Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Zombies at the Saban Theater Beverly Hills
Reviewed by Anthony Servante


The GPS that took us from Chino Hills to Beverly Hills was full of crap. But I shut up and listened as the GPS voice directed us to the 101 Freeway to reach Wilshire Blvd, about six miles short of the Saban Theater, where The Zombies were playing. I would have taken the 10 Freeway to La Cienega Blvd and turned onto Wilshire, a few blocks from the venue. But the GPS was right in one regard: we arrived at 7:58 pm, one hour before the starting time for the concert. Plenty of time to find parking and huff and puff it to the theater.

The air on Wilshire was filled with the scent of rich, spicy barbecue sauce, coming from the Grill next door to the Saban. There was a hipster crowd inside drinking microbrews and nibbling on appetizers on tiny plates that could barely contain the baby back ribs. But I guess that was the idea--to make the servings look bigger. This was not the crowd for the concert. This was the crowd in search of a neighborhood to gentrify.

The crowd for the Zombies show were standing in two long lines: one to enter the venue; the other for the Will Call window. The line moved quickly. "Tickets for Anthony Servante," I said. The Asian twenty-something stared at me. "Left for me by Tom Toomey," I added. He went to the box marked "Tom Toomey" and pulled the envelope marked Anthony Servante. I checked the contents: two tickets and two back stage passes. Bingo.

Row L on the floor, seats 17 and 19. We were just off-center. The Saban Theater used to be a movie house and it showed. Gothic friezes and giant columns framed the stage. Tom Toomey was checking his guitars. Should I go over and say hello. No. The man is working. Getting his head into the concert 30 minutes away. He set down the guitar, looked around the stage, and walked off, stage left. My guest, my older brother, went for drinks and a snack. The lights blinked on and off, signaling the show would be starting in ten minutes. The lobby emptied and the theater seats filled to capacity. It was a sold out show. The balcony seating was about ten feet behind me, thirty feet overhead. I hate sitting under the balcony. Seen too many soccer disasters on TV. With my neurotic phobias in check, diet coke and popcorn in hand, my bro and I were ready for the show.

The Concert

The lights dimmed. Uncle Joe Benson, noted Rock Radio personality, came on stage and explained the night's festivities. The current version of The Zombies would play first, visiting songs from their new LP, Still Got that Hunger (2015), old hits, plus songs from Argent and Colin Blunstone's solo careers. There'd be an intermission, and then The original line-up of The Zombies (minus guitarist Paul Atkinson who passed away in 2004) would play Odessey and Oracle (1968) in its entirety, note for note.

With that, The Zombies took the stage to a standing ovation from the sold-out crowd and opened with "I Love You", (1965), written by Chris White, who would be honored by both versions of the band for his many hit songs and talent. The opener showcased Colin's strong vocals and Rod Argent's jazzy keyboards. The next song, "Can't Nobody Love You", also from 1965, gave new guitarist Tom Toomey a chance to turn in an edgy rhythm and blues spin to the song. "I Want You Back Again" from 1968 rounded out the early years before The Zombies turned to their new LP, Still Got that Hunger, for a selection of songs that still echoed from that 60s Beat and showed that yesteryear's music still sounds relevant today. The hits "Tell Her No", "Hold Your Head Up", "Caroline Goodbye" (from Colin solo LP), "You Really Got a Hold on Me", and "She's Not There" charged up the echoes from the new LP with some real blasts from the 60s/70s. Argent reminded us that Chris White wrote "Hold Your Head Up", for he is often mistaken for being the writer, and that the lyrics are not "Hold your head up, whoa"; they're "Hold your head up, woman", an important distinction in this era when women should hold their heads high.

After a thirty minute intermission that I spent in a line that stretched from the restroom upstairs, down the long stairwell, and into the lobby, I made it back relieved in more ways than one just in time for the second act.

Rod Argent, Colin Blunstone, Chris White, Hugh Grundy, Tom Toomey, Darian Sahanaja, Steve and Jim Rodford, and Vivienne Boucherat comprised the reassembling of the original band and guest members. But, to be clear, the extra players were necessary to capture what Uncle Bob had promised earlier, that "Odessey and Oracle" would be played in its entirety, NOTE FOR NOTE. And that's just what we got. Argent even used an antique pump organ from the first World War for "Butcher's Tale (Western Front 1914)". It was a hypnotic 35 minutes, 12 songs, from jazzy to pop to psychedelic (before the word was even born), and, as promised, every note was played. To wrap things up, the bands (all members from both Zombie incarnations) joined for a no-holds barred version of "She's Not There", where each member of the band was instructed to add something to the song that was completely new and unique to this night's playing of the song. It was a magical rendition that had the standing crowd of oldsters and hipsters and former hippies singing along and swaying to the upbeat.

And then it was over. The bands gathered and bowed and departed.

The After Show

Tom Petty was in the house. Backstage was chaos. People with backstage passes were seated as the theater cleared and the crowd of fans snapping selfies with Petty and The Zombies band members were herded to the lobby, which was more spacious and accommodating to the overflow of backstage invitees. As the crowd was moved from the backstage area to the seating area, I spotted Tom Toomey. When I got the chance, I introduced myself, told him that I couldn't wait to write the review for tonight's show, and had my guest take a picture with The Zombies' guitarist. I said goodnight and called it a night. It didn't look like order would be restored for at least another hour, or at least until Tom Petty left the building, which it didn't appear he planned to do anytime soon, so I hit the road.

Again, thank you to Tom Toomey for the tickets and backstage passes. This was a unique concert that could never be repeated in the same way again. I'm glad I was there. And may I be there again when The Zombies decide to make history once more.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Poetry Today 19
Halloween Gathering 2015

Compiled and Formatted 
by Anthony Servante


Welcome, Halloween revelers, to the All Hallow's Evening Gathering of wordsmiths both weird and wonderful. Joining us this year we have authors and poets sharing words of fancy and the secrets of their innermost thoughts as writers this autumn season. Behold, poetry and interviews from Lori R. Lopez, Dean M. Drinkel, Billie Sue Mosiman, Franklin E. Wales, Coralie Rowe, Jaye Tomas,  Alaina Tomasino, Richard Groller, and Michael H. Hanson. Oh, yeah, and we have a special guest in Jonathan Swift, whose poem "A Beautiful Nymph Going To Bed" describes a young girl taking off her make-up before her bedtime; it is one of the most horrific satires on cosmetics and "beauty". Please read it slowly. Lori offers a generous bundle of poems that exemplify her intellectually creepy style, the perfect imagery for the season of the dark. Dean discusses his horror books old and new. Billie Sue talks dark emotions and reminds us why she's my favorite modern suffragette. Franklin offers us his first horror poem and reveals a talented side of himself I hope he will explore more between horror novels. Coralie is my Wednesday Addams all grown up and I'm always proud to have her contribute to the darkness of my blog with her sinister verse. Jaye is just coming off her signing for her new poetry book Carnevale (2015) and shares some selections. Alaina shows she has the talent to write her own poetry book; she just needs to stop writing "N/A" when it comes to her contact information, I mean, how else are the publishers going to find you? Richard talks about the book of macabre poetry that he's edited and talks about himself as well. And Michael flexes his poetry muscles in his new work and offers us some selections to enjoy on this Halloween season. And me, I am Anthony Servante, your host for the Halloween Gathering 2015. 

It is time to begin.

Lori R. Lopez

Lori R. Lopez--The Interview

1.         When did you begin writing? What was the driving force?

I have to say I was born with certain compulsions that were unavoidable.  Talents combined with interests.  You need both or it will go nowhere and lack inspiration, passion.  I read a lot growing up, which only made it worse, more intense.  A compulsive burning thing I could not ignore.  Once I learned the alphabet I was always writing.  You couldn’t stop me.  Teachers tried taping my hands, but the horrors emerged.  Okay, perhaps it didn’t go quite that way.  Actually they gave me extra assignments or let me sit in a corner and write whatever I wanted, depending on their strategy for dealing with a born writer.  (True story.)  I might have been making up tales inside the womb.  I really can’t be sure I wasn’t.

2.         What writers were your early inspiration? And who are your inspirations today?

Gosh, so many.  Maurice Sendak, The Brothers Grimm, Mother Goose, Doctor Seuss.  The earliest.  Then Lewis Carroll, Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, Alfred Noyes, Victor Hugo, Mark Twain, Bram Stoker, Shakespeare, Robert Frost, Maya Angelou.  After that Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Peter Straub, Franz Kafka . . .  I am still inspired by all of these and more.  I love Tim Burton’s body of work.  Neil Gaiman, Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket), and Ransom Riggs are intriguing.  Right now I am also very privileged to know indie authors who inspire me.  I don’t have much time for reading at present because too many projects are crowding my brain demanding to be finished.  It’s a fact, and it can be maddening.  However, I have read works by some, if not all of the authors you’ve gathered, and they are uber-talented, yourself included.  I’ve read a number of poems by Jaye Tomas and always find her words inspiring.

3.         What are the themes you like to write about?

Quite a range, but I especially love to give my prose and verse a horror slant with some meaning, a message or statement.  I write about a world gone wrong, ecological terrors, fears and phobias, paranoia, revenge, unrequited love, jealousy, hate, bullying, abuse, animals, children, monsters, often misfits.  I blend genres, but Speculative Fiction and Horror are my main ones.

4.         Compare yourself to the early writer then and the writer you are now.

I am still a dreamer and still struggling to find my place, find an audience.  The difference is that now my work is being read, appreciated, and that means so much.  It was extremely frustrating to write and not be read for many years.  I had definite interest at times, but I couldn’t break through.  I do things my own way, and I have carefully developed my style over the years.  That’s important.  I won’t compromise with style.  It might not be perfect; it might not please everybody, but it is mine and I like it.  I do not attempt to copy anyone.  It’s my own voice, my own rules, what I believe makes good writing.  There are plenty of opinions on that.  I write on my terms, in my manner.  That hasn’t changed.  It has been refined.  I experimented more in my first books than I do now.  Yet I still experiment with characters and other aspects.  It just isn’t as obvious.  For now.  I love to experiment.  I even experiment with the readers, testing them, addressing them, poking them with a stick . . .  As a result, I’ve lost some readers.

5.         Halloween brings out the best in many writers. Why do you think that is? If you don’t agree, tell us what holidays bring out the best in you.

Halloween is the best time of the year for Horror.  But the Halloween “spirit” is ever present in my life.  Some people love it more than others.  My sons are far less into it than I am, for example.  I have my corner of our office decorated year-round for Halloween, ha ha.  When others join in the wild rumpus during October, it is delightful.  We horror authors love to present special treats around Halloween.  It was so exciting when I could finally be part of the season as a writer, publishing Halloween stories free on our website!  Some of them are free on Amazon now too, as E-books.

6.         What genres do you prefer writing in?

I’ve always read a great variety.  Therefore I write in multiple genres, often at the same time.  You’ll find elements or traces of horror, fantasy, humor, suspense, thrillers, science fiction, fairytales, gothic, magic realism, weird or bizarro, historical fiction, mythology, legends, and romance in my works.  My favorites are horror, humor, suspense-thrillers, fantasy, gothic, sci-fi, and fairytales.  It’s hard to decide.  Wait, there are more . . .

7.         Tell me how art and/or photography influence your work, especially when picking a cover or an illustration.

I do my own cover art and illustrations.  It provides a personal and unique vision of the writing, my interpretation in an additional creative form.  Maybe another artist or a photograph could capture it as well, even better.  I prefer applying my own touch.  Art is subjective like writing styles.  It might not be what appeals to the majority, but again it is mine.  It’s a risk.  I take a lot of risks.  I’m not famous, so maybe it’s this or that.  There are lists about why you’re not famous.  It could be the covers, it could be the rules I break, it could be my inept marketing skills.  I can’t change my vision, because then it will not be worth doing.  Above all, I am in it for the art.

8.         If you could (or have) write lyrics for any music artist or band, who would they be? And why?

Well, too late for the Beatles; they wrote their songs anyway.  Most of the singers and bands I’ve loved wrote or write their music.  Bob Dylan, Sara Bareilles, Sarah McLachlan, Stevie Nicks, Taylor Swift, Christina Perri, A Fine Frenzy, The Carpenters, Al Green, Elton John, Otis Redding, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, The Eagles, Sheryl Crow, Adele, Selena, Bon Jovi, Michael Bolton, Donovan, The Beach Boys, Abba, Keith Urban, Pink, Ed Sheeran, Simon and Garfunkel.  So I wouldn’t try to write for them.  I would write for my band.  I just formed one with my sons, and we will be releasing songs I wrote primarily in the Eighties and Nineties.  Then some new ones.  There are singers like Elvis, Cher, Nancy Sinatra, Doris Day, Josh Groban, The Supremes, The Carpenters, B.J. Thomas, Andrea Bocelli, Peter, Paul and Mary who sang or sing tunes that others wrote.  Barbra Streisand, Whitney Houston.  Judy Garland.  As with reading and writing, I like a fairly broad range.  Not all types of music or genres.  We won’t go into that.

It would be an incredible honor if they sang my lyrics, my ballads, whether living or “posthumously”.  I’ve been singing along to their songs for years.

9.         Tell us about your new book or the book you are working on. If appropriate, share a link where we can purchase the book or a link to your website or Facebook page.

In 2015 I’m releasing an illustrated narrative poem titled THE DARK MISTER SNARK for Halloween.  And I have an autumn-themed horror collection coming soon called UNHALLOWED, featuring some of my releases:  “Monstrosities”, “Samhain”, “3-Z” (a free one); some pieces from anthologies and magazines:  “Cornstalker”, “The Devil’s Irony”, “Bleakwood Pond”, “Curiosity”; plus new tales such as “Remember To Die”, “The Fungus”, and “Bloody Hallows”.  I will also wrap up the third book of my POETIC REFLECTIONS series in the near future, BLOOD ON THE MOON, probably early 2016.

The links will be found on my Amazon Author Page or website when available.  You can Follow me or subscribe to my newsletter.



10.       Let’s close things with a few words for struggling or upcoming writers. What obstacles can they look forward to overcoming and how have you overcome them?

Getting read and getting reviewed are very important.  The first can rely on the second, both in the amount of reviews for a title and in the amount of favorable or negative opinions.  And no matter how good you are, luck is always a factor.  There is a huge amount of competition.  You can’t let the negatives and the odds affect you.  It could chip away at your health.  If you truly love this, stay focused and work hard.  That’s what I try to do.

The Poetry


by Lori R. Lopez

How I envied her — the cascade of fiery hair;
The structure of fine bones in a classic face;
Even her name, Amaranth, seemed unfair.
A flower that wouldn’t fade or die, her grace
Could have been the catalyst of legendary feuds,
The inspiration of poets and artists to be great.
I pitied her as well, in the best of my worst moods,
Despite waves of jealousy, for an ironic fate.
She would end up miserable, withered and alone.
I had a husband, a brood of ugly step-kids to rear;
Amaranth lay decaying at the foot of a stone,
Her flesh gone chill yet her memory still clear.
“Who has everything now?”  But I lost my soul
And could not enjoy feeling vastly superior . . .
She had taken it with her to a wormy hole;
I’d been left to languish, just as cold and inferior.
Once the belle of the ball who turned every head,
She was hounded by suitors, a wolf-pack of rivals.
I was more of a nemesis, wishing her dead,
Leagues away from her status — barring a revival.
“That’s what I should do, put the hag on display!”
Muttering, I plotted to dredge up her condition.
Old grudges die hard; what could I say?
“She deserves to be uncovered.”  I was on a mission,
Having suffered enough, being born ungainly,
While she grabbed all the glory, looks and attention.
Who cared if she tittered and I cackled inanely?
A shower of compliments; I cringed at each mention.
It was all I heard, praise for my dear divine sister!
Living or dead, she hogged ovation and regard,
A stinging thorn in my foot, a ruptured blister.
Resentful, overshadowed, I trudged to a graveyard.
I needed them to see how her charms had wasted;
The girl they remembered could impress no more.
I’d prove to the town the sweetness once tasted
Had shrivelled and soured to a blackened core.
With lantern and spade, I dug in the gloom . . .
Thudding a wood casket, glad it wasn’t brass,
Prying off a nailed lid, I bared the wretched tomb,
Expecting to find remains unkempt like witchgrass,
And gaped at her, horrified at the beauty intact!
It couldn’t be!  So long since I grasped her throat
And squeezed the life from her, a selfish act —
No sign of spoil, corrosion, shrinkage or bloat,
My toil for naught, she was radiant as ever:
Glowing, ethereal, a queen of the beyond.
I was cursed to be the foil of my sibling forever!
Then her spirit divided from its earthly bond
And I dragged her to the surface, yelling it out:
“Here she is, gaze upon her!  She’s not so pretty!
Behold Amaranth!  Heed my wake-up shout!”
Oil lamps flared; they assembled, a beguiled city,
To glimpse my madness by flickering light,
Yet their faces only mirrored awe and respect
As if Amaranth stood before them that sorry night!
So I swung round to gander the pallid aspect
Of my sister’s ghost, her semblance restored.
Enraged, I spilt the bottled hatred and guilt
That would lead me to the arms of one abhorred.
I stood defiant on the stage of a fresh gallows built
To hang a murderess adorned with taut noose;
The lever was pulled and I swung, legs flailing.
Judgement had set a cumbrous weight loose . . .
Her embrace forgave me ere I sank to Hell wailing.

Hell’s Corner

by Lori R. Lopez

It existed without creed or law,
A vacant intersection standing bare
Like a treeless forest or vast hinterland.
A crossing of four directions and wind,
Undefined except by rural simplicity.
A vast X-marks-the-spot of stray autos
That whipped or rumbled by with no time
For delay, no pause to ponder briefly
Why it seemed so desolate that space,
Why the sun never shone on the gray
Plus Sign and there were always black
Clouds above this junction, bereft of hope;
Unhallowed ground, a danger zone.

Upon the farthest corner of the earth,
It was neither grand nor humble; a void
Absent mercy or grace.  Plain and bleak.
Flanked by listeners, an audience of none.
Blind observers, at times a stubbled crowd
Of sprouting masses.  Or patches of dirt
Awaiting renewal, perhaps a change.
Yet seething underneath at the lanes
That divided them into segments
Rather than a whole unbroken land.
Resentment tainted the soil of this
Crossroads, this meeting-place where
Death and Life must randomly collide.

There was no penance, no bells or
Whistles to signal destiny like the clangs
And flashes of a railroad crossing; only
A blind senseless rush of steel force
Bending, smashing, uniting with screams
Of metal and scorched rubber; tragedy,
The ruin of fragile tissue and bone
As pavement absorbed souls
And the corn watched without pity —
Guarded by specters, inanimate wraiths
Crucified as if condemned to gape
In helpless witness at the grisly wake
Of those speeding bullets.

Hell’s Crossing, Hell’s Corner,
Hell’s Gate . . . it had many names,
Yet no sign proclaimed jurisdiction over
The twisted wreckage of lives cut short
On these flat perpendicular straits
Leading to the beyond, bisecting precisely
A portal to the abyss, the cursed point of
No return.  Glimpsed by an occasional
Motorist, a survivor, from a distance —
Missed by chance; spared by dumb luck.
A proclivity for accidents became apparent
As the Reaper’s toll chimed.  A legend had
Spread that the corner was jinxed or unholy.

A deathtrap, these lurid routes lay obscure,
The travelers rocketing from nowhere fast
As if chased by demons or drag-racing,
Yet awareness would not decrease its aim.
Most of the traffic plowed into the crosshairs
From afar, strangers passing through in haste
With foggy stares, attention frayed and torn,
Coffee-stained vision dulled by a sameness
Of terrain and a sudden gloom cast onto
The convergence of bland unremarkable paths,
Rolled out with sinister purpose like red carpets
To meet the glare of oncoming headlamps —
Crisscrossing the eye of Fate.

It was a grim remnant from the days of
An eye for an eye and shotgun karma,
Though the methods of transportation had
Advanced.  Unnoticed, highway markers
Warned of a perilous intersection, while
Tatters of roadside memorials vanished,
Swept away in gusts of ulterior motive.
A murky presence surrounded the corn with
Invisible strings, braced to cull the asphalt’s
Ripe stragglers who happened toward its web.
Steered to a hazardous instant of synchronized
Drift, within the opposite lane their doom
Would succinctly be met.


by Lori R. Lopez

Eyes watch me from all directions
Who are they?  My pulse increases
With the murky dread of unknown terrors
The kind that burrow under your skin
And make it crawl, make you cold inside
There is no refuge from the beady stares
I suffer, as if the blows of ball-peen hammers
Dull and rounded to be sure, yet just as brutal
Each time they blink, another strike!
Imagining contused flesh, discolored tissue
The fracture-lines along my bones
The pain — the pain is real and my cries
Echo amidst their fiendish laughter
Bouncing off every surface
In this creepy cinder-block chamber
Of torment, their despicable playground
Room to romp and maim and mangle
An empty warehouse built to last
In a disposable environment
To confine the shrieks of their targets
Victims like me, lured from safety
From the herd of humanity, the veil of
Civilized conduct.  Not that bad things
Wouldn’t happen there, but you could
Take your chances and breathe easier
If you didn’t read or watch the news
This is something else entirely
This is a nightmare, and they are —
Kids.  Only kids, I have to remind myself —
A tribe of children.  Were they ever innocent?
Had they ever belonged to a regular family
In the short history of their existence?
Or were they born this way, intolerable
And rude, giggling with sinister intent
Prone to violent impulses . . .?
I can glimpse their handiwork
In the splashes on walls, the graffiti
Stains of prior assaults.  The frenzies
Or whatever they call their misbehavior
I am the next target, fresh meat
For their butchery, these unchildish games
Simple pranks to them, perhaps
For they cavort without consciences
Their Jiminy Crickets stepped on
Or legs pulled off to silence unwanted
Advice.  These kids don’t listen
They have never been taught
Right from wrong, shown discipline
Compassion or decency, a good example
Never, I dare think, loved.  Who created them?
Who made them this way?  I will never know
I fear, but that is not my worst fear by far
I merely know they inhabit negative space
The shadows, lurking beyond light
Except in those randomly glimpsed
Peripheral flashes when you swear
Something was there, darting out of sight
In our dim and haziest perceptions, unguarded
Daydreams, unfocused lapses of attention
The swinging cellar-bulb uncertainties.

You know how music can soothe and elevate
The soul?  Their music is angry
Boisterous and crude, violating peace of mind
They frolic as if the spawn of darkness
Plotting, whispering, conspiring
To lead you by the hand, cull you
From an indifferent society of grown-ups
Too busy and preoccupied to glance up
Hear your screams, notice your absence
From the day to day shuffle of adulthood
The perpetual mistakes of Mankind
The many untold errors of our ways . . .
I see as they rush forth that it was us
Who molded them after all —
The future generations we abandoned
We had cared so little about
In the mad struggle for progress at any cost
For advancement, freedoms, privilege
The hunger for more, the rampages
And wars, inquisitions or purges by
Bloodthirsty leaders and peanut-gallery
Courts of public opinion; a global view
Choked with narrow corridors of ideals
Burning bridges trolled by clashing politics
Throngs of special interests; one-way streets
Patrolled by flash mobs wielding pitchforks
Blades and bombs, hurling stones of disapproval
Littered with corpses riddled by extremes
Bulletholes of ambushes, justice, terror
Of gunslingers, death-squads, shady corporations
Criminals wear many collars these days
Or no collar . . . but it hasn’t changed
It is nothing new, for History has a long memory
And a lengthier list of grievances
We were part of the problem
Born into whatever age, whatever decade
And generation of a single race
At times unburdened by morality or principle
Driven by greed, the quest for power
The hunger for Knowledge regardless
Of the consequences; blind tunnel-vision
Ambition without foresight or hindsight
On any continent, in every kingdom
We failed to learn, failed to understand
Elected not to draw the fine lines between
Action and reaction, change and oppression
So often chose convenience over values
While looking the other way
From the rough edges, the slaughter
Followed the crowd instead of examining
The status quo.  My freedoms and rights
Are being shredded.  They circle, this horde
Of vultures, picking and clawing without debate
We were no better, targeting each other as society
Plunged downhill, with trigger-finger rages of bias
And blame; criticism and name-calling substituted
For intelligence, stifling the ability to share different
Perspectives, agree to disagree; stirring up tempers
And the weather in poisoned lands governed by
Agendas; trampling logic and forgetting how to
Laugh; allowing screens to replace shelves of books
The treasure-stacks of adventure and knowledge
We all live on a sinking plunder-laden ship
Survival of the fittest . . .  This is the Tomorrow
We shunned.  Our apogee.  They are the faces
Of the forsaken, arriving sooner than expected
Coming for us as individuals, one by one
Alone yet condemned as a whole
By a vindictive unruly pack of reapers
Who come in all colors — it’s almost beautiful —
Delivering a savage retribution, a collective
Final judgement, out of the mouths of babes.


by Lori R. Lopez

They rule the night of onyx and obscurity
Glittering, their wail mistaken for
A fierce wind rattling the eaves
Shuddering the gate.  Like witches they fly
Tattered and decrepit
Transforming from hag to harrier
A bat or harpy, thrusting out of
The shadows, lunging from the depths
Of fear — that forlorn place
Of terror and trauma that grips us with
The coldest hands.  Reaching, claws bared
To clutch and squeeze out the last breath
Draped in black, eyes beadier than a bird’s
Their gazes bleak and piercing
Fangs exposed as a hound or wolf will sneer
When about to attack.  They hover on the air
Poised with that sly mirthful menace
Hearts frigid as an arctic breeze
Then laugh at our fright
Mocking us before they plunge and snatch
Vulnerable flesh, talons sinking in
While they shriek for joy
These are the hideous creatures I have met
In the solitude of my exile
Stigmatized, bearing the burdens of my mistakes
I can’t be certain — I may have spotted them
Outside a window, grim harbingers
Thick as the crows I glimpsed and heard
The same day surround a remote residence
They know my guilt, the inner torment
That brands me with the mark of a criminal
For that is what I have been called
It was an accident.  I fell asleep, nose in a book
The candle at my elbow tipped
Flames spread so quickly through the house
My hand and cheek were scorched
In a futile effort to save the children
Whose parents were away; I was in charge
Me, who felt inadequate, an imposter!
I had never been a capable adult —
Proper and efficient, responsible
My mother knew their housekeeper
The madam and mister traveled often
I was hired to stay with the boy
And his younger sisters
Always giggling those two
More than employment, they were family
I lost them as well, and it broke my heart
No trace of the children remains
There was no portrait or photo
It would have burned in the fire anyway
They are gone, completely . . .
I drift these roads like an empty wraith
Still clothed in white, a flowing garment
Like the dreadful eve my existence ended
And this nightmare began . . .
Whatever foul manner of banshee
Plagues your steps, tread swiftly
Do not dally or the fiends will be upon you
And you will end up scarred like me
The sorrows of the world on your back
Like a field of stones, a tower of miseries
The weight of a thousand banshees
And the screams of myriad winds
Haunting ears and memory
With final longings and regrets
Left to wander, stealing glances behind
And wonder, was their presence an omen?
A cosmic warning?  Or did they summon
Something vile?  A hex, bad fortune?
You will not be sure — as I can never be.

Route Thirteen

by Lori R. Lopez

Along a sun-faded highway
Crossed by lizards and stray weeds
That tumbled to nowhere in particular
A cracked gray ribbon stretched
Toward a fuzzy uncertain horizon
Where mountain ranges slumbered
Huddled in purple repose
Weighed down by a dome of blue sky
Sometimes shaded by the velvet cloak
Of a night painted with stars and Elvis

The road sat untraveled by all
But the desert, a silent passenger
And the nomads of truckstop diners
Hauling semi-trailers from here to there
Or there to here, an endless procession
Like a freight train that has come apart
And strewn its cars to the winds
Now and then another vehicle roamed
Conveying a few unsmiling passengers
And a jaded driver on Bus Route Thirteen

Fleeting faces glimpsed in a rapid transit
By crows and vultures, armadillos or hares
Orbs glittering, raised in curious stares
At the strangers who happened to be riding
Distributed among rows of tattered seats
Visible in windows sealed against
The sand and gusts of Time that raged
Outside while the bus hurtled top speed . . .
On occasion between these visages
Could be observed a ghastly countenance

The pallid aspect of a voyager adrift
Sailing from one dimension to the next
On a one-way trip, or skulls grinning
At private jokes — on vacation, perhaps
Returning from the grave to visit kin
You got a lot of them near All Hallow’s Eve
And the Day Of The Dead, coasting
Back to reality, skimming the surface
Of a world that still remembered them —
Unliving proof you can go home again

Fall is the busiest season for such treks
But when a soul was no longer recalled
Mourned no more, such journeys would end
Leaving seats to the paying customers
Who were scarce at best, which was why
The buses were old and the corporation
Wanted to discontinue this route
Too little traffic since the farms went bust
In The Great Drought that never concluded
Dust was all that remained; heaping bowls of it

So thick you could eat the air with a spoon
So arid it could rasp the skin from bones
And occupants of the seats with flesh
Had dwindled to restless vagabond spirits
Their morbid transparent counterparts
Even less tangible in the eyes of an accountant
Sorting beans or pennies into stacks of gold
Whose brooding bosses valued his results
With anger as if it were his fault the route
Had dried up like the land, abandoned to ghosts.


by Lori R. Lopez

He was the scum of the earth
Vile as an eternity of decay
More tenebrous than a scoundrel’s heart
And lurked amidst a city’s betweens
Its alleys and guts, the layers and folds
Of coiled intestines; a huge underbelly
Ample enough to encompass the greed
Of private, sinister, unhealthy appetites
Creeping beyond the drapes of Dusk
His blood frothed and seared, a soothing burn
For day was but an illusion of night
A masquerade of security, tranquility
So he prowled its shadows too, solemn
Grim and haughty, as if he knew his truth
And owned it slave to master, sleepless
Hiding beneath the facade of sun
The pretense of safety and normalcy
In the brooding broadness, the cheerful
Transparent disguise worn by the world

Immoral, a seething misery, the beast fed
On the filth of human sins; the deeds
That were most corrupt, vulgar, illicit
He savored explicit despicable acts
The worst that could happen; the least
Noble, honorable, acceptable, tolerable
Neither catalyst nor inspiration was he —
For men did not require his influence
To be men.  He was a collector of contamination
A sweeper robed and cowled in blackness
Lugging a wide broom and dustpan
Scooping up society’s muck and debris
Its unpunished crimes and direst ills
Layers of grit, grime, indecent pursuits
The absence of regard for life and purity
Stalking lanes of piss-drenched pavement
Uncouth, a giant among men, he thirsted
For the spilled seepage, the blood of Englishmen
And anyone else; the fiend did not discriminate

Randomly conceived and scattered like spores
On the wind . . . this tyrant saw no purpose to it
Other than the redundancy, incessant repetition
And took great pleasure in life’s destruction
How smart and superior he fancied himself
Rejecting the bonds of physical gravity
To float in an ethereal vacuum of emotion
His brainwaves above the average frequency
And stratum — bouncing, preening smugly
In flights of omniscient disdain for the droves
Of bottom-dwelling feeders and bottleflies
Inhabiting their minor niches, chinks and holes
While above and below it all he watched
Taking, only taking; reaping like Death
Imitating the swing of the scythe
Falling the axe, wielding thunderbolts
Pretending to rule the heavens and lord over
His own version of Hell
As if he alone had mastered the universe

Every level of its game, its grand design
The genius behind the curtain, pulling levers
Playing Pinball, a demented wizard
Chortling, crackling elements like marbles
To create a cacophonous field of negativity
Cursed, unblessed, infernal
Then he sat, smoking a thin cancer-stick
Immersed in the ink of an unstarry sky
The unfathomable depths of Twilight
Virtue and vice tattooed on opposing fists
Marking the backs of bloodstained hands
Eyes hooded, lips pursed, a jaded wretch
Who viewed the moment and ate it in one bite
Fangs sneering, he took pleasure in the taste
The slippery feel of its silk over lips and tongue
Like a cannibal, yet he was unborn, inhuman
Hail the bogbeast that sucked marrow from stone
As if the essence of carbon were no different
At his level . . . in the bowels of Matter

Two bulbous orbs, visible for one sliver
Of light were all that speared the darkness
Through a crevice upon a street.  Those eyes
As mad as the deep vanity in a well with no bottom
The abysmal core of nothingness that pools
Under the lowliest tread, on the bleakest trail
Holding transfixed, enthralled with a serpent stare
Like a spider, some predatory insect or plant
Abiding with immeasurable patience
The sustenance of an innocent happenerby
He didn’t prey, confidently waiting
For them to kill themselves or each other
Under his spell, perhaps by their own impulse
Who was he, this cunning nightbeast, this devil?
Who among the demons and eaters of souls?
His name was not important, only that he was —
That his darkness persisted as if
A night with too much light could not meet
The dawn’s embrace, only the dusk’s mourning.


Dean M. Drinkel

Dean M. Drinkel--The Interview

1.      When did you begin writing? What was the driving force?

Well, ever since university really. Perhaps I had dabbled before that but nothing too serious I would say. In my first year I wrote a story called “Weird” which the college magazine picked up and I didn’t look back really…must have had thirty or so stories published which then led to my first collection coming out just after graduation. Since then I’ve existed on the fringe beavering away in short films, theatre, screenplays etc but then come back to short stories / novellas and the last four or so years have been really manic with a number of anthologies being released. I’ve been blessed that publishers have really dug where I’ve been coming from and that other writers want to join me on those journeys.

A driving fore I would suppose is that I want to entertain – whether it’s on the stage, the screen or the written word. It is such a great feeling when an audience member comes up to you after a show and says how they really enjoyed what we did or that we moved them to tears or if a reader connects with you at a convention or a signing. I’m happy if I / we have entertained even if for a short moment of someone’s life – that’s more than worth it.

2.      What writers were your early inspiration? And who are your inspirations today?

A trillion per cent Clive Barker…Guy N Smith, Shaun Hutson, James Herbert. Also some non-horror writers such as John Fowles, Umberto Eco, Brett Easton Ellis…as I’ve got older there has been a massive French impression made upon me such as Rimbaud, Verlaine, Baudelaire, Genet, Cocteau. I’ve been lucky to spend quite a lot of time in France recently and a good friend of mine Romain Collier has been introducing me to other French writers that I wasn’t aware of but perhaps should have been like Joris-Karl Huysmans and some modern day philosophers…I’ve been drinking this all in and I know it’s definitely having an impact particularly on what I have been writing this year.

3.      What are the themes you like to write about?

Oh just the usual: sex, death and religion! I was born a protestant but spent some time in a catholic private school and I’m afraid to say I do have an element of catholic guilt but I guess that’s just my cross to bear. I’ll be honest when I start a new project I do try to write something ‘normal’ but it soon goes down a route I really wasn’t expecting. As I said earlier I’ve tried to throw in some philosophical elements too…a heady mix for definite.

4.      Compare yourself to the early writer then and the writer you are now.

A great question – because Clive Barker was really the one that set me on this path I know that he still influences me now. A story I wrote a couple of years back for an anthology was compared very favourably to early Clive so when readers / reviewers make that connection / comparison then it does bring a smile to my face. As the years have passed by I know also that where I was easily able to write a 5,000 word story that now confines me and I’ve been stretching myself regularly over the 10k or 20k word count. From a theatre / screenplay perspective I’ve also noticed that when I first started out it was all horror, horror, horror but now I’ve moved into other genres – I’ve won three screenplay awards at the Monaco Film Festival and they were more thrillers…though the last one “Stella Maris” was very very dark…

5.      Halloween brings out the best in many writers. Why do you think that is? If you don’t agree, what holidays bring out the best in you?

Yes, it does doesn’t it. It’s almost that creators such as us are given permission to write what we want at this time of year…over here in England I don’t think we really celebrate Halloween to the extent that the Americans do but saying that it does seem to be quickly catching you guys up. As I do this interview I’m actually in France and was at a party last night where I was asked what I would be doing for Halloween, I said nothing and they were really surprised…as a horror writer they expected me out and about murdering I think! I have noticed that there has been a surge in Christmas Horror Stories which is also amusing. For me personally, I don’t think any particular holiday brings out anything different in me…though I will say that I do get inspired when I leave British shores…especially when I cross the Channel…

6.      What genres do you prefer writing in?

Horror definitely…as I said previous have moved into thrillers but very recently I have been drafting a very dark fantasy piece to be called “The Keeper of Bees”…I’m very much out of my comfort zone on that but hey, that’s what makes us all better writers surely?

7.      Tell me how art and / or photography influence your work, especially when picking a cover or an illustration?

Without a doubt, art / paintings are a direct influence. I do keep various ‘folders’ on my phones or laptops full of paintings which I come across and I know will provide some inspiration or influence even if I don’t know exactly why or how at that particular time. I also say that certain films can influence me too – for example the director Tarsem makes films which are so beautiful (even if they can be very very dark) that can’t help but worm themselves into my creative psyche.

If you don’t mind I’d like to take a quick moment to mention artist James Powell. He provided the illustrations for many of my books over the last four years – however, he was sadly taken from us in May this year in a car accident…very sad, cut down right at his prime…such a great artist and truly a friend. We miss you brother.
8.      If you could (or have) write lyrics for any music artist or band who would they be and why?

Kristin Hersh / The Throwing Muses for definitely – their music (and Tanya Donnelly) really really inspired me. I’ve been lucky to talk to both Kristin and Tanya and that was truly an honour. I’d also say of late that I really dig Rob Zombie’s work – both music and films – I truly feel he is underrated…there’s also a British band called The Vamps – I’d love to work with them, maybe direct a video…make it quite dark…I’ve never written song lyrics as such so working with any of these bands would definitely be a unique experience – where do I sign up?

9.      Tell us about your new book.
I’ve actually just had three books out in quick succession so I’ll keep this brief but feel I need to mention or three for fairness. One was a horror novella called “Curse of The Vampire” which I wrote for Peter Mark May (Hersham Horror) which was the final book in his “Cursed” series. Then there was the anthology “Demonology” which was released through Lycopolis Press and finally “Masks” through Great British Horror / Black Shuck Books. What I suggest is that if readers would like to check these out then either do an Amazon search on “Dean M Drinkel “ or please visit my blog “deanmdrinkelauthor.blogspot.com” which should have all the necessary info.
10.  A few words for struggling or upcoming writers.

Simple really: write write and write. You should never stop and you can never stop learning. Also, remember when you’re sending your stories to editors / compilers / publishers etc ensure that it is your best work with no mistakes. I’m working with a new writer now who approached me in the right manner, hasn’t been too pushy at all and I’ve actually made a space for him in a new antho I should be releasing at Christmas. Yes, he’s asked me lots of questions but that is because he is new to the process and is interested in what is happening behind the scenes. I like that enthusiasm – he has produced quality work and I don’t see why I won’t work with him again and hopefully I’ve given him a foot in the door. A lesson to all, don’t piss people off!!!!

Dean M Drinkel
October 2015

Billie Sue Mosiman

Billie Sue Mosiman--The Interview

1. When did you begin writing? What was the driving force?

I don't know what force drove me to be a writer. I just always wanted to tell stories on paper. No one I knew did that, but I was a reader and understood what authors did. I wanted to do that too.

2. What writers were your early inspiration? And who are your inspirations today?

Flannery O'Connor, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, so many of the great writers were my early inspiration. Today I try to inspire myself. Once in a while I'll happen on a book that's so beautiful it inspires me. Recently that was the collected 100 stories by Ray Bradbury.

3. What are the themes you like to write about?

Justice served. So little of it happens in the real world so in fiction I want to see justice done, wrongs righted, people made whole.

4. Compare yourself to the early writer then and the writer you are now.

I'm more seasoned. I know more now what I want to say and how I want the reader to feel about the characters and the story. I have more control and less doubt about what I'm doing. I've always gone my own way, done my own thing. No one tried to stop me and had they, it wouldn't have worked.

5. Halloween brings out the best in many writers. Why do you think that is? If you don’t agree, what us what holidays bring out the best in you.

Halloween is so traditionally ghoulish it inspires many writers to get in touch with their dark emotions. I like Halloween okay, but holidays have little influence on my stories.

6. What genres do you prefer writing in?

Suspense for novels and horror for stories. Funny why that is, but it's always been so. They called my novels horror at first only because they were realistic and graphic for the time. They wouldn't be thought of as horror today. They are not nearly as graphic as what is being produced today.

7. Tell me how art and/or photography influence your work, especially when picking a cover or an illustration.

I trust my cover artist, Jeffrey Kosh, to understand what I need for the art. He's very good at it.

8. Tell us about your new book or the book you are working on. If appropriate, share a link where we can purchase the book or a link to your website or Facebook page.

My next two books are of short stories. One is an anthology of women writing horror titled FRIGHT MARE-WOMEN WRITE HORROR and will be published in February 2016. My other publication is SINISTER-TALES OF DREAD 2015, the third yearly collection of my short stories to be published by year's end. Both will be found at http://www.amazon.com/Billie-Sue-Mosiman/e/B000AQ0Z5E/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1443796441&sr=1-2-ent

10. Let’s close things with a few words for struggling or upcoming writers. What obstacles can they look forward to overcoming and how have you overcome them?

I think new voices face an uphill fight to make any money or get much of anywhere in writing. It will take a brave, determined, and dedicated writer. Those who make it will probably be extremely good (or they'll be adept at playing the old author game where they manipulate the getting of awards and sucking up to people at cons). The money always has been in film. The canny writer would be doing scripts. The true novelist will simply have to love what she's doing and see what happens. I was a determined writer and I made my way without manipulation or vote-gathering or sucking up. I had more dignity and faith in my own ability. I studied and practiced and wrote millions of words. I recommend this path. It is the only one that is decent and the path most novelists throughout history have taken. I love new talent. I want them to succeed. What shall I read if they don't? I believe in the future and I hope literature will rally and live on. There are some very fine writers out there!


Franklin E. Wales

Franklin E. Wales--The Interview

1.            When did you begin writing? What was the driving force?
FEW:      I’ve always written stories, even as a child. It was never a conscious thought, it was just a part of who I was. A big fan of Horror living in a small NH town, my allowance was spent on the Warren publications FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND, CREEPY, EERIE and every horror themed comic that showed up at “The Newspaper Store.”  I loved those magazines. They filled my imagination to the point where it wouldn’t all fit in my skull. I couldn’t draw beyond stick figures, so I wrote a slew of one to two page stories as cheesy as those comics were and gave them to my mother to read.
Instead of criticizing my subject choice or my childish work my Mom (never a fan of spooky stuff) subscribed to Writer’s Digest for me.

2.            What writers were your early inspiration? And who are your inspirations today?
FEW:      I read everything I could get my hands on growing up. When the Scholastic Book flyer came out in school, Mom always made sure I was able to buy a few titles. I discovered the works of S. E. Hinton there. Later I was inspired by the fanciful worlds of Ray Bradbury.
Because I was always reading, Mom used to bring home a bag of books from her job, mostly men’s adventure from authors like Ross Macdonald, John D. MacDonald, Don Pendleton, and such. To her credit, Mom was so happy I was a reader, I don’t think she actually cracked a cover. That was probably a good thing, considering some of the subject matter.
As I loved horror, I read whatever I could find in the field, but most of it was gothic and bland to me. And then Stephen King released ‘Salem’s Lot. Finally I found Horror that lived in a world of rock and roll and shopping centers. I was hooked. Horror could be told in the world I lived in.
Later, as an adult, I found an author named Billie Sue Mosiman whose work drew me in. She wrote thrillers, not horror, but her work was as sharp and deadly as a razor across the throat. I read her work as a fan first, then went back and reread every section that stood out as exceptional to me, studying how it was written and why it worked so well.
I had a chance meeting with Mosiman shortly after I discovered her work, thanks to romance author Jackie Weger whose work I study as well. I’m not a big romance reader, but Weger’s work draws me in. Her characters are as real as the people who live next door.
Lately I’ve been studying the works of Noir author, Paul D. Marks as well. His work brings me back to the masters I grew up reading.

3.            What are the themes you like to write about?
FEW: Conflict, suspense, danger and relationships. A good horror tale encompasses all of those.

4.            Compare yourself to the early writer then and the writer you are now.
FEW: I wrote horror then, I write horror now. I’d like to think my work has improved over the years. I read every day. Things that catch my eye, I stop and study, learn and try to encompass into my work. I try to never stop sharpening my axe. Writers who tell me they are too busy to read are writers I have no interest in reading.
5.            Halloween brings out the best in many writers. Why do you think that is? If you don’t agree, tell us what holidays bring out the best in you.
FEW:      Halloween is a mindset for me, not a calendar date. Some writers may find inspiration in October 31st , but I write novels and it takes me months to finish one. Besides, if you ever see my office, it’s Halloween all year long in here.

6.            What genres do you prefer writing in?
FEW:      I’m a horror writer by trade. I have written a thriller and a western I’m happy with, but if you pigeonhole me, I’m a horror author. A good horror tale contains action, romance, drama, humor and scary stuff. Show me another genre that contains all that. 

7.            Tell me how art and/or photography influence your work, especially when picking a cover or an illustration.
FEW:      When it comes to art, I suck. I’m a stick figure artist, remember. I hire my covers out. I have found Jeffrey Kosh Graphics for that. I can tell Kosh what I’m thinking and he can produce a cover in a few days that is worth twice what he charges. He’s amazing and conceptual. Kosh brings my written words into a visual fruition with one email of what I envision. 

8.            If you could write lyrics for any music artist or band, who would they be? And why?
FEW:      THAT question is why I read your blog religiously. No one else working today would have pulled that one for this group. In answer to it I guess in a perfect world, I’d write an entire concept album for Alice Cooper. 
9.            Tell us about your new book or the book you are working on. If appropriate, share a link where we can purchase the book or a link to your website or Facebook page.
FEW:      SAILOR’S COVE is my latest release. You can pick up a copy on Amazon.  Currently I am tossing ideas around for the next release. Anyone interested in following me can find me on Facebook , or Twitter. Feel free to drop me a message there or through my website: FranklinEWales.com  

10.          Let’s close things with a few words for struggling or upcoming writers. What obstacles can they look forward to overcoming and how have you overcome them?
FEW:      Let’s go with the bad first. If you want to make money, get a job selling shoes. You can make living doing that, I did for years. Writing is a fickle mistress. But, if you have the Calling, if you’ll keep writing no matter if you make any money at this gig or not, I’ll give you three quotes:

1.       “The stars are yours, if you have the head, the hands, and the heart for them."—Ray Bradbury. Don’t you EVER give up on your dream.
2.       “I'd rather feel bad than not feel anything at all.”—Warren Zevon. The only sin in writing is boredom. Make me feel something, even if it hurts me. Bore your reader and they are gone forever.

3.       “Writing equals ass in chair.” That one I read somewhere but I’ve used it so much when I Google it, my name comes up, so it’s now mine. Put your ass in the chair and write, no excuses. If you have the Calling, you won’t need any.

The Poetry

By Franklin E. Wales

I sipped my glass of table red, eyes gazing across the room
Upon a lady dancer there, with each step quite in tune
Within mid-step she turned toward me, and locked me in her glare
I flushed under my collar, embarrassed at my own stare
This event was all quite random, or so I would assume
The lock between my eyes, and the dancer’s across the room

The dancer turned her head away, and I was free once more
I crushed my half burnt cigarette, and headed towards the door
As I was about to exit, the way I had come in
I had a strange sensation, to look at her again
No harm I thought to myself, to look at her once more
But as my eyes locked into hers, I slipped swiftly to the floor

When I awoke I was seated, with my table wine
My heart pounded in my ears, what happened to the time
I looked slowly across the room, and saw I was not alone
Other men sat at tables there, looking far from home
I stared into the dancer’s eyes, and she stared into mine
I thought why am I here? I have committed no crime

I looked through the smoky air, at the others in the room
They all shared the same expression, one of sorrow and of doom
My thoughts moved quite slowly, but then it all came clear
There could only be one reason, as to why I was here
I took another look around, at my newfound tomb

Damned here for eternity, with the dancer across the room


Coralie Rowe

Coralie Rowe took up writing poetry to stave off the insanity of being a stay at home mum. Having found a talent for slightly darker twisted works she has had fifteen or so poems published in different anthologies in the last eighteen months and several more to be in print soon.

Darkness Within

He awaits for you in the darkness 
In the deepest recesses of your mind 
He plays about in your madness 
Seeking to make you unwind

He waits there in sinister silence 
A figment you cannot see 
Oh, but how you can feel him 
As he delves into your depravity

He takes all the bits and pieces 
Warping you from inside out 
He is nothing in reality 
But inside of you he's such a lout

He is those urgent inner voices 
The demons from which you hide 
He enjoys toying with your emotions 
As into debauchery you slide

He is but a kept monster 
That feeds on these wants of yours 
An awaiting eclipse of madness 
Held in secret, he covets your flaws

So if you feel him breathing 
Hot breath upon your skin 
Know that he is growing 
Arising from the darkness within 

Unholy As She

She exists as an ethereal figmentation 
Walking the corridors, of her yesteryear 
Trapped in abysmal lonely isolation 
Her rage now transpires her fears

She has been kept in undue sorrow 
She has wallowed in the dankness of her soul 
She has a millennium of time to borrow 
Residing as an unholy, has slowly taken its toll

She has clawed the walls with her broken nails 
She has screamed utmost hate from her lungs 
Caged in her own immortality, she flails 
Savage and wild, her mind comes undone

She dissolutes in her raging compulsions 
She absolves herself in madness complete 
A wraithe of twisted contorting convulsions 
Enter her home, and it's death, you shall greet

She will toy with you in the beginning 
She will whisper and gently cajole 
With a voice like an angel singing 
She brings you deeper into her hell hole

Her depraved amusement is only fleeting 
She has much more for you in mind 
She will seek you as you are retreating 
Where in her arms you will be entwined

She looks into your eyes so deeply 
Her breath, a foul mist on your face 
She leans in and kisses you so completely 
As skeletal fingers on your collarbone, trace

She takes her time as she eradicates you 
Savouring the sounds, as she breaks your bones 
Enjoying each exquisite torture she preforms anew 
She whispers the words …. Welcome home


Jaye Tomas

Jaye Tomas--The Interview

1. When did you begin writing? What was the driving force?

There was never a time when didn't write. I wrote stories and "books" before I could write in cursive. When I was small I thought I would be a writer, that it was just that easy. I would write books. Done.

That was back when thoughts of the mysterious adulting were undefined and vague.....

I didn't get a lot of encouragement (or any at all more truthfully) and of course this was years before any thoughts of the Internet (I know some of you right now are incredulous. "My God, how OLD is she??") so my scribblings were just that. Scraps of paper with unintelligible words and verses. Most of them got lost.

Writing was just something I had to do, not for any reason, not planned or remarked on. Just a habit.

2. What writers were your early inspiration? And who are your inspirations today?

I read Stephen Kings "On Writing" and that was the first time that I thought....maybe I could do this. Just maybe. Not like a "real" writer oh no....just a person who, well, writes. I still have trouble with the "real". Me and the Fraud Police are very close. Many things inspire me. Music, art, situations, overheard conversations and especially books. There are many (many, many) writers I follow and it is a happy day when I find a new one that I can fall into. Neil Gaiman and Catherynne Valente are 2 who spring immediately to mind.

3. What are the themes you like to write about?

Themes is a difficult one. I don't very often actually sit down and try to write something specific. My writing tends to be very organic, just kind of sprouting up wherever it wants. Sometimes I think I merely hold the pen. (this is a lie since I use a keyboard but that's not half as poetic. And I am all about those poetic nuances...lol) Something twings in my head and I grow the words around it. Sometimes it works right away (happy day) or sometimes (more often) it has to sit for a while. I have a massive file of Lines I Might Use Someday. It seems that I find heartbreak and vampires / monsters easy. (Hmmm...something I may want to think about sometime. Or not) I do try and write from a truthful feeling, try to capture the tone and weight of it. I have found, to my gratitude, that people will respond when you write from you, yourself. Even when its from the dark corners, the warty ones you don't really want to touch.

4. Compare yourself to the early writer then and the writer you are now.

My early writing had no cohesion. The writing I have done and posted publicly (the last few years) had a bit of steak along with the sizzle. I started to think about what I was trying to say instead of just scribbling. I guess that was my defining moment, when I stopped jotting and walking away and started writing. When it became more intentional. I write poetry (or prose if you're a purist) because that is how my mind works, it produces these chunks. I hope the chunks are better quality now. I try not to worry about quantity.

5. Halloween brings out the best in many writers. Why do you think that is? If you don’t agree, what us what holidays bring out the best in you.

Candy Corn.

No? OK seriously.... Well, I think some people just love Halloween! It plays into all of those things beloved of writers: mystery,horror,spookiness, supernatural,fun,magic,traditions,costumes....there is such a wealth of material there.

6. What genres do you prefer writing in?

Similar answer to #3. I gravitate toward the surreal, the supernatural. Or the broken. I am not aware of any intent on my part, just seems to be where the path leads.

7. Tell me how art and/or photography influence your work, especially when picking a cover or an illustration.

Art is HUGELY inspirational. So much of my poetry was started by a painting or a sketch that caught my eye. The cover art for both of my published books was done by a insightful and talented artist (Sorell) who took the words I had and gave them shape. My new, as yet unpublished book ( I am punching into shape as we speak) is a collaboration between myself and another favorite artist who inspires me with almost every piece she does.

8. If you could (or have) write lyrics for any music artist or band, who would they be? And why?

Aimee Mann has a voice that I think would lend itself really well to my style or type of writing.

9. Tell us about your new book or the book you are working on. If appropriate, share a link where we can purchase the book or a link to your website or Facebook page.

"Carnevale" came out about a month ago and has been very well received. ( Available on Amazon http://amzn.com/1515236358 and Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/carnevale-jaye-tomas/1122571277?ean=9781515236351)

I have written another (see #7) and am just doing the slog work of editing (and editing and editing....) and hopefully that will be out at the end of 2015 or very early 2016. It is titled "What Lies Beneath" and is a collaboration between myself and the stellar artistLente Scura. And if you don't know the artist and their work - go now. Google as swiftly as possible.....

10. Let’s close things with a few words for struggling or upcoming writers. What obstacles can they look forward to overcoming and how have you overcome them?

DO NOT LISTEN TO ANYONE OR ANYTHING THAT TELLS YOU, " YOU CAN'T DO IT". Write Write Write. Write some more. And do it your way. Of course it will be terrible. Of course you will get rejected. Of course some people will be cruel and critical and dismissive. So what? Do it anyway. Don't try to fit yourself into any pattern except your own. Take a chance. It takes courage to put yourself out there. Believe me, I know. And if you have to pretend to yourself that it doesn't matter and close your eyes to push send....that's what you must do. Because we ALL feel that way. Write for yourself and if there is just one other person who "gets" you......well, that's golden.

It is, as always, a privilege and pleasure to be here in your beautiful and spacious blog. Thank you Anthony and Happy Halloween!

The Poetry

Angel Eyes ~

No matter where I am
what time
what space
I am always aware of their eyes.
angel eyes follow me,
observing and noting,
and I didn't understand when I was little
that this wasn't how every person lived
and puzzled over the laughter
when I mentioned my "guides"
or "the keepers".
Imaginary friends! the older ones laughed
and the pat on my head was a subtly proud one
as if my imagination was a prodigy.
But I knew they were real,
I knew they were there,
and we would always be together in an unspoken,
in a no way to describe,
in a different level kind of way.
As I grew more adept at seeing
sometimes I could sense hands,
or glimpse a turning away cheekbone,
blinkable flashes of muted color.
It was as natural as breathing,
until the day the natural stumbled
and hung
shuddering for a moment.
And there was an Other.
Other eyes upon me,
a different,
more predatory regard filling them.
And whispers and enticements and promises...
All I wanted
and more.
All I deserved,
and more.
All that I desired...
I only need open my hand,
my heart,
my legs.
The warning glances of a host of angel eyes were like a hail of
burning ice slashing across my face
my shoulders
and my feet knew they should run...
But a darker,
older part of me
suddenly rose up from the hidden space it slumbered unnoticed in
and filled my head with something hot and glittering
like potent mead made heavy with honey and firelight.
And with senses swimming in that drugged and wanton warmth,
I opened...

A Good Girl ~
I am a good girl.
I see my dentist twice a year and always look both ways before crossing the street,
and always use a napkin
and say please and thank you
and everyone says how good,
you are so good.
A very good girl they pat me on the head with words and nodding chins...
Sometimes I smile prettily and whirl away on my bicycle
or pop bubbles in the air.
Sometimes I get bored of being good.
Sometimes I stand motionless in the backyard with the nice toys
and watch the moon all golden
until it starts to drip and I know that it is poison
it is drugs
and drugs are bad, bad, very bad for you
but I want to lick the droplets hanging from the branches
in the trees all shadowbound
and glaring
like prisoners in wooden cages a long time ago.
There are eyes in the branches at night and they look at me
all strangey-scary
until I look back at them even scarier
and they close,
and I think they leave because I beat them at their own game...
And when I sing outside,
"three six nine the goose drank wine..."
"step on a crack and break your mothers back. Break her, break them all...."
I know they listen.
So I sing them other songs
in other languages
and words from
I am a good girl and when someone tells me a secret I keep it to myself
and sometimes if they are good too
I tell them mine
or show them....
and then the eyes in the trees watch carefully
until the showing is over
and the secret is safe once again,
for a while...
I am a good girl and the voices that tell me things
can't stop talking to me
they even brave the sunlight sometimes
and I ask them for stories
about the real bogeyman
and they say he isn't a man at all
they say
(but you mustn't tell)
that he is really,
in the deepest deep down,
a very good girl.

Harmonia ~

“Make your choice, adventurous Stranger,
Strike the bell and bide the danger,
Or wonder, till it drives you mad,
What would have followed if you had.” – C.S. Lewis

Fasten the necklace around my throat
breathe in the ivory perfection
as the clasp settles
against my neck
if you have to ask for permission
you should never have approached
only the boldest move wins
and the golden glints
as I turn to face you
will be reward enough
and if some blood is spilled along the way
what of it?
scars are sung with honor
told of around the fires
and a true warrior knows that
tithes are paid in crimson….

The Circus of Night ~

The Circus of Night has come to town
raise the tents and put up the signs
and scatter gold dust amid the straw
watch the elephants dance for their peanuts
and laugh at the bulging shapes your reflection shows in the tricksy mirrors
as the cups in the back tent are refilled endlessly
raise a glass and join the crowd
wind the calliope up once more and listen with filling eyes
as the Bird lady sings so sweetly
from her canary swing
Come hear
come here
the pretty lady needs her fortune told
Pennywise waits in blended shadow outside the gypsies tent
he already knows your fortune and seeks to start your journey
on a more immediate path marked “abandon hope….”
while Mr Dark walks the straw strewn lanes twirling his cane and laughing in his horrible way
to his tattoos who hiss softly back
with instructions to the dust witch for the amusement of the gleefully mad
to scatter the glittering lures for boys who run the night
who are only seeking calliope music and merry go round rides
wanting the view from the funny looking mirror to be just a curiosity
and not a snare
but the traps are subtle and eternal in this
The Circus of Night
and not all the acts are seeking only applause
and not all the exit signs are to be believed
and not all the paint and glittering lights can mask the dark…


Tell Me ~

Tell me how to read the secrets etched like runes upon your bones

the story written in the lines of your face

the palimpsest of your hands.

Tell me the mysteries in your abyss,

those submerged in the deepest pools

dammed in your mind

locked behind doors of iron and molten nightmares.

Tell me why pretending is a drug to you,

why it caresses and intoxicates you and you bury your name and need in it.

Why you scrawl over and over again

on walls

on doors

on scraps of paper blown through the streets,

“Forget me

forget my scars shining like a river in the deepening light…

Forget the touch of me

that taints and burns.

Turn your heart and soul away, walk with no faltering

or else I may grab and hold on and lose us both….”

Tell me how you were made,

what dark and shadowed madman breathed over you

waking you?

Did the composing hurt?

Were you brought forth in pain and

in the sweating, shuddering birthpangs of an otherworld changeling?

Tell me

teach me

I want to learn your source

the very Nile you sprung from.

Tell me how to read,

to decipher,

your secrets

your stories…

Tell me how find the key

to unlock your wrapped and rusted chains

and set you free.

(Posted on March 16, 2015 by chimerapoet)



Alaina Tomasino

Alaina Tomasino--The Interview

1.      When did you begin writing? What was the driving force?
I’ve been writing since I was small—I remember folding up construction paper, and making my own books—mostly short stories and the like, until I became a teenager. From then on out, I focused on poetry (to write); something about the elastic nature of poems appeals to me, as does the idea of conveying thoughts and emotions more concisely in such a forum. I like that it remains an art form open to interpretation. I suppose I started writing because it was the easiest way to make sense of my words, of the jumble that is often my head. “On paper” was usually the best way, rather than trying to tell people something… I’d rather make you feel. 
2.      What writers were your early inspiration? And who are your inspirations today?
As a child, I loved books quickly, and completely; I read everything from “Abel’s Island,” to “The Secret Garden,” “Alice in Wonderland,” Roald Dahl’s books, and the Harry Potter series. As an adult, I still have a deep and abiding love for HP, one that has inspired both my writing and me, silly as it may sound… J. K. Rowling reminds us all of the possibility of magic, even if it is not Quidditch and Hogwarts, and that is an important lesson to carry, really. This series fostered a love for things magical and fantastic, so even as I got older, I was attracted to J.R.R. Tolkien, Paula Brackston, Mary Shelley, Neil Gaiman, Laini Taylor, and Gregory Maguire. Deborah Harkness’s “Discovery of Witches” series tops my favorite list, as does “The Historian,” and Kate Atkinson’s, Donna Tartt’s, and Gillian Flynn’s writing. Some of my favorite poets include Octavio Paz, E.E. Cummings, Shakespeare, Pablo Neruda, Wislawa Szymborska, Elizabeth Williamson, and Jaye Tomas.  
3.      What are the themes you like to write about?
Loss, in its many forms; the way our feelings can (and do) become so easily tangled; perspective; love, in its many degrees; feeling lost, or found, in such a big world; and anger… when I’m fuming, the words seem to spill out of me. Though the anger can be inspired by many things J 

4.      Compare yourself to the early writer then and the writer you are now.
I like to think that I am always changing, and open to evolution… though as I got older, and more comfortable with myself and my writing, I became less concerned with form, and structure. I just let the words out, and worry about organization later. It can be fun to experiment and play with words. I hope to never be done learning or developing, when it comes to writing.

5.      Halloween brings out the best in many writers. Why do you think that is? If you don’t agree, what us what holidays bring out the best in you.
I think Halloween allows people the opportunity to get in touch with their darker selves, to entertain frightening ideas and revel in the terror a little. My dark side and myself are pretty well-acquainted, and I happen to love Halloween… but for some reason, many of the emotions associated with this holiday also lend themselves to writing. Fear, anger, and those lonesome sentiments seem to be more easily relayed, say rather than trying to describe a love for a particular person, or a source of happiness. Maybe it’s just me, but the light sometimes seems to make it harder to see.  

6.      What genres do you prefer writing in?
I prefer to write poetry, though I’ll literally read anything I come across. I also enjoyed writing papers and articles in a school setting.

7.      Tell me how art and/or photography influence your work, especially when picking a cover or an illustration.
Art has to be striking, it must grab at someone’s attention and work to keep it—I often find myself inspired to write words from the images I see, the visual nature that is created from other people’s experiences. Architecture, photos, paintings, music, and even landscapes can all stir the words within me, and make me want to relate them.  

8.      If you could (or have) write lyrics for any music artist or band, who would they be? And why?
It would be an honor and a pleasure to have my poems morphed into songs, or even to create new pieces specifically… though I don’t think that they’d be your run of the mill songs. Certainly not country ones J.  I think it would be cool to find some sort of “rock” foothold—the kinds of poems I often write would probably translate well.

9.      Tell us about your new book or the book you are working on. If appropriate, share a link where we can purchase the book or a link to your website or Facebook page.
10.  Let’s close things with a few words for struggling or upcoming writers. What obstacles can they look forward to overcoming and how have you overcome them?
Don’t let the world tell you who to be (this isn’t even specific to writers!). Do what makes you happy, be who you wish to be, and write and create how you see fit. By all means, remain open to others, but be free to define yourself. You can do yourself no greater justice than this. The world has enough cookie cutters—don’t try to fit yourself into a box. 

The Poetry 

Lady of the Shadows
She pressed a watering mouth
To thrumming skin
As the life flooded backwards,
Lighting fervor within.
The sneering message, left in streaking blood,
Was sure to pull their eyes
To her attention.
She’d bet they’d remember her name.
How she’d love to hear it,
Torn from the bottom of their collective lungs,
In great heaving breaths,
All wide eyes and terror.
Shivers conduct the soulful strains,
That whisper down her spine,
Leading her in towards that
Which they kept guarded.
“When would she be saved?”
The thought flitted quickly across her mind,
As she wiped her swollen lips.
Momentarily sated,
She rose to sidestep her puddle of carnage.
This jewel-encrusted hole,
Though it helped to keep her
Out of reach,
 It could not cause her degradation.
Clipping the blackened wings
Of formerly fallen angels
Would not lift the veil.
It could not return the broken.
Stand beneath her sky,
Turning red,
And see the sick sensations rise up,
Become her undoing.
Because of the poisons, nothing can be done;
They’ve already been introduced.
She’s already been corrupted.
There is no way for extraction.
Let them chase for their absolution…
She’d taste the way.
                              (Alaina Tomasino)

Monster of Misery
Broken from the start, and stitched back together,
More dark clouds and thunderstorms
Than golden-kissed skies…
Is this then, the catalyst of my becoming a monster?
Humanity slid through so quietly,
Stripped to the barest of its bones,
Without notice and almost unrecognizable…
Except, of course, in its unattainability.
To appease the world’s delicate disposition,
A too-tangible sense of spiteful remorse;
Coupled, now, with a dark lot to prove…
Relegated a beast, after all, by your selfish rendition.

Origin struggles against conception;
Name against definition;
Conviction against creation.

A mocked human now becomes the dreaded devil,
But it is not how he was first imagined,
He has become a monstrosity against his own will…
With too great a well of loneliness in which to revel.

This notion will lead our dangerous thoughts to wander,
That spark mounting to an ever-more ominous vacuum,
Bound to pull, inward and apart…
Promised to spit out a newly-minted monster.

The broken constraints of his sacrificed despairs,
Leads to the ultimate of a culmination;
You called him a beast- savage- a demon…
And that’s now a crown, a title, he boldly bears.

(Alaina Tomasino)


Richard Groller

Richard Groller--The Interview 

1. When did you begin writing? What was the driving force? 

I began writing poetry in high school. For me the driving force was making sense of the insensible and to capture evocative imagery that would play well in the mind's eye. I always loved writing dark, autumnally inspired works even then, and it shows.

2. What writers were your early inspiration? And who are your inspirations today? 

Early inspiration:  Robert Heinlein, Jules Verne, Ray Bradbury,  Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, J.R.R. Tolkien, Rod Serling. Today: Janet and Chris Morris, S.M. Stirling, Anne Rice, Robert Aspirin, L. Sprague de Camp, Robert Kaplan

3. What are the themes you like to write about?
Heroism, death, conflict, evil incarnate, the unseen, monsters, the occult, the dark night of the soul, redemption, faith, the power of belief, alternate explanations of history, the apocalypse. 

4. Compare yourself to the early writer then and the writer you are now.
As an early writer I was a poet and a writer of non-fiction. I worked towards precision of language, and the imparting of emotion and of knowledge. Back in 1986 I was nominated for Military Intelligence Professional Writer of the Year, so my technical writing has some street cred. Today I write short stories and am still finding my voice - prose is a very different animal than imparting fact or trying to persuade. You could say I am still a work in progress, but the precision and amount of research I do for every story does show.

5. Halloween brings out the best in many writers. Why do you think that is? If you don’t agree, what us what holidays bring out the best in you.
The Halloween season is a cathartic time of year, that allows you to channel the Autumn Person within and walk the dark corridors of the mind  - to wink at macabre pumpkins with the expectation that they will wink back, to renew our primordial acquaintance with the wistful Moon, and to enjoy in the fruits of the harvest and revel in the season between the equinox and the solstice, preparing for the land's yearly death by winter's icy hand. It is my favorite time of year and yes it is inspirational and does bring out the best in many writers.

6. What genres do you prefer writing in?
Horror, historically based dark fantasy, Bangsian fantasy, the paranormal.

7. Tell me how art and/or photography influence your work, especially when picking a cover or an illustration.

In general I have mostly written for anthologies, or for traditional publishers, where the decision has been out of my hands. The Book of Night, however, is an illustrated book of macabre poetry I edited that will be released later this month. It actually turns your question on it's head, since the majority of the illustrations were influenced by the poems (i.e. the artists read the poetry and picked the poems that spoke to them). Only a very few were pre-existing illustrations that were good matches were used. The rest were influenced by the writing, not vice versa.

8. If you could write lyrics for any music artist or band, who would they be? And why? 

Loreena McKennitt, Connemara, Enya, The Dead Can Dance, Tangerine Dream, Vangelis - all are capable of ethereal and otherworldly music that is haunting, evocative and can transport you to another place and time.

9. Tell us about your new book or the book you are working on. If appropriate, share a link where we can purchase the book or a link to your website or Facebook page.
New works out this year have been short stories in two shared universe anthologies, "In the Shadowlands" in Doctors in Hell (the Heroes in Hell series) and "Ecclesia Revenans" in Sha'Daa: FACETS (the Sha'Daa: Tales of the Apocalypse series). As I mentioned, The Book of Night is due out later this month. It is a labor of dark love, many years aborning, filled with the works of departed masters and fresh new voices, and will be, fittingly, a Halloween release.  My Amazon author page is:amazon.com/author/richardgroller

10. Let’s close things with a few words for struggling or upcoming writers. What obstacles can they look forward to overcoming and how have you overcome them?
I would say just write. Don't  be overcritical. Don't doubt yourself. Get the words out - you can always wordsmith later - initial perfection is not required - that is what drafts are for. Believe in yourself and be patient - your voice will eventually come.


Michael H. Hanson

Michael H. Hanson--The Interview

1. When did you begin writing poetry? What was the driving force?

I wrote my first poetic works and had them published in my small town newspaper starting at the age of 15. I did not pen all that much work during my high school years, but I'm not unhappy with what I produced. My eldest brother had just started college and was an English major at that time. He encouraged me to experiment as a writer and find my voice.

2. What poets were your early inspiration? And who are your inspirations today?

The first were Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein. They spoke to every child's soul.

Over the years I've embraced dozens of famous poets, Walt Whitman, e.e. cummings, Robert Frost, Lord Byron, Pablo Neruda, etc.

At the moment, I enjoy reading the free verse of Jay Leeming.

3. What are the themes you like to write about?

Love, Melancholy, The Seasons, Loneliness, The mysterious....

4. Compare yourself to the early poet then and the poet you are now.

I used to be a lot more impatient when it came to proofreading, revising, and editing my own work (though god knows I still have my stressful days). I have finally learned the ripe old truism of edit Edit EDIT and rewrite Rewrite REWRITE! LOL.

5. Halloween brings out the best in many poets. Why do you think that is? If you don’t agree, what us what holidays bring out the best in you.

We all have a dark side, and frankly, it is just plain fun to explore it every now and then.

6. What genres do you prefer writing poetry in?

No single one. I like writing both free verse and traditional rhyming poetry… but I have to admit having a penchant for rhyme.

I just put together a volume containing 85 dark verses for publication this Halloween.

I've also put together a collection of humorous poems for children that is currently searching for an artist to illustrate it.

The bulk of what I've written to date probably falls into what is known as the mainstream, embracing the themes of romance, nature, human nature, grief, introspection, and existence.

7. Tell me how art and/or photography influence your work, especially when picking a cover or an illustration.

I love the arts. When posting my new poems on my Facebook page, I always post a photograph of some work of art that I feel compliments my verse. Sometimes I may take up to half an hour or more surfing the web before I can find the right work. People often think that my poems are actually written about the work of arts that accompany them, but in reality, this is only true about 50% of the time. Oil Paintings, Charcoal Sketches, Sculptures, Watercolors, Black and White Photography, Mixed Digital Art... I love it all.

I like to think of myself as a minor patron of the arts, and in fact, I'm sponsoring an art contest that artists can find out about here:


8. If you could (or have) write lyrics for any music artist or band, who would they be? And why?

I wrote the lyrics for the following three songs:

"Little Aldea"

"Down in the Nashville Basin"

"The Dollfie Song"

And yes, I've written a few more songs' lyrics still looking for artists who sing and write music to give them a whirl!

9. Tell us about your new book or the book you are working on. If appropriate, share a link where we can purchase the book or a link to your website or Facebook page.

My work appears in two volumes of dark poetry being published by Moondream Press (an imprint of Copper Dog Publishing LLC) this Halloween (October 31, 2015).

I have eight poems that are included in "THE BOOK OF NIGHT: Poems of The Macabre," an excellent collection of verse by long-dead famous poets (Poe, Byron, Frost, etc.) and several living poets, Edited by Richard Groller.

And then there is my own collection of eldritch poetry, "DARK PARCHMENTS: Midnight Curses and Verses" which contains 85 scary and mysterious poems I have penned over the past few years.

Both volumes will be available as both Kindle e-book and trade paperback on Amazon.

10. Let’s close things with a few words for struggling or upcoming poets. What obstacles can they look forward to overcoming and how have you overcome them?

There are no successful poets, unless you wish to put “songwriters” underneath that mantle. You can't make a living off writing poetry It is really that simple. So why write it? For the love of it? In a word, yes.

Poetry is in the blood. It suffuses every part of a true poet's soul, and it demands, sometimes screams to be let out. If you are a poet, you will, in some way or manner, feel this deep down in your soul. You write poetry because you have to.

Expect no remuneration, not even the praise of family and friends. If that happens, then hey, fantastic, congratulations. But trust me, the most well-known living poets right now ALL make a living off doing something else.

Poetry is your hobby and your love. But it won't turn you into The Beatles, and it won't put food on your table and a house over your head.

Write poetry all the time. Put everything to paper. Hold nothing back. Whimsies you write now may become the gems of a later life. Poetry is not a goal. It is not a treasure at the end of a distant rainbow. It is manna for the mind. It is wine for the soul.

The New Book

“DARK PARCHMENTS: Midnight Curses and Verses” written by Michael H. Hanson is going to be published by Moondream Press (Copper Dog Publishing LLC), on Halloween 2015.


Creepy visions of abandonment, suicide, kidnapping, murder, and depression. Harsh nightmares populated by a cast of spiritual evil, loneliness, natural catastrophes, death, mystery, and supernatural terror. These are the life-blood of haunted poet, Michael H. Hanson.

Take a dare and step upon this dangerous carnival ride of the soul. Beware the hair-raising peaks. Brace yourself for the jarring drops into shocking darkness. DARK PARCHMENTS offers up 85 chilling poems that crawl and slither across a gamut of overwhelming fears and dreads that stain the human psyche and makes us all shiver in the night.

Some Highlights (seven poems):

“Awaken” - this short 7-line poem opens the book like a punch to the face, thrusting the reader into a vision of terror and fear right from the start.


Lord wake me from this horrid dream

this nightmare whence I’m wallowing

this empty stagnant hollowing

which sickens with its fouling

and slavering and swallowing

this horror that is following

and burrowing and howling!

“The Song of Rain” - this short poem deceptively draws the reader into a seemingly safe and even whimsical homily about the weather. The subtext, however, is quite dark, a subtle and disturbing paean to disaster and apocalypse. 

"The Song of Rain"

The rain, the rain, the ramming slamming rain,

it’s wondrous might and sheer delight exclaimed,

cacophony and symphony

composed, arranged epiphany

and wet applause for all of mankind's banes.

The dripping, dropping, wishy-washy rain,

this fickle trickle wildly unrestrained.

The splish and splash of water play

the curse of every holiday

I wish it rained each night and day

until the whole world washed away

and cleansed the earth of all its pain.

And this is why I now proclaim

the humming, drumming song of rain,

the rain, the damning dinning rain!

“The Void” - this poem embraces the psychological horror of madness, its close proximity, and its compelling allure. 

"The Void"

Have you heard the call of the void,

have you tasted its pleasant song

when you're in pain, or unemployed

or suffering an unfair wrong.

Oh have you felt the void's caress,

the welcome itch of its tickle,

the promise of its charming kiss

when fleeing the vain and fickle.

Yes have you seen it beckoning

with both its distant pale hands

offering a fair reckoning

of all you endured in harsh lands.

And now my soul wants to avoid

all thoughts of when I clasped the void

or left it clutching my spirit

no, I can't remember that bit,

leaving me so strangely annoyed,

and my mind keeps wanting to drift...

perhaps I'm still inside of it.

“Cartoon Hitman” - a darkly humorous take on classic cartoon characters. The post-modern hunter (Elmer Fudd) as a psychopathic hitman. 

"Cartoon Hitman"

Bugs Bunny failed my wabbit test

his wucky foot hangs on my chest.

And that star-belly Sneetch who snitched

I pitched headwess into a ditch.

Yes Daffy’s wisp dwove me insane

I pushed that qwack out of a pwane.

And Popeye’s stutter ticked me off

siwenced by my Kawishnikov.

He drawled too slow that southern hound

so I had huckleberry dwowned.

Magilla did not take the hint

his hands and feet sold for a mint.

When I’m awound all cartoons hide.

I pwactice animaticide.

“Flower Maid” — old school poem that is a throw-back to those dark fables of yore. 

"Flower Maid"

The legend of the flower maid

all grandmothers just ache to tell

to naughty, spiteful pretty girls

who yearn to be a ballroom belle.

There was a vain and lovely child

who treated others with disdain

demanding daily the worship

of captain, cook, and chatelaine.

She used her charms in petty ways

to garner sweets and praise and lace

and bade that all village damsels

parade behind her one full pace.

Until that day she came of age

insisting that every flower

within the county-wide domain

be plucked for her jubilant hour.

And so fetching was this cute miss

that all the gardens were defaced

with not a single window pot

left for any sill to embrace.

She sang and danced through the town square

upon a hill of fresh cut blooms,

when all the blossoms came to life

and all her beauty was consumed.

They say trees whisper late at night

the dark fate of that comely lass

whose efflorescent ghost now seeks

all gorgeous girls selfish and crass.

“Nevada Test Site Mannequins” - This one of three poems about nuclear terrors that haunted an earlier generation.

"Nevada Test Site Mannequins"

Who you calling dummy, dummy?

Surely not my infant and me

crouching fearfully in basement,

cowering oh so helplessly.

No we’re not just useless puppets

or playthings to amuse all thee

who shiver as you pass us by

feeling strangely oddly guilty.

Do not debase my frozen beauty

framed by this grey concrete cellar

artistically arbitrary

and soon to be rendered stellar.

Just go now and let us be, please,

we're haunted by bright, blinding dreams.

“All Hallow’s Eve” - a devilishly fun homage to that popular and scary night in October.

"All Hallow’s Eve"

Three nights beyond the Autumn boon

above a leaf forsaken tree

a rising moon will bleed the rune

and harbinger All Hallow's Eve.

Oh mothers hold your children close

and fathers fall to either knee

to pray that hosts of monster ghosts

will pass you by All Hallow's Eve.

Then keep the hearth a blazing pyre

for witches fly at night you see

and chimney fire appears too dire

for entry on All Hallow's Eve.

Prepare the scarecrow oh so vile

and jack-o-lantern jubilee

then light the smile that scares awhile

your sentinels All Hallow's Eve.

And finally the offerings

of honeyed sweets that parents leave,

the bribe for things that nighttime brings

placating ghouls All Hallow's Eve.

At last the very night is still

and all are home and safe asleep

bright candles fill each windowsill

protecting you All Hallow's Eve.


Jonathan Swift

A Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed


Corinna, pride of Drury-Lane
For whom no shepherd sighs in vain;
Never did Covent Garden boast
So bright a battered, strolling toast;
No drunken rake to pick her up,
No cellar where on tick to sup;
Returning at the midnight hour;
Four stories climbing to her bow’r;
Then, seated on a three-legged chair,
Takes off her artificial hair:
Now, picking out a crystal eye,
She wipes it clean, and lays it by.
Her eye-brows from a mouse’s hide,
Stuck on with art on either side,
Pulls off with care, and first displays ’em,
Then in a play-book smoothly lays ’em.
Now dexterously her plumpers draws,
That serve to fill her hollow jaws.
Untwists a wire; and from her gums
A set of teeth completely comes.
Pulls out the rags contrived to prop
Her flabby dugs and down they drop.
Proceeding on, the lovely goddess
Unlaces next her steel-ribbed bodice;
Which by the operator’s skill,
Press down the lumps, the hollows fill,
Up goes her hand, and off she slips
The bolsters that supply her hips.
With gentlest touch, she next explores
Her shankers, issues, running sores,
Effects of many a sad disaster;
And then to each applies a plaister.
But must, before she goes to bed,
Rub off the dawbs of white and red;
And smooth the furrows in her front
With greasy paper stuck upon’t.
She takes a bolus ere she sleeps;
And then between two blankets creeps.
With pains of love tormented lies;
Or if she chance to close her eyes,
Of Bridewell and the Compter dreams,
And feels the lash, and faintly screams;
Or, by a faithless bully drawn,
At some hedge-tavern lies in pawn;
Or to Jamaica seems transported,
Alone, and by no planter courted;
Or, near Fleet-Ditch’s oozy brinks,
Surrounded with a hundred stinks,
Belated, seems on watch to lie,
And snap some cully passing by;
Or, struck with fear, her fancy runs
On watchmen, constables and duns,
From whom she meets with frequent rubs;
But, never from religious clubs;
Whose favor she is sure to find,
Because she pays ’em all in kind.
Corinna wakes. A dreadful sight!
Behold the ruins of the night!
A wicked rat her plaster stole,
Half eat, and dragged it to his hole.
The crystal eye, alas, was missed;
And puss had on her plumpers pissed.
A pigeon picked her issue-peas;
And Shock her tresses filled with fleas.
The nymph, tho’ in this mangled plight,
Must ev’ry morn her limbs unite.
But how shall I describe her arts
To recollect the scattered parts?
Or shew the anguish, toil, and pain,
Of gath’ring up herself again?
The bashful muse will never bear
In such a scene to interfere.
Corinna in the morning dizened,
Who sees, will spew; who smells, be poison’d.


It's going to take more than one sitting to read all these poems and interviews, and multiple readings reward you with new insights. Don't forget to share and comment. And thank you readers and writers alike for joining us for the Halloween Gathering 2015. See you next year and old and new participants and contributors.

Anthony Servante 


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