Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Drunk At Midnight and Other Outlaw Poems By Dennis Gulling

It has been a bittersweet week for me. The arrival of the latest Zombie Logic Press book, The Blood Dark Sea, by Dennis Gulling, was a thrill last Friday. There aren't many feelings as an editor, or a writer, like opening that first box of your own books, except in this case, for the third time in a row, it was another writer's book. I said it's a thrill, but it's more accurately described as a relief. After months, sometimes even years of work, there's this short period where you really have no clue if the finalized files you sent to the printer will look the way you anticipated when they arrive on your porch. In this case I was working with Jenny again, so I knew it was going to be great. And it is.

Soon after the relief wears off you come to the daunting realization that you now are responsible for promoting and finding an audience for the life's work of another writer. That's a sobering responsibility, and one I take very seriously. Having edited and designed a magnificent book just isn't enough. Dennis Gulling's work deserves an audience. These are unbelievably readable and entertaining poems. I have read this book more than it's likely anyone else ever will, and each time I'm still impressed as a pretty sophisticated reader of poetry how effortlessly Gulling seems to tell these short stories with wit, precision, and a lack of condescension for the reader, or his subjects. That's no easy task or all that common in poetry, believe me. 

So, if you're still reading please do me a favor and give this book and this poet the credit they have earned. If you aren't interested in buying a copy, share the link if you think this might be of interest to others you might know. Help me promote a poet I think has written a classic of Outlaw Poetry. Go to here to learn more about this book and all Zombie Logic Press books

The Blood Dark Sea cover by Jenny Mathews of Rockford Illustrating


He walked around town
Collecting nails nobody wanted
Twisted, bent and rusty
Kept them in old coffee cans
In his basement
When he had thousands
He set up a table at the flea market
And sold them all
To some guy
Who had a broken hammer
He couldn’t bear to throw away


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

                            Tiny Drawing by Jenny Mathews


Drunk at midnight
Spade Jackson presses
His back against the ice machine
Outside West Street Minit Mart
Mouth harp
Invisible in his huge right hand
Head bobs and pivots
To Hellhound on My Trail
Left sleeve of his shirt
Hangs loose
Since losing his arm
Under a freight train 10 years ago
Stiff breeze catches it
And whips it around
He plays faster and faster
Trying to catch the rhythm
Of the dance it’s doing in the wind
His eyes bug out
Sweat beads on his forehead
He shuffles his feet
In a useless dance
As red light
Off Minit Mart neon
Gives him the devil’s face

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