Saturday, April 9, 2016

I Am Not An Outlaw Poet, but Dennis Gulling Is

My name is Thomas L. Vaultonburg. I am the editor of Zombie Logic Review, and I am most decidedly not an Outlaw Poet. I live right in the middle of one of the oldest and most orthodox neighborhoods in my city. I pay my taxes, I mow my lawn, and I keep my hair at an orderly length. Nothing about me is a challenge to the prevailing mores of society, and I am not rebelling in any way against the posted laws of this neighborhood, city, state, nation, or planetary congresses.

I am quiet and polite. I would be mortified to think I had said or done anything that caused waves or rocked the boat with those waves. I do write poetry on occasion, but I mean no offense by it. In fact, for the most part, like Wallace Stevens, I'd rather keep that part of my life to myself because I know how you feel about poets.

In the next six weeks I will be publishing a book of Outlaw Poetry that I am the editor of. It is titled The Blood Dark Sea, and it is a compilation of some of Dennis Gulling's greatest hits. He chose the poems himself, and they span a more than twenty-five year career in the small press poetry scene. Being a protege of Todd Moore, the poet, along with Tony Moffeit of coining the category of Outlaw Poetry in to the small press vernacular, few have a more clear pedigree to call themselves an Outlaw Poet.

The Blood Dark Sea By Dennis Gulling. May 2016 from Zombie Logic Press.

And the poems oblige. One hundred pages of testimonials of the underbelly of American society delivered like a gut punch, but finished with a flourish of wry humor as quick as a prison shivving. Okay, but enough of my prattling, you want to see the real thing. Here's a taste.


He saw her in the parking lot 
When he was going 
Into Carmen’s Liquors 
She was sitting 
On the hood of a black ‘69 Camaro 
White leather skirt 
Up to her hips 
Yellow blouse cut low 
She couldn’t have been 
More than 17 
She was blowing bubble gum 
And combing her bright blond hair 
Staring at nothing 
He watched 
For almost a minute 
Then went in to do the job 
Pulled a .22 on the clerk 
And told her to open the register 
The clerk came up with a gun of her own 
So fast he didn’t know what happened 
She put a bullet point blank 
In his chest 
And he went down
 In front of a rotating wine cooler display 
People started peeking in through the windows 
But keeping low 
When they saw the clerk standing 
Over the body 
They came in for a closer look 
Pretty soon there was a crowd 
Around the front of the store 
And the police started pouring in 
But the girl still sat 
On the hood of the 
Camaro blowing bubbles
Still staring at nothing 
In the red glow 
Of the police lights 
It looked like she was 
Combing blood from her hair
-Dennis Gulling

With a forward by Richard Vargas, editor of Mas Tequila Review, and an afterward by Todd Moore's son Theron Moore, The Blood Dark Sea is a book twenty-five years in the making, but one of the most under-appreciated poets in the entire Midwest. 

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