Two Dark Poems by David Galef: “Insomnia, Take 7” and “Precipitation”

Insomnia, Take 7
In the final corners of the night
Lie the crumb-starved remnants of sleep.
Your mind lies elsewhere, picking at wounds
That once were only skin-deep.

Along the narrow tracks of the bed
Run three paths out of the room,
Two of them ending only in dread,
The other, the crack of doom.

The uneven plaster slapped on the wall
Betrays a zig-zag plot
That inches toward infinity
Like a never-boiling pot.

Your awkward writhings under the sheet
Enact a suppressed demonstration
Against some horribly unfair law
That crucifies you to your station.

The light from the hallway beckons
Like a baleful reminder of God
Transformed to a crab-faced clown
Who’ll never so much as nod.

Ten statues of inability
Crouch in disfigured stone,
Rehearsing all your failures
Until you’re entirely alone.

Did you leave the gas on, gas on, gas on?
Your conscience asks with a stammer.
In just a few stunted hours,
The day will return with a hammer.

A handful of pills that flood the system;
The countdown begins at two.
The only stranger in the bed
Is no one else but you.
After the rain, the puddles recede,
Minor mutinies that flow
From the emptied plaza to
The narrow, draining streets below,
Pooling all their capital
Into a bank of mud
That hasn’t seen so much as a trickle
Of oil, sweat, or blood.
Since the time of the abattoir,
The gutter holds its own supply.
Even the air feels lighter,
Free of the lowering sky
Like a skittering horse without reins
Or a turbulent waterway
Purged of the urge to drown
Whoever escapes the fray,
Until the oncoming reign,
Hazy but looming huge,
Building toward another flood.
Après moi, le deluge.

David Galef has published over 200 poems in places ranging from The Yale Review and The Gettysburg Review to Witness and Measure, as well as two poetry books, Flaws and Kanji Poems, and two chapbooks, Lists and Apocalypses. Day job: professor of English and creative writing program director at Montclair State University; also editor of Vestal Review, the longest-running flash fiction magazine on the planet., @dgalef.

Two Dark Poems by Keea Mihaly: “Obsequy” and “Perfidy”

Tell me, were you looking for fortune, were you looking for gold?  
When you dragged me with those peccant hands from the earth?  
Or were you burying a secret, were you hiding your lies?  
When you seized my body and pulled it away? 
Tell me, did someone see you?   
Did the woods shriek? 
When the moss fell off my body and the dead leaves quivered.  
Tell me, did my cold touch fondle you?  
Did my crusted blood prick you? 
Did you look at me, dead, in the eyes? 
Was I still me? Did you find me in that pallid green? 

Was I more beguiling? Spiritless and motionless? 
Was your eulogy a lie told to the crowd? 
Why did you come back?  
Did you forget the knife?
I foresaw your betrayal months before it happened.  
I perceived it, I sensed it, I expected it. 

I became aware of your presence lurking at the windows, gazing at the horizon, looking for a way out.  
The gates were closed and the doors were sealed but in my bones, I felt your itch for freedom. 

I heard your silent apostasy. 
I knew you wanted to leave me. 
I caught sight of your shadow creeping behind me while I was asleep. 
I watched you sharpening knives in a house that never eats. 
I recognized your anguish, your indecisiveness, your torment flooding the corridors of our temple of love. 
I found you under a cypress, humming a tune that wasn’t mine. 
I caught you unfolding an image from your pocket, just to press it on your lips and stash it away.  
So I did nothing when you cowardly decided to stab me in the back. 
I didn’t plead. 
I didn’t cry. 
I didn’t scream. 
I just turned to you, so you could look into my eyes one last time, while my blood was painting murals of love on white walls. 

Keea Mihaly it’s an aspiring writer from Transylvania. She graduated with a BA in archaeology from the Babeș-Bolyai University.

When she doesn’t write dark poetry by candlelight in her coffin-shaped bed you can find her taking pictures of the moon and doing tarot readings to strangers.

Three Dark Poems by Stephen Jarrell Williams: “Out of This World”, “Longing” and “Bitter”

Out of this World
She threatens to bite
if they get too close

her body sun-painted

her backpack and robe
on the curve of the shore

she covers her ears
crowd closing in

their voices
wanting more than a touch

for she's far from old
preparing to leave this hell

wet sand
up to her ankles

wave wash
up to her knees

holding her arms out
bearing her cross

the crowd halts
eyes wide unable to blink

she stands firm
in the sand and salt of the sea

ocean settling
into an immense pool of silence

seagulls circling
singing songs with actual words

thousands of fish rising
spinning in a dance

a distant whale surfacing
huge with angry eyes

crowd running
back into the sins of the city

now understanding
she's one of the chosen ones

soon to be raptured
out of this world.

He touched you
unable to sleep
until he filled you
with his poetry

and you took
his words
as someone else's
not believing
every syllable
was only for you

Years later
when you left

you had the one
most women long for

and now you regret
him again

poem after poem
a thousand pages
just for you

little by little
on every word.
Everything at her fingertips
And everyone
But no one completely

All these years
Looks and body
Eye-catcher near perfect

Until age bent her bitter
Teeth sharpening into a horror
Cavities decaying

Mine effigies
Oozing from her brain pores
Snake ghosts

Bread of dry crumbling cells
Burnt toast

Wrapped in a hardening cocoon
Captivity hung

Nightmare on a hangman's noose
Sobbing until cutting loose

The fall
A last grasp
Changing slap

Picking herself up
Stumbling to the pond in the garden
Moon-mirror waters

Cupping her hands to drink

Ripples of time she tastes
Finally understanding herself

Acceptance of mercy
Bitterness into freedom

Beautiful wilting of a flower.

“Bitter” was first published in “Black Poppy Review”, May 2018.

Stephen Jarrell Williams loves to stay up all night and write with lightning bolts until they fizzle down behind the dark horizon.  He was editor of Dead Snakes, UFO Gigolo, and Calvary Cross.  He can be found on Twitter as papapoet.

Dark Poetry by Jamie Seibel: “War Stone”

                            Graves open 
                                            in twilight.
             Unfortunate soldiers 
          beneath sedimentary rock. 
                        Minds drip
                                           ping like red streams.
A dark shoreline filled 
           the tears 
                       of aimless wanderers 
                                of another life.

Jamie Seibel earned a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing with an emphasis in poetry from California State University, Sacramento. Her work is forthcoming in Versification Poetry Zine and Wingless Dreamer. In her spare time, Jamie likes to write short stories, draw, and take nature walks with her dog. She hopes to publish her own poetry collection by next year. 

Three Dark Poems by Jack Harvey: “Relics”, “Cassandra”, and “New York Down and Dirty”

"Relics" Poem by Jack Harvey
Goethe and Schiller Memorial, Theaterplatz, Weimar, Germany. Photo by Lina Foe. Distributed under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 4.0 International
Schiller’s skull
on Goethe’s table
awaits interment.
The unspeakable,
the mothering earth,
impressed with too
many monuments,
is dumb;
unanswered Beethoven’s
out in the cold.

Mann’s Faust,
lost in spiritual ice,
like a crane stretches
from one shipwreck
to the next;
shipwrecked for good,
Schiller’s skull,
thrown up
by an unsteady sea,
lingers on the beach.

Consider the consequences
of genius or exceptional eyes
and ears, limbs and
all the rest;
like the rest of us
consigned to jumping over
fences till death
do you part
from the earthly part,
the dross, the gloss
on the text;

consider the ant,
you dreamers,
and fall back in line.

The fires of creation and
the winds of the muses
blew through Schiller’s head,
possessing him and possessed;
breathed on by divine lips,
eyes rolling like windmills,
he suffered the bread 
of pain, the water 
of anguish,
scribbled away and
the legions of the lesser
built their castles on his books,
built on his backbone.

Long ago
in the dark German woods
Varus had his problems.
Rome marched back and forth
in the damp and the cold;
the southern Mediterranean light
paled, and went out.

Centuries later
turned south;
dignity and sun
drew on enthusiasm;
the sacrifices of yore
dimmed to a point
and then all was light.
Light from the dome
blasted the dark
sides of the temples
white as sheets;
Schiller, at the 
zenith of his flight,
as Zeno’s arrow
looks out:
an eagle fixed.

Now on a table
his skull
grins at the skill
not lost;
the bard shall not 
go speechless to Orcus.

And Goethe,
setting like Antares,
sees a pattern everywhere;
moonlight and 
hope at the last. 

Goodbye both;
you served us
better than most,
raised us
high as the Venusberg,
sunk us
to the depths 
of the Brocken.
Flesh and bone conjurers,
sufferers of human ills,
your secrets are safe
with us,
your honorable works
stand in unbroken ranks.

Immer besser,
immer heiterer,
the dark side,
the light,
live off the flame;
Schiller’s skull,
balanced in Goethe’s hand,
grins like an ape,
and then dies again.
Mystic the moon-pools
of your willful soul,
those secret eyes buried
in your skull,
the skill to see,
looking beyond
the first light.

Dawn doth float
above the uneasy sleep
that God forgets;
heeding the call,
the littlest things,
the very worms,
like Cadmus creatures
of another breed,
wriggling out of the earth
turn to dragons.
You know it
before it happens;
nobody listens.

Alone we two
fain would be;
the forests of
your fair eyebrows knit;
you see it all.

Outside the drawn curtains
the placid lawn takes a breath;
stepping forward in the east
the rosy, the hourless,
the enormous sun
starts up, showing
the rim of its everlasting eye.

Midnight, my cry sounded
up and down the bedroom,
you were gone,
gone your second sight;
I lay wounded,
terrified, despondent.

Impossible in this dawn,
in this day arising,
if you came to me
there would be
less delight
in your sweet presence
than knowing the future;
forget, forget,
at noon I work
spider spinning,

Onward the sun on course,
dropping down the heavens
towards night;
across this land comes
twilight slowly, then
dark and then the real
lights of heaven come on,
tiny and distinct,
and here on earth
the false ones.

You see it all,
clear as the neon signs
we see, the future
speaks to you,
impossible burden,
and you tell us
the tragic end
of all our labors,
our mighty strivings.

In your prophecies,
your visions
thrown to the winds,
your truth for us
just as clear
and useless
as broken glass. 
New York Down and Dirty
Some people walk
the barrios, the bad areas,
these crowded wicked streets,
these dark and menacing streets,
with a certain step;
no matter what
ken the way, have the means,
have defenses, have no fear, unease
or surmise no abiding danger,
fatal consequence,
vicious attack 
of some jack-in-the-box,
a beating by
moon-maddened thugs,
malignant meeting 
with some vengeful maniac.

Walking these streets,
others surrender cold turkey,
vox clamantis, to abject fear,
a fear that goes beyond the pale 
of ignorance, of frailty 
in the face of mayhem.

Look and see
this multifarious sprawl
of latticed streets, the surround of
stoop-ridden slatterns and drunks
punching holes through the fourth wall,
through the musings 
of the home-bound banker,
suburbed in bitty splendor;
what does he know
of disorderly and crazy?
Of bumming, begging, stealing,
sniping, brawling;
from quirky aggression
stinking of sweat  
or higher than a kite
on parboiled gak?

This damned sorrowful city,
cut up in pieces not alike 
for rich and poor.
Where are the steeples
that inspired the Dutch
to dour pride?
The rose-red brick
of blocky orderly buildings?
The clean-swept streets
of old New York?
Hustled away by time
and the march of multitudes. 

In truth, 
this fabled lush land
of our rapacious forefathers
never was as real
as we make it.

New York! New York!
Gateway to the New World,
metropolis of wealth
side by side
with extravagant poverty;
the light is not for all.

No island gone to hell
but a paradise of vanity,
venality, slum of iniquity,
jagged skyline
of skyscrapers, waiting
to swallow even biblical
Leviathan whole.

Trope of mankind,
overflowing, overflowing,
so many, too many;

jump back;
you're rabbits by the abyss.

Relics appeared in Artifact Nouveau in 2016, and Cassandra in 2019 in Scrittura Magazine

Jack D. Harvey’s poetry has appeared in Scrivener, The Comstock Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, The Chamber Magazine, Typishly Literary Magazine, The Antioch Review and elsewhere. The author has been a Pushcart nominee and over the years has been published in a few anthologies.

The author has been writing poetry since he was sixteen and lives in a small town near Albany, New York. He is retired from doing whatever he was doing before he retired.

His book, Mark the Dwarf, is available on Kindle.

Two Dark Poems by Joe Farina: “Night Mistress” and “all souls day”

"Night Mistress" Dark Poetry by Joe Farina
Night Mistress
Night mistress
Come quickly darkness
Hide this servant from the eyes
Of Deadly light
Come mistress
Fondle me
In your entwining arms
Sooth me with winds of fantasy
Blind my despair with your dark caresses
Come quickly Night
And sleep wiith me
In our bed of lonliness
Away from the inquiring day
Bare yourself to me
Let me rest in your brief ecstacy
Come quickly Night
Share with me
Your all consuming despair
Come quickly night-my mistress
all souls day
prayers for loved souls to purge their passing
reveal our grief  this all souls day
the earth gives up its dead to-night
waiting to be received-
carrying marzipan skeletons
to place on their tombs we bring our offerings
of water, wine, oil and grain
sit and eat with them beside us
sharing our lives with them again-

i begin to recite the prayers for the dead
with the cross, the book, and sword
promising salvation and the cleansing of  sins
of those whom we this day commemorate
to pass from their darkness to eternal light

"But though I have wept and fasted,wept and prayed."

black confessions
whispered to a silver cross 
shoulders turned away
from paradise 
completes the superstition

Joseph A Farina is a retired lawyer in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. An award winning poet. Several of his poems have been published in  Quills Canadian Poetry Magazine, Ascent ,Subterranean  Blue  and in   The Tower Poetry Magazine, Inscribed, The Windsor Review, Boxcar Poetry Revue , and appears in the anthologies   Sweet Lemons: Writings with a Sicilian Accent,  cabadian Italians at Table,  Witness  from Serengeti Press and Tamaracks: Canadian Poetry for the 21st Century . He has had poems published in the U.S. magazines   Mobius, Pyramid Arts, Arabesques, Fiele-Festa, Philadelphia Poets and   Memoir (and)   as well as in Silver Birch Press   “Me, at Seventeen”   Series. He has had two books of poetry published— The Cancer Chronicles   and   The Ghosts of Water Street .

If you liked this story, perhaps you’ll enjoy these other works by Joseph Farina published in The Chamber: “fever planes”, “simulacrum”, and “what we leave behind”, “Nightwalker” , “The Jackal People”, “Shadows Flowering”, and “incense and white wine”. Search The Chamber for older works by Joseph Farina. 

“A Vampire’s Internet Search History” Dark Poetry by J. Richard Kron

am I god
am I real
can you catch covid from drinking blood
how to get blood out of white tuxedo
are capes still cool
vampire movies made by vampires
vampire costume cultural appropriation
dream about best friend being garlic monster what does it mean
will I always be ten
how to become human
how to become mortal
alive for thousand years want to die
can’t find partner in appropriate age group
no reflection might have something in teeth
used coffins for sale
what does the sun look like

J. Richard Kron is a writer and musician from Phoenix, Arizona. He holds a BFA in English from Arizona State University. 

“The Wolf in Winter’s Wool” Dark Poem by Algo (Alec Gourley)

The day glossed, lost to a tar black starry brush

The trees bare, stare at the water’s moonlit rush.

Waking leaves, unmaking their burnt orange bed

Walking, talking, eulogize departed seasons dead.

The year near end and only quarter full

The dark dresses the wolf in winter’s wool.

Algo is from Ireland.  In self imposed self isolation, Algo only wears black and enjoys studying the school of Austrian Economics, reading comic books and meditating. Algo once believed he was a nihilist but now believes in something higher.

“Proof That Dragons Still Live” Dark Poetry by John Michael Sears

many have pursued their tracks
        past rivers of bloodshed
gagged through that lingering stench
        after flesh ignites,
so it’s cruel fiction, a myth,
        that dragons are dead,
slain by St. George
        and a few fairytale knights.
except a malicious dragon,
        no beast can spew
napalmish flames to roast
        teenage schoolgirls at first light
as they flee Mekong food markets
        through swaying bamboo;
or savage Dresden’s pottery shops
        and music halls
to exchange piercing screams
        for opera stars’ debuts;
or seek a higher means
        to terrorize and appall
as Nagasaki skeletons
        rush for sacred parents’ tombs
while flesh is stripped from runners
        before the dead can fall;
their toxic breath blisters and blinds
        as its greenish plumes
strangle entrenched soldier boys
        in Belgium’s mud and haze,
and stuns the already wretched
        in their shower rooms
to adequately fill
        each of Birkenau’s massive graves.
only a dragon’s machete claws
        and razor teeth
can butcher a million Tutsis,
        helpless, frantic, and lost
in Rwanda’s thick forests
        of afrocarpus trees,
and in Sri Lankan swamps,
        gnaw at the Tamils’ remains
to prove their appetite
        for flesh cannot be appeased:
their vile thirst never quenched,
        always more quarry to maim,
always more towns,
        more fleeing victims to set aflame.


Raised on the blue-collar (textile) side of a small Southern town, John Michael Sears spent his college weekends rafting the Chattooga River and hiking the area around Linville Gorge Wilderness. He has lived and worked in a number of countries, many of them in the developing world and in places recovering from civil conflicts. His poetry has also been published in Floyd County Moonshine.

Five Dark Poems by Damon Hubbs

Carrion Song
Even now I think 
of your red featherless face, 
your unscarved neck as taunt as an axe sheath—
picked clean as my uncaged spine.

I watched you take the smaller birds 
under your wing, 
then smear your crown with warpaint 
to ward off the hyenas who pine for blood 
along littered highways.

Your flock mediate between life and death. 
Your guild bridge the Old World and the New 

but for too long you’ve been maligned 
and judged unclean, 
tarred and feathered, banished to your wake. 
No song to sing, no call or defense— 
your voice a hiss of black wind 
carrying the scent of poppies.
The world you cleanse passes us 
in bright, shiny cars 
as we build a temple on the side of the road. 
They call you a henchman, a stooped goblin,
but we know you sacrificed a head of feathers 
to lift the sun beyond the mountaintops
when it burned too close to earth. 

They do not know you are the queen of the throne. 
They do not know the volcanic acid in your gut 
can strip the paint from their bright, shiny cars. 

They do not know 
that somewhere a woman holds a black feather 
that guarantees the safe delivery of her child 

while you scavenge me to the sky, 
taking my tongue as your song.     
Witch’s Spell
The spells are getting worse
especially at night—
indigestion, difficulty swallowing
a static swarm of reflux,
all of which leads to bad dreams: 

last night 
she was a badger 
trapped in the crawlspace 
of its burrow. 

The animal council was there, too 
holding court as if at the devil’s pulpit, 
persecuting, badgering: 

if you followed the zoning laws 
this never would have happened,

and then suddenly someone 
in the council, maybe the white-tailed deer, yells— 
smoke it out, smoke it out
and then someone else—
burn, burn, burn

and when the witch awakes 
to a day as flushed as a rosy-cheeked oven, 
she knows she should see the family doctor 
about her heart.
Fish Out of Water
Will I be stuffed with cosmos and carpet roses
like a straw man, my hours anchored 
to the unsung eye of Sunday painters? 

Will I be cast-off and scuttled, my ribs 
sifted by divers in search of souvenirs? 

Propped on wooden stilts 
in the hollow of the salt marsh, 
I am a fish out of water. 
The green tidal grass bends 
like waves against the bow. 

The squall of blistering paint 
started below the waterline, years ago
it spread like a ditch of cancer. 
My old friends stopped coming by. 

Saltmarsh sparrows flit from the cow licks 
tufting the holes in my hull. Everywhere: 
swaths of salt and rust, barnacle colonies. 
Memories stopped coming by, too.

Did I fill the harbor to receive the Blessing of the Fleet
before a run to Georges Bank? 
Did I lay traps in the cold waters off Vinalhaven? 

When the wind blows 
I rock in my wooden chair, 
watching the light and shadow 
wind along creeks and channels.  

Soon I will see the settlers harvesting salt marsh hay,
their scythes swinging in the late summer sun—
haystacks piled like burial mounds across the tide. 

The Truffle Hunter’s Complaint
     Heart-shaped, my nose, I hold it aloft 
like a scepter before settling down to business 
     at the perfume organ. 
I bury myself, my trowel as smooth as polished bones,
     in a scent map of soil and fossil, springtails, glacial stones
pestled in the earth’s fungal spleen. 

     I bury myself
beneath a hazelnut tree
     the earthen-flax swabbing my snout 
with a hint of rain and autumn chill, 
     a scent like love 
     but there is nothing here 
but dark wood, dark water, and a cluster of wood blewits
     holding their breath.   

     I root the beech wood, quarrying layers of earth 
and time, because I alone divine the secrecy 
      of the forest. 
I am the sacred pig. The White Sow. The mystery 
     of Demeter’s cult. 
   Down, down I go, burying and unburying myself 
until at last I find the note

a musky black diamond coiled like a ram’s horn 
     around an unforgiving root. 

     And I should knock him to the forest floor
with his bucket of swill for bringing the hounds, 
     the way they poach and bracket the ground 
too loyal, too eager to show their craft. But unable 
      to read the trees. Still, there are two of them 
and only one of me. And I am not man’s best friend. 

     But who is to blame for this, I ask? 
I am no slovenly earth butcher. It’s you who dragged me
     to distant lands, fattened me, penned me 
and muddied my name.  

A Witch Takes Cure in the Waters of France
I’m nursed on mud 
     harvested from the clay beds of Abrest 
and soaked in the springs of Vichy 
     until blue algae is like a cradle
in the golden bough. 

The days are marked by rituals—
     mineral water, steam, sugar cubes 
wrapped in oiled paper,
     and the moon, pink as a braided onion 
draped over the handlebars of a bicycle,  
     shapes the movement of animals. 
The night stalkers ambush. 
     The scorpion turns blue. 

I show up for breakfast 
     in my robe and shower shoes,
read the regional papers 
     eat a breakfast of root vegetables. 
According to Napoleon, carrots are the obligatory vegetable 
     of the sick. 
I learned this from Germaine, the water girl, in 1906. 
     She ladled prescribed beverages 
from a wicker holder,
     and like a suicide filled her pockets with stones 
to keep count of how many tonics 
     the curistes consumed. 

These days it is self-serve terroir. 
     There are vending machines 
that sell plastic cups in the Hall des Sources
     where we gather like school children 
at a soda parlor apothecary 
     to sip from the Earth’s cauldron, 
a healing hell-broth simmering under the flame 
     of Hecate’s torch. 

Damon Hubbs lives in a small town in Massachusetts. He graduated with a BA in World Literature from Bradford College. When not writing, Damon can be found growing microgreens, divining the flight pattern of birds, and ambling the forests and beaches of New England. His work is forthcoming in Book of Matches, Young Ravens Literary Review and Eunoia Review.

“The Man by the River” Dark Poetry by David Newkirk

I saw the man by the river
what man
He was the man with no shadow
dead man 

He moved like fog up the sidewalk
I heard a noise at the window

I saw his eyes in the window
red eyes
his eyes, they were hollow
dead eyes

And then he flowed through the doorway
cursed mist
Then my arm, he was touching 
foul fist

taken by fear I could not move
then his word it was spoken

I gazed at his face
eyes trapped
I felt my soul leave my body
life snapped

We were two men by the river
What men
we were the men with no shadow
dead men

David Newkirk is a retired attorney. He is currently in the Master of Fine Arts program at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, where he is actively unlearning thirty years of writing like a lawyer.

Two Dark Poems by Travis Black: “May My Sorrows Comfort Me in my Time of Need” and “The Sound of a Train in the Distance”

May My Sorrows Comfort Me In My Time Of Need

Gazing out from the pane
Iridescent sky unfold, 

Boundless and eternal

Cold slumber
Pitch sable chamber, 

Sorrow’s grip
Black, icy, delicate and soothing, 

The Sound Of A Train In The Distance 

Metallic and firm
Spectral vision of time from afar, 

Cold and icy 
Apparition haunting hills and mountains, 

Phantom song 
Lyrical composition - sorrow and death, 


Relentlessly and brutally, 



Travis J. Black (He/Him) is a gay poet, writer and visual artist living in Metro-Detroit Michigan. His work has appeared in Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine and the 200th anniversary book Determined Hearts: A Frankenstein Anthology. His work often explores the mysterious, imaginative and darker aspects of life. You can follow him on his author’s webpage at

“Teddy Bear” Dark Poetry by A.N. Rose

Teddy bear teddy bear
Cute as can be
Sitting on my dresser
Staring at me

Eyes of glass
Silently taunting
With a smile stitched shut
All the more haunting

A stare so frigid
As cold as the serrated blade
That drew fresh blood
Where we have laid

The only witness
To the end of your life
To the end of your pain
Your suffering and strife

I know I did the right thing...
You would've done it too,
Teddy Bear...
Wouldn't you?

Alex says about his background: “I am a freelance poet, living in the suburbs of Philadelphia with my beloved spouse and children. An enthusiast of everything thriller/horror related, when not writing, you can find me working in a nursing home. You can find my haiku on Instagram @hauntedhaiku82.”

“Act 1, Scene1” Dark Poetry by Prithvijeet Sinha

Put your ears on the wall.
There's a vile element in the concrete,
A phantasm of the moors.

This scullery is built atop
what once was a necropolis
and they buried masses of all hues six feet under.
Surely, the children have played here
and even spotted a finger bone or two
near the tree.

stand here.
Somebody gargles,
hisses a curse,
'Deux Ex Machina'
or invokes a native sermon.

It thrills me
but grips like a vice
like how Master's eyes
lock with mine,
a tinge of forbidden desires
in the slow steps he takes
towards the kitchen door.

Nuns and sinners alike
speak various tongues.
Confessions afoot
with the decaying yellow haunting
of the afternoon.

The very light is stricken,
separate from the entities of the night that lurk like
Lizzie and Bridget,
their secrets bitten under every lip.

The cat sits there,
and seeming as placid as Granny
on her rocking chair.

The phantasm from the moors
glows in the shadowed veil
of this room
and then whispers a dirty secret in my ears.
Stone cold
and frigid as the history of this town.
Did you hear it?

Previously published in Visual Verse. 

The writer’s name is Prithvijeet Sinha from Lucknow, India. He is a post graduate in MPhil from the University of Lucknow, having launched his prolific writing career by self publishing on the worldwide community Wattpad since 2015 and on his WordPress blog An Awadh Boy’s Panorama(  

Besides that, his works have been published in several varied publications as Hudson Valley Writers Guild, Piker Press Online, anthology Pixie Dust and All Things Magical published by Authors Press( January, 2022), Cafe Dissensus, The Medley, Screen Queens, Confluence- South Asian Perspectives, Reader’s Digest, Borderless Journal, Lothlorien Poetry, Live Wire, Rhetorica Quarterly, Ekphrastic Review, Chamber Magazine, The Quiver Review, Dreich Magazine, Visual Verse and in the children’s anthology Nursery Rhymes and Children’s Poems From Around The World ( AuthorsPress, February 2021), among others. 

Three Darkly Humorous Poems by K.A. Williams: “Lunch at the Lake”, “Cal and Kay”, and “Night Caller”

Lunch at the Lake

Summer sun
Hungry rabid dogs
So hot
So tired
A lake
Jump in quickly 
So cool
Dogs hate water
Oh, right
That’s cats

Cal and Kay

His name was Cal,
he lived by night.
If you met him,
you'd get a bite,
and wished you had
stayed in till light.

He met a girl,
her name was Kay,
but not like him,
she lived by day.
He sought a witch,
and had to pay.

The spell did work,
his fangs won't grow,
and his eyes lost
their bright red glow.
Cal looked for Kay,
she had to know.

Where did she go?
Cal had no clue.
When Cal found Kay
her new fangs grew,
and her eyes had
a bright red hue.

Night Caller

Mist entered the open window
and hung in the air,
transforming into a vampire
with a red-eyed stare.

Moonlight shone on the
woman lying in the bed.
The vampire glided forward
and bent over her head.

Startled, the woman screamed,
then looked at her clock.
"You're late," she scolded.
"And you forgot to knock."

“Cal and Kay” and “Night Caller” were originally published in The Creativity Magazine in 2020.

K. A. Williams lives in North Carolina. Her stories and poems have been published in many magazines including The Chamber, Black Petals, Corner Bar, Tigershark, Page & Spine, Altered Reality, View From Atlantis, The Sirens Call, and Trembling With Fear. Apart from writing, she enjoys rock music, and CYOA games.

“Voice in the Casket” Dark Poem by Bernadette Harris

Good night and hello, my wandering one,
Deep in the moors, and whence did you come?
Quaking and pale, cheeks kissed from the winter,
Frost in your hair, lips frozen and splintered.

Step over my ’thresh, blackened by mold,
Smothers the spot of whitening gold,
Tortuous star in celestial tower,
A shriveled heart, now ashen flower.

Surely you pity this human-like form,
This diet of red, this home among worms,
Prostrate the dust, alone with the slaughter,
Stretched upon bones of unfortunate daughters.

Why do you shrink, my sweet little meat?
My body has ceased, but eyes still may weep,
Take hold of my fingers, sink into the clay,
For shame, wary boy, you now turn away?

Come to this corpse, breathe into the tomb,
I came from the fire, torn straight from its womb,
Throat withers within, I gasp for the veins,
Along with the twilight, a stolen life wanes.

Bernadette’s work has appeared in a variety of literary magazines, including Ruminate, Braided Way, Introvert, Dear, and The Mindful Word. When she isn’t exploring her latest existential crises, she dabbles in writing children’s literature as well. She can be found at

Three Dark Poems by Callum McGee: “Black Oracles of Anfield Cemetery”, “Black Taxi”, and “Four Years of Hell”

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.
South Catacomb, Anfield Cemetery, 12 September 2018, photo by Rodhullandemu, This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.
Black Oracles of Anfield Cemetery
Raven’s cry in broad daylight
twiggy corpses holding black oracles, bright sparks in a sea of melted wax

Sanctuaries of hope 
dance with death, candles ooze pale essence, moss feasts decaying stones

Singular sparks 
returning to black, crooked branches, shriveled skeletons, inky feathers stain my suit

His thunderous voice
silent forever, a fiery passion dead silent, the red stadium’s heart forever still

Wretched symbols 
of the inevitable, Valkyries watch through beady eyes, sharp scythes snuff out lights

Life demands sacrifice
for eternal youth, rigor mortis seals an obsidian prophecy, ashes to ashes, oracles await

Reaper’s devoted 
disciples, messengers of a terrifying truth, tax collectors for precious time you owe 

Black banshees cry
for the damned, winged shadows flocking in the night, final debt paid
Black Taxi
Lifetime ago.
black taxi makes its stop.
Passengers await.

A small patch of gold.
Maple ripples on sweet bread.
Food packet feasts mine.

Bright blue brings out green.
Light in merciless sea.
Toasty bungalows.

Bounties of wisdom. 
Candles melt away at night. 
The black taxi makes its rounds.

Traceless wheels screech. 
White homes fade, life source leaves now.
Lone bungalows weep. 

A new sun arrives.
Shadow tires gone; mark left.
Passengers aboard destination unknown. 
Four Years of Hell
I am charred black
soul bitter. Demons in all shapes fractured my mind
contaminating my soul. My pure heart shriveled sweet and sour.

Like the Messiah
kindness was rewarded with cruelty. A crown of thorns
piercing my brain. Judas’s disciples blend in menacing groups.

My ears bleed
from the lies of the foul tonged. Satan’s legacy flourishes here
lies, serpents, and rumours. Power hungry vultures linger around every corner.

The foul stench of evil
contaminates my nostrils. The sheep huddle together
to look powerful. Guardians turn a blind eye to the foulest creatures.

The light of a soul
fades like the sun in this cold, dark place. Surrounded by monsters
and demons, masking as human beings. They infect the weak with their childhood sickness.

The Prey perish
as the Predators pounce. Kindness is rewarded with cruelty here,
the defenceless punished and banished. Four years is a torture chamber here.

Hope of many
is forever trapped here. Long gone, long perished even after the four years ended.
I never believed in Hell, but a place as evil as this, only proves such a place exists.

Callum McGee is a passionate BA creative writing student at Edge Hill University. His short horror story has been published on the official EHU magazine/newspaper The Quack’s blog. Callum is working on a debut fiction novel based on many Native American tribal cultures and beliefs. However, he also writes poetry tackling societal issues such as pollution, bullying, and inequality. Callum prefers writing from 1st personal point of view across his writing genres. However, he can write in 3rd or 2nd person points of view to expand his writing craft. 

Three Poems by Joseph Farina: “fever planes”, “simulacrum”, and “what we leave behind”

fever planes
heat and sweat salted grit on my neck
the cocktail ridge of loose blown sand
black feathers glean high on black mare's head
eyes wide nostrils open in the hot dust
the single caw of a raven above
all somehow in this room in hours
unknown, between the fever and the heart
that fears a landscape seen only in photographs
but owned by time blood and tears
does it call me or am I the caller
voices in two tongues
the lamentation of my birth voice
and its evolvement to some shattered hybrid
warning of raven and  lizard whispers
a place of measurement and balance
do I answer or  have I been already charged
coyotes howl
at the full wolf moon rising
loose dogs prick their ears
the silence of the cold night air
descends on those who
are half in their beds
waiting for mercy
like a lullaby to blanket them

outside the moon rises higher
cold coyote eyes
follow it to its culmination
knowing there is no mercy in its light
to either men or pack
what we leave behind
I have known all the days
their low and high appointments
the mornings, evenings and afternoons
each sunrise's different colour
each sunset's imitations
measured my time by the sun's chronometer
the lengthening and shortening of shadows
the phases of the moon
from wolf to harvest to cold
the wind's voice in each season
the telling scent of autumn
the frigid kiss of winter
my greatest moments
like shooting stars
flash and disappear
leaving nothing
not even a scar
to say that this was me

Joseph A Farina is a retired lawyer in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. An internationaly award winning poet. Several of his poems have been published in  Quills Canadian Poetry Magazine,The Chambers Magazine, Ascent ,Subterranean  Blue  and in   The Tower Poetry Magazine, Inscribed, The Windsor Review, Boxcar Poetry Revue , and appears in many anthologies including:  Sweet Lemons: Writings with a Sicilian Accent,  Canadian Italians at Table,  Witness  from Serengeti Press and Tamaracks: Canadian Poetry for the 21st Century . He has had poems published in the U.S. magazines   Mobius, Pyramid Arts, Arabesques, Fiele-Festa, Philedelphia Poets and   Memoir (and) . He has had two books of poetry published— The Cancer Chronicles   and   The Ghosts of Water Street.

“The Auctioneer’s Daughter” Dark Poetry by Olga Alexandra

amidst hide-covered bones she rides him around the smell of death
greasy lips frozen with inexplicable mirth
she rides
little legs pasted against foul, matted withers 
her beast tripping hooves, like a clown ready for market

she moves him on with chubby hands clenched at raw twine
looped carelessly around and through a gaping mouth and frightened eyes
rolling, lurching with her astride
pounding thin-skinned flanks
rocking an angry child
a hobby horse parading
caught in her own
the knacker’s thrill 
around and around rocking the dying pony

and she never asks where he went

daddy’s singing the auctioneer’s song

in stained concrete 
through rat-maze wood and beyond
sawdust clumped with blood
echoing outside where cowboys stand
the girl now a woman 
watches worn animals with curtained eyes

her rough hands mounting 
once again the auctioneer sings “she’s on” 

now squatting in dirt
she meets the gaze of another in pain
a beast, shifting crippled weight broken-
it waits
she hides
no longer creatures of interest 
repulsed freaks
they cannot speak and their bodies rattle numb

daddy’s gone 
and the knackers don’t bid

Olga Alexandra lives in the steamy South and writes horror and crime fiction. She has stories forthcoming in Shotgun Honey and Amazon Kindle Vella. For more info please visit http://www.linkt.ree/olgaalexandra.

“Memories of You” Dark Poetry by Gavin Turner

You are a wallet photo, unseen,
 Dusty atoms of carbon,
Clinging to the plastic strand of a hand brush,
Returned to its place after all was undone
beneath the sinks

You remained, an oil print on my birthday glass,
Whose pleasing shape you drank from,
Had I cleansed myself of you, almost,
A fingertip would reveal itself weeks later,
Uniquely yours, apparently

The dining room rug rolled up, but
Only at the corner, from slipping feet
Retained a trace of flawless skin,
A single hair strayed there too,
The morning trickle of the light made it less visible,
Refusing to be extinguished

I discovered these memories of you,
an infinite desiccation, evidentially
To always be there, with our treasured last words
an indelible truth, typed in hard print,
In the forensic report

Gavin Turner is a writer of dark fiction and poetry. Some of his work is published  via his website

Five Dark Poems by Jack Harvey

Moon, Shine On

It's one of those nights
when the moon slips free
of the clouds;
one of those nights
when the wind blows free,
unleashed from the upstarting
contours of the land,
sweeping, rushing across
the wastes of
the immortal boundless sea,
finally arriving 
aimless and energetic 
at some newfound destination.

Moonlight shines
across the long bays,
in which great brother waves
press on
under the moon's bright face,
bright as death's scythe,
press on roaring
until they come to rest,
flat and quiet,
on the moonlit shore.

Heroes young and old
held vigil
on nights like these;
memories of the god-feasts,
the dark woods, the sacred tree
dim and nearly gone now.

In those days witches
could doctor the dark,
pull down the moon
if they had to;
fearful Nicias,
famed Athenian
sent to war in Sicily
didn't need a moon
sunk to earth,
heeded instead
the omen of
a technicolor moon,
dimming to naught;
waited, waited, 
too long hesitating, then
at the wrong time retreating,
led his army to its doom.

But gracious fellow-travelers,
lovers of the glory that was,
these days 
it's the self-same moon,
stripped of portents,
floats over Cuba,
floating over Miami, too,
over a moon-startled girl
feeling her boy
bent over her,
passionate in her,
starting his 
rhapsody of movement.

Overhead, in the heavens,
embarrassed constellations
look off in all directions,
seeing all, and not wanting to see,
goosed, tormented, 
by an expanding universe
sending them on their way
and down below,
by the light of
the silent indifferent moon
a boy and a girl
coming together
in a paratactical now,
in a perfection of now
and no wild Nicias moon
turning red, blue and sallow
to spoil the moment
with foreboding,
to slow or speed
the whole shebang
from measured order 
to some desperate fatal mistake. 


There is that in God
which is not gaud
                           feeding the chickens
Honorius muttered in Latin,
not brooking a report
that Rome
how you say?
                            had been
like a chicken
                            its neck wrung.

Jesus, the beautiful faces,
the villas where Sallust
the beautiful noble stones
the shithouses, aqueducts, roads
          ROME DEAD?
but she fed the world 
      a long time
a line of law
and reason

Lars Porsenna
and the bloody emperors
hairy Vandals
                      Alaric alert
All honor
her hills, her people,
her purple
covered the steppes,
the western isles.

In the ruins of Rome,
in Illyria, in Britain,
bitter winter brings down
heaven’s wrath;
hailstones spatter 
like pennies,
clattering on bronze
and marble alike.

We will not see Hadrian
again rebuilding the walls.

Dulce Domum

You can’t hide your hideway
when beggars come calling;
every haven has its day,
every port and refuge;
the cold tomorrows
come out of the distance
like icebergs,
unstable as emperors, 
demanding as children

and food for thought 
feeds no one.
Your secret place, your kingly manse?
Don’t board up all the doors,
your earthly paradise 
has a few snakes inside

and minstrels and other rabble
wait outside
to knock down all.

You alone unhidden
unbidden stand
prominent as a sequoia,
Simon of the stele.
Revelation is God’s alone;
hidden in the deep,
his submarine love
discovers all secret places;
you are naked as 
a jaybird in his sight.

So cast it all away,
armed in your own flesh
go voyaging.
Surrender is a place
impregnable and portable
as heaven. 


shake your iron off;
invincible, able
on Elba
you were mourning
ere you saw
the glory of the days
coming and the days
twisted up, by-


Blonde she was
on the boulevard,
in moonlight,
in crescent of
golden hairs
white as Lear’s
under moonlight;
the old power
coming easy as
Paris faring
through the

The moon, flat
as a cookie,
sails higher;
wreaths of smoke
lie fallow in space.

But blonde on a
bicycle goes fast
and quiet;
the ripple of her
passing disturbs 
all of us,
wandering on
the foreshore
of no adventure.

Home, Palinurus;
turn the rudder
and home.
No blondes heave to
in the moonlight;
your bed, empty
and wide
as a car,
awaits you.

A.U.C  was published 14 years ago in Poetry Bay, Dulce Domum in 2017 in Pif Magazine, Elba several years ago in Zombie Logic Review, and Dearth in Duane’s Poetree. Moon has never been published.

Jack D. Harvey’s poetry has appeared in Scrivener, The Chamber Magazine, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Typishly Literary Magazine, The Antioch Review, The Piedmont Poetry Journal and elsewhere. The author has been a Pushcart nominee and over the years has been published in a few anthologies.

Three Dark Poems by Toshihisa Nikaido

Sticks Beneath the Trees

As I gather the sticks beneath the trees
          A gust of wind causes the branches to sway
          Colder than a midwinter’s storm
Finding shelter under the trunks
         A gust of wind causes the branches to sway
I’ve found warmth where I may rest
Finding shelter under the trunks
         Allowing me to finally say goodnight
I’ve found warmth where I may rest
          Colder than a midwinter’s storm
          Allowing me to finally say goodnight
As I gather the sticks beneath the trees

The Bard

A strike of my shovel reveals a crypt,
          Through which awaits a new conflict.
                   The grounds below I cannot predict,
                             Even when I’ve become well equipped.
                                       Laws down here have left me bound;
                                                  To these deathly tunes, I am constrict.

Dracula’s Reflection

When he looks into the mirror,
          His expression falls unfamiliar;
A frown breaks through his charisma,
          Puzzled evermore by this enigma.
Now, whom does he see here,
          When he looks into the mirror?
He cannot find his face so grim,
          Only what was left behind him.
His heart is filled with devotion,
          And yet each time he sees no one,
When he looks into the mirror;
          Still wishing he could be near her.
Once seeing from the tower of an aristocrat,
          Now fallen into darkness and blind as a bat;
Yet the truth could not be clearer,
          When he looks into the mirror.

Toshihisa Nikaido has worked on popular video game series such as Resident Evil, Pokémon, and The Legend of Zelda. Toshihisa more recently joined Japan’s space exploration agency for a new challenge while using various forms of writing as a creative outlet and has since been published in several literary journals.

Three Dark Poems by Thomas White

Vampires in Love

Our love glitters inside us:
veins strung with lights

like secret Yule trees
while we rage for blood:

the hunger of Vampire bats,
living in the delicious heart

of Halloween still with the
Christmas spirit of giving,

offering our necks, mouths, and
bodies to each other as presents
and tricks or treats, dressed
up in the kinky costumes of  

our passions that frighten
little children who come

to our door asking for the gifts
of candy behind love’s scary masks.

Clowns Showing Teeth

All the malls have certainly changed,
full of rubbish, screaming children,
and sinister clowns, baring their teeth 
between pale red lips, watching me, mockingly,
intently, like pinkly-bewigged gangs at twilight
loitering with murderous intent.

Obviously clowns are not what they
used to be: death mask make-up
slathered on like sour pie cream,
no craft, no art, not much color,
all sweating something foul
like spoiled, greasy butter.

The circus is over,
the masks are off, 
but the face of Bozo still grins
into his dressing room mirror
while coldly loading his revolver.

The Faltering Circus

Aged feet shuffling
in front of each other
without (their children
hope) falling: wobbly
as if on a tightrope,
poised on knotty
varicose veins,
hovering above
the breathlessly
erect crowd
where every
spectator in 
this faltering 
circus is finally
a ghostly performer.

Thomas White has a triple identity: speculative fiction writer, poet, and essayist. His poems, fiction, and essays have appeared in online and print literary journals and magazines in Australia, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. He is also a Wiley-Blackwell Journal author who has contributed essays to various nonliterary journals on topics ranging from atheism, the meaning of Evil, Elon Musk, Plato, The Matrix, and reality as a computer simulation. The Encyclopedia Britannica selected one of his previously published essays on Hannah Arendt, Adolph Eichmann, and the “Banality of Evil” for inclusion on its website,

In addition, he has presented three of his essays to the West Chester University Poetry Conference (West Chester, Pennsylvania), as well as read his poetry on Australian radio. His poetry collection Ghostly Pornographers, published by Weasel Press/Sinister Stoat Press, is available on Kindle and through the publisher’s website.

Three Dark Poems Written and Translated from the Russian by Ivan de Monbrison

Время - это круг. 
Мы в центре, марионетки из плоти.
Ваша мысль как воздуху, 
ваш череп полон облаков.
Вчера я нарисовал твой мозг зеленым, 
а сегодня он снова красный.
Я окунаю в нее ручку 
и пишу красными чернилами слова, 
которые не имеют смысла.

Time is a circle. 
We’re in the center, puppets of flesh.
Your thoughts are  like air, your skull is full of clouds.
Yesterday I painted your brain in green, and today it’s red again.
I dip my pen into it 
and write with red ink 
words which don’t make any sense.
Открытый угол забвения.
Тишина в кармане.
Тень скользит по стене и льется в бокал, как черное вино.
Я пью этот бокал.
Тень входит в меня как мысль.
Завтра я пойду идти всю ночь, 
чтобы увидеть, как звезды одна за другой 
падают в море и медленно тонут.

An open corner of oblivion.
Silence in your pocket.
The shadow slides along the wall 
and pours into a glass like black wine.
I drink this glass.
A shadow goes inside me like a thought.
Tomorrow I will go all night to see the stars 
fall one by one into the sea and slowly sink.
Небо - зеркало.
Кто-то говорит.
Это не ты.
Ваша открытая рука пуста. 
Внутри есть дыра, из которой вылезают мухи.
Ваш мозг потный, 
он много работает.
Он похоже на мясо, которое вам дают на обед.

The sky is a mirror.
Someone speaks. 
That’s not you.
Your open hand is empty.
There is a hole inside, from which flies crawl out.
Your brain is sweaty
It works a lot.
It looks like the meat that you get for your lunch.

Ivan de Monbrison is a poet, novelist and artist born in 1969 in Paris. He has studied oriental languages in Paris, and then worked for the Picasso Museum, before dedicating himself to his own creativity. He has been published in literary magazines globally. His last poetry book in English and Russian без лица / Faceless has just been released in Canada. He does not believe that his art is of any real significance. He does it as some kind of a tribal ritual. He is fully aware that vanity is one of the worse enemy of most poets and artists, and tries to stay away from it as much as possible.

Three Dark Poems by John Tustin

Before Another Midnight of Mindless Work

Standing before the mirror
Before another midnight of mindless work
For meager pay
I find my legs pasty and ridiculous
In my boxers;
My hair a mess,
My body rumpled,
This unshaven face a patchwork of middle aged lumps
And crags.
Red eyed, I creak and groan as I put on my pants,
Sipping another cup of coffee,
Still cold to my bones.
I have to get used to being alone again
And finding that my ugliness is endearing
To no one,
Certainly not me and
Not even you

I Think about Death All the Time

I think about death all the time:
Yours, mine, hers, his,
When I am at work
Or at the supermarket
Or sitting and drinking
As I listen to country, folk and rock n roll
I fill in the spaces of my thoughts
Imagining my death
And yours
And theirs.
The room grows dark
And my heart grows dark
And I think about my impending death
And fill with curiosity.
When I die
Will you honor me, will you cry for me?
Will you still deny me like Peter denied Jesus,
Like a child unwilling to repent?
As the years pass after I am gone, will you be washing dishes
And looking out the window,
Seeing the clouds passing over the tempestuous bay
Before a summer storm,
Think of me suddenly and shudder with loss?
Will you even remember me?
When I die and then you die
Will we meet in the valley 
Under a crescent moon
And finally hold hands as we make a vow
Or will my energy just wallow aimlessly
With the ashes of my spent useless body?

I think of everyone and I think of their deaths:
Anne Sexton breathing in poison, rowing away from God.
Adams and Jefferson holding hands and dying together
And hundreds of miles apart.
The death of Christ
In agony on the cross.
The death of my mother
And the death of your mother.
The death of Gram Parsons and Gene Clark,
Drunk no more, singing no more.
The death of Augustine of Hippo
Who said “Wipe your tears and do not cry,
If you love me.

Death is nothing.”

Life is everything.

We, the Many

We, the many
Who will not live beyond decay,
Who memorize the words of others,
Who worry about our oil changes,
Who live with little or no love,
Who scribble paeans and suicide notes
All over the bathrooms of our madhouses
While the days become nights become days
As quickly as the flicking of a switch;

We salute you –
You, the few
Who have made the lives of us 
Who will not live beyond decay,
Somewhat bearable
With your words and your deeds
That will not, cannot,
Shall not rot.

John Tustin’s poetry has appeared in many disparate literary journals since 2009. contains links to his published poetry online.