Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Five Poems By Dennis Gulling

Dennis Gulling is a protege of Todd Moore, who taught English at Belvidere High School for many years, and is credited as the founder of the Outlaw Poetry movement. Gulling is himself a distinguished, although elusive poet with a thirty-five year history of publication, and was also the editor of Crawlspace magazine from 1980-1989

This one hundred page testimonial of the underbelly of American society is delivered like a gut punch, and finishes with a flourish of wry humor quick as a prison shivving. It is his first full-length collection of poetry.

The Blood Dark Sea is a 35 year collection of poems about small timers finding themselves in bad places at the wrong time. Their misfortune is definitely the reader's gain, as the German concept of schadenfreude is raised to an art form by this poet and his keen observation detailing the worst moments in others lives. Gulling delivers his poems like short, unexpected bursts of gunfire in an idyllic suburban afternoon.


There’s a man on tv screaming
At me about a
Special offer
Limited time only
Not sold in stores
Operators are standing by
But I must act now
The tv looks like
A cage he wants to escape
I turn it off
To lock him in


Driving home from work
Like a thousand times before
I feel a small
Nothingness inside me
Where something used to burn
There’s a darkness
I can almost touch
It takes shape
As minutes stretch
To hours in this thing
I call my life
Watching the tail lights
On the car ahead of me
I try hard to remember
Those things I swore
I’d never forget
And all the days I fell down
Are a blur to me now


The state police found her
Doing a little dance
At the side of the interstate
She was probably in her late teens
Or early twenties
Had hazel eyes
Short brown hair
Wore a ratty print dress
No shoes
Wouldn’t talk
Just bit her lower lip
And looked down a lot
She didn’t carry any i.d.
Just a wolf’s paw
In a paper bag
She liked
To rub it on her face
And growl


She works
In a butcher shop
Because she likes
The smell of meat
On her hands
Makes her feel animal
Sucks her fingers
In bed at night
To draw blood
From her dreams


In his dream
He’s sitting in a rowboat
In the middle of a flood
The water is very cold and very dark
He can’t see anyone in any direction
Just treetops and roofs
Pieces of furniture floating by
He looks into the water
And notices something white
It comes closer to the surface
And he sees a girl’s face staring at him
Her lips are parted slightly
Almost smiling
Her eyes are half closed
Red hair floats around her face
He reaches out to touch her
But she starts to inch away in the current
Lingers a moment
And then she’s gone
He sits up straight
And stares out across the water
He hears thunder in the distance
And that sound becomes her name

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