Saturday, April 30, 2016

Rockford Resident Publishes First Book of Outlaw Poetry

Rockford poet Dennis Gulling, a thirty year veteran of the small press scene, and editor of crawlspace from 1980-1989, has had his first full-length book of poetry, The Blood Dark Sea, published by Zombie Logic Press in Rockford.

The book is 100 pages of what can best be described as noir poetry. Each short poem is a vignette best suited to a 1930's style noir movie, complete with a menagerie of characters engaging in mayhem, small time turpitude, and a gamut of despicable behavior one might expect to see on the police blotter, or an episode of Cops. And the subject matter seems completely organic and appropriate, coming from Rockford, the FBI's 3rd most dangerous city in America. These are characters down on their luck, experiencing epic "bad days," or just making bad decisions. The reader becomes the beneficiary of all this carnage, as the German concept of schadenfreude is in full force in these tiny cautionary tales.

However, the attitude of the poet is not one of judgement or even a prurient interest in shocking the reader with the morbid details. These poems are delivered even-handedly, with no condescension or judgement, and with a wry humor that finishes each scenarios as quickly and unexpectedly as a prison shivving. Gulling's thirty years spent honing his craft are in full evidence here in this collection that spans his decades of writing. Here's a sample of Gulling's dry, humorous take on small time debauchery and depravity...


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
-from Outlaw Poetry Blog

The Blood Dark Sea is available from Rockford poetry publisher Zombie Logic Press and those interested in further information or review copies may contact publisher Thomas L. Vaultonburg for more information.