Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday to you! we sang to my brother when he’d just turned two. Make a wish and blow out the candle, we said. He took a big breath and his face turned bright red. Then he let it all go … Continue reading Happy Birthday, Halloween
The sun setting red on the corpse of the ship,
backlit the masts—their whirl and their whip
and the snap of the shredded, sad sails and the lip
of the wheel forsaken—the captainless crypt,
unnamed on the waters, so ghastly and still,
stirring now Northward, now Southward, at will.
Now the sun slips into the grave night,
and great is that silence that sound dare not fight.
With creaking and clinking and rattling thin
commotion on board. All quiet. And then
an anchor leaps up and over the side.
It crustily plunges and sinks with great pride,
and as it descends, it pulls the moon out—
that puppeteer master-maestro about
to orchestrate chaos, the devilish fun,
the overture set with the anchor and sun.
With silvery spirals of spiderweb spun
he picks up the players. The action’s begun.
A skeletal hand snakes over the side,
soon joined by others, some thin and some wide,
all jagged and pallid which whispering speak,
so strong at the hinges they cringingly squeak.
They raise from their sleep, that skeletal crew,
plagued by the dirges deep under the blue,
the song of the depths of the sea of the dead,
a rhythmic occurrence that echoes with dread:
the screeching of chains, the smashing of swells,
the undersea funeral knelling of bells.
The beasts of the deep, from tales and tomes,
rise up to meet with the puppeteered bones.
They circle and circle and circle the ship,
a swirling Charybdis of roaring and rip.
The moon overhead shares his eerie-faced grin.
The skeletons dance and in unison spin,
cavorting and leaping and scraping around
the mast of the ship with their unholy sound.
Then, at the apex, the zenith enraged
with all of those forces that ought to be caged,
all that is horror and terror and dark,
chaos chromatic with colorless spark,
diminished their music to timorous thrill.
The air of the ocean stood suddenly still.
The skeletons froze and collapsed into death.
The whirlpool lapsed with its leathery breath.
The pseudomellifluous tones held their rest,
an endless fermata, unsettled, unblessed.
The anchor drew up and back onto the deck.
The moon cut the strands and down sunk the wreck.
Thump, Thump, Splat!
Each autumn when the leaves began to turn from green to orange, the small town of Ravensberg in the Bracken Valley would earnestly prepare for the Great Fall Festival. Wreaths of orange, yellow, and red leaves would appear on front doors, grandmothers would begin practicing their pie making for the Great Pie-Pickin’ Contest, and kids would whisper schemes to win the Great Costume Competition. By tradition, one thirteen-year-old would have the honor of picking a pumpkin for the top of Graveyard Hill and overseeing the carving ceremonies at the Great Fall Festival.
This year, a fiery, redheaded boy, one Asher Rash, was chosen to fetch the Great Pumpkin. “I’ll get the biggest, best Great Pumpkin Ravensberg has ever seen!” Asher boasted to his grandmother one day as she was baking her (more…)
There’s a nightmare in the closet
And a monster down the hall.
A bell is tolling slowly,
Counting down to dark for all.
There’s a thumping in the floorboards,
And a pumping in the wall,
The moon’s great eye is watching,
As the werewolf makes his call.
There’s a screaming in the distance,
And death, but that’s not all,
Of Poe’s more morbid musings.
Though they scare us, they enthrall.
Weekly Post Challenge: I Wish I Were
I’d always heard of people spacing important dates- birthdays, anneversaries, and even President’s day- but I’d never considered forgetting something so fundamental as today. I suppose it all began when I decided what to wear today.
In the spirit of spontinaety, I reached into my closet, fishing around for a surprise t-shirt. My hand closed around some soft cotten folds, and I withdrew a grey “A Charlie Brown Christmas!” shirt from the depths of the closet. “Why not?” I thought. “What could possibly go wrong?” I hadn’t worn the thing in about a year, and it was sure to get noticed by my friends. I slipped it over my head and floated to the kitchen for a hearty bowl of Cheerio’s.
When I got to school my friend, Gary, a football guru, was sporting an Angry Birds t-shirt and a matching red cape. “Under-achieving as usual, Joseph?” Gary said, elbowing me. I thought nothing of the jab, though I should have noticed at that point.
Clueless as ever I floated into first period. “Hey J!” called Samantha as soon as I crossed the threshhold of my physics class. “Forget something today?” I glanced at the board. “Pumpkin Chunkin’ Lab today!” was scrawled across the whiteboard in the usual orange expo marker.
I actually hadn’t forgotten the lab. I sat down at my desk and as Mr. Victor walked by.
“Nice costume, Joseph!” he said, clapping me on the back. “I love your premature enthusiasm.”
It took a couple seconds to sink in, but it did.
Seeing my blank face, Samantha said, “What? You didn’t forget Halloween did you?”
I wish I hadn’t. I felt my face turn Angry-Bird-red.
I wish I were wearing a real costume today, instead of a Christmas t-shirt.
Let me detail, for you now,
Listen of this massacre.
Harken! Every word.
In the early autumn,
When chill wind begins to churn,
Groups of people stalk the night,
‘Neath Moon’s ethereal burn.
Armed with knives, they slice the night,
-Their chosen tool of crime-
To torture many vicitms,
In dark and dreary time.
First they use their tools,
To isolate the one,
Whom they feel deserves it most,
They laugh and call it ‘fun’.
They plunge their knives into the skin,
And saw and hack and scream,
In delight, for this night,
And its twisted dream.
Then with hands, bare and raw,
They squish into the guts,
And revel in the slick of slime,
And continue making cuts.
And by the time the work is done,
Their victims’ faces gaunt,
Some in pain or missing teeth,
Or sick with ghostly haunt.
And for good measure in the dark,
They light a single match,
To burn within and end the deed,
Then, leave the pumpkin patch.