L Is For Liver

While Jenny was away in Rhinelander searching for the Hodag I downloaded all the panels from our new book to my laptop so I could blog about each one individually. The files were huge, and I had to download paint.net to open them. L Is For Liver.

If you don’t think children hate liver, consider this: my father began a lifelong fued with his older sister over being forced to eat liver as a boy. They never fully reconciliated, and the mere mention of liver was forbidden in our household. But not in our new book Atrocious Poems A To Z.

I understand the nutritional benefits of liver. and have made many attempts to embrace it as an adult, but it’s still… liver. Nothing anyone does to it can change that.

In a book about things that kids hate liver almost had to make an appearance. And Jenny came up with an ingenious illustration for my poem.

L

It’s one of my favorite pieces from the book, which is now available at Amazon and at the gift shop of the Rockford Art Museum, where all twenty-six poems from the book have been written on the wall by me next to the illustrations by Jenny Mathews. The show is called Bittersweet Observations, and will run until October 1st.

Eye Rhyme

Bullies

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The Zen of Beard Trimming From The Rock River Literary Series

The thing about publishing and being an editor is that you never can say for sure where the next project will take you. After Iced Cream by Jesus Correa I wanted to work on something different. I was also looking for diverse voice, although Jesus Correa is about as diverse as it gets. But I didn’t just want to keep publishing books of poetry by men. Really, I was interested in finding the best book by a woman in Rockford I could find and publishing it. I even asked Jenny to find me something she believed in and wanted to publish. She had been going to a storytelling series at CNVR and told me there was this writer she really believed in and thought might have a good book for us to publish.

Which is how Zombie Logic Press came to publish The Zen of Beard Trimming by C.J. Campbell. C.J. is a writer with cerebral palsy. He also was educated in an evangelical school famous for it’s traveling pageants and shows. The Zen of Beard Trimming is partly about C.J. trying to find his own way in this lifestyle, which turns out to be a more cruel and inconsiderate world than one might think, or maybe not, depending on what you know about evangelicals. Some of the stories are funny, some infuriating, and some just sad. There’s a great range of emotion in the book and I enjoyed publishing it very much. It was the second book in the Rock River Literary Series, and took us in a direction I never could have imagined and to reach readers our other books never would have reached.

Zen-of-Beard-Trimming-676x1030

Jenny did the cover on this one, too, per the writer’s specifications. He wanted it to capture the punk rock spirit of show posters. I think she nailed it. The book is available at Zombie Logic Press. After The Zen of Beard Trimming I took a break for a while, if a few months is a while, then got right back into it with The Blood Dark Sea. I believe my friend David Pedersen’s book will be the next in the series, but I’m still looking for that elusive female writer that fits into our vision here. I have no idea why the search is proving so difficult, but Jenny is stumped in her search, too. One of the problems is a lot of our talented people leave town. Some great and even famous writers have been from Rockford, but they left. Which leaves me here to man this outpost that has largely been forsaken.

There are elements of The Zen of Beard Trimming that I really identify with. Being an activist in search of a cause. Putting my heart and energy into a cause and getting the shit kicked out of me financially, emotionally, and in the community because of it. Bearing the idignity of others for being different and not always willing to knuckle under to whatever expectations they have of you because you are disabled. Keeping on after defeat. Perservering in the face of rejection and loss. All of these are elements in the book, and succinctly and often heart-breakingly related by a writer unafraid to expose himself in perceived defeat and rejection.

 

The Toughskin Rhinoceros Wrangler Company

Another book I wrote was this childrens’ book titled The Toughskin Rhinoceros Wrangler Company. I wrote it for my now almost six year old guy, Jack, when he was just two because he had these stubby little legs and he reminded me of a rhinoceros for some reason. Four years later he has gotten skinny and soon his legs will get long and he hasn’t reminded me of a rhinoceros in a long time.

His mother, the artist Jenny Mathews, my partner, did the artwork for the book.

Rhinos

I wrote most of the book over a couple of days of Christmas when they were all in Texas and I was here in my small apartment.

Abbey Road Rhinos

The Abbey Road Rhinos. Jack did something that kind of blew me away last week. he made a pop up book. By himself. Well, he did ask me to cut out some trees. The book is titled Paper Out.

Pop Up Book

For me the part that blew my mind is the trees he drew look exactly like the ones Jenny drew for The Toughskin Rhinoceros Wrangler Company. He’s only seen that book once, and wasn’t really very interested in the story. He engineered the pop up book so it worked without anyone’s help. I don’t have much more to say about Rhinos. I wanted to write a book for my little guy, and I did. We sold out the first printing, then did a second, but we haven’t sold many this time. I get tired of trying to hawk books. It’s a soul-crushing process. I think Jenny managed to update the listing so it is available at Zombie Logic Press.

Everyone in my house now is a much better artist than me. All of my friends are better artists than me. I am happy because I have plans to publish all of their books and I hope I am allowed enough time with my heart condition to do a lot more work.

I think this is the last book I have to profile here that I either wrote or published. I have edited a few. April and May have been extra exhausting for me for some reason. I can’t say response has been brisk to any of the writing I am doing here. But I never expected a large response. I’m proud of the work in and of itself, and I hope with the literary reviews I also edit, Outsider Poetry and Zombie Logic Review that I am at least doing my part to encourage others to believe in themselves and their work.

That Train Don’t Stop Here Anymore

Five more poems from Dennis Gulling’s recently released book of Outlaw Poetry The Blood Dark Sea. It is available at Zombie Logic Press.

MEMORY

Your memory

Is scorched earth

Inside me

If I prayed

For rain now

Would I feel

Your sweat

Against my skin?

 

SHOTGUN LOVE

He stood outside

In the pouring rain

With a shotgun in his hand

Shouting her name

She stood behind the curtain

Waiting for the police to come

Feeling her heart pound

Like a fist in her chest

When he heard the first siren

He fired a shot in the air

Grabbed his crotch

And ran away

She couldn’t tell anyone

How much she hoped

He’d come back tomorrow

And do it again

tiny drawing 111610

Tiny Drawing by my creative partner and illustrator Jenny Mathews of Rockford Illustrating

 

RAIN

I took a stick

Wrote your name in the mud

And watched it melt in the rain

Then I threw

The stick in the river

And watched it float away

I walked home thinking

That somewhere in the wind tonight

Were the last words

You said to me

When I got home

I left the front door open

To let the rain blow in

 

GARBAGE MAN

It was Bobby’s first day

As a garbage man

He asked his partner Hugh if

He’d ever found any dead bodies

In the dumpsters

Hugh looked sideways

Flashed his big brown teeth

And said no but

Once I found

A dog’s head in a paper bag

It was fresh

No worms or flies

I stuck it on my fist

And hung my arm out the window

At people on the street

Going bow wow

You assholes

Bow wow

Train

Illustration by Jenny Mathews of Tiny Drawings

 

THAT TRAIN DOESN’T STOP HERE ANYMORE

I come from a town

Where you grew up

Just waiting to escape

And when you were all grown up

You stayed anyway

Because that was the thing to do

And life was just whatever

Happened next

Every night on my way home from work

I’d wait at the crossing

And watch the freight train

Crawl through town

More than once I wondered

Where it was going

And if it was a place

Worth going to

Then after a while

The railroad shut down the line

And the tracks were just

A long scar across the town

Nobody seems to miss it much

Except for me

But not in a way I can get a handle on

My grandpa used to sing some song

About how dreams were trains

Because they could take you

Anywhere you’d want to go

When I think about it more

Maybe the song didn’t say that at all

Maybe that’s just the way

I remember it now

Walking down this rusty scar

In the middle of the night

Dreaming out loud about

How I’ll just keep walking

Until I catch up with all the freights

And find out once and for all

Just where it is they were going

But I know I’ve got a job, a house

And a family back the other way

So the dream becomes a dim hope

That eventually becomes that

Little kiss of sadness

When you’re alone and getting

Drunk the right way

It’s the alchemy of surrender

And it’s always there

Whether you like it or not

Your dream means a little less every day

It pulls away from you slowly

And you keep running to catch it

But that train doesn’t stop here anymore

 

Iced Cream By Jesus Correa: Outsider and Outlaw Poet

When I founded Zombie Logic Press in 1997, my sole purpose was to publish my own books of poetry. I had grown weary of the small press scene, as at that time you still had send paper manuscripts to prospective zines, get rejected most of the time, buy more stamps, and the process took months, even years to be completed. It never occurred to me that I would eventually publish other peoples’ books.

Until I had heart surgery to replace a heart valve and a section of my ascending aorta that had ballooned to the point of bursting. After the recovery process it became important to me to give a voice to other writers from my hometown, Rockford, Illinois, and publish the best writers I could find for a national audience.

The first one was easy. Jesus Abraham Correa VII is a sort of legend in Rockford. I began hearing about this eccentric and multi-talented character years before we ever met, when I was running a bar my brother had bought called Castaways, literally under a bridge. It was a real dive, but we drew well, and at one event, a fundraiser for a local film festival, Jesus Correa performed stand up comedy, which is only one of the things he does. He is also an outstanding visual artist, in many bands as both a solo artist and King of the Demons, a stand up comic, puppet maker, parade leader, and poet. he even ran for mayor as a Green party candidate.

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I was lucky enough to become friends with Jesus when I moved Downtown, and after my surgery when I had the epiphany that I wanted to publish other peoples’ books his was the first I wanted to do. We had a few beers at CJ’s one afternoon when I was buying a Rowdy Roddy Piper from him, and I casually asked. He agreed, and we a scant 18 months later he sent me a manuscript. Working on the production of this book with Jesus, Tim Stotz, and Jenny Mathews was a blast. And I spared no expense because of the color illustrations. It is a lavish book, and I hope you’ll check it out at Zombie Logic Press.

 

for the drowning to come
the power is all gone, and we are all in the dark
it’s been raining for weeks, and it’s never going to
stop
that’s what the weather man said, before the power
went out
we’re all going to drown, we are all going to drown
and there’s no more TV, no more cartoons
goodbye career, and goodbye to you
and so we all start to climb, to the highest of grounds,
but we are all going to drown, we are all going to
drown
now your money’s no good, it’s just paper with ink
but you still taste so good, and your lips are still pink
and the tide is coming in, hear the water rush into
town,
if you hold me while i drown, i will hold you while you
drown
so children eat your ice cream, while there is ice
cream to be eaten
and parents beat your children, while there are chil-
dren to be beaten
and i am trying to be happy with every breath that i
breath in
but we are all going to drown soon and it makes me
so sad.
04-19-2014 02;09;27PM
Outsider Art by Jesus Abraham Correa VII of Rockford, Illinois
enough
There were enough good times for every one of
them, but he decided to hoard them all, to keep them
all to him self, all of the good times. The others were
unaware there were any good times to even be had,
he hid them so well, and they were unaware of their
misery, because they did not know any different,
it was all they knew, and it was well and fine with
them.
He hoarded the good times, and he would go away
for extended periods of time, and he would sit there
alone, enjoy all of the good times, sitting there alone,
just him and the good times, those lonely, lonely good
times.
good night
good night you ugly cruel world,
good night you selfish rotten peopel,
sweet dreams to you liars,
god bless all of you sinners,
to the whores, and the drunks,
to the bottom feeders and the disabled,
be well, take care,
be kind,
be kind in your eyeballs, and stare the other peopel
in their eyeballs when you can, and scare them, and
control them when given the opportunity,
keep your heart hardened,
trust not a soul,
be rambunctious and lively and thoughtless with
your decisions,
wear your ignorance like a suit of armor,
drink your mothers liqour,
take all of the acid you can,
fight all of the bums,
work your way slowly into the neighbor’s child’s
nightmares,
be yourself,
breath hard and often,
tie your shoes, and be proud that you can tie your
shoes, and that you have shoes to tie,
escape and destroy the mediocrity,
live life like there is a reason,
because there is,
and if there is not, then we are all doomed,
make a fucking reason godammit.
good night.
Iced Cream Cover
Iced Cream by Jesus Abraham Correa VII
stink like
i stink like dried up molded things. i stand in the sun
and i drink water. i blast water onto an old garage.
the water comes out at such great pressure that it
tears the paint away from the old wood. sometimes
it even tears the old wood away from the old wood.
once it tore the skin from near my thumb, that took
awhile to heal. i am boiling rice and baking chicken.
i am dripping with sweat. you probably are too. i can
hear someone with some sort of a leafblower blowing
things away. i don’t think it is leaves. i am going to
go outside and think about things and sweat. i am
going to drink water and suck smoke into my lungs.
i am probably not going to live forever. i will try
though
John Wayne Gacy
The art of Jesus Correa, the best dishwasher in the world

Detached Retinas: Unintentional Outsider Poetry By Thomas L. Vaultonburg

After putting Jack to bed and reading about parts of the eye, then having a cluster migraine and not being able to see for over an hour, it’s appropriate I should start work at 1 a.m. tonight and do a profile of my own book, Detached Retinas. This is my favorite book, because it was written before I started working in the service industry and while I was in a relationship and going to college. The poems are all rather optimistic and lack the fatalism I have been unable to shake after encountering humanity outside of the ivory tower of the academic world.

The last grouping of poems I wrote for this book were written on the porch at Quincy Street when I was living there with a rotating band of characters and working doing delivery for Sears. I still pick this book up and feel good about having written it. That doesn’t mean I consider it Earth-shaking, just that I’m proud to own the poems in it.

I did the cover art myself when the only artist in the world I knew pulled out at the last minute, and I did the typesetting in three days and sent it off on actual paper to an actual offset printer and was surprised when they returned it to me weeks later looking exactly the way I had hoped it would look. Publishing was very different before the digital age. I was promptly fired from my job at Sears when I brought a copy of the book to work and a co-worker saw another co-worker reading it. In retrospect I understand that was my fault. I’m not sure which poem might have gotten me fired, but maybe it was one of these…

New Years Eve 1995

It gets small again
So we order a pizza.
In March we were in love
With the classifieds
And in October picked apples.
But last week I found her in bed
Eating pizza with the delivery boy.
Tonight Dick Clark orders a huge
Ball to drop on New York City.
Shit, that was a year of my life.

 

Singing Lessons

The King’s critic was sent out to execute
all singing birds and by a creek spotted
a deformed bird-like creature and immediately
seized it by the throat at which time
the pathetic creature croaked, “There’s no
point crushing my larynx, I’m of the species
vocus restrictus, a rare breed of songless
bird indigenous only to this creek.” The
executioner, convinced by the ugly but
persuasive creature’s explanation, removed
his hands from its throat at which time
it began singing the most beautiful song
anyone had ever heard which led directly
to the villagers overthrowing the evil king
and delicious, syrupy beverages flowing
from the public fountains. When asked in
a later interview how such an ugly beast
could sing such a glorious song, the bird
replied, “Singing lessons.”
– See more at: http://www.zombielogic.org/search?q=Detached+Retinas#sthash.GLgdF2vM.dpuf

 

Dolphins
 
The night is so clear
Dolphins swim through it.
All the noises in the world
Become my noises and
Even the stars tiptoe
Across the sky
To shine brighter in Texas.
Some of us deserve more pain
Some more happiness
I just deserve more
And I get it in small but
Potent doses throughout the night.

– See more at: http://www.zombielogic.org/search?q=Detached+Retinas&updated-max=2013-04-16T18:55:00-05:00&max-results=20&start=16&by-date=false#sthash.jW1eayLW.dpuf

 

 

 

Making a Mess

The Surgeon General now approves

Of our condition. We hear the news in a secret

Telecast to the formerly afflicted

And decide to celebrate

Our new-found normalcy

By making another mess,

One even America can’t clean up.

Night one finds us aiming the machine

Imprecisely at ecstasy-

We reel in the city

And end up in debtors’ prison

Squeezing our blood into the toilet

We poison the entire populace

Repaying America for its hospitality.

Cover Detached Retinas

I was really proud of myself because I asked them reverse the negative on the cover, and I save several thousand dollars by not having color, and I thought it just looked awesome. I ordered 1,000 copies, and I can tell you several boxes of this book have moved from basement to basement to basement getting moldy for almost twenty years now. Perhaps I should have a mass mailing to reviewers or a bonfire or shoot them out of a cannon at Russia.

Well, that’s the last book of mine I’ll be writing about on this blog, but I may profile some of the other books I’ve published at Zombie Logic Press.

Concave Buddha By Thomas L. Vaultonburg

My first book was written and published when I was a teenager. It was titled Concave Buddha and Other Public Disservice Announcements, and published by The Press of the Third Mind in Chicago by a man I have met only once in my lifetime, Bradley Lastname. I have never had the gumption to digitize the poems so only a few appear anywhere on the internet. Tonight before I drink my last cup of tea I’d like to type out a few of those poems here. I haven’t opened the book in a long time, so I’m not quite sure what is really in there.

The Third Gender

The third gender arose from the

Semen of the mastubatorial sermon.

At first were used primarily

As slave labor, but other uses

Became apparent when their

Reversible genitalia were discovered. 

 

Werewolf

I remember waking up during a full
moon and telling my mother I was a
werewolf and she had to drive a stake
through my heart. I was four at the time.

 

The Apparatus

The first thing you must do
If you wish to conform
To the compact standards
Of the Apparatus
Is dispose of your arms.
But don’t despair,
For the psycho-optic sensors
Of the 2037 model
Of the 7th restructured Apparatus
Allow these hydraulic pincers
An amazingly intricate
Range of motion:
Crush bowling balls,
Fetch far-flung objects,
Scratch sensitive areas,
In effect rendering the human hand
Obsolete.
The chromium molybdenum
Exoskeleton of this year’s Apparatus
Is rust proof, decay proof,
Lightweight, and offers
Partial resistance to chemical weapons,
Genetic plagues,
And absolute immunity
To sexually transmitted diseases.
Revolutionary new research
At our Nippon factory
Involving petroleum-chromosome splicing
Gives you the latest option
Of replacing antiquated and inferior
Organic systems such as
The lungs, heart, and kidneys,
Spleen optional, of course.
And when you experience
The life-like sensations
Of the Ganglionic TM nerve clusters
And test think the TNQ-1001
Psychedelic modulated graphic
Read out screen,
Surely you’re going to want
To change your mind.

 

Career Woman

She whispers to me
With the salt-laced voice
Of a baby seal
About to be clubbed to death.
I tell her Antarctica
Is no place for a
Career woman.
She tells me
This isn’t Antarctica,
It’s San Francisco.
I call the building super
And ask him to fix the heater.

 

Phallusee

The great soul grinder of beyond
Opens and closes,
Vacillating like the decayed cunt
Of a newborn woman witch child
Oozing her Mercrochrome vaginal
Emissions into a universe
Starving for cum,
And having thusly fulfilled her
Contractual obligations,
Retires to a summer home
In Skinekdicky, NY,
But when perpetual winter
Is declared,
She comes out of retirement
For one last Title bout with ignorance,
Is TKO’d in the fourth round,
And is finally stabbed to death
With a huge black dildo
In a place like Other.

concave buddha

I didn’t realize what an effort in time, energy, and money it was in 1990 for someone to publish another person’s book. I was young and arrogant. This was before digital presses, so so someone actually had to typeset all these poems, poems I find so crummy all these years later I can barely stand to waste my time committing them to digital files. Then it was all sent to an offset printer who had to set it up, and print them out. A lot of hands spent time making this book. I remember this experience all these years later, and it is part of the reason why I now publish the work of other writers. The experience is much easier now, it still requires an effort and an expenditure to make sure it is dome right. There are no copies of Concave Buddha left for sale. I have six or seven, but those are for the kids if they ever show an interest later in life.