Thursday, May 24, 2018

You Don't Want Carpet, You Want An Area Rug

I remember the movie Punchline, which featured several comics of the day, and a young Tom Hanks falling for an older Sally Fields. 

Nothing about that movie has anything to do with what I'm about to say except Taylor Negron is in the movie, and during his routine he does an impersonation of a Persian rug dealer who says "You don't want carpet, you want an area rug." 

Back to that later. The night Taylor Neron died we were ironically just listening to one of his routines about visiting his uncle who was in Three Dog Night, and how it wasn't unusual for Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, or any other rock star of the day to be present at his uncle's house. A few moments after listening to the routine I learned he had passed that evening.

This is a painting my partner Jenny did for a show we have coming up at the end of June called the Come and Go Motel Show. It's obviously the carpet Danny rides his big wheel on in the classic Stephen King horror movie "The Shining." 

The Shining Carpet by Jenny Mathews

I've seen people say everything in the movie is some sort of secret message, and that even the carpet is a design that is there to tell us the moon landing was a hoax or some other conspiracy theory. I don't know about any of that. 

I'm just trying promote this show and my partner's work on the first really hot day of the year here in Northern Illinois. I put my air conditioner in and used bungee cord to hold it in place, then an old electric blanket as insulation. It must look like someone really trashy lives in my apartment, and I suppose that's the case. 

Can't really promote this blog or post it anywhere that people will see it, so I'll stop now. You can like Zombie Logic Press on Facebook if you want, but I know you won't so I'm going to go do something else, maybe watch Portnoy's Complaint. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Business Is Business

I was talking on Facebook messnger with my friend Tim Stotz a few days ago, and he was inviting me to a local cafe just to hang out, shoot the breeze, and pretend like were working on something, and all of a sudden this poem flashed into my head, which isn't much a big deal, except that hasn't happened to me in over a year, so I rushed to write it down.

Business Is Business

she says andrew jackson
was a murderer 
and a lousy president,
and aside from that he looked funny,
but not funny enough to 
stop her from
blowing me for
two lousy presidents

I'm organizing a poetry reading on June 15th with the themes of capitalism/consumerism, and in our Tal' Dorei Dungeons and Dragons campaign prostitution is taking on a huge role. I suppose all those components coalesced to make this the first poem that popped into my mind in a year.

Who dares question the muse. Take what you're given, and be thankful you got anything at all, I guess. 

Now I'm dead tired.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Baddest Poet In the World

Zombie Logic Press is located exactly in the geographical center of  Rockford, Illinois: America's 3rd Most Dangerous City. Furthermore, within that dystopian wasteland, Zombie Logic Press anchors the 5th most dangerous neighborhood in America, which I believe entitles me to make the claim that I am the most dangerous poet in America.

Every one of my grade school teachers seemed to agree. 

Each one of my grade school teachers in succession made very great efforts to convince me poetry was the type of thing that gets a small boy into trouble and leads to a life of depraved indifference to societal standards. They sure were right about that. I should have listened. But I had the poetry bug bad. To their credit, they warned me. 

I was a pretty shady character back in those days, and if they hadn't made such an effort to deter me from the path of goodness, truth, and creativity, there's no telling what type of destruction I might have unleashed on an unsuspecting world. Glad they stopped me. But if they hadn't I soon learned countless others were willing to take their place. Drill instructors, professors, bosses, editors, whoever felt they might have a penile insufficiency or a vaginal surplus. They wanted me to know poetry simply wasn't going to fly, not on their watch. 

My first book was published when I was still a teenager. Many people were furious, mostly because they hadn't published a book and they didn't think I should have, either. The only place you can buy this is at Google, because it sold out over twenty years ago. Every subsequent book I have published at Zombie Logic Press, until Iced Cream, was modeled after this one, largely because it's the only way I knew how to do it.

For some reason, I decided to come back from San Diego, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, to Rockford, one of the ugliest. I spent a few years letting other people pay for me to go to college, where I maintained a 4.0 and won a bunch of scholarships I didn't need because everything was already being paid for. Once again it was re-affirmed to me that being good, working harder, and outperforming other people was irrelevant on this planet. Then, mysteriously, at age 30, my life began. I remember the moment clearly. I had just re-read Richard III, and like a lazer beam boring into my amygdala it became clear to me being a good guy was for chumps. I published my second book that year.

Detached Retinas. Go ahead and be a dear and buy that here. This is a compilation of poems I wrote while in college. They tend towards the surreal and innocuous. Some are even slightly romantic and nice. Mostly people didn't like it. I can really relate to their feelings. It's the last gasp of any true romance or naivete that I might have had in this life, or ever will have again. In that sense it's the only book I have written I can pick up and enjoy reading. I wouldn't but if I did. Then I started my fifteen year career working in bars and restaurants. Which led to my third book.

Flesh Wounds. I'm making the picture bigger because I have a lot more to say about this. Be a voyeuristic lech and buy this here. These are the sordid tales of the time I spent working in dive bars, strip clubs, dance clubs, sports bars, fine dining, and the most scumbag ridden location of them all... the country club. Fast money, fast chicks, drugs, violence. I got paid to do the things most people dream about. And I was good at it. At first. Actually, I was still good at it later, too, especially when me and my brother owned our own bar, Castaways, but that long, drawn out perversion of the senses might open the doors to wisdom, but once wisdom is acquired it's time to move on.

I started writing Submerged Structure on the porch of my brother's house on a yellow legal pad one summer when I was between gigs. The one at the fireman bar and the dance club, if I remember correctly. I wanted to just strip down the whole writing experience and write for the same of the image. I've never been a big believer in adjectives or jamming a line full of figures of speech. It's a fun book with a lot of silliness to it. You can buy that here. The title refers to my lifelong battle with Schizoid Personality Disorder. How the hell do you bartend with a disorder like that, it has been asked. Drugs and booze were always my answer. 

That's how I ended up becoming the most dangerous poet in America. 

I have largely abandoned the poetry writing game now because I said pretty much everything I have to say, and now i have set my sites on publishing far better writers than myself. The first book I did was a real lolapalooza.

Iced Cream by Jesus Abraham Correa. Go ahead and buy it on the margin at the right.

Whatever Happened To Old What's His Name?

Thomas L. Vaultonburg is a poet familiar to many in the literaru inner circle. His first book, Concave Buddha, won many awards, including the prestigious Strahd von Zarovich First Book Award, and his follow up, Detached Retinas, published seven years later by Zombie Logic Press heralded in the age of self-publishing that millions and millions of writers have since emulated. But then Vaultonburg disappeared. 

What happened to the promising young poet many were calling the next Bukowski?

I don't know.

Maybe he got a job. Maybe he just didn't anything left to say. 

Or maybe he was writing the entire time. On packing slips in the warehouses he was working in, and on cocktail napkins at the bras he was drinking in. Maybe those poems went into a book titled Flesh Wounds.


   Say something interesting. 
   Come to our dinner party 
   And insult our queer friends. 
   Please stay in our basement 
   And pee in our sink. 

   You’re our very first poet. 
   We were hoping for PP 
   But we heard some nice 
   Things about you, too. 

   Say something outrageous. 
   Eat light bulbs and peanut 
   Butter and be feral and 
   Nasty and awful to us. 

   You’re a real poet. 

   Come out on the town with us 
   And cause a scene. 
   Drink enough for us all 
   And go to jail for us all. 

   Please get us some 
   Good drugs. Don’t forget 
   To write nice things 
   About us. 

   You don’t mind, 
   Do you? 

Maybe he eventually got sick of having all that fun and became a family man who wears khakis and listens to yacht rock. Maybe some of the younger people he plays Dungeons and Dragons with on Tuesday nights tried to convince him that Nickleback is dad rock and he just bit his tongue and let them keep talking. Maybe poetry just isn't that important to him anymore. Does he even have a book left in him? I don't know. 

Same Shit, Different Day 

On Anderson Cooper 
360 last night 
Dr. Gupta recommended 
A regular inspection 
Of stool samples to 
Ensure proper digestion 
And absorption of 
Objects intended for 

Later that evening 
I read in Wolfram 
Van Punkblausen's tome 
Might and Magic if I 
Wrote the names of 
My enemies on paper, 
Smeared them in shit 
And blood, then 
Swallowed it, I'd 
Absorb their souls... 

So I did. 

Next evening at work 
When Mean-Eyed Joe 
From Human Resources 

Invoked the 
Bumper sticker classic 
"Same shit different day" 

We were finally on equal
Intellectual footing.

"You got that right, man,
I laughed,
Feeling more regular


Saturday, February 10, 2018

This Minotaur Invaded My Homeland

My friend plays a minotaur in our Planescape Tuesdays Dungeons and Dragons night. We started our campaign in Krynn, and in that world the minotaurs have taken over Sylvanesti, the ancestral home of the elves. I play Bloodrut, a Sylvanesti elf.

Fortunately we left Krynn several weeks ago for Sigil, then were booted out by The Lady of Pain into the outer planes. 

This morning I heard loud raps on the front door, knocks I quickly realized only come from police officers. Turns out the snow plow had literally plowed into our car this morning, even though it was parked on the correct side of the street. I suppose if we'd been parked on the other side we would have been ticketed. 

Last night we went to a restaurant named Social, which seemed ironic because the entire staff was slightly anti-social, and everyone there seemed pretty snooty. I had a bourbon old fashioned because I saw Don Draper make one for Conrad Hilton on Mad Men. Then I had a cappuciono. I reallt wanted to get home to start season six of Mad Men, but we got home late.

Then a city plow ran into our car.

Then I wrote this blog about the minotaurs who stole my homeland.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

G Is For Gravity

I think the kid in this illustration by Jenny Mathews from our new book Atrocious Poems A To Z looks like a recurring Norman Fell character that is in A Is For Artichokes and C Is For Crayons, butJenny says it is me. I insist it's Ella because she almost literally makes a similar argument every day of her life and looks exactly like this when she is doing it.
Illustration by Jenny Mathews poem by Thomas L. Vaultonburg
G Is For Gravity is an example of the literary device apostrophe, where one addresses a thing or force that is unseen by the audience. 

It could also be said that it is an example of sprung rhythm. 

I tried to incorporate multiple layers of meaning and message into the poems, as I always do, but sometimes the seeming simplicity belies that finesse. I hope some of this will be brought out in the exhibition the book is in at the Rockford Art Museum where I was invited to write all 26 poems from the book on the wall next to Jenny's illustrations. 

The exhibition, titled Bittersweet Observations, runs through October 1st. What a thrill it was to write my poems on the walls of a major American museum. I doubt any other poet has a show anything like this right now.

I sit here now with not much to do except talk about my last project.  

F Is For Failure  
H Is For Haircut

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Dog Poop Poetry Book Gets Museum Show

Atrocious Poems A To Z, a new book of children's poems quickly becoming notorious for its poems about dog poop and urine, has gotten it's own museum show at the Rockford Art Museum

Running through October 1st, Bittersweet Observations is an exhibit dedicated to the darker side of children's stories and fairy tales.

Exhibiting artists include Shark Girl Casey Riordan MIllard, Sarah Reed McNamara, Jenny Mathews, craftsman Jeremy Klonicki, and author of Atrocious Poems A To Z Thomas L. Vaultonburg, who was invited to scrawl each of the 26 poems from the book on the wall of the museum in his own handwriting.

Outsider Poet Thomas L. Vaultonburg writing poems from Atrocious Poems A To Z on the wall of the Rockford Art Museum when no one else is looking

For those who don't care to count, the poem he is writing in this case is about urination.

 The curator was so impressed she went over the poem in her own handwriting to make it extra bold and yellow. 

The opening of the show was a huge hit with kids, many writing their own poems on antique typewriters provided by Zombie Logic Press.