Wednesday, May 31, 2017

"Buy American" Poems and Photography By David J. Thompson

David J. Thompson has become sort of a worldwide coorespondant for Zombie Logic Review. I never know where he's going to go next, but I know he's going to report back with great photos of street and folk art and awesome poetry. 

Buy American photo by David J. Thompson

Shit Like This

My assistant manager says, This old guy
named Jake is coming over from shipping
to work with you starting tomorrow, OK?
I nodded and he continued, Just so you know,
they wanted to fire him for coming back
from lunch drunk, but he’s only a week away
from retiring, so they decided to make him
our problem instead, and, don’t get too close,
they say he smells like he shit himself.

He wasn’t far off about that. Jake smelled 
like an ash tray doused with sour milk 
left out in the sun, but he was friendly enough,
and, keeping my distance, I showed him
how to put together the battery packs 
that the next guys down the line screwed
onto the computer frames we were building
before they pushed them down the assembly line.

Next morning he asked me what I was doing there,
so I explained that I was just working temp,
getting divorced and in-between real jobs.
Let me warn you, Jake said, sitting back slowly
in his chair and lowering his voice. Before I started
here forty years ago this spring, I was in the Navy
stationed in Japan for two years. I’ve never seen
anything like those Japanese girls. Tiny little things,
like dolls really, with perfect skin, and they will do
anything you want. You ever been to a Japanese whore?
I shook my head, gave him a little smile and said no.
He shook his head, too, flipped his screwdriver
up on the workbench, muttered, Like the kid
dumbass I was, I left the Navy and spent my life
doing shit like this.” I saw his whole body sag,
and I began to turn to walk away. Hey, he called, 
I got a bottle of  Jim Beam out in my truck.
Come with me at lunch, OK? I looked around 
to see if anyone was listening, gave him a wink 
and a nod, hoped it would be plenty warm enough
to drink with the windows rolled all the way down.

"Danville" photograph by David J. Thompson

"Gracie's" photograph by David J. Thompson


Worn out Friday night, weighed down with my laptop, 
a 6 pack, bag of groceries, and two movies from Netflix.
I’m dying to get inside, flop on the couch and crack
open the first beer. I’m digging around for my key 
when the crazy old woman across the hall sticks her head out 
and says  in her smoker’s voice, Hey, Mr. Teacher, I saw 
on  the TV that there’s a new Gatsby movie out.  
You’re not going to go see it, are you?  Oh, shit, I think, feel 
my laptop start to slip as my shoulder sags.  I hesitate a moment,
put my beer and the dvd’s down on floor, then slowly turn toward her,
tilt my head to see her better through the barely open door,
tell her that I wasn’t sure, just wanted to get inside for the night.

Well, don’t, she says as she pushes the door open a little wider, 
that Scott was such a terrible liar. Do you remember that part
in the book when Daisy says she always waits for the longest day
of the year and then misses it? Well,  Zelda would never do anything 
so stupid as that.  Oh, really? I ask, still feeling in my pocket 
for my key. She and I were bridge partners that winter, 
hospital champions, even if Zelda did overbid all the time,
she replied, her voice getting stronger.   I found myself lowering
my laptop to the floor, moving to get a better look at her. 
The fire you know, she continued, came straight up the dumbwaiter 
from the kitchen right to her room. Poor Zelda never had a chance, 
the windows, of course, were all barred up. Now, I stood there staring
at her, the short gray braids, the frayed collar of the the shabby housecoat 
she always wore. So sad, too, she went on, the insulin treatments were working,
Zelda was gaining weight and looking forward to seeing Scottie’s new baby, 
but all they found, her voice hesitated, in her room was a ballet slipper 
on a pile of ashes. Suddenly she twisted her head a bit, put her hand 
to her chin and said,  I think I have the other slipper here somewhere. 
Would you like to see it? Yes, please, I almost screamed, and she turned
and went back inside her apartment.

I sat down very slowly, my back against my apartment door,
right leg stretched out, left knee up. I listened to her clunking
around out of sight, then  I reached into the plastic bag,
brought out a 6-pack of Miller High life cans, pulled one 
from the ring and snapped it open.  I took a long swallow,
tilted my head back and decided to wait right there as if 
it were the longest day of the year, and I wasn’t going
to miss it for the world.

"Indiana" photograpgh by David J. Thompson

The Coolest Thing Ever

After a 12-pack of Busch Light,
a couple bong hits, and two shots
of Jim Beam, I explained to my buddy
Jim next door that all we had to do
was switch out the voice boxes 
on his parrot and my border collie
and we’d have a talking dog, for sure
the coolest thing ever that we could take
on tv and make a fortune. So, we fired
up the bong one more time, then 
spread clean sheets all over
my breakfast nook. We fooled
the animals into eating a mixture
of my ex-girlfriend’s Prozac
and half a bottle each of Tylenol PM,
found my flashlight and washed
some steak knives real good.

It’s been about a month now
and I can tell you that even
the dry cleaner couldn’t get
the blood stains out of my sheets,
and Jim is no longer speaking to me 
because his damn pet didn’t make it 
through the weekend even though
I’ve sent my dog over many times 
to invite him on the Colbert show
next week with us and remind him
how he’s as much to blame as I am, 
how better off the parrot is now, 
finally out of his cage for good, 
flying free way up there in bird heaven.

Buy American, buy Zombie Logic Press

John Yohe Poems

John Yohe has worked for the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service for sixteen years as a firefighter and now a fire lookout.

Pop Caps In The Asses of All Rhetoricians

Muthafucka be all academic and shit
Muthafucka be all Marxist Feminist Post-Structuralist and Post-Muthafucking Colonialist
Muthafucka real good about pleasing his professors when he was in college
Muthafucka be trying to write exactly like them
Muthafucka be in that gated university community
even tho muthafucka scared to death of the real life ghetto

Muthafucka waaay too good for community college
Muthafucka too good for developmental students
Muthafucka want all the so-called smart students for himself
Muthafucka ain't no low-class composition teacher
Muthafucka be a professor of literature
Muthafucka talking about Virginia Woolf with language Virginia Woolf would hate
Muthafucka want to be up in front of that class and profess how smart he is
Muthafucka probably smokes a muthafucking pipe
and not no muthafucking crack pipe either

Muthafucka can't write no poem
Muthafucka can't tell a story to save his muthafucking life
Muthafucka sure as hell thinks he knows more than the author tho
Muthafucka wants to make his students write just like him
Muthafucka can't understand why they can't
Muthafucka can't understand why they don't want to
Muthafucka can't understand why his students can't just be like him
and don't want to be like him

Muthafucka think Aristotle's the shit
He all obsessed with Ethos Pathos and Logos
But muthafucka jerk off just like everybody else
Muthafucka probably think about Virginia Woolf when he does
And since muthafucka still think all writing gotta have a conclusion
Here is my conclusion, muthafucka:
Here is me walking away

Poet John Yohe

Poem for Jaz

I like to think of you
dancing in the Fifth Quarter
in a tight white dress and high heels
feeling sexy
because I always felt that you never felt
how beautiful you were
because you weren't a skinny blonde
and I also hope that you know how funny
and smart you can be
if you let yourself
which is what I tried to tell you in my marginalia
though you seemed more interested in boys
at that point
and I'm sure the boys appreciated the attention
and if they didn't
they were fools

and I was never one for jello shots
and throbbing hip-hop—
I'd prefer to dance with you
to the music you were named for
though I do like to think of you
under that strobe light
and shaking that amazing ass


what did the girls see in us?
we weren't that smart—
cut off our hair
and we would've just been nerds—
we were scrawny
skinnier than the girls themselves
and always wore the same jeans and black t-shirts
featuring a rotating cast
of demons and devils and pentagrams

we didn't play love songs
our guitars were percussion instruments
and we weren't romantic—
a good date was driving to Harpo's
to see Overkill and Motörhead—
and we didn't talk much
hiding our emotions
except for anger
on stage

and we drank
smoked pot
and didn't want to go to college
(though some of us did anyways)
and we didn't use condoms
we all had porn stashes
and spent our paychecks on tattoos
wanting to be rock stars

the girls seemed to believe in us
more than we did
and carried our guitars and cymbals
and bought us cigarettes
and listened to our practices
and drove us to gigs
and sometimes even gave us blowjobs

and when our bands broke up
when we stopped playing our instruments so much
the girls waited a little while
enough to confirm what we already knew
and now their hairspray
and lipstick
and high heels
are gone:
we weren't the gods
they wanted us to be

Charles Rammelkamp: Poetry

Charles Rammelkamp lives in Baltimore, Maryland. He edits the online journal, The Potomac, In 2012, Time Being Books is publishing his poetry collection, “Fusen Bakudan”, about missionaries in a leper colony in Vietnam during the war.

The F-Bomb

“Mister Himmelfarb?
Karen Richards, Ben’s fourth grade teacher.”

“Hello! How are you?” I prattled,
knowing full well
she’d only call
if there were a problem.
“What’s up?
What can I do for you?”

“It’s about Ben.
He dropped the F-bomb
in class today.”

The F-bomb.  I understand
Miriam Webster now includes
that term in its dictionary.
I remembered the t-shirt
I once saw on a young man
out the window
of a Greenwich Village restaurant:

Fuck You
You Fucking

“My fault, Ms. Richards!” I apologized,
cutting her off before she could continue.
“I have no doubt
he picked it up from me.
I use the word
all the fucking time.
I’ll tell Ben
to be more discreet.
Thanks for calling, Ms. Richards.
I’m sure it will never
happen again.”

Poet Charles Rammelkamp

The Reunion

The Neocon Republican asshole,
was back at the gym this morning
after a two-week trip,
the centerpiece of which
was his wife’s fiftieth high school reunion.

“Hey, Jimbo!” I heard him calling
to another guy in the showers
while I got ready for my swim –
the gregarious loudmouth of the locker room;
but it’d been a little too quiet
while he was away, too monastic.
I like his spirit.

“Hey, Fish!” I called to him.
“How was your trip?”
A rotund guy, Fish reminds me
of Nikita Khrushchev –
a former weightlifter gone to flab,
man-breasts wagging like beagles’ ears.

“FANtastic!” Fish enthused.
“You should have seen
those sixty-eight year old grandmas
boogying on the dance floor!
Just goes to show you,
you ain’t dead until you’re dead.”  

“We’re still in that phase where we wake up, remember, wanna go back to sleep.” – Louise Erdrich, LaRose
“Your dick was always bigger than mine,
but at least I got pussy before you did,
and a lot more than you did, too.”

It’s early morning by the Kalamazoo River.
My twin brother is firing up his first pipe of the day,
the smoker’s cough he’s had for forty years
a constant punctuation,
a series of semi-colons
tearing at his sentences,
dotted scythes scissoring his lungs,
exclamation marks hammering his breath.

We’re back home for our mother’s funeral,
sixty years old only a couple months back,
a year before his cancer diagnosis.
Soon he’ll take his Hep-C injection
before  we head to the cemetery.

Who else would ever say
such intimate things to me
with such matter-of-fact reflection?
How much will I miss this
when he’s gone?

The Cherry on Top

The circuit court judge sentenced
the two men to fifty years
for shooting another man to death in a motel
where they’d gone to buy dope.

The two, named Currier and Ives,
of all things, argued about the price
the seller was asking
and the quality of the pot,
which they thought inferior.

The seller, named John McCain,
believe it or not,
lived with his wife
in this by-the-hour fleabag,
where they eked out a living
selling marijuana, amphetamines and Quaaludes.

Currier went into the bathroom with McCain,
John’s wife testified;
she heard them struggle,
then Ives went in and shot McCain
several times in the chest and head.

After fifty years, Currier and Ives
would be in their eighties,
but the judge added ten more
for the armed robbery, and another five
for a handgun violation.

The Happiest Day of My Life

He’s the only man I ever slept with,
not surprising since I was fifteen
when I met Scott,
three years older than me.

We married four years after that,
set about starting a family right away –
Jimmy and Jess both grown and on their own now,
Jess with a husband of her own.

We’d been planning our silver anniversary
when I found that photograph,
him and a younger woman, Lisa,
she in white, a veil over her face,
him with his arms around her,
a flower in his lapel.

It all came out then,
how he’d met her six years before,
a student in his Sociology class,
how they’d married in a Methodist church.

Oh, how humiliating!
I get no satisfaction,
no sense of justice, no “closure,”
not an ounce of schadenfreude
from his being in prison the next five years.
I just look at our wedding album,
tears sliding down my nose.
It was the happiest day of my life.