I know, I know, poetry and horror are two things some might describe as…incongruous. But I love ’em. I’m one of those die hard poets who feels the art can make a comeback in the digital age, and that genre doesn’t matter as long as one’s poem is excellent.
I can’t exactly claim these two are excellent, but there are some of my better poetic explorations* in the world of scary literature over the last few months. They were compiled for an anthology submission to a book on gothic horror. Enjoy!
* Note to certain readers: these poems are not, I repeat, not autobiographical.
A Victorian Maiden Speaks
It’s time I had a voice.
One of the ethereal and persistently silent
in your stories, erratic and spindly,
always has the vapors,
which is just a polite way of saying
I’m suffocating, you intolerable gentlemen,
too quaint to ask a lady to unlace,
breath deep and sit down.
I am sensuous only in dreamscape.
The rest of the time, I’m so upright
my ribs are brittle as xylophone
plinked in the deafening vacuum of parlors.
I have little else to do but learn to speak
when spoken to, eat little, inhale less.
My mind sits empty as a secret diary
no one has the key for.
My quill pen scrawls over only stationary.
Is it any wonder the ghosts come for me?
The Vampire with his blood washed tongue?
I am such easy prey. Idle and vulnerable,
though the proverbs say this makes me workshop
for the devil. And you say you’re not the devil.
I am your creation, tied up, immobilized, awaiting.
You do not want me filled by any other
than He Who Shall Be Called Husband.
What if no husband finds me?
Whom do I wait for then?
Whom do I wait for?
In this House, High on the Hill
Here we are ensnared by our small forest.
The trees snarl and bite.
I am one who has been bitten
by their vines, the arbiters
of terrible complacency.
I want for nothing
but this enclave holds me
tighter than any man could,
or anyone else for that matter,
Abbess, overlord, jailer,
all the options I have for escape.
I will not escape.
Here, we have unsettling noises at night.
Ceaseless clamor, phantom footsteps,
and, once, an appalling shriek at midnight,
like someone falling to a death
that would never end.
No one talked of it again.
No one talks of the blood streaks
on the bedclothes,
or the hideous, heart-pained dragging
of the chains he made her wear
her entire married life.
So what if his coin purse is still fat?
What will it matter when I am old and green
like the forest?
The unknown beyond the vines
still scares me more that what I know here.
A consequence of knowing too much
and growing too comfortable.
I am his pet, another word
I will not escape.