pairs
Limited in sex, they dare
To push fake morals, insult and stare
While money doesn’t talk, it swears
Obscenity, who really cares
Propaganda, all is phony.

While them that defend what they cannot see
With a killer’s pride, security
It blows the minds most bitterly
For them that think death’s honesty
Won’t fall upon them naturally
Life sometimes
Must get lonely.

My eyes collide head-on with stuffed graveyards
False gods, I scuff
At pettiness which plays so rough
Walk upside-down inside handcuffs
Kick my legs to crash it off
Say okay, I have had enough
What else can you show me ?

And if my thought-dreams could been seen
They’d probably put my head in a guillotine
But it’s alright, Ma, it’s life, and life only.

-Bob Dylan
I think Bob Dylan is an excellent choice for the Nobel Prize in Literature, and his choice has been a great representation of America to a world audience that now considers Americans backwards, violent dimwits.

 

Is Anyone Interested In Outlaw Poetry?

I was toying with the idea of converting this blog into an actual literary review featuring Outlaw Poetry. I am already the editor of Zombie Logic Review, and the co-editor of Outsider Poetry, but those reviews don’t receive a lot of outlaw poetry, per se. I’m not even sure I know what it is when I see it. I suppose the most real indicator is if one self-identifies as an outlaw poet.

If anyone who sees this is interested in submitting their poetry, and if it conforms to the standards of Outlaw Poetry, send me your work at vaultonburg@gmail.com. I don’t make any promises yet, but I think I’d be willing to post it here if it had quality. Please make a note in your subject heading that this is poetry intended for the blog.

The Cubs played a real humdinger last night. I was completely prepared as the ninth inning started to wait until Thursday, then possibly lose to Johnny Cueto, who the Cubs have not hit at all. That 9th inning comeback was one of the most thrilling moments I can remember in forty years of being a Cub fan. I’m concerned now what happens after Lester and Hendricks pitch, and the bats are strangely quiet, but eight more wins and the Cubs will be World Series champions.

I have the window open and nice, cool breeze is coming in. Earlier I was pleasantly surprised when the ATT service tech was able to get my internet going in a 125 year old building where Zombie Logic Press resides. Nobody has probably had a phone line in here in over ten years, but he found a wire and made the connection.

All the building around Zombie Logic Press have been bought over the past two years and are being turned into antique shops, olive oil stores, rooftop bars, barber shops, and art studios. Soon unless I buy the building I’ll be forced out, and as much as I love this building it’s a real dump and worthless.

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The Holmes Block building has been here since 1888, and I was surprised to learn when I researched it that it has always been residential. The two bottom units seem perfect for storefronts, possible even a gallery for Jenny’s work. An automobile museum has been moved in next door. The whole building is in the process of slouching into the middle. I can even see book cases sitting at a slant.

Eight years here now. At the heart of what the FBI now says is the most dangerous city in America with a population under 200,000. The gentrification process has begun. Soon I’ll want to go somewhere else even though I really do enjoy this place. I wouldn’t even know what to do with a building this big.

Anyway, if anyone wants me to read their outlaw poetry there are no guarantees I will publish it, but send it to me in an email and I’ll take a look. Please send a 3rd person biography and a picture if you don’t mind as Google seems to like that.

 

This Post Has Nothing To Do With Outlaw Poetry

I just want to stay up a little longer and watch The Human Duplicators on Mystery Science Theater 3000 and write a couple more blogs. Got my yoga done and took an acetaminophen. If I were more ambitious I’d get up off the psycho couch and put¬†Dawn of the Dead in the VCR.

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This is apparently a really big picture of the Thriller Video box for The Human Duplicators. I guess I could even take my shoes off now if I wanted to.

This will be my first time seeing Human Duplicators. I saw a copy of it for the first time on Ebay, but the bidding is already astronomical, so I guess I’ll just watch it on YouTube.

I feel like I’d like to have one more snack and a glass of milk before bed. Today I bought a Dungeon Master’s Screen. I didn’t have one when I had my original Dungeons and Dragons collection in the 1980’s. Now I will. Most likely.

Hugh Beaumont is in this movie! Ward Cleaver. I bet he plays some sensible science type. Or maybe he goes against typecasting and plays a way out Beatnik poet. Jaws from Moonraker is in this movie. The fat guy from Cannon is in this movie.

Now I’m just thinking about that final snack of the night. Had dental work again yesterday. But he didn’t have to do any numbing agents this time, so that was nice. Just pulled the temporary crown off and put the new one on. After a year of procedures I am getting near the end of all the procedures that are needed, and next year maybe we can do some cosmetic things. I wonder if I have maybe a short outlaw poem I can post here to stay consistent with the theme of the blog.

Her Last Few Fucks Were Wasted

I just had a sudden urge to write a poem titled
“Her Last Few Fucks Were Wasted,”
and even ten years ago
I would have too,
but instead I walked
to the bathroom,
trimmed my nosehair,
and decided this poem need not exist.
You’re welcome.

-Thomas L. Vaultonburg

Did I put that one in the last blog? I bet I did. Google is going to whack my peepee but I’m too lazy to look and change it. I just got a reminder from Facebook that I have one event today. Friends of the Library Book Sale. I assist the public library by buying all their books so they can stay open and do puppet shows and let people use the internet.

Also, it’s Fall Art Scene. I’m not in it this year because I didn’t do any art, and I don’t want to go because I stopped drinking carbonated and alcoholic beverages, so I think I’ll stay home. Can we do the final 33 words of this blog on gift certificate?

 

True Stories By Outlaw Poet Thomas L. Vaultonburg

I don’t feel like a bad ass. But when I read my own poetry it is clear to me that I am. Not the kind of faux bad ass I have seen posting poems that are Bukowski rip-offs for decades now, but the kind of a bad ass who just did it. I think of this today as I am attempting to give up my three cups of tea I drink daily, and debating if I should have chicken wings later. I don’t long for the days when I was out of control at all, nor do I romanticize or glorify them. I just feel as if I’ve never been cheated. I don’t look back and wonder what it would have been like had I been braver or more insistent on myself. I did. And it was great. My poems are never wish fulfillment. If anything, I’ve toned it down out of respect for my family now.

A True Story

You ruined my marriage
You son-of-a-bitch

She wrote in an electronic
Mail that appeared
From nowhere

You had drinks with
My husband at
Some dive bar and
Now he thinks he’s
A poet.

What’s wrong with that?
I replied.

He left for Canada two
Days ago to cut timber
And be a poet.

Does this mean
You’re single?
I inquired
Electronically.

She wasn’t.

 

Her Last Few Fucks Were Wasted

I just had a sudden urge to write a poem titled
“Her Last Few Fucks Were Wasted,”
and even ten years ago
I would have too,
but instead I walked
to the bathroom,
trimmed my nosehair,
and decided this poem need not exist.
You’re welcome.

 

Suicide By Poet

She drove me to
The highest point in Illinois
And demanded I throw
Her off.

Suicide by poet.

Failing to incite my
Altruistic instinct to
Make the world a better place,
She regaled me with stories
Of infidelity all the way down,
Then we ate at Denny’s.

I drove past there again
Last week and the
Illinois Department of Transportation
Had torn the tower down.

Maybe some poor bastard
Finally took her up
On her offer.

 

The Old Neighborhood

You fucked my sister,
Didn’t you, she said
Brandishing a spatula

You don’t have a sister,
I said,
Suddenly desiring flapjacks.

You created an imaginary
Sister with big tits
And fucked her in
Your dreams,
Didn’t you, you bastard?

Yes, I was forced to confess,
I fucked your big-titted
Sister in a dream,
And she had red hair.

Tuesdays were always
Strange around there.

-Thomas L. Vaultonburg

 

I voted for Hillary Clinton today.

 

 

Thomas L. Vaultonburg Named MVP of Outsider Poetry Slam League of America 2016

As Willa Wonka says, “A little nonsense now and then….” In that spirit I would like to announce, because no one else will, that Zombie Logic Press publisher Thomas L. Vaultonburg has been named MVP of the Outsider Poetry Slam League of America for the 2016 season.

OPSLA Logo 2

Vaultonburg began the season with his hometown Rockford Pages, but was traded to the Chemung Shamans with only a week left in the season. Both teams went winless in their first season in the OPSLA, but that did not deter his fellow outsider poets and poetry slam fans from voting him league MVP. The results of the vote were announced Friday by league commissioner Dr. Millard Rausch.

It is unclear where Vaultonburg will play next season. Commissioner Rausch announced eight new teams will join the league next year, and it is rumored he may travel west to join the league champion Rancho Cucamonga Kookamunga squad, or slightly east to play for runner up Kokomo Oralists.

Rockford poetry may never be the same after Vaultonburg’s departure. Although Zombie Logic Press operations remain in Rockford, as they have been since 1997, making them the longest publisher in constant operation in the city, he has been receiving overtures from Sheboygan, Paducah, Chemung, and even Yakima to relocate the operation.

Blood Mania

I wanted to quit Rockford Poetry many times, go somewhere else where they take it seriously, but I was born in the hospital a block away from the building Zombie Logic Press has now called home for a decade. Where would I even go? And as Don Henley says in his song “Sunset Grill,” besides, all my friends are here.

Too much afternoon, too little to say. The family has gone to yet another birthday party. I have opted out to sit here and do whatever ridiculousness I am doing, and watch Point of Terror again on You Tube. I really need to delve into my Peter Carpenter investigation a little deeper. It’s odd that before the internet people could just die mysteriously, or disappear, and there’s no trace. Even people who had made movies. No one can confirm what happened to this man. Why did he just stop making movies? These are questions for another blog, another time.

 

This Is Not Outsider Art

I said something today on Facebook about being one of the few people who posts just text, because I had noticed almost all posts are accompanied by a link or a photo. Someone said that was strange because my partner is a world class illustrator. Illustrations aren’t appropriate for a Facebook post, but one of the reasons we met is because I wanted to do a children’s book, and Jenny is the finest drawer in this area. We did finish the book, The Toughskin Rhinoceros Wrangler Company, and seven years later we are still together.

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She did this illustration at Halloween. It’s a homage to Alvin Schwartz and his Scary Stories books.

For a couple of years she was posting an illustration almost every day at Tiny Drawings, but now she has so many commissioned works that she rarely has time to just draw for the sake of drawing. I remember I’d come up with one of the whackiest ideas I could think of when we lived in different cities, and fifteen minutes later she’s send me the drawing.

04.05.12

For instance, I’d say, there’s this guy, and he’s a stalk of Celery, but in every way he’s just a normal guy, and not even an exciting guy, just a hum drum guy. That’s how Celery came about. It never really went anywhere because a lot of what we do just amuses us, and for about five years we were working so fast we’d even forget the last thing we worked on.

Bass Mermaid

This is from the Mermaids of North America series she did. She has designed the cover for our last two books in the Rock River Literary Series, and sometimes has two or three shows going on simultaneously. I’m really excited about her bees show. I forgot where it’s going to be, but we made a list of bee names a couple of weeks ago. My favorite ones I came up with were Busby Berkley and Bill Bixby, but I don’t know if she’ll use those.

Bee

I’m not sure if this is Bill Bixby, or Busby Berkley, but what a thing it is to get to work with an artist like this. We amuse ourselves by referring to her as the Art Department, but really she’s all the departments. I think she gets flummoxed with me for trying to fit her work into a category like Outsider Art, because she has a lot of training and experience, and isn’t mentally ill.

Also, she’s not responsible for that awful mermaids site I created. I just get a little overzealous sometimes.

Outlaw Poets From Rockford Breaking the Law In New Orleans

New Orleans vacation in the books. After the initial annoyance of the constant smell of garbage and urine wears off, one tends to find places that are less fake and touristy than some others. I enjoyed the cemeteries one didn’t have to pay to get into more in general. Something about paying to get in there to see dead people was upsetting. I found that many, if not most of the people you asked bout anything involving the city were telling the same lie. Either they didn’t know, or were making a profit telling the lie, or just didn’t see you as a tourist as someone worthy of getting a real answer. I didn’t give one damn or another about Marie Laveaux before I went to New Orleans, and I don’t now, but it seems every question I asked activated a rote response about her. I didn’t ask.

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Doorway on Peter Street in New Orleans by artist Jenny Mathews.

Here in Rockford a decade or so ago the mayor and civic leaders took a disliking to graffiti art, and went so far as to toss a couple of taggers in jail. It worked. Nobody does it anymore. Now the city holds a couple of summer festivals and invites those same artists to do graffiti art in the park while kids watch. In New Orleans they don’t seem to handle it that way. The artist Jenny painted into this piece, Achoo, is infamous in New Orleans. But after doing some research I discovered that doesn’t make him loved. There are videos of politicians and business owners offering a bounty for his/her arrest. I wonder if anyone has ever collected on that bounty.

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Outlaw Poet Thomas L. Vaultonburg pointing to a Zombie Logic Press sticker in New Orleans. I wonder who put it there?

The vacation was entirely enjoyable. One can be lulled into an easy assessment that the city is all piss and garbage if one remains in the French Quarter, but even there we saw world class art and antiques in the same building we had to step over a homeless man to get into. I also found a magic shop I thought was interesting. I bought a potion there called Fiery Blast of Will. I intend to dab some on my pulse points this evening and light my Creativity candle the kids got me for Christmas and write a haiku about the full moon.