Category Archives: Poetry

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!

 

 


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!


New Review for Come Fly with Death

Come Fly with Death Book Cover - Kindle

I honestly don’t know how I missed this, but there’s a new review for my poetry chapbook, Come Fly with Death: Poems Inspired by the Artwork of Zdzislaw Beksinki. I maybe shouldn’t say “new” review, as it went live way back in January. Okay, so it’s not exactly new, but if I haven’t seen it, it’s still new to me. Well anyhow, nearly four months later, I am quite pleased to have discovered it so I can share it with all of you, brag about it a little bit, and of course, dance the happy jig.

This review comes from author and publisher, Christina Escamilla, and was posted to the Christina Escamilla Publishing website on January 15, 2015. I’d like to give a huge thanks to Christina Escamilla for taking time to read this little chapbook and for posting this wonderful and very insightful review!

Here’s the first part of the review, followed by a link to the full review:

“Come Fly With Death is a collection of poems based on the artwork of Zdzislaw Beksinski.  The synopsis of the poetry collection gives more insight into Beksinski’s work by simply stating it is “surrealistic and graphic.”  That’s true, but beyond that Beksinski’s work also has an underpinning of death and life, beauty and ugliness.  If anything it is the ability to see that this duality is what makes life, well life.  To fully and truly appreciate life one must understand that life also comes with death, wrapped in the horror and ugliness and the realities of the world; whether its the knowledge of death itself or what humankind will do to one another.”

And the review also says this (yes, I’m bragging just a little):

“There is a darkness, a blackness in these poems, and to that end, they are not for everyone, but there’s no doubt – they are exceptionally well written and deeply memorable!”

Go on and Read the Full Review Here.

Find the book on Amazon, or grab a signed and personalized trade paperback from my website.

Cheers!


Free Today and Tomorrow – No Foolin’

Come Fly with Death Book Cover - Kindle

Hey folks! My little chapbook of horrific poetry, Come Fly with Death, is free today and tomorrow for Amazon Kindle. If you haven’t grabbed a copy yet, now’s your chance!

Here’s the rundown:

Come Fly with Death is a chapbook of 20 poems inspired by the artwork of the late Polish painter, Zdzislaw Beksinski. Up until the time of his murder in 2005, Beksinski created a fantastic collection of paintings, drawings, sculptures, and photographs, specializing in the field of utopian art.

Like Beksinski’s works, the poems contained here are surrealistic and graphic. They are at times horrific, Gothic, even erotic, and apocalyptic. Above all, they attempt to serve as a rare glimpse into the heart of our most beautiful nightmares.

Contains poems new and collected, including reprints from: The Horror Zine, Twisted Dreams Magazine, Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine, Indigo Rising Magazine, Gothic Poems and Fiction, Death Head Grin Anthology Vol. 2, and Fossil Lake: An Anthology of the Aberrant.

Thanks! Now go spread the word.

Cheers!


NaNoWriMo 2014 and Something, Something…Instagram!

Participant-2014-Twitter-ProfileI fizzled out on NaNoWriMo this year. I know, I know, I can hear you saying, “But it’s not over yet!” Okay, good point, but for me, it’s just not happening this year (despite how badly I want this “Slay 50K” T-Shirt!).

I have tons of excuses, all of which are just that, EXCUSES, and none the more probable truth that I just got lazy. But for laughs, let’s say we analyze a few of these excuses:

 

  • With my project this year to finish my Nano novel from last year, I quickly realized there wasn’t another 50k words left in it and feared that I was severely padding it. Participating in Nano last year was a great way to get started, but now I think what’s best for this novel is to do what I should have done in the first place, and that is slow down and finish the story at my natural writing pace, which is nowhere near 50k/month. (Make no mistake, I will finish this draft, but not before November 30th.)
  • After only one week, I felt like I was starting to burn out again, and didn’t want another eight months of barely writing such as what I experienced after Nano last year.
  • I’m stressed out over trying to find a new job. (I like this one, it feels very genuine!)
  • Perhaps it was just my way of distracting myself from the goal, but for some reason, my creativity was pulling me towards poetry. Being a true believer in following the muse and writing where the greatest energy is at the moment, I gave in and have let my recent focus drift into poetic verse. (Queue the opponents of  “hippie-dippie baloney.”)
  • I discovered Instagram, and have since found an uprising community of poets sharing their work to a receptive and welcoming audience. I have been enjoying the work of others and have also started to share some of my own. (Okay, not really an excuse, but makes for a nice segue into the rest of this post.)

Now for a word or two about Instagram:

Instagram

I still have no clue what I’m doing exactly, but have nonetheless been attempting this blending of media, writing and photography (even if it’s bad photography). I like that I can share my work in a more visual and striking manner, and it brings another element of creativity. Handwriting adds another personal touch (despite my atrocious handwriting). This has further kindled my desire to learn calligraphy, and eventually, with enough practice, I’d like to blend this art of beautiful handwriting with my words, perhaps even incorporate images to create something akin to the contemporary form of Japanese Haiga.

In just two short weeks on Instagram, I have been truly inspired by the work of some great writers, poets, artists, and photographers. Suddenly, my creative gears are spinning in exciting new directions and realizing a trove of possibilities. Honestly, I have no idea where this thing is going. For now I’m just learning, trying to post something every day, and happy to be part of this growing community of creative souls. So if you’d like, please join me and let’s take this journey together.

[P.S. Wasn’t this post supposed to be about NaNoWriMo?]

The Death in Me – Published in Bete Noire Issue #17

BN17I’m a little late in posting this, but Bete Noire Issue #17 is out now and it includes the first-time publication of my poem, The Death in Me.

In case you don’t know, Bete Noire is a great little quarterly magazine full of “…stories that are well written, character driven and have a dark bent to them.”

My poem, The Clog was first published in Issue #6 back in 2012 and it’s great to see this publication not only going strong, but getting better and better with each new issue. So pick up a copy of Issue #17 in print or digital format, and if you enjoy the stories in this magazine, (which I have no doubt you will) consider supporting this small press publisher by grabbing a subscription so you will never miss an issue again!

[P.S. In January look for a slightly revised version of my poem Another Light (first published in Phantom Kangaroo issue no. 9, July 2012) to be included in Bete Noire Issue #18!]


Hor·ri·fic Po·et·ics

HP

So I went and started a new blog. This one over at Tumblr. While I occasionally post poetry on here (and will continue to do so) I decided I wanted a virtual space dedicated to posting poetry, specifically that stuff I sometimes write with a darker edge to it.

Thus horrificpoetics.com was born.

I wanted something with a clean interface where I can just let the words speak for themselves, so you’ll find no fancy graphics or flashy images, nor any long-winded descriptions or endless explanations. Just poems (along with previous publication acknowledgments, if they exist).

I have installed the Disqus platform so I do encourage comments and/or questions, and I’d be happy to delve into conversations about each work or whatever thoughts or fears they may bring to mind.

Currently, there are only three poems up on the site, but I do plan on posting regularly, hopefully weekly. At least in the beginning, the content will primarily be previously published material, but I may sneak in some new stuff as well. If you don’t see a publication acknowledgment at the end of the post, it is previously unpublished and likely still a work in progress.

So head on over to Hor·ri·fic Po·et·ics, check it out and let me know what you think. Feel free to leave a comment over there and if you see something you like, share it with a friend!

Thanks for reading!


Free for Halloween: Come Fly with Death

Come Fly with Death Book Cover - KindleNow through Halloween you can grab a free Kindle copy of my horror-themed poetry chapbook, Come Fly with Death: Poems Inspired by the Artwork of Zdzislaw Beksinski. This promotion is for two days only, so don’t delay!

Oh, and tell your friends!

Book Description:

Come Fly with Death is a chapbook of 20 poems inspired by the artwork of the late Polish painter, Zdzislaw Beksinski. Up until the time of his murder in 2005, Beksinski created a fantastic collection of paintings, drawings, sculptures, and photographs, specializing in the field of utopian art.

Like Beksinski’s works, the poems contained here are surrealistic and graphic. They are at times horrific, Gothic, even erotic, and apocalyptic. Above all, they attempt to serve as a rare glimpse into the heart of our most beautiful nightmares.

Contains reprints from: The Horror Zine, Twisted Dreams Magazine, Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine, Indigo Rising Magazine, Gothic Poems and Fiction, Death Head Grin Anthology Vol. 2, and Fossil Lake: An Anthology of the Aberrant. Also includes several poems never before published.

Sample Poem:

COME FLY WITH DEATH

Come fly with Death
and feel the splitting as you come apart
with turbulent screams bifurcating bones.

Flee further from this life–
unfurl your wings and soar
with tangled feathers cutting the night.

Join his skeleton beak,
slicing stabs at airless wind,
and wield its dashing spine.

Stay near to glinting shroud and glide,
knowing tattered wings will guide,
as whispering scars are left behind.

Go now into that hollow abyss,
but do not pass the dark in calmness;
break the barrier with raging clamor!

Do not scrape or merely crawl.
Come fly with Death–
and swoop, and yawp, and bawl.


Come Fly with Death

Come Fly with Death Book Cover - Kindle

Come Fly with Death: Poems Inspired by the Artwork of Zdzislaw Beksinski is available now as an ebook for $0.99 and trade paperback for $5.99, and will also be available to order through your local bookstore in the coming weeks.

Below you’ll find two poems from this chapbook (two because I failed to post yesterday when my iPad became possessed). First is the title poem, ‘Come Fly with Death’ along with ‘Bring the Light.’ You can also sample three additional poems which I’ve previously posted: ‘One in Hell,’ ‘Ocean Eyes,’ and ‘Hell Fossil.’

Thank you so much for having a look at my work, and if you like it, tell a friend! (If you don’t like it, just pretend you never read it.)

 

COME FLY WITH DEATH

Zdzislaw Beksinski

Zdzislaw Beksinski

Come fly with Death
and feel the splitting as you come apart
with turbulent screams bifurcating bones.

Flee further from this life—
unfurl your wings and soar
with tangled feathers cutting the night.

Join his skeleton beak,
slicing stabs at airless wind,
and wield its dashing spine.

Stay near to glinting shroud and glide,
knowing tattered wings will guide,
as whispering scars are left behind.

Go now into that hollow abyss,
but do not pass the dark in calmness;
break the barrier with raging clamor!

Do not scrape or merely crawl.
Come fly with Death—
and swoop, and yawp, and bawl.

 

BRING THE LIGHT

Zdzislaw Beksinski

Zdzislaw Beksinski

What wretched creatures lie before me!
Squealing, squirming in the dark,
enthralled
amidst their feasting orgy.

Gnashing teeth, spattering blood,
festering bone;
their tongues dance along the drips
of other men’s pain.

A cryptic overseer
looms beyond the mist,
his crow shoulders
pecking upon the scars.

A thousand wicked grins
gleam from rubble and from rot,
a pile of waste—
dead men leering in the dark.

A door to freedom is at their backs,
but most will never see it,
long since trading eyes
for sharper teeth and larger maws.

But I bring the Light,
and I wear the shroud.
My candle burns;
my flame never falters.

The Bearer of the Cross walks beside me.
We pass among the throng
and it parts before our steps;
like the splitting seas—

I bring the Light
and the darkness scatters.

 


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