Thursday, August 6, 2015

Outsider Poetry From Detached Retinas (1997)

I hear a ding on the computer and my very good friend, Tim Stotz, who is working on a wonderful project to animate one of my poems from Detached Retinas, titled "The Jackal," asks me if I have a digital file of the poem. I had to explain to him that the poems from Detached Retinas were never entered into any word processor, and if they ever had been on a disk it would have been a 3.5" floppy disk. We had a laugh about this, but it got me to thinking that the book has never been digitized, and while I sit here every day trying to think of something to write about I have an entire book of poetry no one on the internet has ever seen. So, here are a few poems from my 1997 book Detached Retinas.


The woman in that old photograph
Testing the gravity of apples
Is dead twenty years, the apples

In the background a deadman
Consults his wristwatch,
Hurrying towards the appointment
He can't miss-
The watch is still ticking.

And the iceboy just outside the lens
Labors up long stairs cursing
The heat of his seventeenth summer
As his block of allotted time slowly drips
Into memory.
-Thomas L. Vaultonburg

The Autopsy

This flaccid collapse of scaffolds
Is a laboratory of rotten meat
In which five anesthetized chemists
Condemn their own bloody research,
An attic whose only remaining artifacts
Are fearful eyes strung together like
A constellation of exhausted stars.

This mildewing chest of drawers,
Contents capsized,
Is a room with three corners and a stepladder,
A know oblivious to dexterous fingers,
No longer plagued by inner conspiracies
Or nights of quietly warding off chaos:
Some thing to inject, dispose of, and remember.

Official Coroner's Report: break-in at the gallery,
One statue smashed with a blue sledgehammer.

The Young Entomologists Leave The Antilles
In a Huff

When love is gone
The counting begins.
So far we have cataloged
The feeding and mating habits
Of 7,321 new species of beetles
On this island we will soon leave
In separate lifeboats.

The voodoo drums rehearse
An early death for us both
As I return to burn
Our lavish East Coast condo
As a defense against future tenants
Re-arranging our furniture.
-Thomas L. Vaultonburg

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