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.

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