Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Five Poems By Colin Dodds

Colin Dodds is the author of Another Broken Wizard, WINDFALL and The Last Bad Job, which Norman Mailer touted as showing “something that very few writers have; a species of inner talent that owes very little to other people.” His writing has appeared in more than two hundred publications, and been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Poet and songwriter David Berman (Silver Jews, Actual Air) said of Dodds’ work: “These are very good poems. For moments I could even feel the old feelings when I read them.” Colin’s book-length poem That Happy Captive was a finalist in the 2015 Trio House Press Louise Bogan Award as well as the 42 Miles Press Poetry Award. And his screenplay, Refreshment, was named a semi-finalist in the 2010 American Zoetrope Contest. Colin lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife Samantha. See more of his work at thecolindodds.com.

Garage Door

I wasted all last night 
trying to talk my two-year-old cousin 
out of going on antidepressants

He heard me out 
But he wasn’t hearing it

I won’t repeat my argument 
But you can imagine it

It’s the same push-pull 
that preoccupies my afternoons

There’s an eye in us 
bigger than us 
an eyelid like a garage door
as heavy as we are strong 

We’re always 
busting a blood vessel
to slam it shut 
or jerk it open

And the door 
always moves too much 
and too late

Another Broken Wizard, a novel by Colin Dodds

Saturday Night

In the day all we see is wires
At night all we see is light

Dim damp raucous 
Saturday night sidewalks prove desire 

The bar fills with arias of howareya
Each drink transforms 
oppressors to liberators and back again 
open eyes alluring as a watery grave 

A who’s who of who’s that
The bartendrix giggling grapples a foam-spewing tap 
The bearded guy trying to pass for young Yahweh 
argues with a mohawked woman 
about how they should’ve been entertained
The tucked-in shirt checks his phone, concludes
This life is kind of a dud, isn’t it?

Everyone a dupe or double-agent 
watching the wrong card 
plotting to betray ourselves

Jugglers and tumblers 
juggle and tumble into a common oblivion
Just dying to dive into the earth or into one another 
that we may not die this night

The Pickpocket Tradition

Heavy hands and light fingers
abound about the Piazza San Pietro 

Stumps gesturing, a man sings
A woman common enough to be a type 
presses her wrinkled forehead into the ground 

In the shadow of the indulgence-funded basilica
tour guides of all languages and faiths hook tourists 
with promises of shorter lines 

Beside the dome, Sistine Chapel 
and colonnade of saints bracketing an obelisk
the ancient custom of saying it all with a straight face 
lives on

Knotting My Tie

In obligatory hours 
wrestling cufflinks
the wealthy dead whisper: 
All Is Sales

Knotting a tie, the mirror shows 
nature in the shadow of death
acting in kind-of-good faith

The nine-to-five tourniquet tightens
on whiteboard palimpsests of half-erased hopes
on calendars of days like cheap shirts—
too long wherever they’re not too short

Dreaming drycleaning 
and borrowing on authority I abhor
dressing for a minor battle 
in an undistinguished war

I check my collar 
like someone who knows 
he can’t afford bail

Heaven Unbuilt, poems by Colin Dodds

Prometheus in the Drizzle

At night, officetops meander 
through pink clouds of media 
like pieces in a board game 
with no objective

The sky ricochets between mirrored curtain walls
Little offices offer things like information 
and information like things
Large offices offer consultation or consolation

The avenue below is a firefight of glances
Fallen angels and risen devils punish one another 
for sex with sex and pretend everything else is afoot

The saints, who were supposed to have cleared all this up, 
grin from niches in pigeon-proof netting
pensioners in an empire of crap

Aerodynamic angels don helmets
on the skyscraper’s mezzanine frieze
entitled Prometheus Tries to Renegotiate—
where the first miserable mark of human grift
sternly rethinks his supposed gift

While in small mid-block barbershops 
that’ve been losing their leases forever 
women cut men’s hair and send them off like little boys 
to do untold damage
on this practice earth

Monday, August 17, 2015

Poetry From NYC Subway Cars By Adam Kluger

No More Love Music was written a number of years ago inside NYC subway cars. -Adam Kluger

When I read those words I was already in, as I spent an entire Summer riding the Rockford buses because I didn't have anywhere to go or anything better to do. These are a few selections from the Adam Kluger book No More Love Music, and a sketch titled Lady In the Blue Dress from 2015. 

What I like about this series of poems is anyone who has ever ridden public transportation can easily understand all the emotions and observations one goes through sharing a conveyance with fellow humans. You see so much and can go through such a range of reactions, everything from empathy to disgust in just a few moments. 

Lady In the Blue Dress, 2015, Adam Kluger
With Your Hands

Hold my face
in your hands
it's all I need
to go one more day
hold my love
inside a jar
with nuts and bolts and candles.
hold my life
within your hands
and don't let go
don't fly away
and leave me cold
don't be so cruel.
find me now, don't wait much longer
hold me
hold me
with your hands.

Monday Morning Blues

Monday blues
need new shoes
and howl
the work noose tightens
death to all us workers
bad coffee
pretty girls
oh pretty girls
make me forget
Monday morning blues
the subway shrieks
and spits out
bad smells
the cage opens...
to let
more suckers

The Zipper 

the train zips by
catch the train
its metallic thrust
invades your brain
and every day
the same
impersonal refrain...
there will be a delay
a delay
a delay.
the people on the
show the strain
of the panic in their
caused by smoke
and acid rain...
the machine is oiled
and ready to snap
a python stirs inside
his lap
the ride is long
and the day
too short
like prison bars
the train's doors
stay clamped shut
as it zips along.

Dog People

The dog people
are coming...
in fact, they're already here!
pulled by invisible leashes
work collars
fit snugly
on the throat
wigglin' their tails
yelping for joy
when simple things
like an air conditioned bus
happens by.
dog people
they are all over the street today
in different shapes and sizes
and pedigree
dog people
chasing after buses
enjoying their Scooby snacks
living for
the man.

Itchy Shirt

smelly crowded bus
itchy shirt
the daily news
a walkman
homeless woman playing with her feet
the "B" train
another "B" train
angry faces
empty platform
itchy shirt
where's the fucking "C" ?
itchy shirt
hard to breathe
can't understand that P.A. announcement
who can?
itchy shirt
a work day begins
-Adam Kluger

      Although it's slightly unusual, I identify with the theme of these poems a lot, so I wanted to share a few pieces of my own in this blog entry. Maybe we'll get some other art and poetry about sharing public transportation.

I Am the Bus

I am the bus
In this poem.
It is down to that,
A conveyance.

Are you already
Guessing the metaphor?
Are you already teasing
The punchline?

No, you are wrong.
For in this poem
I am the bus,
Making all my stops.
-Thomas L. Vaultonburg

By Jenny Mathews and Thomas L. Vaultonburg

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Joseph Reich Charles Atlas Poems

Someone recently asked me what criteria I use to decide if I'm reading a great poem or not. And I immediately responded "I don't." Because my response to poetry isn't based on a good/bad continuum. I'm more interested in something that makes me say WTF was that? Did they just say that? That's the kind of poetry I like to read here at ZLR. Here are some poems from a book-length manuscript titled A Psychological Hx Of Charles Atlas
151 proofs & figures by Joseph Reich. I have no idea what any of this is about or what inspired it, and that's the way I like it, but this is a book that should be in print.

C.Atlas fig. #80

Still searching for dropped off chunk of umbilical chord
lost chords from beatle’s love songs i loved whose one
note could move you like nothing else could those rare
quartz mica rocks my best friend neighbor and i used
to discover in the pachysandra in the woods of his
backyard the blood the sun the weird stray dogs
wandering around the waterfall of the pond
of that strange split-level set back in the forest
of the dead end of suburbs you never wanted
to come out of all the earth and mud and blood
you knew o too well all eventually magically turning
to dust to sand from the land trying to steal as much
as you can before you had to go in caked on your
canvas pants with patches on them you victoriously
courageously ripped right through a true-blue sign
of the seasons and spirit and essence of what it was
to be a kid and super hero and grown man the fathers
in the garment district and diamond district and stock
market you never saw all those girls you did and they
did you way too young always feeling guilty unloved
fishsticks and leftover stuffed cabbage...

C.Atlas fig. #84

Before i go i see all the santas and wise men
deflated on front lawns the deflated husbands
and what the years have done to them the deflated
wives “flesh-colored” bloodless without pigmentation
who haven’t been touched in ages and always bending
over in promiscuous positions so you can get a bird’s eye
view and all their little angels really devils and delinquents
in parochial school involved in some sort of mischief and
can’t stay out of trouble as you arrive at the workout club
with all the college girls and milfs the former purely
physical and athletic and the latter existential and
emotional both looking to get all their emptiness
all their holes filled up and for you to proverbially
and spiritually ‘serve and protect’ and save them,

C.Atlas fig. #87

Finally at last at the health club today
they turned off all that satanic repetitive
designer drug-driven idiotic house music
which sweeps and seems to take over your
essence your mind body heart and soul and
out of nowhere casually heard in the background
“we almost lost detroit” and thought
hadn’t heard that in so damn long and man
that just seemed to say it all and didn’t mind
hearing it over & over we almost lost detroit…

C.Atlas fig. #88

Screen 1: On the treadmills again and dreamed
over the muted tv over h.g.t.v. all those perfect
little responsible goody-goody lily-white killcasians
were replicating themselves until they all looked
acted exactly the same had the exact same friends
the exact same token minorities not too many so
they wouldn’t feel too uncomfortable asked
the exact same questions and the exact
same personalities and affectations
“we were sort of hoping for granite
for an outdoor shower for a view
of the mountains” as if all of
this was expected and entitled
as wasn’t sure if it was just me
but dreamed those little goodygoody
lily-white killcasians muted
over h.g.t.v. had replicated themselves
until they were all looking and acting exactly
the same and man just had to stay on the treadmills
just a little longer to get myself grounded back in reality,. 

C.Atlas fig. #89

Scream 2: Think there should be an h.g.t.v. where some family
bum-rushes them and does a sudden intervention but for nothing
like drugs or chemical dependency but for just being way too damn
corny and goody-goody and predictable and boring and privileged
and entitlement and scream you’re never grateful or contented
it’s just about me! me! me! me! me! me! me! about rooms
always being way too tiny and your jacuzzi and walk-in
closets and your granite goddamn if i have to hear about
granite one more fucken time i think i’m gonna die
and the proximity of your neighbors, well how in
the hell you know they even want to be near you
you nauseating wishy-washy fake exclusive
mean-spirited passive-aggressive bastards
or something eloquent to that effect
and they just break down sobbing
looking real pale and pasty
right into the camera,

Joseph Reich has been published in a wide variety of eclectic literary journals
both here and abroad, been nominated five times for The Pushcart Prize, and
his most recent books include, "A Different  Sort Of Distance" (Skive Magazine
Press) "If I Told You To Jump Off The Brooklyn Bridge " (Flutter Press) "Pain
Diary: Working Methadone & The Life & Times Of The Man Sawed In Half"
(Brick Road Poetry Press) "Drugstore Sushi" (Thunderclap Press)  "The Derivation
Of Cowboys & Indians" (Fomite Press) "The Housing Market: a comfortable place
to jump off the end of the world" (Fomite Press) "The Hole That Runs Through
Utopia" (Fomite Press)  "Taking The Fifth And Running With It: a psychological
guide for the hard of hearing and blind" (Broadstone Books) "The Defense
Mechanisms: your survival guide to the fragile mind" (Fomite Press)

See two longer pieces from this book at Outsider Poetry

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Poems At the End of the World Chapbook (Outsider Poetry From 1992)

Today it occurred to me that every day I sit here and try to think of something to write, but I have three books, Poems At the End of the World, Detached retinas, and Demented Children's Story Hour that have never been digitized or put on the internet. I have exactly one copy of Poems At the End of the World, but I think I'll go get it off the shelf and post a poem here, assuming any of it is even presentable.


There's some war on TV, I don't know
Which, being fought with the original results.
There's one live and one Memorex, and
One being shoved in under the bathroom door.
In war, you're not allowed to shoot
Men carrying flags, only men carrying
Pictures of their children in their wallets.
The Veterans of Future Wars are drilling
And parading in the frozen playground
Across the street.
The captain, a tenish boy who has already 
Earned his first Purple Heart,
Has rounded up the poets and stuck
Their tongues to the frigid steel
Of the monkey bars.
(Now they're shitting the truth
Out of their asses).
-Thomas L. Vaultonburg
Poems At the End of the World was my seconf chapbook, published in 1992 by Subourbon Press. It is 11 pages long.

Ionic Matriculations

My lover's husband threw a history book
Into the fire and was sentenced to five 
Years in prison. That's why he's never around.
History never concerned me much until
I ran out of condoms unless it's ancient.
There's a death match on TV, and they're
Selling me the Universe with garlic.
American Indians want me to buy a Honda,
Maybe with four doors, so I can drive
My two blue-eyed boys to a school where
We have stolen the dreams of his children.
When I was a child the Indian on TV wept
Because I consumed enough to become white
And I won't let my children be born
Where I walk there are signs warning of
Danger and the weeping Indian tells me
Whiteness indicates the absence of a soul.
If I forgot to swallow my radiation tablet
yesterday it's only because Mozart played
Before the Queen at eight, and my only
Precocious act was to realize the
Hopelessness of it all at fifteen, and
It's not fair to know that until you're thirty-five.
-Thomas L. Vaultonburg

     I guess these were poems written after my first book Concave Buddha, but that I decided didn't fit in my second book Detached Retinas. What I remember is that everything I was writing was being published as fast as I could write it, and everyone wanted to do a chapbook. Back then there was no print on demand, or digital printing, so even the act of creating a chapbook was labor intensive, and at five cents a copy an expensive proposition, too, for editors who just doing it for love of the small press and the written word. I actually don't know why these two poems didn't make it into Detached Retinas. I wish I had a few more copies of this.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Rockford Poetry Slams

Rockford poetry slams. Everyone knows that. The very same economic and cultural conditions that lead some to become violent, hopeless, or pessimistic lead others to become defiantly optimistic that the power of words can be used to educate, to motivate, and to lift the spirits of those demoralized by corruption and decay. Kudos to all Rockford poets. No place needs poetry more than Rockford. 

David Pedersen is a perfect example. In his quintessentially Midwestern book Love Is Meat, Pedersen writes about how his parents at a meat processing plant in the titular poem. It was one of my great honors as an editor and supporter of Rockford area writers to have edited this book, which mostly just entailed writing him emails saying "good job." But I realized walking the streets in Downtown last week that my grandparents had almost exactly the same story. My grandmother worked for the late part of her life carving meat for a small meat processing company in Lena, Illinois. And my grandfather for many years worked skinning the pelts of animals at a furrier in Forreston. For them their love of their family was quite literally directly related to meat. I remember my grandmother's mangled hands as I read Upton Sinclair's The Jungle for the first time this year. I wrote this poem about them.

Perfect Citizenship Award 

my grandparents 
never dared 
interfere with 
the lifelong civics 
lesson that 
from classrooms, 
radios, factories, 
encyclopedia salesmen, 
faucets and 
Hee Haw 
so when they 
had the decency 
to die weeks 
before retirement 
the government 
sent a 
Perfect Citizenship Award 
and a check 
not big enough 
to box up the remains.
-Thomas L. Vaultonburg

For six years I have lived at the geographic heart of Rockford, Illinois, in a tall building with a bird's-eye view of the street below. I have seen my neighborhood, still America's 3rd most dangerous, start to turn around and the beginning stages of gentrification take place. The East Siders who wouldn't have dared come here only five years ago now attend a wide array of music, arts, and cultural events Downtown. The bands, artists, and restaurants that kept those events coming are no small part of the upturn. Zombie Logic Press is where I edited this Review, published books by Jesus Correa and C.J. Campbell, and started my new venture, Outsider Poetry.

I hope to stay here to see this renaissance play out. I'd like to think I'll be part of it, and that I'll be able to use Zombie Logic Press to publish books by the best writers in Rockford. I like the place where I live. I am proud of its art community.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Outlaw Poems By Thom Young

One of the things I love about editing ZLR is I get to read poetry of all kinds. Sometimes I might even be the first person to ever have read a particular poem. I think that's pretty cool. Sometimes I go for weeks without posting anything new, and sometimes a batch of poems comes in and I want to post them the same day. Recently I was reading Gangsters, Harlots & Thieves: Down and Out at the Hotel Clifton, an anthology of Outlaw Poetry founder Todd Moore, edited by his son Theron, who is a good friend of mine. When these poems came in today it just re-enforced how influential a poet Todd Moore was. Not only in the types of content poets feel comfortable writing about, but the form itself. Outlaw Poetry lives!, it thrives, and I love publishing it here at Zombie Logic Review. 

Thom Young is a writer from Texas. His work has been in 3am magazine, Word Riot, The Legendary, and many other places. A 2008 Million Writers Award nominee for his story Perico. His books are popular all over the world including his latest GRINDHOUSE which hit #1 Kindle Free Horror four days in a row.


I don't need
a reason
to love
aren't you


one more cigar
one more beer
one more chance
at love


there's a sadness
her eyes that
can defeat
the world
and a lie in
her smile
about the love she has
the one she wants
as her life
slips by
like a forgotten


there's a certain
rhythm to love
she dances to her
own tune.

Her son

She didn't
want her son
but he was
already dead
she kept his skeleton
propped up in
the corner of his room
it was all so strange
but I suppose everything
I waved goodbye
and got the hell
out of there.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Poetry By Richard King Perkins II

Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL with his wife, Vickie and daughter, Sage. He is a  three-time Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee. In a six year period, his work has appeared in more than a thousand publications including The Louisiana Review, Bluestem, Emrys Journal, Sierra Nevada Review, Roanoke Review, The Red Cedar Review and Crannog. His poems are forthcoming in The William and Mary Review, Sugar House Review, Plainsongs, Free State Review and Milkfist. He was a recent finalist in The Rash Awards, Sharkpack Alchemy, Writer’s Digest and Bacopa Literary Review poetry contests. 

Condors and Hummingbirds

You’ve never believed people were meant to fly.
Doubtful as silence or dull knives.
The condor, a faithless creature, her Google Earth.
Even the most glorious killers choose life.  They’ll live until they can’t.
You’re more skeptical than the Sargasso Sea.
A bean is the form of a child. A vine to the clouds.
Almost flying, nestled in sun.
You always feel like sautéed cotton, and you are.
You always feel like euphoria, and you are.
You’re skeptical.
You’ll reel in old tires from the sky.
Then hummingbirds flee from your pasty tongue
as they spit dew into your blindness.
After the storm, I still can’t find my calm.
Angels pull at the insubstantial like pilgrims on holiday.
As you live, men will chum the clouds to find your reflection.
The night sky will darken to find you still aglow.

Homage to a Cousin Emerald

This might have been the moment
where she could have found life
but I had given it away, lost it beyond the shingle,

outside a cloud emptied of its memories, her night song
of eternity, the random thoughts that compose
the expectations of history.

In the creeping bleed of night,
she ignores my meaningless gestures, permanent imprints,
static; giving her supple whiteness so that I might evolve.

Her ending, my beginning; timelessness.  But for
our dissimilarities, uncertainties, the healing of feet
completes the discord; she is free to go anywhere.

Sometime, past the nights that brokenness rejected,
her final pastel whispers erode, weakened, but true,
like the thought of  skin growing a glassy shell

a protection of  soul venerated as a cousin emerald
and of such great depth
that she is impossible of being seen through.

Snowdrops and Shields to Endure

Soured on the first drink of obsidian heat, your summer’s crystallizing at
the bottom of a tall glass. Instantly, a strange harmony and then the advance
of crocodiles. The waters are possessed with a quiet euphoria since all curses
have been previously forgotten. You’ve given me a morning of bilateral
symmetry pressed against a cushion of rhythm, a transition filled with the
rarely touched and commonality of earth.

Singularly, I humble across a marshy path where my growing intrepidation
begins to border on a factory of glass.  As has happened untold times before,
I’ve placed too much trust in my own resourcefulness so that I’m taken
away by the false inheritance of consumption. Deer burrow outside the
dreamtime of years I was counting on my fingers and toes and have become
an intractable calculus growing on the underside of my scraping belly.

Tomorrow, a rarity of moon will invigorate me with the unpredictability
of moths. I’ll consent to a change that will cause me to become completely
unrecognizable—  though I’ll still look exactly the same. We mustn’t swallow
words in the softest air; star-bleached, keeping tempo, the treble line of staying
hidden and aloft. Within the almost alien light of the inner earth, the constant
weight of silence emits a deafening echo.

These are the fears that are hardest to admit to. Legends leave and new legends
return. For vanity reasons, you’ve kept your body despite the cost of appearance.
I’m outside an industrial complex where I’ve dug marbles to replace your
missing interior. This is connotatively still me, definitely breathing, possibly
still alive in a shifting pocket of dirt. What exactly have I become; removed
from the planet of my birth but lying motionless on a borrowed cot.

I’m still filling in your cavities from the greatest possible range, continuing to
stand in the way of our own contentment. All liquid loses fluidity. Glass will
break; the sun tea on the back porch spilled, forgotten. Perhaps we intentionally
drowned. Conscripted to a meditative August, roots are cautiously searching for
water— or a semi-positive direction, and soon, our last thought will be to taste it.
This is the right move for neither of us.

Nothing much happens in the sunless hours but we’ll do what we can; barely
anything. Either that or we haven’t yet noticed we live in a crematorium made
for snowdrops and synesthetes, convinced of the importance of our own frenetic
stupor; never envisioning that we are the only metaphor that can be applied to
ourselves and that this is the elusive serenity of our birthright—to create the
monsters of our own despair without first creating the sanctuary to captivate them—

or, at the very least, the necessary shields to endure.

Himalayan Dynamic

An impact of birds are dissolving mountains and gentle slopes
above the jigsaw pavement;
at night: the city prowls

and where there is no city, the sun panders,
crashing through a hymen of sophistry and bumpkinism;
the forest floor rolling and shrouded like the slow ride
of red velvet and splotchy flesh on a cadaver road.

The bodywatcher has counted up the telling hashmarks
as feathers give outcry to supernal effects.
Relics will spread dust on rooftops
and whatever remains
malingers grey above the cowering ditches of India..

A few visitors flee the tintinnabulation that strangles—
a gibbet too easily attainable.
A soft thud; then the capture of loam.

Outside the sedentary stupor of sand,
carnivores steal organs of diminishing warmth;
tigers contract a muscular torso,
low-ranging wolverines pivot on weaponized claws,
letting go posterity, foraging jawbones
which will crater a swaddle of monstrous valleys.

Each flight must be precise, and yet, birds still soar,
kept aloft by parliamentary currents,
strangers we hadn’t thought could become such intimate friends.

Loosened in the oppressive pall,
gudgeons fill depressions of absent lacquered bone.
Air and its water-sister are purposeful in their orgy of disregard
and of random integrity.
Ravening birds have no choice but to preen in briefest serenity.

Ruins prouden the residue of all that’s missing—
an obsequiousness of acrobatic curvature,
plaudits taken by fish within a wave
while gliding weeps the eagle in a sponge of air.

The most derelict humans are reluctant to deny any bird
the glory of air’s transcendent hum,
yet the few who give voice in harmony spew dahlias uncountable.

Depleting from Sun to Sun

Lost amid faces and actions never taken,
you tried, in a way, to retroactively soothe us by
downstroking our hair, kissing our eyelids,
plugging in a humidifier, offering compression,
decompression, rest.

Yet, before the abstruse potter’s field smiled,
the ground calmed beneath your words
and you witnessed the hairsbreadth of ages,
allowing serenity to take in its organic vowels
directly from the reluctant mull of the east.