Monday, April 25, 2016

The Knife As Metaphor In the Outlaw Poetry of Dennis Gulling

The knife is a frequent metaphor in the new book of Outlaw poetry The Blood Dark Sea by Dennis Gulling. Conversely, the knife is frequently a metaphor for nothing but itself in the new book of crime noir poetry The Blood Dark Sea by Dennis Gulling. The reader is free to decide. In 100 pages of true crime inspired vignettes of bad behavior, bad decisions, and bad consequences, the good comes from Gulling's unflinching and steady hand on the so-called camera he holds to his subjects. The observations are variously severe, humorous, and ironic, but never delivered in a condescending tone. We've all been there at least once, and if we haven't we know someone who has. Terrible things happen to the people in these poems. And they do terrible things. But instead of trying to describe the tone and tenor of these fabulously realized snapshots of the underbelly of American life, here are some examples from Dennis Gulling's The Blood Dark Sea.


Toby the busboy
Found the finger
On top of the urinal
It was cut clean and smooth
Had dirt under
The chewed-down nail
Felt cold and hard
Like a carrot
He stuck it in his shirt pocket
And when she wasn’t looking
Dropped it in the cashier’s purse
Then asked her for a Kleenex


Sounds of balls hitting pins
People yelling, laughing
And jukebox music
Drifted through the back door
Of Kingston Lanes
Where Tanner and I
Sat in his pickup
He kept saying
That bitch
That bitch
While he unwrapped
The towel off his left hand
And stared at the empty space
Where his thumb had been
Said she did it with a hatchet
When he was passed out drunk
No goodbye
No suitcases
Just left with his thumb
Crazy whore was always
Pulling shit like that
But it could have been worse he said
And rubbed his crotch
With his 4 good fingers

"The Knife" by illustrator Jenny Mathews


Larry Simpson was playing
Cards at my house when
His sister came pounding
On the door saying
Their mom had gone crazy
And torched her house
When we got there
There were fire trucks
Police cars and crowds
All over the place
And Larry’s mom was standing
In a yard across the street
In a housecoat and shower cap
Laughing like a kid
With big long tears smearing her cheeks
She had a tv remote in her hand
And every few minutes
She’d point it at the flames
And try to change the channel

You can buy The Blood Dark Sea at Zombie Logic Press 

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