Sunday, February 12, 2017

Poetry Today: Trends & Traditions 2017
Songs of the Grotesque & Parody 
and Horror Prose & Poetry

Compiled and Formatted by
Anthony Servante


This month we have a selection of songs, parody music, and horror prose and poetry. I'll be starting things off with a few songs of wicked wit and sick humor. Joining me will be D.S. Scott with a few selections of his own to tickle your terror bone. Coralie Rowe joins us again, this time with some clever music parodies of some modern Rock fare. D.S. Scott also shows his talent for song parodies. Eric Kleinschmidt, Sr. offers us a funny version of "Sad But True" by Metallica. Howard Carlyle returns with his psycho narratives in our prose section. And Coralie Rowe and Lori R. Lopez round things out with the Poetry of Horror finale.

Allow me to get the ball rolling.

Songs of the Grotesque
Where the Music Speaks for Itself

Anthony Servante's Selections:

Tiger Lilies
Down To Hell

Tom Lehrer 
I Hold Your Hand in Mine

More Songs of the Grotesque

Selected by DS Scott 

You're just an object to me 
I'd like to get to know you better 
Paste you across my body 
You're just an object to me 

You're just a piece of meat 
And I am the butcher 
I love you better, love you forever 
You're just an object to me 

Why sit in the shade 
Drink what we made from our lovers cup 
Dreams don't always come when you fall asleep 
You're just an object to me 

I'm gonna do something wrong 
Nobody's gonna like it 
But I've got my pride and my time isn't free 
You're just an object to me 

You're just an object to me 
I feel a little better 
They found your sweater 
You're just an object to me

Why they wanna see my spine mommy?
Why they wanna see my spine?
It's gonna hurt again mommy
Much worse than last time
Am I gonna see God, mommy?
Am I gonna die?
It really hurts mommy!
Am I gonna die?
Smile on mighty Jesus
Spinal Meningitis got me down

I'm feelin' greasy mommy
Please don't let me die
Stinky vaseline mommy!
Please don't let me die
Am I gonna see God, mommy?
Am I gonna die?
It really hurts mommy!
Am I gonna die?
Smile on mighty Jesus
Spinal Meningitis got me down

Songs of Parody
Where Lyrics and Laughter Come Together

Coralie Rowe

Exult In My Depravity by Coralie Rowe

(Cult of Personality by Living Colour)

Feed my despise, insulting me
Exult in my depravity
I am a danger,
I am your screams
I seem everything you fear to be
Now exult in my depravity
A threnody to debauchery
Now exult in my depravity
Exult in my depravity
Exult in my depravity
Parasite, adept at lies
When the reaper seeks, his selection dies
Someone has to follow he
Only you, now can I see
I kill the beings he needs to be
I will reiterate his decree
Now exult in my depravity
So adroit too in duplicity
I kill thee with exploitancy
Now exult in my depravity
I'll be maulin' your dead body
Now exult in my depravity
Exult in my depravity
Exult in my depravity
Parasite, adept at lies
When the reaper speaks all men must die
Someone has to follow he
Only you now can i see
He takes misfortune
He takes the pain
He takes all power in my dark lord's name
I do sever with debauchery

Zealous Guy by Coralie Rowe

(Jealous Guy by John Lennon)

You were screaming out your last
And your blood was draining fast
It did run from the knife holes
It did run from the knife holes
I didn't mean to kill you
I'm sorry that I made you die
Oh my I didn't want to kill you
I'm such a zealous guy
I was searching for some more
Your life now shoved into the floor
You were quivering inside
You were quivering inside
Oh, I didn't mean to kill you
I'm sorry that I made you die
Oh my I didn't want to kill you
I'm such a zealous guy
I didn't mean to kill you
I'm sorry that I made you die
Oh my, I didn't want to kill you
I'm such a zealous guy
You were dying because you lied
Taunting you fulfilled my despise
You were wallowing now slain
You were wallowing now slain
I didn't mean to kill you
I'm sorry that I made you die
Oh no I didn't want to kill you
I'm such a zealous guy

Sound Of Violence by Coralie Rowe

(Sound Of Silence…. by Disturbed)

Hello Satan, my old friend
You've come to play with me again
'Cos an incision slowly weeping
Led your soul to come a creeping
And the incision that slanted in my brain
Still remains
Breathing the sound of violence

Defenceless screams, I stalked alone
Burrowed treats from rubble stone
'Neath the hallow of soil damp
I found the squalor of the old and cramped
With despise I jabbed, dug and thrashed through an eon night
Submit to spite
And found the sound of violence

And in the tainted light so raw
Ten thousand demons, maybe more
Demons stalking whilst out reaping
Demons stealing whilst out thieving
Demons citing wrongs in voices that shred the air
And not one cared
To curb the sounds of violence

Cruel red eyes and horns that glow
Violence like a river flows
Fear the world that I did make new
Staked my soul that I might preach you
Now my hordes, of violent servants swell
They wallow in a hell of violence

And as demons killed and slayed
More fresh blood and gore was sprayed
As these swine slashed without mourning
A newfound hell was now dawning
The decayed dead, now hung from the soffits
Are bleeding down the scarlet walls
And sentiment calls
Are whimpered to the sounds of violence

DS Scott

(Based on the song “Creep” by Radiohead)

By D. S. Scott

I never cared for more.
I just wanted Him to die.
You may be an angel.
It makes some ask why.

All ties I will sever.
I’ll rule the underworld.
I may be the devil.
You think I’m the devil.

‘Cause you will weep.
Should you fear? No...
It’s so damn nice to see some tears.
I hate you, my dear.

You will scream if blood spurts.
Once a heart, now a hole.
If there’s a God above, He...
will want back what I stole.

He will know my modus,
when He hears the sound.
You think I’m the devil.
I may be the devil.

‘Cause you will weep.
Should you fear? No...
It‘s so damn nice to see some tears.
I hate you, my dear.


He’s shunning me for sin...
He’s shunning...
He shuns, shuns, shuns, shuns...


Whatever makes Him snap, see...
I’ll do what will taunt.
You think I’m the devil.
I may be the devil.

But you will weep.
Should you fear? No...
It’s so damn nice to see some tears.
I hate you, my dear.

I hate Him, my dear.

(Based on the song “Otherside” by Red Hot Chili Peppers)

Another Hide
By D. S. Scott

How wrong, how wrong, if I lied
Decimate my pride, I won’t
I won’t deceive, I’m glad
Writ this note and I will sever

Preferred your choice to fight, though I laughed
I fought you off, but you didn’t last
Once you’re gone, all your skin I will hack
I caught you, made you just another hide

Injuries are always meant to be
Albeit very rare, I bury the glee
Anger brings whatever’s strange to mind
I caught you, made you just another hide
Made you just another hide
Made you just
Made you just

How wrong, how wrong, if I lied
Decimate my pride, I won’t
I won’t deceive, I’m glad
Writ this note and I will sever

Gored my knife until it filled me up
I’m excited and so thrillin’, my cuts
She wants to go but I’m deep in guts
I caught you, made you just another hide

Scarlet harlot and she’s in my head
Although I hate more, a whole eight bled
Kill with vigor to wear the dead
I caught you, made you just another hide
Made you just another hide
Made you just
Made you just

How wrong, how wrong, if I lied
Decimate my pride, I won’t
I won’t deceive, I’m glad
Writ this note and I will sever

Burn me wrong, hate me for all I tried
Learn to shout, thieve me of another hide
I yell and tell you that it’s not my end
I bear a frown, I bear a frown
And say I’ve worn your skin

How wrong, how wrong, if I lied
Decimate my pride, I won’t
I won’t deceive, I’m glad
Writ this note and I will sever

How wrong, I won’t
I won’t deceive, I’m glad

Writ this note and I will sever

Eric Kleinschmidt, Sr.

“Elmer's Glue”

school (glue) i'm your glue
i'm your glue to paste glitter!
school (glue) what you use
to affix pictures!
school (glue) don't ingest
i am not a food group now!
school (glue) in your desk
like tiny white boogers!

i'm your friend, squeeze me out!
sticky, white; not in your mouth!
take me with you in your pouch!
elmer's glue!
i'm a liquid, paste or stick!
just a drop will do the trick!
i am agent adhesive!
you know i'm elmer's glue!!
elmer's glue!

school (paste) i'm your paste
collect up your waste in a trash can!
school (paste) just in case
please put the lid back on again!
school (paste) not good taste
children, please stop eating me!
school (paste) rushin' race
horses with broken limbs!

i'm your friend, squeeze me out!
sticky, white; not in your mouth!
take me with you in your pouch!
elmer's glue!
i'm a liquid, paste or stick!
just a drop will do the trick!
i am agent adhesive!
you know i'm elmer's glue!!
elmer's glue!

i'm your paste....
please don't waste....
not meant to taste....

i'm your paste (i'm your paste).
please don't waste (please don't waste).
not meant to taste (no, don't taste).
you know i'm elmer's glue!!
school (glue) i'm your glue
i'm your glue to paste glitter!
school (glue) i'm your glue
the number one selling brand!
school (glue) i'm not new
but i make scrapbooking so fun now!
school (glue) i'm for you
and all others be damned!!
i'm your friend, squeeze me out!
sticky, white; not in your mouth!
take me with you in your pouch!
elmer's glue!
i'm a liquid, paste or stick!
just a drop will do the trick!
i am agent adhesive!
you know i'm elmer's glue!!
elmer's glue!

~ t.s.p. ( eric kleinschmidt, sr. )

~ originally by metallica “sad but true"

Prose of Horror
Where We Enter the Mind of a Madman

Howard Carlyle

Feeling The Fear

I always wanted to know what fear felt like when it 'sent shivers' down someone's spine, was it just a saying or could you really feel it.. no one really seemed to know.
I wanted to find out....

I'd done my research and observed all kinds of people and how people reacted to certain kinds of situations. I wanted someone who was a little braver than the normal everyday person, you know, like a fireman, a nurse, an officer of the law..someone with a position of power. The perfect candidate was chosen and he helped me make my mind up without any hesitation. He was big, confident with a hint of cockiness about him and above all, he seemed fearless. He was the head of door staff at a night club called Alley Cats that was situated in the rough area of town.
I went to the workshop that I had hired out, under a false name of course, and prepared everything that I'd need..I was soon going to have the answer to what fear felt like.

I waited outside the club in a cheap van that I had bought from someone on the understanding that I was buying it for scrap metal. I managed to get the engine running and it was perfect for what I had in mind.
He had finished his shift at the club and he made his way home. I took out the baseball bat that I had put in the van earlier and followed him until we reached the entrance to the park and when the coast was clear i knocked him unconscious and dragged him into some bushes..Jesus he was heavy.
I made my way back to the van and drove round to where I had left him, it took me while to get him into the back but I eventually manged to do so. I taped his hands, legs and mouth up.. there was no way he was getting away.

Once I arrived at the workshop, getting him out of the van was made easier due to the fact that I had an old hospital trolley that lowered down to the same height as the back of the van, so I just rolled him out and straight onto the trolley. With his hands, head and legs tightly strapped to the trolley and his mouth taped shut, I waved some smelling salts under his nose to bring him round. Once he was conscious, and looking quite confused as what was going on, I stripped down to waist.
He tried to wriggle free but he wasn't going anywhere and I could hear his stifled screams.. or least I like to think he was screaming.
I walked up to him and placed my index finger on his taped up lips.. " your breath for later." He looked at me like some wild, crazed animal, some people.. honestly!

I cut off his T-shirt and drew a vertical line on his stomach with a Sharpie then took the craft knife from my pocket, I had kept with me all day, and made a deep incision along the line I had drawn on his stomach.. I could see the fear in his eyes but I didn't want to see the fear of another person..I wanted to feel it!
I stood back and looked at the incision I had just made and knew that I would soon have the answer to my question. I placed both my hands on his stomach and slowly, with slight anticipation, began to push my hands into his gut. It felt wonderful, the warm, slightly viscous feeling of his blood on my hands made me feel.. different, I could feel his intestines and it took longer than I had imagined to work my way through them, then my hands felt something inside him.. it could've been his lungs or his liver, I wasn't quite sure..maybe I should have done a bit more medical research to find out which parts 'lived' where, but that didn't really matter for now.
I looked up at him as he was laid there and to my surprise and delight he was still awake and boy..did he look scared.
"Can you feel fear yet, because I can't, not yet" I said to him..he didn't speak.
I moved my hands around inside him and, at last, I came to what I was looking for. I wanted this moment to stay with me forever so at first I just gently touched it and then placed both hands on it and then I squeezed his spine and looked at him and sheer terror began to set in his eyes and I felt it..I felt his fear, the answer to the question I had longed for had now been answered.

I could actually feel the fear of another person and it made me feel euphoric, powerful, almost God like, knowing that the shiver of fear that now ran up and down his spine was in my hands, I tightened my grip and looked into his eyes and it was beautiful, the fear and pain in his eyes was all my doing.
I loosend my grip and slowly started to remove my blooded hands from the inside of his body, it felt so comforting..that warm feeling I had as a child, that, whenever my hands were cold, I would fill the sink with warm water and soak my hands to warm them up.
I hesitated for while and decided that I may as well see the things that I'm feeling inside him, i just grabbed whatever my hands were touching and just ripped it out of him.. it gave me more joy than I had ever imagined. Some of his blood hit me on my shirtless body that heightened the feeling even more. I plunged my hands into his body and grabbed the first thing I could feel and smeared my body with his blood..I felt immortal, I had his fear within me and it felt like a drug..I felt more alive than I had ever felt.
I collapsed with the feeling of every emotion surging through my veins, it was unbelievable.

The next thing I remember is waking up here in this room and every now and again people keep looking in through the little window in the door and all they keep saying is...
"it's ok Mr Carlyle..your medication is due soon."

Copyright (C) Howard Carlyle 2017. All rights reserved.

A Twisted Love

I cut her throat from cheek to cheek and that, in all the time that I had known her, was the first time that she had laid there and smiled at was a false smile, but, none the less, it was a smile
I stole her family photo album and in one picture she was stood with her brother and she looked so happy.. but she never had the smile like she did when she stayed with me.

I treat her right by asking her to look after the guests that I brought home from the bars that I went to, that's where I met the house guests that I brought home on the promise of food and fucking my wife..we were never married but it made me feel good without the responsibility of actually being married.

She seemed so happy, despite the blood on the mattress. I stroked her face with my hand and kissed her on the lips..her body felt cold but that didn't bother me because i loved her.
I've always believed that beauty is eternal and that's what you take with you to the grave, that its buried within the soul..rather than skin deep.

She was laid on my bed and I cuddled up beside her, even though she was cold I knew that I could and would love her with that my heart possessed.

Copyright (C) Howard Carlyle 2016. All rights reserved.

Poetry of Horror
Where We Welcome the Tradition of Darkness

Coralie Rowe

Valentine Heart 

Trembling… quivering
This bloodied heart in her grasp
Beating a pulsing rhythm
Her fingers tighten their clasp
Sanguine rivulets that flow
Turn to crimson floods that weep
Her hands inside your chest
Digging in torn flesh so deep
She broke apart your ribs
Cracking them one at a time
Seeking entrance to your insides
Acts of love, are her crime
She tore you to pieces
She shredded you apart
So she could be your valentine
The one to hold your heart

Lori R. Lopez

faces on a train

by Lori R. Lopez

I didn’t suspect a thing.
Who would?  Lulled by clicking rails,
the sway of cars along tracks.
Their visages blandly common,
lacking any clue of something amiss.
Familiar and abstract from my
perspective, a blur to me,
for I seldom actually looked
at anyone, unless I had to . . .
The faces were expressionless.
Featureless.  Rainy, grainy —
surreal, an Impressionist painting:
the semblance of a streaked or dotty
crowd on an art museum wall.
Anonymous and indefinite, one per seat,
arranged in neat rows up or down the aisle.
Most displayed even less interest than me
in the others.  Probably commuters,
en-route to their jobs.  I noted such details
peripherally.  Obliquely.  It wasn’t my
habit to stare.  Or to care.  I did,
on this occasion, examine reflections
across nearby windows, pretending
to enjoy the scenery, without
a direct gaze.  Shy and cowardly.
Furtive inspections.  Sly observations.
The present vista drab, unremarkable,
a dull and empty view.
I happened to be bored, bringing no book
or distraction.  Just me.  I thought
the train-ride would be more interesting,
provide sufficient entertainment.
Clearly not.  I wasn’t used to travel
and would be glad when the trip ended,
back where it began.  Idle curiosity
kills more than cats.

Fifteen minutes passed
before I grew aware something was wrong.
The passengers had rearranged.
Colors were off.  Their general placement
offended my sense of pattern.
Though I hadn’t been paying close attention,
I remembered a handful of details;
these didn’t match.  Which caused me
to sit up and take note.  I honestly
had nothing better to do.
Were I able to nap, the outcome
might have been different.  I was never
good at that, even as a child.
Mentally, discreetly, I began to record
the faces and garments, scattered hues.
If they shifted again, I would expose them.
And do what?  I had no idea.  It was all
so absurd.  Maybe the car was filled
with the same individuals day after day,
bored like me, numbed by monotonous
scenery, the drab rhythm and tedium,
and they started to play a game . . .
Musical Chairs.  Without the music.
Trading seats quietly and quickly.
Testing those among them who weren’t
part of the joke.  Hadn’t I heard of
Flash Mobs pulling stunts?
Maybe this was like that.
Of course.  I relaxed my guard.

But then they altered:  uncannily, less
subtle.  In complete silence, the changes
overt.  And I, an oblivious audience to their
mouselike activity, their secret actions.
Detecting no rustle of clothing.  No scuff
or scrape of shoes.  The seats did not groan
or squeak.  Packages failed to crinkle.
Impossible!  How could they do it —
in front of me?
I wasn’t blindfolded, or wearing earplugs,
earphones.  I must have fallen asleep,
daydreamed, succumbed to a mindless
lapse or fugue.  I racked my
seemingly feeble brain
for answers, excuses, finding none.
Scrutiny hardened.  I refused to blink,
determined to spot them.
Nobody winds the wool around
my eyes!  Nobody makes a fool of me.
I waited.  And monitored, my orbs
stinging.  Cautious.  Surreptitious
like them.  To no avail.
More than one can play this game,
I thought.  And did the unthinkable:
ogled them, blatantly eyed
their every twitch or itch or switch.

And yet I missed the ensuing
transition.  Eluding me as easily
as the first and second.
How did they divert my focus?
Hoodwink someone who was watching?
It was creepier than a prank.
There was magic involved, sorcery
or voodoo.  I began to see the truth.
They were evil.  What were they
really up to?  Nothing harmless.
A deliberate, diabolic ruse.
The tricksters had chosen me,
assuming I wouldn’t catch on in time.
For what?  Peering at them straight,
frost blanketed me, enveloped
flesh and bones.  The vulnerability
of my situation grew apparent.
Seriously outnumbered, ill-equipped
for battle.  Their eyes — what madness
gleamed!  Lips, abruptly too dry, were
being licked.  More often than normal.
Teeth, visible in macabre grins,
uncivil leers — surely too sharp
to be deemed ordinary.  Considered
human.  I was surrounded
by a carriage of ghoulish phantoms.
In the company of specters.
What did they seek, what did they
hunger for?  Was I to vanish in their

Prior to the next stop, they made
their move and it was on me.
Absorbing new blood into the clan,
a throng of voracious voyagers.
Devouring souls, gathering new faces.
Rumbling the tracks of Time.
A collective force, operating as one,
more linked and attuned than a flock
of birds, a wolf pack.  Boldly
accumulating.  Consuming with
the smug indifference of vampires,
or entitled teens.  Possessing superior
airs, a ruthless all-powerful spirit.
The calculating predatory
stealth of a panther in a jungle —
blending, camouflaged; pouncing
with agility and grace in ambush,
from the domain of shadows.
A body of random parts combined . . .
with synchronized unity, harmonious
intent, we lurk and improvise,
add seats and passenger-cars to
an infinite train on an endless route
that never reaches a destination.

That Step

by Lori R. Lopez

Clear as a twig’s snap in a hushed wood
The crack of ice on a glazed pond
A doorknob’s click that shouldn’t be
Turning in the thick of night
That footstep, a subtle tap
Adjacent, inside, possibly at the threshold
Of a quiet bedroom in which was only me
Or should have been, the door snug
Even the closet shut firm
An abode sealed with tombish solitude
Against the hazards of a twilight realm
The fevered imaginings of sleep
What could be stirring?
No pet had I, no housemate or child
No invited guest to disturb slumber
In an otherwise empty home where I had never
Felt as alone.  To think, I once enjoyed
The peace, but that seemed a lifetime ago!
It could only be some ulterior motive
A sinister deed.  Foul intentions
Such are known by owls
And the midnight eyes that never blink

I was creeping myself out and it wasn’t
Even Halloween, so I laid down my hairbrush
And admonished the face in the mirror
Silently, with a frown, for the confidence
To go to bed in a house devoid of company —
Not even a parakeet or goldfish to share this
Ordeal, the quaking minutes of uncertainty
When my heart beat louder than any
Clock’s tick, marking the last seconds
Perhaps, counting down to an eternity
Of poor decisions repeated like History
And fears buried with a spade.  I smothered
The Fight-or-Flight instinct we are born with,
Ducked my head to ignore whatever unknown
Threat might lurk on my horizon.  I was not
Up to facing an obscure challenge
This could be it, my Unhappy Ending
For everyone knows that the opposite
Is a fleeting whim of youth, a mere fantasy!
Chaff for the heart’s gristmill
Emotional pap and sap for children
I had torn those pages from my journal

The next step resounded through a clear mind
Echoed within my skull’s chamber
Cowering, burrowing beneath my covers
A scared brain sifted useful items
Within reach, for I had not actually
Thought ahead and prepared to face
This dead-of-night scene, the doom plot
Unfolding with maddening slowness
How did I have such nerve in nights past?
Why suddenly did it vanish?
Whether a destined or arbitrary danger
Like a falling piano you cannot avoid
Because there’s no warning to look up . . .
Despite the inwardness of my existence
Being largely a recluse, self-reliant
Since childhood; early on learning to
Fend and not depend more than necessary
In a hard world with more rocks
Than rainbows and flowerbeds . . .
I refused to give in to the terrors of the day
Of headlines and horror tales, the bad news
And dire predictions Paranoia flaunted

The longest time, unconsciously
I had insulated myself from worries
“Don’t think about it!” a glib refrain
But here I was, nose to nose with dread
Facing my apprehensions
Abandoning all hope of sleep to listen
An ear to the chamber door, each wall
Then the closet, alert for any stir
As I shivered from cold, but more from terror
Of subtle clues, detached signs.  That step
And the other.  What was out there?  Or in
My room, unseen?  A house did not abruptly
Become haunted; there had been no trace of
A supernatural presence.  By now I would know
And there wasn’t much use for imagining things
I watched documentaries, read Nonfiction
I loved History, not mystery
There needed to be an explanation
There always was, every time
Concrete fact.  A rational source . . .
And then it slapped me in the face
Like a wet fish

No matter how uneventful a life one led
How withdrawn one’s nature and contact
With the world; however limited
And remote one’s ties to others, it only took
A single enemy, a fixated individual
Nursing a grudge
And I had a longstanding
Unspoken feud with my neighbor
Over a fleeting friendship
I had made the “mistake”, the misstep
Of sticking my nose where it didn’t belong —
His family — advising the man’s wife to take
Their kids and leave.  She had needed to talk
To someone.  Reluctant at first, I listened
The guy suspected, I could tell
Years of staring from his window at mine
An uncomfortable reverie; blatant animosity
Between us.  A thin line must have snapped
This was no idle preoccupation.  Deep down
I knew the night could come.  Balancing
conviction with disbelief, I had braced for
Reality’s axe to grind and fall

I would see him chop firewood, hear his thunks
No further hint was necessary of the intruder’s
Identity and purpose!  I had been waiting . . .
For that step.

Fear Itself

by Lori R. Lopez

The fog swallowed a pier, crept up a bank,
Crossed the dirt yard then rapped on a plank.
A rough door blew inward.  A rumpled mug gaped.
“Who is it?”  A growl from a wrinkly coot scraped.
“I am Cold Fear,” breathed the frosted night air,
“And I’ve come for your life.”  Nobody there —
Yet the bass underscore of an echoing grumble
From the mouth of the dark, like thunder, did tumble.
“Embrace the dread.  Take my hand, don’t hesitate.
It’s almost Dawn.  We must embark at a rapid gait.”

Ben North glanced about with a churlish scowl.
“Is this a joke?”  His cry neared a howl.
“I promise you it’s not,” sighed a gust of ice.
“Are you a ghost?”  The raspy gasp wasn’t nice.
Mist and murk roiled before him to an oily mass;
The cloud swirled in disgruntlement, a dank morass.
“I shall answer, despite such harshness of voice,
And encourage surrender.  You haven’t much choice.
I am Fear itself.  Sheer as a blade’s edge,
Though my form is intangible.  No time to hedge.
Take the hand I offer.  You will feel a grave chill.
It’s a gentler demise than the violent kill
Of a noose, chopping block, or a firing squad. 
Your only crime is avoiding the sod.
Let us not drag this out.  Your toll is overdue.
Please don’t make me add loitering, draft-dodging too.
I could stop your heart in a frightful jolt.
Burst your lungs, freeze your blood like a lightning bolt.
Yield to the frigid stroke of the clock
As it marks your last moment on Earth with its tock.”

Shapeless, the deathwind reached out Ben assumed.
He couldn’t be certain, except he was doomed.
“Bow down to your fate,” rattled a skeleton breeze.
“You eluded the Reaper and have done what you please.
It is time to face up.  You knew it was close.
Come with me now, else I summon Thanatos!
He would not be as kind as I, tracking you here,
Arriving so late in a borrowed Leap Year.”

“Still too soon!” the gray-bearded codger retorted.
“You can’t refuse.  It’s tradition,” a zephyr exhorted.
Fiercely afraid was the mortal of accepting release
And abiding his turn in the line for Decease
That he fled to the top of his sanctum — a tower;
A beacon against dusk, brightening each hour
Of Oblivion’s realm — but the gale had a mission.
“Take my hand or I vow, you are risking perdition.”
“Go back empty-fisted!  I won’t give you my soul!
I prefer to remain in this plane well and whole.”

Ben swung a large eye of the lighthouse to banish
His plague with the lamp, but Fear wouldn’t vanish.
The Taps-evader hobbled to the base of a stair
In hope of defeating a gadfly-by-night there . . .
The wizened fellow at length had postponed
Traversing the veil, shunning all knells intoned.
“This reluctance and stubbornness to calmly expire
Only deepens your plummet,” Fear told the denier.
“You have dallied enough till you rot on the vine.
Take my hand.  I will lead you without further whine.”

A laggard limped to a cupboard, unwilling to depart.
“There’s more life in me.  More beats in my heart.”
When the death-collector chased him, a formidable huff,
A cork popped then a jug aimed to bottle the puff.
An earthenware container of sturdy construction
Would seal the nether whiff and prevent an abduction,
Depending on perspective, as many things do,
For the world is a grief stage for any point of view.
The lightkeep strolled whistling to the end of a pier
And into the drink lobbed the vessel of drear.
An urn sank through brine and settled on the floor,
While Ben sauntered home and slammed shut his door.
He was old yet went on, holding every minute dear.
One lesson we could learn is:  Don’t give in to Fear.


by Lori R. Lopez

The creature sat on a bench,
a swarm of flies hovering over a black hat
raising an eerie hum, landing and launching
from the wide brim.  I happened to glance
his way as I took my evening stroll
through Balboa Park at dusk.
I was changed by that curious moment.
What I saw in a brief astonished glimpse
would stay with me, haunting my days,
and influence me to remain inside after dark,
peeking through curtains at the twilight hours,
suspicious of the shadows collecting around

He was composed of shade, or seemed to be,
a very bleak figure with long limbs
and a luminous orange-red gaze . . .
Those eyes scorched my soul with
the intensity of a furnace or oven —
one used to cremate bodies into ashes,
baking them alive.  I could hear the screams
on my conscience!
Peace of mind was robbed ever since
that night:  his grim presence, the memory
of a febrile glower my unwilling obsession,
like a screeching Metal Hard-Rock ballad;
the creepiest funeral dirge, stuck in my head.

He had a crooked posture, but not bent forward,
for he was straight as a rod rather than hunched.
His torso, instead, was tilted sideways; askew.
Hands too bony, shoulders too broad, while
his visage wore thin-lipped malice
as a grin, with teeth like broken bones.
The repugnant character stunned me in a blow,
a tremendous wallop that almost hurt.
Breathless, I felt my body turn frigid;
watched my breath haze the air — a winter eve,
though it had been Summer the minute before.
His congregation of wingers seemed to
grow in density and volume.

From that night forward, I have endured
a nocturnity of speculation and dread,
wonder and horror . . .  I have been incapable
of erasing or dimming the vision and its awful
terrors that infiltrated my brain,
my Nervous System.  Why was he there?
What was he?  Where did he come from?
More important, where was he going?
I ask these questions daily, sometimes hourly.
Due to the trauma experienced in a flash,
I have become a recluse, an Agoraphobe
to be precise.  Thunderstruck, I fled; unable
now to work or leave my hermit’s shell.

His pall encompasses me like a shroud;
I can’t escape its gloomy veil of fright,
the cloak of paranoid hypertension
that cripples senses and reason,
jeopardizes balance and health.
I am a prisoner of my own skin,
thanks to that fleet encounter with
an evil spirit!  Plagued by anxieties,
paralyzed by phobia, I may never fully
recover who I was.  Or know with any
certainty who I met on that dire eve.
A psychiatrist makes housecalls to
my haven, where I quiver like a leaf.

And fear . . . I fear to the depth of me
that my path came across him for
an obscure and definite purpose,
a destiny I cannot fathom or face
with any shard of courage, only the
deepest agony, a cold lather of
apprehension.  Atremble, worthless,
I sit and wait ⸺ much like him in that
singular macabre park scene:  canted,
leaning aside.  I sit and wonder . . .
rocking slightly, chewing dry lips ragged,
fraught by suspense.  Listening to every
sound . . .  Afraid I am becoming him.


by Lori R. Lopez

I hear its claws
On the metal roof as I struggle
For composure and steer side to side,
Fists clamped, teeth gritting like
A sprung trap, the kind they set
In the woods so anything — a fox,
Raccoon, bear or deer — could trigger it
And suffer an agonized awful death.
I fully empathize
As the ceiling above rips wide,
Peeled like the lid of a potato-chip can;
A sardine tin of sad-eyed gaping fish:
Exposed like them to scream,
Less soundlessly, before a set of
Crazy-long talons slash
An inch away from my ear and cheekbone.
Cowering aside, I squish to the door.
The wheel cuts with me and my
Car swerves, careening wildly down
The empty pitted streets where I grew up.
As unrecognizable as the planet . . .
Science destroyed it, but could have
Saved it.  Instead, they made it worse.
Bereft, shattered, a huge disaster;
Barren and ailing
After nations and a turbulent climate
Fought for dominance and nobody
Won.  The town is dark and dismal.
Like the skies and seas.
Cracks and craters disrupt
The land.

Home sweet home.  That’s sarcasm.
Once a sunny place, the city faltered when
Manufacturing plants and mills, local
Companies went belly-up, bankrupted by
The Second Great Depression.
Drought hammered nails in the coffin lid,
Drying out what few farms didn’t use the
Unnatural seeds which made people sick,
Tainted by poisons and unhealthy effects.
Even factory farms could barely survive.
There are remnants of old storefronts,
Charred and boarded.
I was a Freedom Fighter
In World War Three.  Our side lost.
There were many sides; America had six
The last I counted.
Now we’re all just fighting for our lives.
Those who took control unleash
Mutations to “clean things up”
In random purges.
Eliminate the opposition!  That’s
One of their slogans.  Democracy
Tipped, and this is a despicable result:
Men without limits, gleefully organizing
Chaos, engineering monstrous
Possibilities.  Once you open the door,
The Big Bad Wolf gets in, and he brings
His friends.  The thing on the roof
Leans to rake at me with dagger claws.
If I crash, there will be more!
I flatten the accelerator; my only chance is
To reach the forest.  There, Nature’s on my
Side.  A traveling menagerie was stranded,
Releasing the animals decades ago.
Tigers, gorillas, elephants, gators,
Trained bears and sea-lions, hawks and eagles,
Capybaras, rhinos and hippos . . .
The creatures evaded bullets and arrows
By establishing an alliance.  Live and let live.
That’s their motto.  Unless you threaten
Their existence.

I can see the border of trees ahead as
Tires screech over pavement on a reckless
Course.  The California Refuge
Is the final forest standing, defended by
The last wildlife.  Zoos were done away with;
Trophy-Hunting elevated to the National Sport.
Our skies are black day and night, the air
So congested we have to wear masks outside,
But in the forest we can still breathe.
We’re lucky.  A lot of towns were devastated —
Burned, blown apart, rendered uninhabitable
From riots and radiation.  Catastrophic weather.
The War demolished sanity, obliterated diplomacy.
A suicidal blitzkrieg.  A hail of missiles
To end all peace.  America has been
Sold to corporations and foreign dictators.
Civilization was crumbling.  We watched it
Happen.  Some helped it for whatever reason,
And in four short years
The constitutional government abolished itself.
This area became a center of genetic experiments
Sanctioned by the new world order
In America-Dot-Com,
A superwebsite run by a boardroom of
Business moguls.  The beast trying to
Maul me?  One of their “attack dogs”.
Nerves taut, I jounce across the finish line.
A savage brawl ensues.  With a whimper,
The hellhound retreats.  Orange and black,
Burly tigers stare through the windshield,
Poised on my hood.  I nod and smile.
We’re in this together.
They blink, then slip into shadows
Like enormous alley cats.
I’ve heard whispers of hope
That several countries held up,
May have picked up the scraps . . .
Alas, “America The Free” is extinct.
One for the history books,
If any tomes remained.  Literature was
Banned, along with religion, women’s rights,
Minority groups, and the News.
There’s only propaganda.
It became illegal to congregate.
The thing about Extremism is,
It leaves no room for middle ground.
Without that, two sides (or more)
Have nowhere to meet —
Except the battlefield.
Division won’t heal these gulfs, the rifts
And wounds.  Perhaps this time
We’ve been too deeply injured.
I am trying to cling to optimism . . .
However false or futile it might be.


Thank you, readers, for visiting this month. Hope you found this blend of talents to your liking. As Hannibal Lecter says, It is always good to try new things. Perhaps you can share some of your work with us next time. Send your submissions to I look forward to hearing from you. As always, the Darkness bids you a fond adieu. For now.

1 comment:

  1. Back yet again... to read and listen to DS. Scott's parodies :)