Sunday, March 24, 2013

Two Sunday Poems By Dini Karasik

Sunday. Open the newspaper, have a cup of coffee, see that some great poetry has come over the airways. Life is good at Zombie Logic Review. Two by Dini Karasik.


I’m eating last night’s beans 
for breakfast 
con agua de melón 
left on the counter too long. 

In between bites, 
I sip the mix of juicy fruit 
and Rio Grande river water, 
sugar and sacred tears shed 
by faraway mountains lonely 
because we no longer sing to the stars. 

I’m a sad mountain, too, 
only I cry criticisms
and smoke cigarettes 
and listen to the echoes 
of when we first met.
I think happy 
is a prehistoric howl 
bouncing along the unseen 
canyon between us. 

Still, I made a meal 
to sustain the shell of you. 
But the cut of meat 
has puckered next 
to a mound of ossified rice.

The beans have been out all night 
(son borachos como tú). 
They are cold now 
with little bits of bacon 
buoying in the broth.

When you walk through the door, 
I’ll fix you a sandwich. 
You and the government cheese 
will dare me to complain.



those northern lights 
blazing a black horizon
illuminate nothing

just a metaphysical sky
like a mind full of words
you never write 

tell me why 
you won’t
sing to me.

no, don’t

you must think 
this winter is colder 
than the one before

i couldn’t agree more

is a poem
you will never read

but I write 
tear drops 
on the page
for you to see

such sad memories

there are many
heavy on the scales
tilting you
away from me

as i watch you spill 
like a setting sun
over the edge 
of a lifetime

Dini Karasik is a Mexican-American writer and lawyer. Her poetry has appeared in Crack the Spine and she has work forthcoming in The Más Tequila Review and Kweli Journal. You can follow her on Twitter @DosGildas or on her writing blog:Dini Karasik.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Four Poems By The Mysterious Dennis Gulling

One of the perks of working on a project with the regional newspaper The Rock River Times to chronicle the recent history of poetry in Rockford, Illinois, is remembering that we've had some damn fine poets pass through these parts. That project has rekindled my passion to publish the best poetry I can find, and in some instances its being written right here in Rockford. And in the case of Dennis Gulling, has been for a long time. Unless you get ahold of one his chapbooks you're just not going to see his work very often, so this is a treat for both me and appreciators of poetry.

All she has left of him
Is a wisdom tooth
Wrapped in cotton
In a red velvet box
She keeps under the bed
In her dreams
He sings to her
From deep in her bones
A siren song she wants to follow
But can't seem
To find the way
And then she's awake again
In a bed too big
In a house too cold
And his going
Is just something else
That happened in her life

He used to
Walk around town
With a sheep's skull
Under his arm
We'd pay him quarters
To french it
The night his mother shot herself
He sat in his front yard
Smashed the skull with a rock
And danced 
On the pieces

He drove to the river and
Aimed his high beams
At the place
Where his daughter had drowned
A week before
Ripples in the water
Tore the light to pieces

3 days after Fred Carver
Was shot dead
In a craps game
We all gathered
At Sparkman's Funeral Home
For the visitation
I was standing
Behind Fred's ex-wife, Thelma
When she reached in her purse
A dropped something
In the casket
I leaned over her shoulder
And watched a black spider
Crawl up Fred's face
And disappear  in his hair

He came to
With the car on fire
She stood outside laughing
Waving a gas can over her head
He blistered both hands
Getting the door open
Hit the ground
With everything burning
Too busy trying
To stamp out the flames
To notice the bullet
She put in his ass

Dennis Gulling is a small press veteran who edited Crawlspace from 1980-1989, read with Outlaw poetry founder Todd Moore on their "World Tour," and is so elusive he could be standing next to you right now and you wouldn't even know it. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Three Poems By Richard Vargas, Editor of Mas Tequila Review

Richard Vargas organized a poetry reading for me at the Barnes and Noble here in Rockford when my second book, Detached Retinas, was published. I read badly that night and didn't do another public reading for fifteen years. That's not his fault, just a story. And allows me to say that at one time two great poets like Richard Vargas and Todd Moore were part of the poetry scene in Rockford, Illinois. Richard Vargas is the editor/publisher of Mas Tequila Review, one of the best contemporary poetry magazines out there. He's a tireless promoter of poetry and a magnificent poet to boot. It's my privilege to bring these three poems to you.

american jesus #2
“Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine…” Patti Smith

our soldiers 
come home from 
the wars
wander city 

fated to an endless 
quest for our 
pocket change
as they stand at 
busy intersections
hold up makeshift 
signs proclaiming 
their hunger

we fixate our
stare straight ahead
grip the steering

wait for the light 
to change from 
red to green

our souls lost

forever nailed
to the cross

we could be heroes

the immigrant frying my fries at mcdonald’s is a hero
the person in customer service telling me there will be a five dollar charge if she assists me paying my bill over the phone is a hero
the guy using his gas engine portable leaf blower to move his cloud of dust across the street at 
7 am on a saturday is a hero
the state policeman in new mexico caught in broad daylight on video doing the wham-bam-thank-you-mam with his girlfriend on the hood of her car is a hero
the bank of screw-america exec kicking sr. citizens out of their homes and into the streets is a hero
the man rounding up shopping carts in the piggly wiggly parking lot is a hero
the homeless dude passed out on the bench at the bus stop is a hero
the lady behind the bullet proof glass collecting my money where i buy gas is a hero
the attendant wiping down the machines at the laundry mat is a hero
the man servicing the vending machines at work is a hero
the hooker working central ave. by the sports bar is a hero
the sanitation engineer mopping the floor at the VA hospital is a hero
the salesperson selling me two pair of eyeglasses for the price of one is a hero
the plumber unplugging my toilet is a hero
the people who don’t know what a turn signal is for are heroes
the mother shopping at wal-mart with her teenage daughter wearing Hooter shorts is a hero
the guy who shows up to figure out why my internet is on the blink is a hero
the goofy looking young man who owns facebook is a hero
the pedophile priest is a hero
the neighbor growing their own tomatoes is a hero
the bum drinking a beer and talking on a cell phone in the alley is a hero
the hipster posing in patio seating at the trendy bistro sipping a microbrew is a hero
the people at home all alone in the dark watching porn on their computers are heroes
the pro quarterback who corners an underage girl in the bathroom against her will and 
pulls out his weenie is a hero
the minute man racist who kills his girlfriend and then shoots himself dead is a hero
the person with the keys to the closet where the banned books are stored is a hero
the poet working at starbucks with a MFA degree in creative writing is a hero

heroes are everywhere
heroes are nowhere

the biggest crock of shit i ever heard… December 1979

i’m home on my first 30 day leave
so i can spend the holidays in Calif
with the family but i’m also 
fresh out of basic training 
so drinking and getting laid 
as much as possible sit high on 
my itinerary but right now 
i’m sitting in the passenger seat 
parked on a dark street at 10 pm 
in front of an apartment bldg in  
Rowland Hts. listening to 
my mother’s husband tell me 
that the apartment on the 
second floor belongs to a 
waitress who serves him
breakfast every friday
how she’s a great listener
with a pretty smile but that’s
all he thought it was until 
one friday last month 
she slipped him a piece of 
paper with her phone number 
and address written down 
with an exclamation point 
and a smiling happy face
so last week he found himself
parked in the exact same spot
we’re parked now as he sat
in the dark wanting to get out
and walk up the steps to her door
find out what was waiting for him
on the other side but couldn’t
(and here he starts to choke up)
because he loves my mother
so much and would never do
anything to hurt their marriage

and i sit there in silence wondering 
what the hell have i come home to
and how the next 30 days can’t possibly
end too soon while the lights on
the tree in the woman’s window

flicker like the distant stars in
the cold December sky

Richard Vargas was born and raised in southern California. As an undergraduate, he studied under the prolific poet, Gerald Locklin. He also published five issues of the Tequila Review, a biannual magazine of poetry, from 1978 – 1980. He graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2010, and earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing. He was awarded the 2011 Hispanic Writers Award from the Taos Summer Writer’s Conference, and he served on the faculty of the 10th National Latino Writers Conference at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico. His first book, McLife, was published in 2005. A second book, American Jesus, was published in 2007. He is currently looking for a publisher for his third book. His poetry is published widely in poetry magazines and anthologies. He is currently publishing a biannual poetry magazine of contemporary American poetry, The Mas Tequila Review. He lived in Rockford, IL from 1995-2002. He now resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Poems About Charles Bronson and Clint Eastwood By Kyle Hemmings

Here at Zombie Logic Review we're not snobby about poetry, or uptight about classifications. If we like it, we'll publish it. Outlaw, Outsider, dada, and surrealism are merely styles I like and identify with, but my experience as a young poet was with the the tail end of the Small Press revolution of da levy and Marvin Malone and others. I just like poetry. Here are some poems I like that aren't going to fit neatly into anyone's clearly defined category. Can't go wrong with Bronson and Eastwood.


All day, Skiff & I are heavy with Nothing.

This Big Nothing mashes us down into hot pavement,
flattens our abs untouched by Insanity workouts.
Our mothers are hung up on too many pills to keep track
where we vanished. 

We're sitting in front of a grocery store on East 4th. Below us,
I imagine rats, king-size rats with the big empty eyes of garbage whores.
They're hungry. They want to eat us.

They can gnaw through neglected bone.

Can't you hear them? I say to Skiff.

Hear what?

Rat-a-tat-tat, rat-a-tat-tat, sing the rats, rat-a-tat-tat, my belly's an empty tomb.

You are bombed on Nothing, declares Skiff in his ratty T-shirt.

We make the girl we named Sally Simple steal us some ice cream,
peach or butterscotch wish. She has half a lobe, half a life, one eye to the sun.
 What didn't melt inside her is now half-empty.

By the time, she gets back, the ice cream has melted.
We throw her a dime.
We throw her a cheap kiss.
We give her the useless tail of our love.

The wish is still good.

But the Nothing is breaking our backs. Waiting on time,
our asses are sore.  I count the feathers & blisters
in last night's dream in which Sally was restored
 to the original.
A girl on Full.

She'd be too good for us. Even though her bare legs
would still carry mysterious scratches,
bumps from unforeseen things in the night. 

Something is pissing me off.

I begin to pound my fists into the hard cracked sidewalk. 

It will not open up & regurgitate my name.

I'm signing the pavement in a script of perfect blood,
sexy loops with Nothing inside.

Skiff asks why? Why this?

Why not this, I say. 

Because it's something, I say. & something is better than nothing. 

Rat-a-tat-tat, sing the rats festooning beneath our stuck lives. 

I'm hungry, says Skiff, what Sally just fed us was Not Enough.
I could eat a shin bone, a heart shrunken to a shrimp, the fat trimmed off daylight.


You garbage whore.

The Wife Disposal System
for years i've been trying to get rid of the woman who wouldn't love me. i left my wooden leg in the shower, sang miley cyrus out of key, hired a hacker to sabotage her dot coms. i dropped scattered notes along the floor, fragmented diagrams of her talking dreams, plastic daffodils, her menage a trois with thick-lipped voyeurs. the only reason she won't quit me, she says, puncturing an aluminum can of processed fruit, is because i remind her of the empty eyes of her first dog, a white & brown Beagle that followed her everywhere when she was a child. before she set him loose into the street.

Charles Bronson 

What's worse than putting your skinny nose in a nut cracker? It's being taken hostage by Charles Bronson in his leaning house on a mountain. I think Charley has gone nuts. He keeps pacing in front of me with hands behind his back and saying something about the weight of happiness is too much for all of us to bear. Charley, I yell, what the fuck! Please untie me, I'm getting nervous. He says for me to give him the code, first. I say WHAT CODE, CHARLEY? YOU MEAN THE CODE TO MY MOTHER'S COOKIE JAR, THE ONE SHE ALWAYS KEEPS SECURED WITH TWO COMBINATION LOCKS? OR DO YOU MEAN THE CODE LIKE THE ONE THAT PRESSES MY FUZZY GIRLFRIEND'S HORNY BUTTON AND SHE CAN GO THROUGH THREE MEN LIKE A BOWL OF CHICKEN SOUP? I mean THE CODE, says Charley. Like CODE AS IN THIS CEILING WILL BEGIN TO LOWER IN TEN SECONDS AND FLATTEN YOU. I dont' know any code, Charley, except in node abode dote my fish took off with my boat. Charley turns to me and winks. He says Nice try, kid, but you're missing a vowel. He walks away. Just like that. I was only short a vowel. 

Clint Eastwood

 I had him laughing so hard that he promised to lick my mahogany legs clean if I told him another joke about a Democratic mayor who lost his head and hallucinated talking chairs. Truth is I can't talk at all. I'm just an empty chair. It's Clint who puts words on my seat. Sometimes Clint thinks I'm an angry chair. Like the time he kept asking me why he didn't get the lead role in Total Recall. Then he says, DON'T TELL ME YOU DON'T REMEMBER. No, he said, looking down at me, that's my line. 


You've suffered from insomnia since you learned that you could never truly close your eyes. Dizzy from un-sleep, you cover 3/4th of your red eye self with wallpaper. You wish you could dream of electric frogs jumping across the canals of your brain. The cell phone's chirp becomes a siren. A woman, whose voice you don't recognize, says We never met but. . . Remember the Local 251 bust, whistleblower? She's been living on food stamps since her old man got stuffed in a can. She says someone is watching you. She says Sleep with one eye open, Mr. Whistleblower. The face in the mirror is only 2/3rds yours. Your hands have no connection to your core. Shadows move within shadows. Distant barking of a dog. Fall. Be still. Don't put up a fight. In the veins of the night. Glass doll sigh. Shut eye. 

Reports are that Kyle Hemmings has published elsewhere and likes dogs. Me, too. Check out his blog DogPunk & Psychedelic Stinky Cat

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Kenneth Pobo At Zombie Logic Review

Here are four great poems by Kenneth Pobo. 


A freshly painted sign 
welcomes drivers into a town 
of 1236 people and 

12 churches.  Micah’s high school 
hasn’t quite collapsed yet.  A town 
square died into a Wal Mart.  Broken 

beer bottles pay homage to 
the statue of W.D. Pengraft, 
the founder.  I grew up here--  

I’m a washing machine 
on a rickety porch used 
only for holding an iced tea glass. 


His God shows himself to be real 
when a gun fires.  
In the richochet Spacker finds God.    

His mother thinks Spacker’s 
an atheist.  She frets that his soul 
will be a leaf burning
forever.  Ask him and he’ll tell you 

he hates atheists, thinks 
they should be shot.  
By his God.  

Then they would know the truth.


The doorbell rings.
Two airbrushed and earnest
young men.  Surprising himself,

he lets them in—they open 
a book, explain why we have
physical bodies.  Spacker 

informs them that he’s about
to shove an ice cream scoop 
down their throats--

prayer-stained suits get in a car, 
a cell phone dropped 
in fading tulips.


Whenever Spacker gets angry,
and that’s almost all the time,
he finds a culprit, says,

“You’re on my list!”
This long list includes 
the dead.  He thinks of his 

list as a broken-down bus
rusting five miles out of town
in Kregar’s field.  Someday

everyone on it will end up
in that bus.  The people,
even God, will spend the rest

of their lives looking
out of broken windows,
eating smelly bag lunches,
Spacker sitting in
the driver’s seat trying
to start the engine again

and again, but it’s too
far gone.  The traveling
salesman sky has no clients.

Kenneth Pobo has published four books and over a dozen chapbooks. He teaches creative writing at Widener University where he does a radio show each Saturday called Obscure Oldies.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Five Poems By John Grochalski

Five poems by John Grochalski

tough guys drink beer
on the evening bus

and they smirk at you
like there isn’t a goddamned thing
that you can do about it

as if you care

tough guys drink aluminum pounders
of coors light on the evening bus
and we’re supposed to shiver

coors light isn’t tough

even with some has been rapper
schilling for them

but this clown is smirking and shaking his head
looking at all of us
daring one of us to say something to him

he calls his boy, tony, on his cell phone
just to let tony know that he’s drinking beer on the evening bus

like some kind of gangster

i hope tony is impressed
but i don’t think he is

i think tony wants to talk about his woman troubles

because the tough guy drinking beer on the evening bus
almost spits out his coors light

he says, stop whining about your bitch, tone
be a player, he says,

taking down another gulp of the “hard stuff”
as some black girl smacks me in the face with her ponytail
and starts singing beyoncé songs

ponytails are tougher than coors light
being forced to listen to beyoncé songs can make you tough

tougher than this clown drinking beer
on the evening bus

maybe he is kind of hardcore

he put his can of beer on the floor of the bus
when he finished it

he’s too hard to recycle
or even throw his can away

he’s going to make the bus driver his bitch

he tells tony this on the phone
as he reaches into his bag for another pounder can of coors light

as the black girl bellows
say my name, say my name and looks over at him

telling the tough guy
that this bus ain’t no mu’fuckin’ bar, white boy

giving him just what he wanted

he tells her to shut up, bitch
because he so fucking dangerous

but she doesn’t hear him through her headphones

just goes on singing
say my name, say my name

as the tough guy continues drinking beer
on the evening bus

telling poor tony what a pussy he is
for being hung up on a girl

and that tonight he plans on breaking a bottle
over some poor fuckers head

at whatever bar
they choose to go to.

juice bar

my wife and i
stand in line at a juice bar

we’ve decided not to drink on sundays
because we’re getting older

because sundays have always been
an alcohol free-for-all

arguments and sloppy sex
movies neither of us remember
and books we’ll have to reread the next day

this is sober sunday

so we’re in a juice bar line
with dozens of others

thin people who never wake up on monday morning
hot with sunday hangovers
really feeling the actuality of their death

and the juice bar is decked out in green and orange
and other earthy colors

there are pictures of hearts all over the place
to remind you that you are doing something
good for the body

i imagine regular bars decked out in bleak colors

blacks and grays and whites
and pictures of saturated livers hanging about

but this just makes me wish that  i was in a bar
instead of in a juice bar line

with dozens of young people texting
or bobbing their heads to the loud and terrible
disney pop playing overhead

covers of covers of old songs

with other aging assholes fooling themselves
on a sunday afternoon

and the juice bar workers are overly friendly
when someone walks in the door

one of the workers shouts, welcome to jammin’ juice
then it is like a chain, an echo of workers
whether busy or not


welcome to jammn’
welcome to jammin’
welcome to jammin’

the whole thing reeks of artifice
a corporate ideal of hospitality

complete with a shot of wheatgrass
to help keep you on this planet longer than you’d like to be

it’s like being in a foreign country actually

and each time you place an order
the juice bar worker takes your name
instead of giving you a number

you do not get a paper receipt
because we’re all saving the world in this juice bar

it’s not the workers fault that it is this way
they need to make a buck

chances are good most of these people
would be getting drunk with their sunday

or standing in a juice bar line somewhere else

when your healthy drink comes up
your smoothie
or your juice mixed with crushed ice

one of the juice bar workers shouts your name
like they’ve known you forever

and the young stop texting for a moment
to go up to the counter for their sixty-ounce blast

of pomegranate paradise
or peach passion
or strawberry swirl

sucking it half way down before they even leave the juice bar
while the rest of us stand there

listening to the disney music
the whirl of blenders

the door opening to a folksy bell
and another chorus of

welcome to jammin’
welcome to jammin’
welcome to jammin’

the blood pressure rising
a sense of propriety shot to shit
when each new drink that arrives is not our order

my wife and i
standing in this juice bar line
on a sober sunday afternoon

still somewhat convinced we’re doing something good
something healthy

instead of shoving down all of that poison
in the quiet of our own home

or sitting in a dead bar
with a cold beer

watching the warm sun shower the good earth
from behind smeared glass

just like the good lord
originally intended.

man outside the funeral home

the man
outside the funeral home

is slouched against graffiti
and bird-shit walls

trying to light a cigarette with shaking hands

and bending at the knees

he is
inundated with family
and friends
and cups of water to calm his nerves

keeps shaking his head


while us gawkers on the street
are thankful

that his misery is not ours
for the moment

decide amongst our ignorant selves
to stop whining about

and bills
and itchy assholes

our imperfect love

shut our mouths
drink our paper coffee

move on


i know

somehow i know
that one day this will all be gone

and i’ll be worm food for sure

or a can of ashes
sprinkled over some european bridge

a good run at its end

but for now
i’ll concentrate on being alive

my hands on her ass
as she rides me on the couch


books and clothing in piles
on the floor

wine on the coffee table
moving like the sea

her screams of pleasure
echoing off the walls

my eyes
rolling back into my head

like foaming
white waves.

parallel parking

i can see her

i wish i had a sign that read
no talking to me during my walk to work

a sign like that would save me
so many of these moments

but i can see her waving me down

and tchaikovsky’s 6th is ending in on my
magical music machine

it’s fading into a dissonance
that was taking me with it until this

but she’s waving me down

running across a busy street
flailing her arms as if she were on fire

what? i say when she reaches me
corners me really

and i don’t turn the tchaikovsky down
until i get that last recognizable note

can you drive? she says
in a thick russian accent

she points over to a car that is half out into the street
motor running and some terrible music infesting the block

i don’t have a license
which is a lie

i simply won’t help people who can’t help themselves

but you can still drive? she says
which means she’s willing to break the law to get what she wants

no, i tell her, moving on

having lost tchaikovsky because of this business
but gaining dvorak to compensate

can anyone drive?  i hear her shouting


anyone please?

then i turn the music up to drown her out

i’m sure she’ll find someone, i tell myself,
some good citizen to come and parallel park her car

but in a proper world
two teenagers would be joyriding brooklyn in that rumbling thing

while she gives a stolen property statement
to a couple of cops

two jolly flatfoots
laughing so goddamned hard

that they can barely write a sentence
in that little black pad of theirs.

John Grochalski is a published writer whose poetry and prose have appeared in several online and print publications including:  Red Fez, Rusty Truck, Outsider Writers Collective, Underground Voices, The Lilliput Review, The Main Street Rag, Zygote In My Coffee, The Camel Saloon, and Bartleby Snopes.  I have two books of poetry The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch (Six Gallery Press) and Glass City (Low Ghost Press), and a novel, The Librarian forthcoming. My chapbook In the Year of Everything Dying can be viewed via Camel Saloon’s Books on Blogs series (