Thursday, October 27, 2016

Titles Available By Rockofrd Poetry Publisher Zombie Logic Press

It was twenty-five years ago three years ago when my first book, Concave Buddha, was published by The Press of the Third Mind in Chicago. It is a press that had also published Bradley Lastname and Philip Lamantia, so I was very excited to be in that company.

The cover incorporated a piece by artist Joel Peter Whittier. 

There wasn't much talk about it locally, but they sold a lot of copies in Chicago and New York. I remember that a lot of older small press poets were a little bitter about it because it wasn't usual for a new poet to have a full-length book with a glossy cover right out of the chutes. Nowadays that doesn't mean much because of digital printing, but I didn't hold any grudges about it. The publisher simply liked my work and thought it fit in with his Dadaist style, so he published it. All these years later I now publish books and try to follow his example of being open to new writers. There's no point being a snob in an industry where there's so little at stake in the first place.

I have published three books by Rockford writers recently. The Zen of Beard Trimming by C.J. Campbell, Iced Cream by Jesus Correa, and The Blood Dark Sea by Outlaw Poet Dennis Gulling.

The Blood Dark Sea by Dennis Gulling

I have a few other titles I hope to publish in the next couple of years. As far as I know Zombie Logic Press is the only literary press in Rockford, and has been all the twenty years I have been operating it. I'd really like to let the region and the nation know that we have a literary presence. That's the goal of the Rock River Literary Series. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Rockford Outsider Poetry Publisher Zombie Logic Turns Twenty

Twenty years ago in October I founded Zombie Logic Press. Mainly I did so to publish my second book, Detached Retinas. I was soon to be working in the restaurant business and didn't have many intentions of publishing much more anytime soon.

And I didn't. 

But as far as I know I was the first person to use the term Zombie Logic or apply it to a going concern such as a literary press. 

Now, after twenty years of being continuously in business I edit The Rock River Literary Series, which promotes writers from Rockford, Illinois, and edit two literary journals, Zombie Logic Review and Outsider Poetry. 

Zombie Logic Press

For the last decade now I have been doing so from Downtown Rockford. When I settled in this building on the Holmes Block almost no one else was running a business Downtown anymore. A few restaurants on Block Five, but that was about it. The citizens were terrified to come Downtown. 

Eventually a coffee shop opened up. But still the historic building decayed and rotted. The roof collapsed on the Midway Theater, and the privileged white class stayed away in droves. If they ever did talk about Downtown it was in a negative way. 

I liked it here, though, back then. I remember going for walks late at night through virtually deserted streets. I liked the buildings that local vultures had been squatting on for a couple of decades as they turned to dust. I never once was accosted or even approached by anyone despite the hue and cry by smug East Siders that if you go Downtown you will get mugged. It was safe here.

Until they moved in. The very East Siders who had criticized Downtown for decades. Suddenly it didn't feel as safe anymore. But not for the reasons they said.

Because of them. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Rockford Poetry 2016

Recently it was announced that Rockford has been named the FBI's #1 most violent city in America under 200,000 in population, supplanting Little Rock, Arkansas. I sat in the Amtrak stop in my train car for a half hour once in Little Rock looking at what must have been the Capitol building because it was a grand, beautifully lit structure, and if all I ever knew of Little Rock was that half hour I'd guess that Little Rock was a paradise.

Chamber of Commerce types attempt the same sort of obfuscation here in Rockford. I suppose it's their job to try to convince outsiders the good is better than it is and the bad doesn't really exist except in the mind's of cynics. But here in the real world we're constantly reminded by the inconvenient facts. Number one most violent city in America, third fattest, dumbest and most miserable respectively. These rah rah types try to be clever and play it off with Tshirts and civic campaigns like Misery Loves Company, but it all comes off in the end like a bunch of vultures who got their meal ticket punched watching the city burn from a safe distance while they simultaneously profit off dumbass Tshirts. 

The calendar has flipped over into October, and as all the other months have done for some time now October breaks from the gate at a breakneck pace. Fall Art Scene is this weekend, but after that Jenny promises we will slow down, and I'm grateful. September and October are my favorite months, but I spent most of September worrying about my health. I hope to enjoy October this year, really let it sink in.

Collected all my recent poetry in a file on this very computer while I was at Zombie Logic Press headquarters a couple of weeks ago, and a few times recently I have felt caught up as a human being. I know that just means I'm about to fall woefully behind, but for now I am moving slow and enjoying things. 

The Cubs are in the playoffs. My fantasy football teams are doing well. It has not gotten bitterly cold outside yet, and I don't have to worry about camping again until next year. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Up, Up An Away In Jenny's Beautiful Balloon

Would you like to take a ride in my beautiful balloon?

Balloons by artist Jenny Mathews 

Yes, I would like to be in one of these beautiful balloons instead of watching this dumb football game hoping some ding dongs I don't care about will score a point. I don't know if I'd like to be up this high in a balloon as it looks a little dangerous. 

I think Jimmy Webb wrote the 5th Dimension song "Up Up and Away," and I believe he also wrote the song for which Sir Richard Harris was knighted for, "McCarthur Park." Someone left their cake out in the rain. Jenny bought me that album long ago, so long ago it was years before we even had a turntable to play it on, which we still haven't. 

Rockford poetry is going strong they say. 

Football game is over. One of my regular contributors at Zombie Logic Review was writing me from Dublin today. And at Outsider Poetry we have regular contributors from Scotland, England, and Wales. 

Everyone except me went to Geek'd Con this weekend. They got me a Don't Panic towel, but now I'm panicked about whether I should use it or not.

Maybe a photo is in order. 

Mine doesn't look like this, but I was too lazy to take a picture because I'm watching The House That Bled To Death.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

And Rockford Poetry Will Never Be the Same

I finally organized all the poems I have written since the last book, Submerged Structure, into a file on my computer. I had to round them up from the cosmic reaches of the galaxy, or at least from ten different blogs and two old computers. I think I found most of them, and few of them still impress me. Nonetheless it feels good to have them cataloged.

Rockford was named the most dangerous city in America under 200,000 people by one source today. Earlier in the week someone carjacked a taxi and led police on a high speed chase through Downtown after firing shots at the police. I heard it after midnight Tuesday but it's not at all unusual to hear sirens all night.

The next afternoon someone had to be talked off the State Street bridge.

Pretty much a normal week in Rockford.

Let me see if I can find one of those poems I haven't published anywhere else because I am tired of writing today.

Using Your Medical Card

Please keep your card in a safe
Place and never allow anyone
Else to receive the benefit of
Disinterested medical care

Fear not the apathy of
Underpayed practitioners
Concerned more about their 
Student loans than 
Your pancreas

Ye shall surely not die

But there's no harm in taking
These dress rehearsals more seriously.
-Thomas L. Vaultonburg

Not very good. Probably won't make it into the next book, but it's alright for tonight. I never seem to get to the end of my own medical appointments, but hopefully I'll be done with dental work soon. What a mess I had made for myself not going to the dentist in twenty years. 

Rockford Pages poet Thomas L. Vaultonburg rides a bicycle

The Cubs played to their first tie in over ten years tonight. I sat there waiting for the game to start again, but it never did, so they went into the radio broadcast of the Thursday Night Football game. 

That's all. Going to eat my organic black eyed peas and quinoa meal now. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Rockford Pages Poet Gets Shiny New Teeth

Outsider poet Thomas L. Vaultonburg recently got some shiny new teeth. At least on line he did. As was pointed out by his father thirty-five years ago, there's no point fixing your teeth because someone is just going to knock them out, anyway. Which as a prediction didn't turn out to be as bad as others, but thirty five years later an amazing advance in human technology called dentistry allows me to actually get thirty years of neglect repaired. At least semi-repaired.

After two years of dental work I expect to look like this 

And when that happens I intend to run for public office.

But before that the 2017 Outsider Poetry Slam League of America season. I was originally traded to Chemung, as my mother always told me I would be, but have become a free agent and will be competing for the Rockford Pages.

It gets dark and rains again as I write, and in a half hour I will do my final fantasy football draft of the season. Something on the right side of my body hurts a little more than I think it should, but I'm so sick of medical procedures I'm putting off having it checked out in hopes that it's something I have two of. 

My teeth never looked like that. They started getting knocked out early and often, and at this late date I'm just happy to have what I have left. This is the first opportunity after decades of service jobs to get them fixed. 

Poetry. Fantasy football. We may be getting a dog this Fall. I have no idea what kind I'd even like. But it will be nice to have a dog around again. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Outsider Poet and the Demon Belphegor Team Up For Spoken Word Album

The Outsider Poet and the demon prince Belphegor have announced they will team up for a spoken word album which will drop early in 2017. Belphegor, a demon notorious for tempting humans to be lazy and inspiring them to devise devious means and ingenious methods to do so, convinced Vaultonburg, founder and CEO of Zombie Logic Press, called by NPR "America's most dangerous literary press," that the album would save him a great deal of time trying to upload his videos to YouTube. 

The Moabites were familiar with the temptations of this old scourge, who they referred to as Baal-Peor, but apparently his emergence in the West is a new phenomenon. 


As August turns into September there's really not much to do, and no good reason to do much at all, I find. The Fall harvest should be bountiful, and things will go on largely without obstacles. We'll all outlast our late summer colds, perhaps buy that Polo Autumn jacket we've been fancying for a few years now, and prepare for winter, but not too hard.

Don't force it, just let it come naturally.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Rockford Page Appears at Local Folk Festival

Outsider poet Thomas L. Vaultonburg, formerly of the Rockford Pages outsider poetry slam team, appeared at the Willow Creek Folk Festival earlier in August, performing the classic "Wagon Wheel" all three nights on the open stage, as long as a spoken word recitation he composed extemperaneously for the approving crowd. 

Many in the audience commented that he looked a little bit like a lobster. But they were just being shellfish.

Vaultonburg also challenged the rule that dogs and drunks were not allowed on the stage, which happens to be inside the confines of the church yard, by inviting a drunken Norwegian Elkhound to join him on stage for a rollicking version of "Lady of Spain." Vaultonburg has subsequently been banned from appearing at the Willow Creek Folk Festival for a period of five years. On the upside, though, the Elkhound has joined Jimmy Buffet on his national tour. 

In other news involving the Rockford Pages poetry slam team, the 2017 season will soon be upon us, and several venues in Rockford will serve as bout venues the upcoming season. Including the Outsider Poetry Depot and Shep's Supper Club. 

Aside from this, it's fantasy football season, so reports will be sparse from this reporter for a few months. I also bought an 8 Track player so I'll be out on the search for 8 Track tapes and updating my fantasy football lineups. 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

I'm the Outsider Poet In My Own Heart

Sometimes song lyrics just rub people the wrong way. Jenny was playing Mungo Jerry "In the Summertime" this week, and when I told her many people hate that song she asked why, and I said take a look at the lyrics. 

Later in the week we went out to Severson Dells to get out of the house, and I usually write a little something when we go there, and this time was no exception. I know response songs were big in the 50's and 60's, and I had a response poem to some lyrics that always got my goat.

I'm The Poet In My Own Heart

When I build my house
You'll come by?

No, when I build my house
I'll install fixtures
That are newer and shinier,
And believed in me from the start,
But you'll still be the rented
Woman in someone else's

I got a really nice copy of Scream and Scream Again on VHS this week, too, and I just watched it here at the apartment. I'm having my final cup of tea of the night, and I look up and it's August again. The Cubs had an amazing comeback win tonight, and it's the first time I've been here in weeks. Had to pay the bills for August, now I have a couple of hours to just blog and shoot the breeze. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Dr. Millard Rausch: Scientist, Lover, Outsider Poet

Dr. Millard Rausch: Scientist, Lover, Outsider Poet is a new documentary opening Sep 6th in Rockford about the scientist and poet Dr. Millard Rausch, and his amazing travels after the 2nd Zombie Apocalypse of 1978. 

After warning America that the new species of zombies were dangerous and must be destroyed on sight, Dr. Rausch was completely ignored, leading to the deaths of over 150 million Americans. In the waning months of the epidemic Dr. Rausch simply left the WGON studies, got in his sports car, drove to a private airport, and flew to Vermont to join a group of scirntists, farmers, doctors, and artist including his lifelong friend Dr. Henry Wolfsburg, where they waited out the ZA, and re-emerged a decade later.

During that decade Dr. Rausch and his merry band worked in their particular specialties, ranging from alien psychobiology to endocrinology to minimalism. An alternative to zombieism was discovered. It was called thinking. At first few of the remaining humans were willing to try it, but after seeing the remarkable results the remaining humans began to ask for the cure. 

Dr. Henry Wolfsburg demonstrates one of the innovative cures for zombieism that were developed at the Outsider Poetry Depot in Vermont. 

The documentary covers not only those years at the Outsider Poetry Depot, but his formative years as a fighter pilot in the Israeli Air Corps and his stint as a professor at Copenhagen University. His stormy romantic life is also explored, including affairs with poets Rod McKuen and Karen Finley. 

The documentary will open in twelve American cities September 6th. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

It's Official: Bub the Zombie Joins Rockford Pages Outsider Poetry Team

It is official: Bub the Zombie, star of Day of the Dead, has joined the Rockford Pages Outsider Poetry Slam team. Rockford poetry may never be the same again. It was originally thought Bub the Zombie may have eventually died of natural causes after the end of Day of the Dead, but it was later learned he had actually escaped the Seminole Underground Storage Facility and wandered the Earth organizing the living dead, teaching them, preparing them for an eventual confrontation with Homo Sapiens. 

Bub the Zombie has joined the Rockford Pages Outsider Poetry Slam team. His arrival will help replace the loss of outsider poet Thomas L. Vaultonburg to the Chemung Shamans. It is not known how Bub will react to an eventual showdown with Dr. Millard Rausch in week 7 at Albuquerque, but it is expected to be entertaining. 

Bub brought down the house in a guest appearance for the Kokomo Oralists when he read his epic poem "Hello, Aunt Alicia?" at a bout last May. Asked whether he harbors any ill feelings about the zombies eventual defeat in the war of the Living Dead he said it was a setback, but he feels good that eventually some sort of lasting peace can be achieved. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Best Dishwasher In All the World

This is a poem I am working on for Jesus Correa.

The Trash

I watch the best poet of his generation
Toss garbage in a dumpster
Behind a Vietnamese restaurant
On Seventh Street, 
I pull his book from the shelf and read
By what moonlight an alley
Like this still allows a man
Foolish enough to publish such a book.
Just before dawn I'll go down there
And do the world a favor by tossing my own
Poems in that dumpster, 
Including this one.

     Still working that poem around a little bit. I see here that I've diverged from the obvious and pained extended comparison to Howl, just made an initial reference, then tried to make it my own poem. I'm still trying to make it more factual by saying thr alley is behind Block Five, and the story is almost word for word the truth. I don't have a paper copy of this poem to throw away, and Jesus isn't working tonight. I see he was playing with his band The King of the Demons at Mary's. 

This is the book of his that I published, so I actually can pull it off the shelf and read it while I watch him throw garbage in that dumpster, which five bars and restaurants on Block Five share. I have only taken a picture of the view of that alley from my window one time, and it was a bad picture I can't find now. 

This is a picture from the first winter I was here. You can see where the dumpster originally was, and where it is now. I didn't remember that it had ever been anywhere else, but they moved it. There was even a beach that first summer in the alley. One of the bars hauled in a couple tons of sand and had shows out there. That would have been just to the right of this picture. 


I love having been here seven years now. 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Game of Thrones Actor Peter Dinklage To Join Rockford Pages For 2017 OPSLA Season

Caution: spoilers.

Avert your eyes Game of Thrones fans, but actor Peter Dinklage's character, Tyrion Lannister, has been written out of the 7th season by show runners, according to Variety, and will be joining the Rockford Pages Outsider Poetry Slam League of America team. 

Team spokesperson Anderson Anderson Peterson said Dinklage would be concentrating more on short forms like haikus, clerihews, and limericks, but could take on longer narrative forms if needed. 

The Rockford Pages went winless in the 2016 OPSLA season, but have high hopes for the 2017 season, especially after the addition of Dinklage. Other cast members from Game of Thrones have also expressed interested in joining OPSLA teams, with the league champion Rancho Cucamonga Kookamungas expected to have the best shot at signing the celebrity poets, as Sean Penn, Christopher Walkin, and Loyd Bridges all made guest appearances for the team during their historic 2016 season.

In other league news, two televised bouts at the Rockford Metro Centre were agreed upon for 2017. With eight new teams joining the OPSLA, a sixteen team tournament will be held in May in Rockford. 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Rockford Poet Named MVP of Outsider Poetry Slam League

Even though the two teams he played for, The Rockford Pages, and the Chemung Shamans,  finished in last place, Rockford poet Thomas L. Vaultonburg was named the most valuable player of the Outsider Poetry Slam League of America Friday night in a press conference in Kokomo, Indiana. The announcement was made by league commissioner Dr. Millard Rausch. Vaultonburg, the founder and publisher of Zombie Logic Press, accepted the award with some surprise, noting that his teams were not about to win a single OPSLA match this season, but he was honored to be thought of in the voting, which is done by OPSLA poets and fans.

This is a rendering by artist Andrew Davis, of Shitdickers and Gentleman Brothers, of outsider poet Thomas L. Vaultonburg on vacation in New Orleans in 2016. Vaultonburg received the Bukowski Award as MVP of the Outsider Poetry Slam League of America Friday. 

Rockford poetry has been given a shot in the arm by the lack of success of the Rockford Pages slam team, and the upshot is an explosion in interest in the written and spoken word in America's 3rd most miserable city. Vaultonburg has received some flack for his gaunt stature as he is pulling down the nation's 6th fattest city standing, but Vaultonburg is unapologetic about not having yet eaten at the Portillos. 

The Chemung Shamans and Rockford Pages both released statements congratulating Vaultonburg on being named league MVP, and the Shamans released Vaultonburg later in the afternoon saying they couldn't afford an MVP in a place like Chemung. It is unclear which team(s) Vaultonburg will compete for in 2017, but rumors have been circulated he might go to Rancho Cucamonga to be re-united with Tom Stotes, who he recorded a spoken word album with in 2003. The Rancho Cucamonga Kookamungas went undefeated and beat the Kokomo Oralists in the Championship bout August 7th. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Rockford Poetry Slam Team Dealt a Blow With Departure of Outlaw Poet

The Rockford Pages Outsider Poetry Slam team was dealt a blow today when they learned scoring leader Thomas L. Vaultonburg had been traded to the Chemung Shamans. The loss hurts doubly as the Shamans are in first place in the Eastern Division, and the the trade will likely eliminate Rockford from the playoffs. 

Informed of the trade to a division rival, Vaultonburg began dancing and yelling "Woo, woo, woo," like professional wrestler Ric Flair. It's not the first time someone leaving Rockford has done so. Team captain Nelson The Sock Monkey said his roster spot will be replaced with the guy who wears the Rockford Ice Hogs costume at games. 

This is a picture of Outsider poet Thomas L. Vaultonburg looking stupid and confused because he just voted in Rockford. His mother always told him if he didn't quit acting the fool he'd get sent to Chemung, and now he has. 

The Rockford Pages and Chemung Shamans will meet in the final bout of the OPSLA season in August at the Rockford Poetry Depot. 

Monday, February 29, 2016

The Rockford Pages 2016 OPSLA Poetry Slam Team

Welcome to the Rockford Pages home page for our Outsider Poetry Slam League of America slam team. Let's meet our roster for the 2016 OPSLA season!!!!

Tim Schwontz. The captain of our spoken word team, Tim Schwontz has been a voice artist for shows such as Curious George, Sleight Words. and has done commercial voice over work for Folgers and Depends Undergarments. 

Bob and Marge. They're just the typical Rockford couple. A hilarious couple. They finish each other's heroic couplets. You have to see it to believe it. The crowd loves it. It's like dueling pianos. Sort of. 

This is Marvin. He's Black. But he's not angry about it. No need to feel threatened. In fact, no one in Rockford is angry. Don't believe what you have heard from the national media. 

The Rockford Pages are proud to be the eighth and final team accepted into Division 1 of the Outsider Poetry Slam League of America, and we'll be at the Outsider Poetry Depot May 11th for the first bout of the season.

Newest Rockford Pages team member outsider poet Thomas L. Vaultonburg, editor of Zombie Logic Press, reading a copy of Crad Kilodney's Lightning Struck My Dick.

More good news from Rockford, America's 3rd most dangerous city. We are pleased to be joined by local legend 
Jesus Abromowitz Correa

Amazing update April 1st 2016: Nelson the Sock Monkey has joined the Rockford Pages Outsider Poetry Slam team and will compete in Royal Rumble 2016

Wacka Wacka