FROM OUTRE’ 4: 3 POEMS, 1 ILLO, 1 VIGNETTE

cover by Glen Brock

cover by Glen Brock

 The other day I ran across a copy of Outre #4 , a SF fanzine I published in 1969 for the Southern Fandom Press Alliance (SFPA). Took me back, allright. The cover is by Glen Brock, who was also in SFPA at the time, and I think it’s pretty cool Sixties fanzine art. A lot of energy in that drawing. Debbi Staton, my girlfriend then, paintakingly cut the drawing onto a mimeograph stencil using a stylus, and we printed it up on my father’s mimeograph.

         The issue also featured some poems by my friend John Battle and some by me. The poetry section’s title was “Fresh Garbage,” and for my stuff at least, was apt. John on the other  hand contributed a couple of poems just too good to’ve been by a nineteen-year-old college sophmore from our little home town. He was my buddy, the only other SF reader I knew in Metropolis–my fellow subscriber to Amazing Stories. Nobody kidded him back in high school about being into that crazy Buck Rogers stuff,either; he was captain of the football team.

           Anyway here are a couple of John’s poems from Outre’ #4:

Why the Man Clowns (or doesn’t)

When the laughter

          had finally subsided,

He saw

        over the shoulder

Of the fourth painted

      lady to the left

Of the table

      with the punch bowl,

An open window.

 

 Past the street lamp

        across the way,

And above the dim outline

         of the roof of a house,

He could see quite clearly

       framed in the easy fantasy,

A small part of the very

      dark and empty.

 

           Snowfall

Whether it fell softly

in the cold quiet

Air of early evening,

Or was carried helplessly along

In an erratic path of glory

By the awful winds of

The midnight blizzard;

Each delicate and

infinitely unique

Snowflake has

Lost its identity

In this boundless, frozen mass.

 

          Forty years later, I still like those two poems. I wish John would write more: I’d like to see what he thinks now.

          Then there was this vignette by me in the issue called “Strange Egg” (and no, it wasn’t autobiographical). It’s egregiously idealistic and optimistic, but hey, it was 1968, and I was twenty-one. Anyway here it is:

 

 STRANGE EGG

 

     I’ll bet that you didn’t know that for every concept that occurs to us a personification appears in Limbo. Oh, but it’s true. Funny little egg-shaped heads that walk on stick legs and have stick arms appear for every ‘ism” that we conceive. Would you like to see them?

     Picture cotton candy colored cloud tops that stretch unbroken for as far as you can see. The sky is blue, but not blue like our sky. Lake blue, but deeper blue by far than any lake on earth—ultimate blue. Now add one lavender sun that flashes on and off forever, like a gigantic strobe light, and you have Limbo.

     Across these pink cloud tops, bathed in flashing lavender light, comes walking a funny little egg-man with a sour expression on his face. His face is, in fact, a symphony of disgust. He hates everything. His beady eyes squint. His fat nose wrinkles distastefully.  And his narrow mouth sneers. Why is the eggman angry? Because he is Conservatism. And all around him he sees new ideas popping up. New ideas that he thinks threaten his existence. He carries a great double-bladed axe in both hands. With this he attempts to eliminate new isms before they can disturb the status quo. At this very moment he sees a very young ism not yet mature enough to be identifiable. The little fellow is sleeping upon a small pink cloud drift. Stealthily Conservatism creeps up on the egglet. He is within ten feet of the little ism when it is awakened by a tumult. On swift young feet the egglet scurries away from Conservatism’s blade. Conservatism spins around to face the source of this disturbance and sees–none to his surprise–that it’s the two great disturbers of Limbo’s peace: Capitalism and Communism. Snarling, they are kicking each other, gouging at each other’s eyes and rolling over and over in the pink clouds. They both wear white hats, but black hearts are pinned upon their chests, and their faces are covered with masks that smile.

     They hurl epithets at each other as they muck about in the cotton candy clouds. “Imperialist Dog!  Yankee swine!!” screeches Communism as he kicks at his opponent’s groin. “Red!  Commie!!”cries capitalism as he gouges at his enemy’s eye. As they continue their peaceful co-existence, many of the other isms gather around to catch the action so to speak. First comes Nationalism, a very odd looking eggman. It has no features but mouths, but it is covered with hundreds of them. Hundreds of mouths and they are all screaming something different. Some shout for Capitalism and some for Communism, and some are against both. To make matters worse, each mouth is attempting to shout all the others down. Pure chaos.

      Beside Nationalism stands Liberalism, who wrings its hands and asks, “But what can one do about such a disgusting situation?” And answers itself, “Nothing. Nothing!”  Next to it stands Radicalism, who shouts, “Action, not words!” It then tries to break up the fight by beating Liberalism with a spiked club. “Fight violence with violence!!” he screams.

     Meanwhile, Conservatism, notices that Radicalism is preoccupied and sneaks up behind him, hoping to eliminate the upstart  He is foiled only because Commercialism (currently Radicalism’s payroll) shouts a warning.

     Thus carry on the isms of Limbo. Meanwhile, in the darkest corner of Limbo, far from the axe of Conservatism, a strange egg is growing.  It has no features, no legs or arms. But it is large, bigger than three of the other eggmen, and it is not even yet nearly grown. Yet every day it grows larger. The strange egg does not belong in Limbo. For it springs not from a concept in the minds of people, but rather from a feeling in their hearts, a slowly growing feeling of concern for human beings and their welfare instead  of devotion to abstract principles. A feeling that once inside us makes us look through concepts and become more concerned with people. And when this feeling is ripe within the hearts of enough people, the strange egg will swell so large that it explodes–and blows all the isms of Limbo into the farthest reaches of hell.     

THE END 

         Afterword:   I told you. These days, no matter how hard I look, I see little evidence of the Strange Egg. I hope I’m just blind, but sometimes I wonder if it was ever really there. 

        So that was some fan writing, circa 1969. The rest of the issue was natter about my personal life and mailing comments on the other zines of SFPA. My best wishes to Debbi, John, Glen, and fanboys and fangirls everywhere.

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

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About kentmcdanielwrites

Writer and musician.

One Response to “FROM OUTRE’ 4: 3 POEMS, 1 ILLO, 1 VIGNETTE”

  1. Reblogged this on kentmcdanielwrites and commented:

    There’s been a lot of conversation lately about fanzines on one my Yahoo groups. made me want to reblog this.

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