Three Haunting Poems for Halloween

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Happy Halloween! To help get into the spirit, here are three spooky poems written by yours truly. Below you will find a haunted lighthouse, some creepy crawlers, and of course, zombies. Enjoy and stay scary, my friends!

 

ANOTHER LIGHT

The echoing haunt
of breaking waves
cringe upon the verge

of this world and the next,
rising to the tower,
white stone bleached

from wind and sea and salt,
into the eye
whose light reaches

cresting depths
where Lost Ones lie
in dripping graves

to fill saddened ears
dwelling upon the loss.
And when Moon staggers in,

wipes her feet upon the mat,
another light is seen
at aberrant angles

from the rocks,
finding form
in lamenting figure,

bleeding, glowing,
bleeding, glowing—
searching for home.

 

THE SKITTERING

On his skin they crawl;
as he sleeps
they dominate his flesh.

He’s aware of them
in the deep corridors of his dreams,
running the gauntlet of twisted nightmares.

The prickling sensations
penetrate his pores
as tiny legs tickle the hairs.

They scour across his eyes
and loom in the hot moisture
of his snoring mouth.

They find rest upon the soft tongue,
as dew from slumbered breath
settles on shells of black bodies.

When morning comes,
and he rises from the abyss of hellish sleep,
there is no sight of them,

yet he feels the impressions left behind
all the pulsing echoes—
of the skittering across his skin.

 

FROM CORN TO SEA

I.

I see
the broken slivers of Earth, wilting metal and glass crumbling with shards of the dead–mangled masses returned with withered memories and without reasoning.

I run,
abandoned like my dying crop, as they approach, rotting like the livestock.

I fear
the desquamated wave, brittle and desiccated, eclipsing the land, pounding pavement into dust, blood-flaked stains all that remain, seeping into every corner–a typhoon forever famished, ready to consume until all safe ground is swept. And so,

I turn
from corn to sea.

II.

I sail
for days skimming the coast, floating in serenity, my body the vessel, spine forged into a keel, rising upon the crest of life breaking into depths, until awareness pulls me from the sanctuary of dreams, and

I feel
the churning, gentle at first, a whisper beneath the waves, softly stirring, and then

I see
the gruesome truth within my mind: the hoard marching onward, risen dead rising, filling the ocean floor, floating closer, hands reaching, jaws snapping, and

I fade.

III.

I wake,
searing pain bites my flesh, skin so cold it burns, body still submerged, lapping in a sea-salt froth, scraping the nook of jagged rock, ice-cold shards sticking to my skin.

I pull,
and my cheeks peel from muscle and muscle shreds from bone.

I shudder;
the ripping screams echo in my ears.

I rise
and climb the edge of rock, a stone island off the shore. The horizon, a bone-white beach overflowing with bloated dead flowing into the sea, eroding like edges of the Earth.

I hear–
click and turn to face a man with shotgun to my head. He quivers in fear, but not of them, of me. And in his reflected eye

I see
the truth of what I’ve become: a hideous thing, pink and peach peeling from blue-gray skin beneath, slimy webbed extremities and bulbous yellowed eyes. But as the man’s skull pops within my multi-hinged maw,

I begin
to see beauty. But the air grows too thin for my shrinking lungs, and the new-formed slits in my throat flutter, gurgle, and hiss in thirst. And so,

I turn
from corn to sea.

 

Come Fly with Death Book Cover - KindleThanks for reading! If you enjoyed these and would like to explore more of my work, my debut chapbook, Come Fly with Death: Poems Inspired by the Artwork of Zdzislaw Beksinski is available in print and on Kindle.

CREDITS:

  • Another Light originally published: Phantom Kangaroo, issue no. 9, July 13, 2011.
  • The Skittering originally published: The Horror Zine, October 2011.
  • From Corn to Sea originally published: Devolution Z Magazine, April 2016.
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Come Fly with Death, Happy Birthday!

Come Fly with Death Book Cover - KindleThree years ago today, I published my first book, Come Fly with Death: Poems Inspired by the Artwork of Zdzislaw Beksinski. In that time I have been blown away by the reception it has received, selling ~150 print copies and 100+ digital copies, has been read 143 times from Kindle Unlimited, and has thus far received very favorable reviews. That may not sound like much as far as sales compared to the national bestsellers, but for a little chapbook like this, I couldn’t be more pleased with the results. I am so thankful that people are enjoying this little book of ekphrastic poetry inspired by my favorite painter, the late Zdzislaw Beksinski. In recognition of the book’s three year anniversary, the kindle edition will be free for three days starting tomorrow, Friday the 13th.

I can hardly believe it’s been three years and I’d say I’m overdue for a followup. To that end, I currently have three more chapbooks well in the works, the first of which (and possibly second) should be out in the coming year. I will post more info on these in the coming months. In the meantime, if you haven’t already done so, you can check out my horror novel, Feeding Lazarus (written as Rafe Grayson from Azoth Khem Publishing), a dark tale of morbid wish fulfillment about a bullied young boy named Daniel, the monsters in his life, and his interactions with a dead man.

If you happen to live in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area of Florida, I will be at my favorite local bookstore, Books at Park Place tonight from 6-8pm signing copies of both books, along with other horror authors for the store’s Thursday the 12th Horror Authors event. Come by for some books, scary tales, and an overall spooky good time to get into the spirit of the season.

That’s all for now. Thanks again to all who have supported me! Cheers!

 

 


Book Review: 31 Tales from Hellview Cemetery

61mczpcfmyl31 Tales from Hellview Cemetery is a fantastic collection of creepy stories, most of which are based on urban legends and ghost lore from around the Bay Area of Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida. One might assume that a book of scary stories such as this would be specific for Halloween. While I can easily say that this book is in fact essential for one’s Halloween goodie bag, this is simply a great read for any time of the year. There is a vast assortment of unique and interesting characters, ghouls and ghosts, from the thing hiding under your bed, to the creepy old neighbor.

Meet Emily, the little girl with the red buckled shoes you keep seeing everywhere; doesn’t she seem familiar? Take a doomed walk through Boyd Hill at night; will you dare to face what lies beneath its dark and churning waters? Say ‘Hi’ to The Fangrrl, who takes her Fandoms deadly serious; will she become your new obsession, or will you become hers? Step under the Big Top of a Terror-filled circus; can you survive even a mere glimpse of its final performance? Go camping with Jack; can you begin to imagine the surprise he has for you? These are just a few of the folks you’ll meet throughout this horrifying journey in Hellview.

There is so much to love in this book. The twists are surprising, if not downright shocking. It is extremely well-written, but above all it is thoroughly entertaining. The stories are further accentuated with the accompaniment of the grimly-gorgeous photography of Susan Black.

Kudos to Mark Muncy, A.K.A The Caretaker, and his co-author Elizabeth Abbott! I can’t wait to see what’s next for these denizens of Hellview Cemetery. Highly, highly recommended!


Horror for a Cause: Book Sales to Support Bullying Prevention

imageYou may or may not be aware of this, but October is National Bullying Prevention Month. As the primary theme in my book “Feeding Lazarus” is a message of anti-bullying, during the entire month of October, 50% of the total profits from the book’s sale will be donated to PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center in support of this cause and to help bring awareness.

As a personal victim of bullying, abuse, and social exclusion, this is an issue I feel very strongly about. I’ve not only been a victim, but I’ve also been a witness. I’ve seen it happen numerous times. Some of those times, I’ve done something about it. Other times, I haven’t. The latter, well, those are times I’m not very proud of.

Let’s face it, the truth is, we’ve all been there. We’ve all seen it happen in some form or another.  Sometimes, we’ve done something, and sometimes we’ve chosen to look away. We can’t all be Superman, but we CAN choose to be a hero; we can do something about it. NOW. We can all stand up to bullies. We can choose to say something when we see it happening; we can tell them to stop. We have that power. We can also donate, fundraise, or just help spread the word. And please keep in mind, that bullying, abuse, and social exclusion are not just inherent to schoolyard pranks and high-school antics. It happens to adults, in the workplace, in our homes, even within our own families.

Bullying is an atrocity. Lives are lost. Suicides result. It needs to stop. We all need to stand up and say, “The End of Bullying Begins with Me.” Daniel, the main character in “Feeding Lazarus,” represents all the times I looked away; writing his story, that’s me doing something about it. That is me beginning.

I’d like to say thank you to my publisher, Jaded Books Publishing, for their wonderful support of this truly important cause with matching contributions.

Please do share and spread the word. Also, I highly encourage you to visit PACER’s website on Bullying Prevention. While there, consider leaving a small donation if you are able, and also discover many other ways you can help this cause to End Bullying. Thank you for your time.


Book Review: Zeller’s Alley

imageIn Zeller’s Alley, the debut poetry collection by poet B. Diehl, we get over 100 pages of poetry that offer not only a combination of personal reflection and social commentary, but also an enticing memoir as we look through the mind of this young man as he recalls and processes key moments from his life.

In Zeller’s Alley, we live his experiences. We know his passions. We feel his pain. We burn with his angst. By the end of this collection, I almost felt as if I knew the poet personally. I certainly learned much about him through these pages, and no doubt, I learned a bit more about myself in the process.

Over the course of these poems, Diehl proves without a doubt that, despite his age, he is a seasoned wordsmith with much to say. There is no fat here. Zeller’s Alley is a trimmed and solid collection of quality poetry. Overall, I highly enjoyed it. It was entertaining, compelling, and thought-provoking from cover to cover. I will be anxious to see what this very talented poet does next. Heavily recommended!

Purchase Zeller’s Alley at Amazon HERE.

Connect with B. Diehl via his Website HERE.


Feeding Lazarus to be Published by Fat Lip Press!

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So here’s that awesome news I hinted about last week:

On September 2nd I will unleash Feeding Lazarus upon the world. The contract with Fat Lip Press is signed and the gears are in motion. I must say, for such a short book, this has been a long time in the making. What started out as two individual short story concepts that got fused together after I realized they were in fact different parts of the same story, and what then aspired to become a short novelette, but after countless rewrites and revisions over the last five years, has grown into a short novel/extended novella.

I believe one reason I’ve taken so long with this is simply due to the nature of this story. Have no doubt, this is a tale of visceral horror, and it deals with some extremely horrific real world issues, primarily that of bullying and abuse. Though Feeding Lazarus  is a work of pure fiction, I have both witnessed and experienced such atrocities in my own life, and that makes this a very personal story for me.

My hope is that the themes and underlying messages in Feeding Lazarus will resonate with others who have had similar experiences, and perhaps bring to light the severe impact these real life nightmares have on their victims. Perhaps it could also become a catalyst to inspire those who witness such things happening to stand up, stand strong, be the hero and take action to stop the bullying, the abuse, and the social exclusion that torments the lives of so many each and every day.

So mark your calendars, for on September 2nd I bring you Feeding Lazarus from Fat Lip Press! And stay tuned, I’ll post updates as we get closer to the release including excerpts from the book and the all important cover reveal. Oh, and happy Father’s Day!

Cheers!

 


Book Review: Sacrificial Nights

imageThe writing team of Boston-Manzetti is a poetic tour de force that cannot be denied. Sacrificial Nights is a testament to this, grabbing you from page one, dragging you into its dark and seedy world woven with twisted characters, horrific happenings, and powerful, memorable imagery. When these two masters, each themselves Bram Stoker Award Winners, blend their voices together, the result is utterly fantastic!

Sacrificial Nights is a great concept that is not only a collection of poems, but creates a poetic novella when read from start to finish as it is meant to be read. I absolutely love this concept and was more than pleased when reading Sacrificial Nights to discover that Boston-Manzetti realize this concept to an astonishing effect, creating not just a superb collection of collaborative poems, but a truly exquisite work of art.

If you are a fan of Bruce Boston or Alessandro Manzetti then you have likely already bought this or are going to. But if you are new to either of these great writers, buy this, read it, but don’t stop there. Go forth and explore the individual works of both of these fantastic, award-winning authors.

Cheers for Boston-Manzetti’s Sacrificial Nights!

Sacrificial Nights is available now in ebook and Paperback editions.


Book Review: The Godgame

imageIf you’re reading this then you might be deciding whether or not you should buy The Godgame by Keith Deininger, so let’s cut to the chase. Should you buy The Godgame? Absolutely yes!

I have been following Keith’s work since before he even published his first book, and I must say, he just keeps getting better. With each new release he shows that he is constantly honing his skills and becoming a true master of his craft.

In The Godgame, Keith displays what a truly exceptional storyteller that he is. And that’s what it all comes down to, the story. The story is what keeps us reading, what keeps us turning the pages late into the night, and The Godgame is a wonderfully captivating story set in a vivid and dark fantasy world that is unlike anything I’ve ever read. It is enticing, thoughtful, and absolutely fantastic!

Buy it, love it, tell your friends about. You won’t be disappointed.

Cheers for Keith Deininger’s The Godgame!


A Few Things, and a Tease

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So I know it’s been quiet on the blog here lately, the cobwebs are even getting stale, but fear not, I have been quite busy doing all the stuff I usually do, you know, lurking in the shadows, stalking about in people’s dreams, harvesting the Blood of the Dragon, oh and writing of course.

I currently have some sixty-plus new poems written that I’m starting to shop around to various markets. A few of those have hit publication recently or are forthcoming, like my poem From Corn to Sea in April’s Devolution Z Magazine, these poems just published at Tuck Magazine, oh and some reprinted work here on UFO Gigolo. There are a couple of other poetry projects I’m working on like this: In So Many Words: Interviews and Poetry from Today’s Poets, edited by Adam Levon Brown and Claudine Nash.

Now, the title of this post promised some teasing, and I’m nothing else if not a man of my word, so here we go. It appears that I have a pretty AWESOME ANNOUNCEMENT to make, but I’m not going to tell you about it right now (hence the tease).

See, we writers tend to be a sadistic bunch, and I get far too much pleasure out of keeping people in suspense. Well that and I’d like to iron out more of the details first. Honestly, I received this news so recently that it still feels a bit surreal, and I’d like to marinate in it for a bit I suppose. But once a few more things come to light, I’ll make the announcement right here on the blog, so stay tuned (but please don’t hold your breath, there are enough corpses in my writing as it is). I will tell that it has to do with a certain fiction project  I’ve been working on, off and on, for about the last five years.

So until next time, stay thirsty my friends, or stay classy, or drunk, or something. Whatever.

Cheers!


Happy Halloween! Come Fly with Death: Free Days

Come Fly with Death Book Cover - Kindle

Hi folks! Happy soon-to-be Halloween!

As a special promotion for Halloween, the ebook edition of my dark poetry chapbook, Come Fly with Death: Poems Inspired by the Artwork of Zdzislaw Beksinski, is free for Amazon Kindle starting today, Thursday, October 29th, and lasting through Sunday, November 1st. That’s four days to grab a copy if you haven’t already done so, plus a little extra time to duct tape your friends to chairs and force them politely invite your friends to do the same.

Also, I highly encourage you to visit beksiński.pl to learn more about Zdzislaw Beksinski and immerse yourself in his fantastic, horrific, and truly beautiful works of art.

Thanks for reading, and thanks again for all your support.

Cheers!


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