Updated: Nov 1, 2021
'Little Red Riding Hood' by Daniel Schulz
Kiss me big bad wolf.
Bite me to death!
Let a meadow full of flowers be our bed,
the place where birds
watch us like torture porn
singing pop songs of urban crime.
Take a scalpel. Cut me open.
Don’t be worried.
I’ve got insurance.
And we have a crowd
It doesn’t matter
what you do to me.
What matters most
is a Happy End,
of this fairy tale.
Copyright. Daniel Schulz.
'Not Blood but Beer These Days' by Shane Blades
Halloween spreads its dismal dreaming over me
As I wander alone, lonely now
And am surely seduced
By the early hours of silence
That the evening darkly claims
As old Hessle’s streets shuffle
Into a narrowing now
Finding a finality of dead endings
Each miserable and colder than the last
Shrouded into the mists of the aeons
In a bleakness too long forgotten
And certainly not despaired of
Yet still emptied of any humanity
Where no person dare walk alone
On this moonless, airless, sinful night
But hey, where are all the spooks?
And their accompanying spookettes
Where are the longer undead
Unshriven and ungraved
Where is dead Harlequin and Columbine?
Where do these phantoms tryst?
On this eve before all hallowing
Where are the cool ghouls?
The ghost hostess with the moistest
Or the designer daemons?
Doesn’t every town have a resident ghost
Merely awaiting those dark opportunities
That a gradual nightfall will provide
But no, it seems these darkened alleyways
While dismal, still stand idle
Even the shadows are hiding
Instead of playing to my fears
What kind of Halloween is this?
Where the twilight world remains unseen
And only public houses beckon
Unwelcomingly lit and bright
Welcoming hell’s denizens
On this darkest of all evenings
It is with disappointment that I peer inside
The nearest one, The Cross Keys
To see the phantoms in there
Roistering now and boisterous
Around a blazing wood burned fire
I shudder but no longer from the fear
Rather a cold despondency
An unquieting certainty
That they are sipping on draught ales
Instead of crimson, virgin blood.
And love bites are still given
But come from former victims now
I walk away disgusted
Is nothing truly sacred
In this unholy place?
Corpses must be rising up
To shake skeletal fists
In a heavy borne disgrace
Are all the new age vampyrs
Simply beer drinkers now?
“Chief demon to hell central, failure of all systems. Suggest abort project. Repeat abort project.”
Copyright. Shane Blades.
'THERAMOAN' by Mark Laing
Cut my teeth,
On chainsaw technique,
Dark magic circles ‘neath,
Eyes so weak,
From straining at the leash.
Bind my books,
With broken spines,
Marshall dead armies,
Ranks filed from spliced pines,
Sleeve slashed scripts,
In scalped skin and bloody bits!
My machete is my bond,
Down and dirty deep woods wand,
Render you immortal,
As local legend grows,
Newspaper clipping victim,
Snipped by slightly awkward apprentice psychos,
Soon tyre iron out,
Those little kinks,
Fix that twisted ankle stare,
So, it never blinks!
Old fashioned cure for kids having them conniption fits,
Weapon of masked destruction trimming troubled teen waiting lists,
Subtle connect between sex and death easily found,
When your counsellors getting laid whilst I was left to drown!
So, I wait in weed wreathed waters,
To ensnare and make you share pain without borders,
Like going mouth to maw with man o war,
Stinging nettle surgery pumping every pore.
In your final agony,
You might just see,
The god called upon,
That fateful first Friday.
Listen is that the wind?
Plucking in panic pizzicato violins,
As I rise to reprise resurrection from demise,
Salvation assured by never-ending fear franchise!
Copyright. Mark Laing.
'Stay in the Foxhole' by William Sells
This is crazy, Sarge, they're everywhere, and it's so dark. Let's get outta here.
Stay in the foxhole.
But they've overrun 'A' and 'B' Squads.
Stay in the foxhole.
I can't sit here any longer, I'm going mad, I tell you.
Stay in the foxhole.
Why, Sarge, why? I just, I mean, okay. I'll stay.
Stay in the foxhole.
I'm staying, Sarge, I'm staying.
And you found him like this?
He saved my life...
Yeah, talking to his dead Sarge.
Talking to him? The Sarge's body is here and his head is over there.
Said it was dark.
Copyright. William Sells
'Hallowe’en’s been, and left' by Philip Burton
witches in ditches to sleep off the gig –
Gran dozing gently with frogs in her wig –
Dracula back in his coffin, underneath the weather –
bats scattered: gnomes gone home –
genie once more in the bottle – ghost risen to the loft –
and look! The butter has gone soft –
tooth-marks in the apples – eye holes in the pears –
pointy hat squashed very flat – streamers on the stairs –
half-chewed bonfire toffee, sticky, cold and fluffy –
and those little bits of sausage adhering to the wall
where Uncle Jack exploded over nothing much at all.
Copyright. Philip Burton.
'I Am Dead' by David Dumouriez
I am dead.
Now I am alive.
That sojourn done, the
microscopics join and pale;
the solid blocks of life gain frames.
Fear is gone; loss no longer loss.
Discrimination, once a set of
thrusts and wades, becomes
the product of an instant.
Transact with time,
locate this place.
Copyright. David Dumouriez.
'The Uninvited' by Lizzy Barmak
I saw him even though he was hiding,
the wallpaper distorted his luminous lime form,
I pulled the bedcover over my head as if I’d died.
Six fingers, spindly as an Aye-Ayes picker, stripped me
of my cotton shield and forced me up
as if to Tango. But I was no gothic beauty, he no charming vampire;
there would be no romance in our stop -
start, jerky dance.
The first time he visited he hadn’t bothered hiding.
He flipped into my life, a high jumper
with a pitchfork for a pole, landing as though to propose
his angular knee was millimetres from my crotch.
Waving jazz hands and flashing teeth sharp as his horns he ordained,
‘What’s for you won’t pass you by’
then broke into a gravely rendition of ‘Que sera sera.’
his portentous version fading out only after he’d vanished.
His ‘second coming’ was in the guise of tragedy,
the deafening chaotic clanging of church bells that knocks you to your knees
to make desperate, deal-making prayers
to a God you don’t believe in, but despite your conviction
of omniscient omnipresent absence
you still feel abandoned when your cries of,
‘Why!? Why!?’ Why!?’
bring no transcendental consolation.
Three strikes you’re out!
This time he came to gloat singing a reprieve of,
‘Que sera sera’ his breath reeking of mouldy mushrooms –
the ones you shouldn’t pick –
but they say you should face your demons so,
‘You d-don’t look like fucking D-Doris Day.’ I dared.
His slimy lime lips quivered with lascivious laughter.
‘W-what doesn’t k-kill y-you makes you s-stronger.’ I stuttered on.
Relishing the catch in my voice he slavered like a rabid Doberman,
‘Zzat why you’ve a stomach full of candy?’ he jibed
dipping me into Raggedy Ann limpness, shaking out my weakness
and dropping me to the floor to salvage the red dolls from my poison cookies.
With a rancid tongue, so long he didn’t need to stoop, he licked my face
Then, striking a hurdlers pose, he was gone
leaving his toxic saliva to sizzle on my shamed cheeks.
I screamed but nobody heard or, if they did, nobody came.
Copyright. Lizzy Barmak.
(And finally this little beauty... to cover my back....Happy Halloween! K ; )
'Dear Poetry Editor' by Michele Mekel
Thank you for your terse rejection email.
I appreciated the opportunity to read it, as you noted you did my verse.
After careful consideration (the same type you, no doubt, gave my submission),
I regret to inform you that your email now serves as a petition paper
inside the figure crafted in your likeness.
Not to worry, though, as it’s one of many in rotation on my altar,
with the poppet population continuing to grow—daily.
But, maybe on Monday, the ink in your favorite pen will suddenly dry up.
Per chance on Wednesday, the E key on your laptop will start to stick.
As of Friday, you’ll begin to feel telltale tingles of carpal tunnel in your writing hand.
You may think it merely a spate of bad luck.
If you’re superstitious, you may fear you’ve fallen from your muse’s favor.
But a few in your position—and you may be one—
will think back on that poetry you opted against selecting
Copyright. Michele Mekel.