Saturday, November 26, 2016





The Seventh Shadow
Or: Dead Phoenix 

by Anthony Servante

Your third shadow falls before you 
from the light of yesterday's moon; 
your fourth shadow falls behind you 
from the light of tomorrow's sun. 
Today you are joined by two more shadows:
One moves clockwise as the sun rises and sets; 
one moves counter-clockwise as the moon crosses the sky. 
Your first shadow fell the day you were born
in the harsh bright hospital light.
Your final shadow joins you as the coffin lid shuts
in the strict and formless darkness.
Should you choose cremation, 
the seventh shadow returns to life in ash.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Howard Carlyle - Lemmy Rushmore Collaboration
Poetry of One Horror, Two Points of View

Edited & Formatted by Anthony Servante





Introduction:

Poetry is a lonely place where silent horrors breed from the mind of a solitary writer. Howard Carlyle and Lemmy Rushmore have managed to visit this place together and combine their writing talents to create a singular form of horror rarely found in poetry today--a Collaboration. In the best form of "ironic art" where two opposing forces coalesce into a new form, the Collaboration can be found. Do not mistake these works before you for "mash-ups", the combination of two different songs that harmonize well together. This is not the case here. Here we have one form of poetry that had you not known it were collaborated, you'd have thought it a work from the lonely place of muses and nightmares. Look not for seams, for there are none. To see Lemmy or Howard in this line or that is an illusion. There is only one poet here today. And they are here with us on the Servante of Darkness Blog. 

In Part One, we have three collaborative pieces. The poems utilize the stanza form with a rhyme scheme that is more familiar in festive verse; however, William Wordsworth, the Godfather of Dark Romantic Verse, applied the same style to discuss the themes of death and the supernatural as healthy counterpoints to life and nature. Carlyle and Rushmore deliver a similar take on this dark formula. In Part Two, we have the Epic "The Presence of IT". The hero journeys inward, towards madness, perhaps. This is not the epic of Homer or John Milton; it is the "Ulysses" of James Joyce or "Howl" by Allen Ginsburg. It is neither verse or narrative, but a betrayal of a paranoid mind. Or is it? "IT" traverses the shadow of mind and the illusion of body, mixing one with the other till they are inseparable. Not unlike our collaborators. 

NOTE: I initially intended to edit "The Presence of IT" but chose not to in order to maintain the frame of mind captured by the format and style. You will read it as it was meant to be read, free of polishing or prejudice. 

But enough from your host. Let's meet our poets and immerse ourselves in the image between the mirror and the reflection, where you, the reader, become visitors to the lonely place, for just a spell. 

Anthony Servante

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Our Poets:


Howard Carlyle

Biography
I live in York in the UK and I'm married with a 12 year old son, so I have to write whenever I get any spare time, which is hardly ever.
I have been writing poetry for over twenty years but it's only over the last couple of years that I have been writing horror/dark poetry. Recently, I've been lucky enough to have some of my poems appear in various anthologies.
Last year I had 3 poems published in an anthology called Doorway to Death and this year I have 2 stories appearing in SPLAT 3. One of my poems will appear in an anthology called Zombies: Zero Hour. I also have a story in one called The End: An Apocalypse Anthology. I have a story and a poem in an anthology called Psycho Path. All these anthologies, which have been run by JEA, are expected to be published soon.
Another poem is in one called Freaks and I have a story that was hand-picked from a website called Short and Scary Stories, in an anthology called Endless Darkness 2.
My aim this year was to get at least one story into print, so when I got more, it was a real surprise.
I have two websites. One features some of my poetry and a few short stories, called gloriouslygory.wordpress.com and the other is about an abandoned psychiatric hospital where the patients were treated with total disrespect. The web address for that is themeyerstownsecret.wordpress.com.

I am currently collaborating on a story which I hope will go into print next year, giving me my first book release.


Lemmy Rushmore

Biography
A lifelong resident of northern Pennsylvania, Lemmy Rushmore is a mechanic by trade and father of three who occasionally dares dabble in the world of words. He now resides in Roulette PA with his girlfriend of nearly 30 years and his youngest son Zayden. Ranging from emotionally dark to horror, his pieces touch on many topics, but tend to lean more toward the darker side of those things encountered daily. First published in the anthology No Sight for the Saved, which features the superbly dark art of Niall Parkinson, Lemmy's poetry can now be seen in several anthologies including: We are Dust and Shadow, Demonic Possession, Hell II: Citizens/Cellar Door III: Animals, Indiana Horror Review 2014, Bones III, The Grays, In The Trenches, Doorway to Death, JEApers Creepers, Ugly Babies 3, and Toys in the Attic: A Collection of Evil Playthings for which he won the editors choice award. He has released an art and poetry collection through JWK publishing that features nearly 90 of his poems illustrated by Niall Parkinson, titled Between the Walls. Besides finishing up work on a soon to be released poetry collection titled A Trip into Madness that features over 200 poems, Lemmy is also in the beginning stages of putting together a horror anthology with friend and fellow writer/poet D.S. Scott, which will be called A Love That Lingers…



Part One: Three Poems





Your Death is a Must
 
can't you keep your mouth shut
I'm so sick of your cries
why not see it this way
all alive wilts and dies
 
why must you wiggle so
can’t you sit your ass still
the more you thrash about
all the more blood you spill
 
can’t you go with some class
have you no pride at all
how you squeal like a bitch
how you whimper and crawl
 
with those chains that you drag
quite a racket you make
have some dignity please
soon your last breath you’ll take
 
you lied and you cheated
you hurt those all around
now it’s this price that you pay
to your guilt you are bound
 
it’s the life that you led
that has led you to this
did you think all you’ve done
I could simply dismiss
 
it just don’t work that way
we must reap what we sow
and with all that you’ve done
there’s a debt that you owe
 
it does no good to fight
nor to stew and to fret
you’ve been tried, you’ve been judged
now your sentence you get
 
don’t you beg unto me
it won’t help you a drop
would be best for us both
if your pleading would stop
 
once your skin fades to rot
and your bones turn to dust
you’ll be paid up in full
for your death is a must…
 




Away It Doth Play
 
I had happened on it
in an odd antique store
the thing had instant charm
plus a little bit more
 
had a mystical feel
and a hypnotic hold
like a dusty old book
with a story untold
 
it had weathered the years
with no visible wear
and with one glance I knew
it had stories to share
 
it looked expertly built
with precision and care
down to hand carvings done
by a craftsman that’s rare
 
it was mine and I knew
and I bought it that day
before some other fool
could come buy it away
 
but beneath the etched lid
‘neath the treats for the eyes
in among all those parts
came a hidden surprise
 
‘neath that rich luscious stain
and those curves that deceive
there was magic it seems
you must hear to believe
 
I was schooled the next night
on just how much I’d missed
when that box gave me proof
something else does exist
 
‘twas a musical box
with a tune to delight
but it played by itself
in the dead of the night
 
I was startled as first
even scared I must say
but the more I heard it
the more fear went away
 
I would sit and I'd wait
and I'd watch by myself
till that old music box
would begin on my shelf
 
it would sit on its own
and away it would sing
as if some ghostly thing
had hand tightened the spring
 
it was one tune at first
the next night it was three
and then night after night
it kept playing for me
 
I was baffled it seems
by how untouched it played
even more mesmerized
by the music it made
 
I was drawn to that box
like a moth to a flame
that thing beckoned to me
till each night passed the same
 
each and all I’d return
to that spot, to my chair
and I’d bathe in its sounds
as upon it I’d stare
 
even now as I write
nearly rotting away
I can hear it just there
and away it doth play…





The Haunting Show
 
This old country estate
Where I’ve come to reside
Has an uneasy feel
Like there’s something inside
 
When the house should be still
And it’s peace I should know
Form the woodwork they crawl
To start their haunting show
 
In one room then the next
It’s strange noises I hear
Then much to my surprise
Apparitions appear
 
Some shout out and some scream
Others pass through the walls
Some rock on in my chair
Others roam through the halls
 
Some move things on their own
Some throw things for a thrill
Others push and then pull
Some lend merely a chill
 
Some come calling at night
Some are there through the day
Seems no mercy have they
For such cruel games they play
 
They’ve all wore at my nerves
And caused my heart to race
But around and around
They continue to chase
 
Some will cause me to cringe
Others cause me to shake
Till I know deep within
They’re just too much to take
 
Though I’ve asked them to go
They keep picking at me
Till I’m starting to think
They’ll steal my sanity
 
Though I thought it was mine
Seems it’s their space instead
But then maybe I’m wrong
And it’s all in my head…



Part Two: The Epic




The Presence of IT

It all started when I was younger. I could sense that something was watching me. When I tried to sleep, either from outside of my bedroom window or from the inside of my wardrobe it would come. I could hear it breathing and sometimes it would even giggle quietly to itself knowing that I would be terrified of something that I could not see. Most nights I would find myself in a fight with my eyelids for fear of what might happen if they were to close but each night, regardless of my struggles, finally they would and that’s when the tapping would begin.

It would always start off very faint, nearly unnoticeable. I would try to dismiss it as nothing more than just a figment of my vivid imagination but the more I tried to dismiss it the louder it would become until it would grow to deafening proportions. It’s as if it was trying to provoke some sort of reaction from me, yet each time I did react in some way it would seem to depart leaving me there in that empty room. Each time it drew from me what it seemed to want it would run off like some scared cat leaving me there in that utter darkness but it would always return to torment me again. It seemed that thing never left for very long and each time it would return it seemed its grudge against me had grown.

As time went by things got worse and worse. It picked at me more and more with each passing minute. With its noises and its departures it bullied me like some schoolyard brute that seemed to find extreme amusement in picking on those weaker than themselves and all the while it went on, weaker is just what I was becoming. I wanted to run form it, I needed to hide from it but it seemed the more I tried to evade and escape the more it followed. It was though it had my scent and was bound and determined to drive me stark raving mad.

Even in the daylight it would make its presence known to me. It would stroke at my hair or present itself as a cold chill upon my skin sometimes even a long, heavy breath in my ear. As scared as I was  and as weary as I had become of it, often I would still try to ignore that unseen thing that seemed to have attached itself to me. Why had this thing chosen me as its object of torment? Why had it chosen me as something, or someone, to taunt in its sick and twisted little game? It seemed to get some great pleasure from pestering me far beyond my tolerance.

There was not enough speed in my feet, not enough strength in my legs or my mind. There was nowhere I could run from it and not a single place I could hide. It seemed to always be one step ahead of me. It seemed to always be right there beside me as if clung to me like some sort of vile and malignant growth. It hounded me constantly and badgered me always as if hell bent on my demise. I grew to hate it almost as much as it seemed to hate me but then again maybe it didn’t hate me. Maybe somewhere deep down inside whatever it was it held some sort of sick love for me or at least for my destruction.

My friends couldn’t see it nor could my beloved family. Hell, I couldn’t even see it. They all knew nothing of it but I did. I knew it was there. I had no idea at all what it was or even what it might possibly want other than to utterly break me but I knew with all I was it was always close by. I knew it walked along with me as I went about the doings of my everyday life just like I knew it was there while I slept, although sleep was becoming all the more difficult to find.

The longer things went on the more its escapades escalated till it got so bad I would walk the streets speaking to something no one could see. I begged and pleaded with my imaginary foe and all the while the masses stared at me in wonderment. I begged for it to stop. I pleaded with it to go but always it stayed and carried on its same shenanigans. The crowds wondered who I spoke to while I wondered if it would ever cease the maddening nonsense that it seemed to enjoy so very much. Not a soul heard the awful things it did to me but I did. I heard them as plain as day and they bothered me so. In my ears those noises rang out crystal clear and they ate at my innards like the screeching of nails upon a classroom chalkboard. No one knew of the terrible things it did to me. They didn’t know it touched me time and time again for no other apparent reason other than to raise my dander but I did. I knew all too well of the tortures I was enduring. As much as I wanted it to go, as much as I needed it to leave that thing, that horrible, horrible thing stayed while instead the sanity that I did wish to hold onto was ever so quickly departing.

It played with me always like a kid would with his favorite toy but the more frequent its visits became the crueler its pranks would become. It would trip me as I walked. It would whisper while I talked. It slapped at me while I sat not bothering a soul. It screamed at me every time I sought silence. Always it would cackle to itself as though utterly amused with itself but its tricks were no treat, at least not to me. I tried to ignore it but it made that impossible. I tried to evade it but I found nowhere I might hide from it. It was everywhere I might be long before I might get there myself.

It was a constant distraction until my only thoughts were those of how to flee from it and what my life might be without it.

My school work suffered just as I myself suffered and normal everyday tasks became undoable feats. I had become its puppet and it yanked at my strings always till I danced like a fool. My parents thought me mad and my teachers thought even worse. It would tickle and I would cuff it away but they never saw its actions, only my reactions. It would speak to me and I would answer back but no one heard what it was saying. They would only catch my reply.

They whispered behind my back about what to do with me while it whispered in my ear of how they all wished to send me away and then always it would giggle. I watched as each one spoke trying to read their lips so I might know what lay in store for me and as I did the paranoia grew within me. I would walk in a room and catch my parents in the middle of a conversation all to watch them cease what they had been doing. They’d just pretend they were never speaking at all but I knew they spoke of me just like I knew they wanted me gone.

I thought several times about ending it all so I might find just an ounce of peace. My mind ran over and over the ideas of what I might do so I might finally be free of all that which tormented me so. Often I thought about closing my eyes tight and stepping off the curb into oncoming traffic or maybe diving head first off the highest structure I could find but each and every time it talked me out of it. Once I even had the noose I would hang from ready and waiting but it talked me out of that too almost like it was the best friend I had ever had but I knew better. I knew deep inside that it was to blame for it all just like I knew with all I was that I couldn’t give it its own way.

Finally I could stand it no more and I reached out to those around me. I couldn’t let them think me mad. I couldn’t let them think it was all me. I finally told them all of the dreadful things that were taking place and of the hideous thing that was bringing them to be. I couldn’t let them go on thinking I’d just lost my grasp on my own sanity or on reality itself so I poured my heart out and spilled it all. I told them all of how I was pestered beyond all belief by something not even I could see. I had to clear the air and try to clear my name but the effort was in vain and the more I spoke the madder they thought I had become.They assured me it couldn’t possibly be so. They assured me that it couldn’t really exist nor could the things I’d described to them ever really happen. They all swore it was all in my head and they all swore they could show me just how to bring it to an end. They all swore they could help me but much to my dismay they have done anything but that.

Instead they talked me into this. Instead all those I loved and all those I thought I could trust placed me here, here in this place constructed to house the mentally deranged and the utterly disturbed.

There are people all around me here but I have never felt so alone in my entire life. This place where I now reside is like nothing I could have ever even imagined existed yet it does and I am here within it. It is my own personal hell. They all claim that here I am with others like myself but these ‘people’ are nothing like me. They know not what I deal with. They have no clue what I’ve been through, what I am still going through. I myself am merely bothered while these ‘people’ they have caged me with are downright nuts and that’s putting it mildly. Troubled I may be but the others here are truly insane to say the least. Some of them scream at the top of their lungs, others just sit alone whispering to themselves in languages only they can understand. Some sit silently, their hands fidgeting endlessly while others bang their heads off the grate covered windows or the nearest wall. They all looked dead behind the eyes—empty shells if you will—just waiting for death to take them, something that would seem almost an escape from this house of madness.

Most days I question whether the so-called doctors in this place are any better than my cage mates.  They claim they are here to help me but they torture me as much as the crazies within these walls. They take turns poking and prodding at my already aching mind, tormenting me as much or even more than it ever could. They’ve medicated me to the point I can no longer differentiate up from down in an attempt to banish the thing they claim never existed, yet it still picks at me when they are not. They subject me to tests that I do not understand and stick me with needles time and again while it laughs and laughs. They claim over and over that it is not now nor ever was real while it continues to show me just how real it really is. When I am not being tormented by them I spend my time locked away in some rubber room or strapped down to some god awful table being tortured by it.

Had I known that it would come to this I would have suffered this thing alone. Gladly I would have suffered with the misery it caused rather than the misery and emptiness of this godforsaken place. It’s almost like the thing inside me has manifested itself into something more, into something real. It has gotten to the point where I have to decide whether I should let it taunt me and accept that this is what was meant to be or just ignore it in the hopes that it will eventually get bored and leave me be. Now I have to ask, how will I be able to cope without this thing that has been with me for so long?

For here in this place there is nothing for me. It seems what I hadn’t lost before I came has been stripped from me. This place has taken from me all that I was, all that I knew, and all I might have one day been. I have no friends here; no family comes to visit me. Here there is nothing, nothing but the cold of these walls and the suffering lent by those held within them. Here I have been robbed of it all, of everything except for it.

It, that thing that has been with me since I was but a child, It, that thing I despised, that I loathed. It has been here by my side for so very long till I can barely imagine a life without it near. Has it become a situation of it not being able to survive without me or of me not being able to survive without it? Am I a part of it or is it a part of me? I’ve grown used to its taunts now almost to the point I’d be disappointed if it no longer tormented me. How would I spend my days, how would I pass the time without it pestering me so? It seems for better or worse we are bound to each other to the point I find some comfort in this love-hate relationship we have. What would happen if it were to suddenly abandon me? I wonder now, here in this place, what would become of me if it were to no longer be?


Copyright © Howard Carlyle 2016. All rights reserved.

Copyright © Lemmy Rushmore 2016. All rights reserved

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It's been a pleasure hosting you today, dear readers, for our visit from Howard Carlyle and Lemmy Rushmore. The most pleasant Thanksgiving to you and yours. And the Darkness thanks you.