The Blood Dark Sea is an instant classic of Outlaw Poetry by Dennis Gulling, a protege of Outlaw Poetry founder Todd Moore. This is a book thirty-five years in the making. Gulling edited crawlspace from 1980-1989, and has a thirty year career publishing in the small press, but his reclusive nature has led him to not seek acclaim on a national level, but the 100 pages of The Blood Dark Sea may help with that. The book was released by independent publisher Zombie Logic Press in Rockford, Illinois this week, and is available at their website.

NPR referred to Zombie Logic Press, nestled squarely in the heart of the third most dangerous neighborhood in the nation, according to FBI statistics, as America’s “most dangerous small press,” and this book by Gulling, as well as books by Jesus Abraham Correa VII and Thomas L. Vaultonburg, all outsiders in their own right, attest to that reputation. Here are five poems from the book The Blood Dark Sea by Dennis Gulling, the new king of outlaw poetry.

He saw her in the parking lot
When he was going
Into Carmen’s Liquors
She was sitting
On the hood of a black ‘69 Camaro
White leather skirt
Up to her hips
Yellow blouse cut low
She couldn’t have been
More than 17
She was blowing bubble gum
And combing her bright blond hair
Staring at nothing
He watched
For almost a minute
Then went in to do the job
Pulled a .22 on the clerk
And told her to open the register
The clerk came up with a gun of her own
So fast he didn’t know what happened
She put a bullet point blank
In his chest
And he went down
In front of a rotating wine cooler display
People started peeking in through the windows
But keeping low
When they saw the clerk standing
Over the body
They came in for a closer look
Pretty soon there was a crowd
Around the front of the store
And the police started pouring in

But the girl still sat
On the hood of the Camaro blowing bubbles
Still staring at nothing
In the red glow
Of the police lights
It looked like she was
Combing blood from her hair
Miller kept pulling the trigger
Even after all the
Bullets were gone
Chesney lay face up
On the floor
In front of the bar
With blood blossoms
All over his shirt
Everybody else
Was crowded up against the walls
Not saying a word
And the only sound
In the room
Was the trigger going

She was just coming
Out of the drug store
When she saw the drive-by
Gun barrels stuck out
The windows of a white BMW
And spit bullets
At a guy in a brown suit
He went back against the window
Of a dry cleaner
And spread out on the sidewalk
Then started crawling towards her
Reaching out his hand
And whispering help
He died at her feet
And left a red trail
On the sidewalk 20 feet long
A week later
She had a dream
Where black clouds
Piled up west of town all day
Broke open after dark
And rained blood
All night long


After she cuts his throat
She goes out in the yard
And lays on her back
In the cool wet grass
To count the stars
The butcher knife still
Wrapped in her fist
Hums herself a lullabye
And points red metal
At the moon

Blood Dark Sea cover

It was a quiet night at Ferracol’s
Just me and some couple
Glued to each other in a corner booth
When Tom Whitney walks in
Shuffling kind of funny
He sits down with a groan
On the stool next to mine
Ferracol asks him if he wants a beer
And he nods yes
When he turns to look at me
I notice the front of his shirt
Is dark and wet
He follows my stare
Shakes his head
And rips open his shirt
To show me where a knife
Went in about 3 inches under the heart
He says real weak
Don’t ever let the wife
Find your girlfriend’s underpants
In your lunch box
Then he coughs
And grins at me with red teeth

For more magazines that publish Outlaw Poetry, check out Olivia Sucks, not quite blank, and Zombie Logic Review.



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