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. 

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