Friday, December 28, 2012

The Mulmaster Beholder Corps and My Christmas Vacation

I remember playing Pool of Radiance in 1988 when the game first came out. On a Commodore 64. It was fun. My younger brothers and I took turns mapping and had some marathon sessions. I know eventually we were able to defeat The Mulmaster Beholder Corps without the Dust of Disappearance you get in the Thieves' Guild, but replaying the game last week I can't imagine how. When I did it this time I forgot to buy enough arrows at the magic shop outside Dagger Falls so i ended up spending two hours hurling rocks out of a sling at beholders. It didn't feel honest because there was no way one can lose this battle once the Dust of Disappearance is used. But after I got ninety minutes in there was no way I was going to go back and do it again. Now I feel like I should have at least tried. Nonetheless I defeated the Mulmaster Beholder Corps for the second time in my life and went on to defeat Tyranthraxus easily. That's how I spent the majority of this Christmas season. I may go on and play Secret of the Silver Blades but I haven't decided yet. It was a lot of fun funding this game free on Free Game Empire. In my opinion Pool of Radiance and Curse of the Azure Bonds were the first and best of the games SSI created. It was really a thrill to have a week in hand to play these two games all the way through and to have a real life to go back to once I finished. Maybe in another Twenty-five years or so I'll play them for a third time. 

The Mulmaster Beholder Corps

March 25, 2013 update: Three months later I have another week to fill. I might just lay low and work out, do yoga, and get my diet back on track. Or I guess it's possible I'll buy a load of chocolate and Tab Cola and play some more Dungeons and Dragons. Haven't decided yet.

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Watching The Poet Jesus Correa Cross a Footbridge

The footbridge that connects the east and west banks of the Rock River is one of my favorite places. In the summer I often see the poet Jesus Correa there. We live on different sides of the river. Nothing about that statement is metaphorical in any way. Here's a poem I wrote after I saw him riding a skateboard over the river.

I watch Local Poet Jesus Correa Cross a Foot Bridge I'm on his side Of the river And I know it He has a skateboard Under his arm And soon he's gliding Like Achilles towards Troy All that neurosis On wheels is like An avalanche On crack

And this is Jenny Mathew's drawing of the foot bridge over the Rock River with a haiku I wrote about the bridge.

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Memorial Day 2007

I always enjoyed watching AWA wrestling live from Boylan Central Catholic High when I was a kid. The Crusher, The Claw, Scrap Iron Gadaski. But then adolescence hit and I didn't watch wrestling again until I moved in with this roomate who watched it every Monday night. This was the late 90's so the war between the WWF and WCW was at it's height and I preferred WCW. I never enjoyed the story lines on WWF. They never seemed to advance. I was sad when Vince McMahon bought WCW because I knew there would never be any variety in wrestling again. Since December is all poetry month here at the blog here's a poem I wrote about my favorite wrestler, Ric Flair. There really is something liberating and life affirming about letting out a rousing "Woooooo." Try it sometime.

Memorial Day 2007 I went to my Window and Shouted "Woo, Woo, Woo," Like professional Wrestler Ric Flair during Your nationwide Moment Of silence. Those were the Only words I Uttered all day.
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Friday, December 21, 2012

Poems At the End of the World by Thomas L. Vaultonburg

I wrote a book of poems titled Poems At the End of the World. It was published by Subourbon Press in 1992. Then I forgot I had written a book of poems titled Poems At the End of the World until last night when I suddenly remembered after a flood of comments about the end of the world that I had written a book of poems about the end of the world. Then I wondered if I hadn't just made up the part about writing the book of poems about the end of the world, and since everything I had archived was lost long ago I had no way to prove it, I tried to find a copy of the book of poems I had written about the end of the world. And I found only one copy in existence. Here in the WorldCat of books contained in libraries I discovered that Kansas State University has a copy of this book in their Hale Library. Which made me rest easier that I wasn't simply making up the part about having written the book of poems about the end of the world in 1992.

I told Jenny and she asked me what was in the book. I said I didn't remember. And I don't. I know I published five books in rapid succession in the early 90's before I stopped publishing until I started Zombie Logic Press in 1997. But everything I had was lost more than once. A magnificent library of small press zines and books, many signed by writers like Charles Bukowski, Todd Moore, Kurt Nimmo etc. None of that can ever be recovered. 

I'd like to find a copy of Poems At the End of the World just to see what is in it because I don't have copies of whatever poems I wrote back then. I wonder what I had to say about the end of the world. 

Oh, Jenny sent me this picture of me from a few weeks ago when we went out. 

The poet Thomas L. Vaultonburg, in anticipation of the end of the world, decides he doesn't want to enter the next reality with a full bladder. 

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Friday, December 14, 2012

The Battle of the Network Stars

I used to love The Battle of the Network Stars when I was a kid. My favorite years are when The Incredible Hulk (Lou Ferrigno) was on. I also loved the swimming relay because apparently they never got together beforehand to decide if the people they were nominating to race could even swim. And of course it all ended up in that famous tug-o-war with Ed Asner anchoring the CBS team. My poem slightly fictionalizes events that may or may not have happened.

Battle of the Network Stars

I am Thomas L. Vaultonburg, 
Writer of the postmodern poem 
Battle of the Network Stars, 
Which opens with one 
Of the Cagney and Laceys 
Sneaking into the Green Room 
To nibble blueberry muffins 
With the Incredible Hulk 
And ends with a tug-o-war 
Between the casts of Happy Days 
And Mork and Mindy 
Which halts abruptly 
When a noticeably coked-up 
Robin Williams enters 
Pam Dawber from behind 
Putting an end to the 70’s 
For another 100 years. 
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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Becoming Effective

The loss of civility is palpable these days. In traffic, in line at the supermarket, even safely snugged away in your home just watching the news. People don't know how to behave any more. The loss of civility is directly proportional to a loss of one's humanity in this writer's opinion. Respect for others, the past, and the rules that govern a culture shows respect for oneself, and the inverse. This is an ironic poem I wrote about our modern mania to look out for number one.

   Becoming Effective 

   Throw out Robert’s 
   Rules of Order, 
   Throw them right 
   Out the window 
   Of a moving vehicle 
   As you cut off 
   Someone’s mother 
   In traffic. 
   Now you’re getting 
   Wipe your ass with 
   Emily Post and 
   Roll up a big joint 
   In Romans 3:23. 
   Now you’re getting 
   And getting it’s good 
   Because getting it’s 
   All you got left.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Laura Petry's Stuck Toe Poem

In the season four episode "Never Bathe On a Saturday" of The Dick Van Dyke Show, Laura Petry gets her toes stuck in the faucet of a hotel bathtub. How she does it and manages to remain fully clothed still remains a mystery. Perhaps one explained in the episode itself, but since I haven't seen it since I was ten I don't remember. I told you that to tell you I wrote a poem about my bathtub. I can't remember why. I lived in a basement apartment at the time and one of the niceties that made one cheap apartment nicer than another would be hot water and a bathtub. I really liked this place even though I was only there 18 months. And I did lose my rent deposit. 


   If you can’t write a poem 
   In the bathtub 
   You may be suffering 
   From iron deficiency 
   And I don’t recommend 
   Eating wrenches and pliers 
   But you sure could lay off 
   All the bloodletting 
   And the leeches aren’t 
   Helping one damn bit, 
   For chrissakes kid 
   Nobody wants to steal 
   The soap it’s already 
   Been used.
My toe is stuck in the faucet.
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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Omega Man Poem

The Omega Man is one of my favorite movies. I've seen it dozens of times. Which might lead readers to wonder why I didn't know it was shot in Los Angeles instead of New York. To which I retort: I'm very slow. That's why I have to watch my favorite movies dozens of times. 

Charlton Heston as The Omega Man

   A Very Bad Way to Spend 
   An Evening 

   Watching Heston portray 
   The Last Man On Earth 
   I polish my pearl- 
   Handled revolver 
   More than the 
   Surgeon General 
   Would advise 
   And begin counting 
   The continuity errors 
   That begin in Scene 1 
   When a cop car rolls 
   Off the Jersey turnpike 
   And continue when I spot 
   Jack Kerouac and Frank O’Hara 
   Playing bongos 
   On the roof of the Met. 
   The supposedly solitary 
   Heston rolls on square jawed 
   And is whistled at 
   By whores in SoHo, 
   Hit up for spare change 
   By bums in the Bronx 
   And told the end  
   Is near by Jehova’s  
   Witnesses in Hell’s Kitchen.      
   It’s all a hoax and 
   When the credits 
   Start rolling 
   I realize the only 
   One alone here 
   Is me. 
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Monday, December 10, 2012

Sports Make People Say Stupid Things

Sports is interesting in that it makes people say stupid things. Things like "We're going to war." Sports are an important part of our culture, no doubt, and have an important part to play in our lives. But they're way overblown. One of my favorite poems is this one that puts sports in the context I believe it belongs in. As a game. Just a game. It's a poem I wrote about my grandfather, who not once, but twice stayed at work to complete his shift despite having a heart attack during the day. This poem appeare in one of my very favorite literary periodicals Gargoyle #50

The Streak 

   The announcer fawns 
   Over the Iron Man: 
  ` “Number 63 has played 
   In 120 straight 
   Football games, 
   An amazing feat 
   Of endurance.” 
   I do the math: 
   Sixteen Sundays a year, 
   Three hours a pop 
   For nearly eight years, 
   360 total hours, 
   Or maybe five or six 
   Weeks of my granddaddy’s 
   Life in the field and 
   The mill afterhours, 
   Covering the rent 
   2,750 straight months, 
   Playing hurt through three 
   Heart attacks, seven children 
   And five disbanded 
   Pro football leagues. 
   Now let’s talk about 
   A fucking streak.
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Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Baby Is A 1973 Slice of Absurdism

One of my favorite experiences as a fan of film is when I see something I absolutely can't place in a category. Something unlike anything I've ever seen before. When a movie is entirely unique it isn't subject to the normal aesthetic parameters of whether it's a good film or a bad film. Being unique is enough to recommend a film in almost all cases in my experience. Certainly there are exceptions, but when i come away from a movie thinking this is unlike anything I've ever seen that usually satisfies me. After everyone went to bed a few weeks ago I took a chance on such a film on Netflix and that's how I came across...

The Baby. A 1973 film you will surely assume is much more lurid and prurient from looking at this poster. The truth is The Baby is an interesting, even entertaining film simply because it's played straight. The absurdity of a grown man still being treated as if he were a baby by his mother and two sisters is played straight. There is violence and perversion in this movie, but far less than you might imagine and far less than you would expect if this had been filmed as a typical exploitation movie. It wasn't. It was filmed as a straight ahead story that become a pretty good action movie culminating with several cast members finding their ways to bad endings. 

I don't really do "reviews" in the sense of evaluating whether a movie is good or bad. My goal is to bring to the attention of niche and sub-genre fans movies they might have otherwise missed. This is one of those. If you're expecting something ala David Lynch or John Waters here you'll be disappointed. But the story is told in a straight forward style as if this were something happening in every neighborhood in every town. And...

Marianna Hill of Messiah of Evil (Dead People) is in it, so that's an added bonus. It's on  Netflix and if you have an extra  ninety minutes and want to see something out of left field The Baby will probably entertain you.

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Friday, December 7, 2012

The Monster Club British Quad Poster

British quad posters are really nice because they have a reputation of having great artwork with rich, saturated colors. The size 30x40 is a little different than the American 27x41. I just saw one on Ebay I really want and have been looking for for a long, long time, but it will be really hard to fit this into the budget in December. 

I recently got scooped on a collection of R Chetwnd Hayes books and there's no way I can afford the $250 for the vinyl soundtrack, but maybe with some clever money maneuvering I can get this beauty. I'm going to let it stew for a while. 

The poster was designed by British artist Graham Humphreys, and it was the first movie poster he worked on. Straight out of college, he was given a week and a half to create the poster from film transparancies, and his first effort was rejected as too scary as the distributor fancied that children would be watching The Monster Club. 

In an interview conducted by Film On Paper, Graham admits the job working on this poster wan't much fun at all because the client was slightly shadowy and wanted him to work from photos of the shoddily costumed monsters in the club and expected exact reproductions rather than anything creative. However, I think the poster turned out fine and I think I'm going to buy it. 

Welcome to the Monster Club from Thriller Video.

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Further Utterances of Sun Tzu

Here is a poem from the book Submerged Structure. It is a contemplation on what the famous Chinese philosopher of war, Sun Tzu might do if forced to stay at the Downtown Hospitality Inn in Tuscaloosa. It's not really about that. Look, here's Paris Hilton reading a book...

Further Utterances of Sun-Tzu

If occupying moral High ground Build a bamboo Hut Suitable for gloating And ride it out With Sumatran coffee And the London Times. If handed an inferior Glass of wine At a peace negotiation Thrust it defiantly In the host's face Dashing all hopes of peace As he has dashed Your hope for a good Buzz, Then overturn the Buffet table and rape His wife- A chintzy host cannot Be trusted. When in Rome... Duckwalk, When in Indiana...
Cowtip, And when in Tuscaloosa Well, you know, Stay at the beautiful Downtown Hospitality Inn. There are one-way mirrors Behind the artwork And the ice machine Is broken, But they gave me fifty Bucks for the ad space. (Sun Tzu doesn't Actually endorse The Hospitality Inn Or this poem But being dead He's in a very Weak tactical Position So fuck him).
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Thursday, December 6, 2012

It's Hell

One of the writers I admire is Dorothy Parker for her incessant insistence upon humor in even the most painful self-revelations. I think I wrote this poem while reading her collected poems.

It's Hell

It's Hell you say
As you assay
With a pro's cache
The chemicals we
Have procured to allay
The night's malaise

It's Hell you attest
But without the interesting
Party guests
The assassins
The buggerers
And the incest

It's Hell I agree
This eternal thrashing
In the scree
And watching you slither
Twixt debauches
Tailored more to you
Than me

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I Am Insane

I discovered I was mentally ill when I was fifteen. I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and Schizoid Personality Disorder. The combination of the two has been a heavy disadvantage to me in life, especially when trying to accomplish any task that involves dealing with other people socially. I write about mental illness quite a lot either directly or indirectly, and when I do I never mean to be disrespectful, I simply believe the arts should always play a role in whatever joys or sorrows one is experiencing in life. "I Am Insane" is a poem a wrote about choices we can make that could put one at odds with what society considers "normal" behavior. On occasion it becomes difficult to know whether it's the illness speaking or if one is just odd and at odds with society as a whole. And even if a person is marching to the beat of their own drum is that a mental illness? 

I Am Insane

I am insane 
Because I will not
Chase your dollar
Through fields of 
Wild Foxglove

I am insane
Because I bay at the
And will not bray
At beer commercials
And do not obey
Your traffic signals

I am insane
Because on my switchboard
All calls to Allah, Yahweh,
Jehovah, Zoroaster and
Santa Clause are all
Answered by the same operator

I am insane 
Because I held up
The Bank of America
With a holdup note
Composed of haikus
And demanded only
The teller deposit
My .12 residual check
I earned for appearing
On The Banana Splits
As a child.

I am insane 
Because to me
The difference between
A story and a true story
Is less important than
The difference between
Schlitz and Blatz

I am insane
Because I interfere
With the re-uptake
Of your serotonin
Re-uptake inhibitors

I am insane 
Because in the elevator
Of my psyche
There are buttons labeled
Pluto, Cucamonga,
Kokomo, Sheboygan, Padukah
Algonquin Round Table,
Deep Night and Help
(Don't press that one).
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Saturday, December 1, 2012


I remember late in January this year making a conscious decision to take this blog, which had been all but scuttled, and make a conscious effort to become a real blogger. From the age of 14 until 40 I kept a paper and ink journal, but no longer. I look back on the enormous amount of content I've generated here and am very proud. Roughly 300,000 page views this year. That seems like a lot. One thing I am lamenting is the poetry itself has taken a backseat to trying to create something visual. I feel badly about bowing to the pressure to create something sexy at the expense of what was in my heart. So, I think for the remainder of December I'm going to do poetry here and at Zombie Logic Review

"Feral" by Jenny Mathews

Why You Are Not Here

I was saving
You for the encore
But the show
Was a flop.

I stopped to smell
The roses..
Often and with
Remarkable torpidity.

I barked up
A lot of wrong trees
And beat a lot
Of burning bushes.

I cast my seed
(Or your seed depending
On one's perspective
But not yours because
You don't exist)
In dirt and once
Or twice in sand.

I frittered away
Your genetic inheritance
On high-risk offerings
And low-yield bonds.

I'm sparing you 
Chicken pox, 
The death of 5-10 
Pets and the sharp 
Tooth of a child's 

My work has come 
To nothing and thus 
You are nothing. 

All the good names 
Were taken. 
Did you really want 
To bear the ridicule 
Of being 
Wolfgang Bertram 
Van Munster Vaultonburg? 

Although I make 
A laudable martini 
My penis' bark 
Is worse than 
My semen's bite. 

Always I paused 
To carefully examine 
The map at the mall... 

You were never there. 

I took a vote... 

You came in second. 
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