Monday, May 16, 2016

Final Sequence of Poems From The Blood Dark Sea

In my attempt to serialize the poems of The Blood Dark Sea, I have placed batches of poems in the sequence they appear in the book at Outsider Poetry, not quite blank, The Journal of Outsider Poetry, Olivia Sucks, and my personal blog, Zombie Logic. After a couple of weeks of this process I have come nearly to the end of The Blood Dark Sea and want to post some poems by Dennis Gulling here at the flagship of Zombie Logic Press. 


My headlights
Push back the darkness
As I’m driving home to you
My hands are clammy on the wheel
Wondering how much you know
About why I’ve been gone
Did somebody tell you
How I got this car
Or what happened at the racetrack
With that woman from Indonesia
I cross the river bridge
Just north of town
Close my eyes
And see you sleeping
Your hair falls across
That angel face and
Your hands are restless
On the covers as you dream
No matter what I do
Or how long I stay away
We’ll be together forever
At least sometimes


He was going through
Dumpsters for cans
In the alley behind
Bailey’s Liquir
When he found a bloody t-shirt
With knife slits
Down the front
He took it home
And nailed it
To the wall
Above his bed
Like a crucifix
For 3 nights straight
He dreamed a wolf
Lead him through
Dark empty streets
To the river
Where the water ran red
In the moonlight


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
Then she’s awake again
In a bed too big
In a house too cold
And his leaving
Is just something else
That happened in her life


I will leave paradise
Scratched and stained
As a map so
You might find me
Before my boat is torn apart
On the blood dark sea
And I will live forever
In that moment
When I know
There’s no turning back to harbor
My downhearted lover
My savage renegade
You were damaged
By my kindness and
Made whole by my departure
It was all I could give you
That wouldn’t cost me
All I had
There’s no way home from here
No redemption now
The light is fading fast
Night is all around me
And now your memory
Pulls me under
To a place cold and deep
Where all dreams end
With a wolf at the door
Where every darkness has its ghost


I’m on a burning ship
In the middle of the ocean
Dying from a gunshot wound
The wind is howling
A storm is coming on
And I don’t know
If you’ll ever read this letter
But I had to tell you
I never meant to let you down
Or leave the way I did
And you can keep
All that money you owe me
Use it to buy yourself
Something nice
And if you ever think of me again
Let it be for those
One or two things I did right
That didn’t make you cry
I want you to know
I didn’t have to come this far
To disappear
I’ve been doing it all my life
Even when
I was standing in front of you
It’s the one thing I didn’t have to learn
It’s hard-wired in my blood
I was always more gone than not
Now I’m getting cold
Under these sheets
The night sounds far away
And I know where this ship is taking me
I’ll be alive forever
In some cruel heaven
You’ll be with me then

And those are the poems from The Blood Dark Sea, a book of Outlaw Poetry by Rockford poet Dennis Gulling. Saturday night I had the pleasure of being Dennis Gulling in a way. A couple of hours before a reading he was scheduled to appear at I got a text that he was ill and the host asked if I could do a set. I said I would if I could pretend to be Dennis Gulling and read his poems. Well, I didn't say I would pretend to be Dennis Gulling, I just asked if it would be alright if I read from his book. I was given permission, and I had a good time reading some of my favorite poems from the book. I have seen Dennis read these poems, and they are so well constructed the audience almost invariably reacts at exactly the moment you would hope they would. 

Anyway, June 11th will be Dennis Gulling's chance for real to read from his book for the first time to an audience. We have scheduled a book release party for The Blood Dark Sea at J.R. Kortman Center for Design in Rockford, Illinois. All the writers from The Rock River Literary Series will be reading that night, including myself. I suppose I also have to host, but I can't even start stressing out about that yet. Here is the event page for The Blood Dark Sea Book Release Party on Facebook, and you can like ZLP while you're there. I've put quite a cramp in my back bending over this contraption, and I think I'll finish my tea and go to bed. 

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