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

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Rockford Poet Thomas L. Vaultonburg Reading At JR Kortman Gallery


Zombie Logic Press editor Thomas L. Vaultonburg reading June 11th, 2016 at JR Kortman Gallery in Rockford, Illinois, at the book release party for The Blood Dark Sea by Dennis Gulling.

Frank Schier, editor of the Rock River Times, described Dennis Gulling’s book, The Blood Dark Sea, as the “best book of Outlaw Poetry I have read in a long, long time.” The book release party was attended by the creme of the Rockford literary and cultural scene, minus outsider poet Jesus Correa, who, being true to his credo that he is “the best dishwasher in the world,” was washing dishes Downtown. But as is his habit, editor Thomas L. Vaultonburg stood in for his writer, and delivered a set dressed as Correa.

Guest bartender Tim Stotz concocted a special beverage for the occasion called The Blood Dark Sea, and many patrons were seeing imbibing more than one.

As music from a block party featuring a band of white men imitating Black rappers pulsed outside, no doubt to a full crowd of white douchebags, the three readers for the evening all delivered admirable sets, despite the sound system wavering in the heat. But the poets soldiered on, much to the delight of the small but attentive audience.

Later many more beverages were ingested at Octane by several of Rockford’s best and brightest. Plans were made for many future creative endeavors that will no doubt come to fruition and be lauded by the general public with accolades and lavish praise. Meanwhile, Zombie Logic Press has several projects by Rockford poets and writers in the pipeline, but will be taking a short vacation to work of other projects and generally relax.

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Perhaps with a Stella Artois as a surly looking Frank Schier looks on.

a man telling his son he is going to die

“Your daddy is going to die Joey.

Your daddy is going to die and you are not going to have a daddy anymore Joey.” I said to my son whose name was Joey. “Good,” he said, “I am very excited. That sounds great to me.” He began marching around our living room, mimicking the act of playing a trombone.

“After your mother killed herself, I began slowly poisoning myself by putting a tiny amount of arsenic in my tea each morning. From what I understand about arsenic, I am in the beginning throes of death my boy. Yes, dear Joey, your daddy is not long for this world.” I said to my four year old son who stood there in his pajamas, clapping his hands enthusiastically, chanting: “No more daddy.”


“No more daddy.”


“That’s right Joey, no more daddy, you’re going to be an orphan buddy, you’re going to have to learn to fend for yourself, and that is going to be very hard for you, because you are dimwitted and repulsive to look at. You are probably going to end up with a terrible, crippling drug habit if you don’t starve to death first. Your daddy is going to die, and I’m afraid, my son, that there is no hope for you. I said to my son as he jumped up and down on the couch, joyously soaring and cackling saying things like… “I cannot wait to not have a daddy.” “I cannot wait until you die.” “No more daddies forever.”

He was pissing his pants, and he was pleased as punch, and frankly so was I. Today was the greatest day that I have ever known. Thank you, Jesus.

and thank you, Jesus Correa

Zombie Logic Press Goes Green

As the Bernie kegger dies down, the keg goes dry, and everyone starts to go home, the political season has just begun here at Zombie Logic Press because we’re solidly behind the Green Party and their Presidential candidate, Dr. Jill Stein. We need to exceed the quota of signatures required to get ballot access here in Illinois by June 27. 45,000 more signatures needed.

Also, I think one of our authors, Jesus Correa, is going to run for mayor of Rockford, Illinois, as a Green Party candidate.


Author of Iced Cream and Green Party candidate for mayor, Jesus Correa

Saturday night I will get my chance to impersonate Jesus Correa, as he is living up to his claim of being “The best dishwasher in the world.” I guess I’ll put on this hat read some of his poems at the book release party.


After that the long national nightmare for me will be over, and after weeks of heart tests, dental procedures, garage sales, assessments, financial worries, vacations, and public appearances will come to an end, and I will go to the bar, get a Heineken from my good friend Tim Stotz, and slump into a chair at JR Kortman Center for Design.

Then, after a slight rest I’ll start hitting the bricks with petitions for Jill Stein. Maybe hit the gym a little more often, and get out there with the kids in the great outdoors. In the midst of a seven state vacation last week I got an email that an author I have wanted to work with is ready to do a book we had been talking about for a long time. I had hoped to have a break between books.

Anyway, the rest of this night I am here at the aprtment for the first time in weeks supposedly writing my hosting remarks for this party Saturday. I should be doing that instead of this.

When Mars Is In the House of Atreides The Outlaw Poetry Will Flow

As this title might indicate, I’m absolutely out of things to say about Outlaw Poetry. The last book I published was about a guy with cerebral palsy traveling with a evangelical stage show. I understood that topic about as well as Outlaw Poetry, which I do not write or normally receive very much of at Zombie Logic Press.

Tonight Mars is the brightest it has been in ten years. I’d go outside and look, but I’m in the 3rd most dangerous neighborhood in America, so maybe I’ll just look at it online.

Last night Jenny and I went to The Worst Prom Ever, then went to see a friend of ours dance in a drag show. I managed to only have three drinks, which is why at midnight tonight I still feel relatively good. It’s the start of the new week, and although I have several medical appointments, I’m light on other entries on my to do list next week.

The Yellow River


Disoriented by Vietnamese beer,

I enter the hot zone

Approximately four inches

South of my intended

Insertion point,

And am repelled

By an aggressive

Guerilla resistance.


War is hell.

-Thomas L. Vaultonburg

That is a poem about hitting the wrong hole. There’s this French/Vietnamese place on 7th Street that has a menu with over a 100 items on it. (Gunshots. Yay Rockford). When I go there I like to have a Tsing Tao, then a Heineken. And sirens. Geez, guys, it’s Sunday night, take a fucking break.

Nice cool breeze coming in through the window. Only halfways to my goal of 500 words, so maybe I’ll go look for another poem from my next book.

Olfactory Fatigue


Most of us

Have been living

In the shit

So long

We’re suffering


Olfactory fatigue.

-Thomas L. Vaultonburg

Well, that was good for about eighteen words. Saw William Peter Blatty on the Johnny Carson Show from 1974 earlier tonight saying that up until he wrote the book The Exorcist there had been only three official exorcisms performed in America in that century. I found that interesting. I think I’m going to call this blog off early and not even categorize it, maybe watch something on Jenny’s computer, which sits at the desk in front of mine, then go upstairs to bed.