Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Chemung Shamans Salute Jack Chick

Jack Chick passed away this week.  A lot of people blame him for the Satanic Panic and say good riddance, but the Chemung Shamans know it was really Geraldo Rivera who caused the Satanic Panic, and we say the work of Jack Chick was meant exactly in the way we have taken it: as a clever inside joke.

Jack Chick never tried to stop me from playing Dungeons and Dragons, but I know a lot of other people in Byron, Illinois, who did. Teachers and librarians and vice principals and jocko homo bullies and Baptist youth pastors and on and on. None of them were taking their marching orders from Jack Chick, the Attorney General, Geraldo Rivera, or anyone else. It was simply who they were, and still are. Panicky, violent, ignorant animals constantly looking to scapegoat someone else because this Universe confuses them. 

Movie like Mazes and Monsters were considered gospel to them, the same way they believed Satan was hiding in barcodes, in the Proctor and Gamble logo, and everywhere else they could imagine. The world must have been terrifying to them.

But not because of Jack Chick.

That's too simplistic, and not really accurate in any way. The Satanic Panic was real, and as a teenager in a small town who played Dungeons and Dragons, loved mythology, and was slightly off kilter, I bore the brunt of it, but I never saw a Chick Tract until two days ago.

As the resident D and D player, future poet, and lover of all things different and weird, of course I was the designated scape goat in our town. I was outnumbered and overwhelmed back then, but I wouldn't change it for the world now. 

When they came for the books in the library, including Bradbury and several fantasy/science fiction authors I spoke up, and was told to be silent. But I stood up. 


So a couple of days ago when I saw second and third generation RPG geek types celebrating a man's death I couldn't jump on that bandwagon. He wasn't the one who tormented me. The ones who did that probably had never heard of Jack Chick.

I'm on a lot about a lot of shit, but something is sticking wrong in my craw this week. I saw a lot of people celebrate the death of a man with some views different than theirs. And I'll say something, because I was directly singled out and tormented during the Satanic Panic for being the designated weirdo in my town, and I'll tell you what, Jack Chick wasn't anywhere around. Those people probably never heard of him. They were primed and ready when the opportunity came around to persecute us weirdos. Those people have always existed and always will, but I don't celebrate the death Jack Chick. He didn't cause the Satanic Panic any more than condemning him to a Hell that never existed will make any difference now.

That's all the truth I'll take out of this scenario.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

All The Outsider Poetry Colors of the Dark

Tired of sitting here writing nonsense to fill these blogs tonight. But all my errands are done, and I don't have to be up early, so let's get through this one as I watch All the Colors of the Dark on one screen and The Monster Club on another while listening to sports radio.

There were literally three separate revelations today about Donald Trump that would have been sufficient to sink any previous presidential candidate from either party. Three. The man had illegal dealings with Cuba, has been running his charity illegally, and owes 300 million dollars to a foreign bank he can never pay back.

None of this makes any difference to the people willing to vote for him, and seems to do little to motivate those who don't want to to vote for Hillary Clinton.

I'd like to read some outsider poetry and take a soak in a whirlpool bath for about two weeks, sleep underground, and wake up in an 18 year old body. 

There are some nice castles in Italy.

Here come the hounds. I thought I had seen this movie before but it doesn't seem like it now. None of it looks familiar to me.

Outsider Poet Thomas L. Vaultonburg looking dumber than usual

I guess I already cast my vote, so all I can do is try to get other people to cast there's for Hillary Clinton, or at least against Donald Trump in some way.

I remember one time I was wearing a Union Civil War hat at a bonfire and as we danced to the Romantic's "What I Like About You" we'd jump and yell "hey." It was a nice night and of the few I had before I turned thirty like that.

This is definitely not the movie I was thinking of unless this Satanic cult eats her at the end. And they still might.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Protocol Droid C3PO Joins Chemung Shamans

Protocol droid C3PO has joined the Chemung Shamans outsider poetry team effective beginning the 2017 season. 

Anticipating the lawsuit George Lucas will invariable file against him/it the moment he takes the stage, C3PO has retained the services of defense attorney Dr. Henry Wolfsburg, who specializes in the rights of artificial life forms. C3PO, known primarily for informing other people what the odds are, and generally attempting to put the kabash on any plan anyone else makes, was originally designed to be a protocol droid, and part of his programming includes knowing dirty limericks in over 27,000 languages. Your Nantucket is a Jawa's nenjdjdj. The possibilities are astounding

In other Outsider Poetry Slam League of America news, there just isn't much news due to fantasy football season. The Rancho Cucamonga Kookamungas appear to be the team to beat in the 2017 season, but many teams have made improvements, including the Rockford Pages, Minooka Meter Maids, and Kokomo Oralists. 

The Outsider Poetry League championship was seen by over a million viewers on Home and Garden Network, and will return this year after the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. 

On a personal note, I just obtained a nice collection of the original 12 Star Wars action figures and a stand to display them. It was an item I did not know I wanted until a confluence of several events reminded me that I was a child a long, long time ago, and was blown away when I first saw Star Wars. I now need only a Yoda and a Boba Fett to complete the collection for me. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Outsider Poet Buys Star Wars Toys

These guys arrived in the mail today.

Actually they probably arrived late last week, but the USPS has been jerking them around for a few days. The damn USPS electronic system has nothing to do with what one's local carrier does. 

I overpaid for these, which is why I'm writing about them here and not on my real blog where Jenny can see it and kick me in the ass. The story about why I suddenly had an overwhelming desire to own these original 12 Star Wars figures is conveluted, and will make sense only to me.

Star Wars doesn't hold a particularly sentimental place in my childhood memories, even though I saw it when it came out and was probably as blown away as every other child who saw it. We couldn't afford to collect all these action figures, but we had a few. Not sure they called them action figures then. I think they were $2.98. 

The reason they suddenly burst back into my consciousness was twofold. First, I saw something our mother had gotten for us from a cereal box back then. I see now if we had never opened it that it would be worth over a thousand dollars, but we weren't in the habit of not playing with our toys back then.

This stand came from cereal boxes, I believe, and we had it. When I saw this I got sort of obsessive about having to have it, and two weeks later, I do.

The second reason is strange. High strangeness. We had twins that lived in our neighborhood. A couple years younger than me. One time we ended up at their house under the pretext of trading baseball cards and coins. Once there, they tried to convince me they had unopened and multiple copies of every Star Wars toy in their basement. This blew my mind. Of course I believed them. Why lie about something like that. I traded them several baseball cards for some coins that looked almost magical and ancient, but when I got home they seemed to have transformed into common coins of no value or luster.

This story always stuck with me because I am to this day convinced those coins did actually transform from when I traded for them until I got them home.

Anyway, I was in a legal meeting concerning one of the writers I publish, and the lawyer related a story about one of the state's most notorious unsolved murders. It turns out after a few microbrews that one of the prime suspects was indeed one of the twins I had traded for the coins. He had apparently turned out to be quite a dangerous sociopath.

I thought of all those unopened Star Wars toys, and how they almost certainly didn't exist. I thought about my mother taking the time to send away for this stand. And I thought about a time in the future when my own six year old will almost certainly have a Star Wars phase. 

I thought of all these things, and I had to have this. 

Now I have this.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Warning, Drawing of an Outsider Poet's Penis Ahead and a Poem About a Dick

Warning: a drawing of a penis is ahead. 

Thomas L. Vaultonburg, the poet, drawn by Kooky Houston

My Dick  

My dick fell off 
Last week. 
Since then things have 
Been stupendous.  
I’ve been writing poems 
And learning to cook 
And I think I’ve  even found 
A cure for cancer.  
Last night I spent six hours 
Pushing around one pebble 
In my Zen garden.  

Did you know women 
Have eyes 
And some of them have 
Even learned to  speak?  

It’s the dambdest Thing.  

I lied. I still have a penis.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Shadmock Joins Outsider Poetry Team

Raven Shadmock, a character in the book and movie versions of R Chetwynd Hayes' collection of short stories The Monster Club, has joined The Chemung Shamans for the 2017 Outsider Poetry Slam League of America season.

Raven Shadmock about to whistle a poem

This will not be the first time a Shadmock has attempted a career in slam poetry, as Raven Shadmock's cousin, Wilbur Shadmock performed twice in the Rockford Poetry Slam before whistling in anger when receiving a 5.4 from celebrity judge Bun E Carlos of Cheap Trick and incinerating an audience of 17 at a Taco Bell, Rockford's voted #1 Mexican restaurant according to The Rockford Register Star.

Shadmocks are typically learned and gentle creatures, but if they ever get angry and whistle, nearby biological organisms tend to burst into flames, so it is typically advised to avoid angering a Shadmock. Whether or not this will benefit Shadmock's scores is yet to be seen, but local scientist Tim Stolezstotzen is said to be working on a Shadmock whistle proof suit for his teammates. 

Raven Shadmock has been a solitary and reclusive figure since he caused his wife to melt soon after their wedding in 1980. Thrirty-five years later he returns to sign a contract with the Rockford Pages, joining Thomas L. Vaultonburg and Nelson the Sock Monkey as the backbone of the squad. 

It is unclear whether a Shadmock's whistle has to be done intentionally to take effect, or whether accidental whistles or escapetures of air through a pursed lip would cause destruction. Does a nose whistle count. These are all questions to be answered in a physical to be performed Wednesday. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

There Is a City In Illinois Named Chemung

All my life people in this area have said if you misbehave we'll ship you off to Chemung, and I knew there was a town named Chemung somewhere in Illinois, but when I searched for it when I created this blog I couldn't find it. So, I found a Chemung, but it was in New York State. But Sunday I found Chemung, Illinois.

We were headed towards the Bristol Renaissance Fair in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and we drove through Chemung. Population 300. Big enough that it should be on the map and show up in Google searches, but I never saw it.

In other news related in no way to the Chemung Shamans Outsider Poetry slam team, a body was found in a garbage can on Market Street last week. The county coroner said part of the remains had liquified, and I immediately happy I had never beaten the Winnebago County Coroner any of the times I had run against her. 

Mostly I'm just here to confirm that there is a city in Illinois named Chemung, and the Chemung Shamans Outsider Poetry Team is not from there, unfortunately. Also, Renaissance Fairs are weird. I'm going to go eat that soup now. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Chemung Shamans Add Outsider Poet Thomas L. Vaultonburg For Rockford Poetry Slam

In OPSLA news just tweeted out by commissioner Dr. Henry Wolfsburg, outsider poet Thomas L. Vaultonburg has joined the Chemung Shamans for the Rockford Poetry Slam to be held July 4th. 

Poet Thomas L. Vaultonburg celebrating his signing by the Chemung Shamans by drinking a Stella Artois. He will join the team in Rockford for their bout with league rival Rockford Pages. 

Along with Vaultonburg, the Shamans receive a conditional second round draft pick in the 2017 OPSLA draft, and a nominal amount of cash to be used for purchasing Dutch and Belgian beers. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Outsider Poetry, "We Are Gathering Up Our Dust" By Jesus Correa

Outlaw Poetry Saturday Night In Rockford

Saturday night I will be hosting a book release party for Dennis Gulling's book of Outlaw Poetry The Blood Dark Sea, published by Zombie Logic Press as the third book in the Rock River Literary Series. 

I am the host, and after a very busy beginning to this summer, and a trip to New Orleans, I have no notes prepared. All of my first choice readers dropped out, and I am here in my aprtment exhausted and without much of an idea how to approach hosting. 

First of all I'd like to thank Doc and Jerry for making their incredible space available. There's no where else I'd want to have done this book release party. They have been promoting the arts in this location for over thirty years now, and I have enormous respect for what they've been able to do for the arts community. 

Thank all of you for showing up to support Dennis and the third book in the Rock River Literary Series, The Blood Dark Sea. 

                                                            The Blood Dark Sea

I'm not sure if everyone knows this, but three years ago I had open heart surgery, and as I was recovering I realized one of the important things to me that I felt I hadn't made enough of an effort on was to promote the work of my fellow writers here in the Rockford area. Rockford gets a bad rap from the national media as a violent place bereft of all culture and sophistication, but those of us who live here know better. When I started thinking about it, there were a couple dozen writers I could think off  hand that I wanted to work with. Writers I feel deserve a local, regional, and national audience for their works. And that's what the Rock River Literary Series is all about. Exposing an audience to all the talented writers we have here in the Rockford area. 

Before I go on and introduce our first reader, I'd like to acknowledge someone in the audience. The person who published my first book, Concave Buddha, twenty-five years ago, and set the example that I would later follow of wanting to give a spotlight and encourage others. His name is Bradley Lastname, and I won't embarass him by pointing him out, but I want you to know I probably wouldn't have gotten to this place without your example.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Rockford Poetry From Zombie Logic Press

The Rock River Literary Series Is a Good Thing About Rockford Poetry

Rockford, Illinois is the butt of many jokes at the expense of the national media. The third fattest, seventh most violent and uneducated, third most miserable city in America, and civil-minded groups have no real plan to reverse these trends except to acknowledge the positive, like Cheap trick, and ignore whatever problems caused the city to make these lists in the first place. This Pollyana approach has been mocked by almost everyone, except for a privileged few who benefit from dipping their fat snouts in the public trough and filling their guts. For them any initiative that puts public funds into a project they benefit from is golden and should be accepted by everyone else. Except in most cases, minorities, the poor, and anyone else who doesn't bear a striking resemblance to them doesn't benefit at all.

However, a lot of good projects and organizations that fly under the radar, or would never receive a second of attention from these civic goalies are doing great work that is recognized on a national level, but ignored in Rockford. One of these organizations is Zombie Logic Press. They were referred to as "America's most dangerous literary press" by NPR in their Winter Books Series, but local recognition has been hard to find for this maverick publisher. The Rock River Literary Series is an attempt to discover and publish the most promising writers in Rockford. The third book in the series, The Blood Dark Sea, was released in May, and a book release party is scheduled for June 11 at JR Kortman Gallery on Main Street. At that reading, all previous authors in the series will read, including Jesus Correa, C.J. Campbell, and Dennis Gulling. 

Rockford is a proud city with a history that many are proud of, including being a leader in trade unions and socialist politicians, including one of America's first Socialist mayors, but Rockford took a tragic turn for racism and urban blight in the late 1960's when the school board reacted to the bussing phenomenon by segregating the city in a way that has never been addressed to this day. Although many long to move into the future, the scions of many of these racist dynasties still exert a great deal of control and sit like vultures on property that rots and decays, blighting many neighborhoods where younger, more future-minded entrepeneurs would like to innovate, revitalize, and bring the city back from the dead. 

Many cities encourage their leaders in the arts and culture community to lead the way in revamping blighted neighborhoods, but in Rockford it's actively discouraged. A renowned dance director who was brought in from Houston was recently relieved of his position for presenting the Nutcracker with a Black cast, even though most who had seen it believed it was the best performance ever. Hopefully literary presses like Zombie Logic Press will succeed in getting the word out nationally that the entire city is not fat, stupid, and racist, but they won't be getting any help locally in doing it. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Three Poems From Dennis Gulling's The Blood Dark Sea

Here are three poems from Rockford poet Dennis Gulling's new book of Outsider Poetry The blood Dark Sea, published in May by Zombie Logic Press. The Rockford Pages, Rockford's team in the Outsider Poetry Slam League of America, recently took first place in the first tournament of the year. Gulling will be reading poems from this book Saturday, May 14th at CNVR in Rockford. The Blood Dark Sea is the 3rd book in Zombie Logic Press's Rock River Literary Series. 


She said she wanted
To remember him by
So he bit her in the ass
And stole her purse


She gave him
That up from under look
And crossed her hands
Across her chest
Her blood red fingernails
Just inches from her throat
He couldn’t hear
What she was whispering
It might have been a prayer
It could have been fuck you
She sucked her index finger
And aimed it at him
Like a gun
Said underneath her breath
Bang bang you’re dead
And blew imaginary smoke
From her fingertip
While he checked his shirt
For holes


3 days after Fred Carver
Was shot dead
In a craps game
We all gathered
At Sparkman’s Funeral Home
For the visitation
I was standing
Behind Fred’s ex-wife Thelma
When she reached into her purse
And dropped something
In the casket
I leaned over her shoulder
And watched a black spider
Crawl up Fred’s face
And disappear in his hair

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Monday, February 8, 2016

Chemung Shamans Outsider Poetry Slam Team

The Chemung Shamans are pleased to announce our roster for the 2016 Outsider Poetry Slam League of America


The anchor of our team is Raduk. Raduk is a master of Old Testament mix em up poetry, or Brueling as it is called. He has a flair for taking Hebrew or Greek texts and imbuing them with a hip hop flavor that mesemerizes an audience and makes them reconsider their values. 


Ekphrasia is gender fluid. Audiences become fluid under the hypnotism of her poetic spell. Employing Taoist techniques and good old-fashioned assonance, Ekphrasia won the 2015 National Poetry Slam with her performance of "Dry Down There." 

Skip Trypin

Outsider Poet Skip Trypin performing his poem "Real People Get the Blues" on Johnny Carson, 1978.  He is joining the Chemung Shamans Outsider Poetry Slam team this year after being a legend of the independent poetry slam circuit for over two decades. 

The Chemung Shamans take on the Rancho Cucamonga Kookamungas May 14th in the first slam match of the season. The team will be holding a meet and greet/recruitment at the Old Warsaw Pancake House on February 17th at 10 a.m. Poets are asked to bring their strongest work and a donation of a canned good for the Chemung Food Pantry, which is one of the worthy causes the Chemung Shamans supports. 

Upcoming poetry bouts for the Chemung Shamans

May 14th v Rancho Cucamonga Kookamungas Away

May 31 v Kokomo Orators Home

June 7 v Sheboygan Syballists Home

June 22 v Paducah Plain Speakers Away

June 31 National Slam Poetry Federation Championships at Madison Square Garden

Have some Chemung civic pride and come on out an cheer on our boys, girls, etc as they embrak on an Odyssey to bring the Slammie home to Chemung where it belongs.

Special Announcement: We have just learned that the National Outsider Poetry Slam will be televised on TruCrime Network from June 31st through July 4th. We'd like to see some original poetry from Outsider poets, so feel free to send in your original poetry to editor Skip Trypin via email. 

It's official! The OPSLA Slam season starts May 11th at the Outsider Poetry depot in Rockford, Illinois. All eight teams will be competing that night in the first bout of the 2016 season. Celebrity judges will include members of Cheap Trick, WIFR meteorologist Bruce Richardson, and star of stage and screen Bruce Boxleitner.