Two Dark Poems by Melody Wang: “Little Room” & “An Inopportune Time For”

Little Room

the stillness in the air
only seems to amplify these
fading dreams accumulated
 
like dead flower petals
on the windowsill that no one 
bothers to dust anymore
 
you wilt in this room of whitewash
and shadows, your face ashen — 
a faded ragdoll from a bygone era
 
drifts of dandelion tufts float up
from the garden below, as if
suspended in mid-thought
 
then snatched away, blown off 
course through cruel passages 
and forgotten

An inopportune time for

another heaping portion of critique   

         doled out on a Thursday morning devoid of any 
         filament of warmth — boss-man dons his fedora, 
         leaves as tiny figure makes final trek up a fire escape   
 
rain-slicked potholed pavements below that still carry

         transgressions, long-forgotten, as sleepy
        onlookers crane rubber necks and bulge  
        eager eyes so they don’t miss a second
 
tiny figure now atop a cold roof who paces:  

         an agitated bird in the winds of fleeting
         youth. A collective breath is held as if it could
         somehow prevent a stain that would soon be forgotten
 
the grey silence as I tear my eyes from the morning paper’s

        tragedy, my mind filling in gaps in a stranger’s life story
        to avoid my own. At times I think I deserve this absence.
        The cruel way nature takes away what it deems unviable —
 
grieving what never was

Melody Wang currently resides in sunny Southern California with her dear husband and wishes it were autumn all year ‘round. She is a reader for Sledgehammer Lit and can be found on Twitter @MelodyOfMusings. Her debut chapbook “Night-blooming Cereus” is coming out on December 17, 2021 with Alien Buddha Press. 


Five Dark Poems by Donna Dallas

Waxing Crescent Illumination

Moon-eye
third eye
tonight you are a slit in my side
I desire my fortunes told 
through the shapes of the clouds
that cloak you

Faint murmurs of moon-glow 
spread around your belly
I feel you pulling me
I feel your moon-man
eclipse my moonlight
shield me from hocus pocus
I want to step out of these killing fields
pull myself into you

Make no mistake 
I may cut a piece of you
carve out your core 
dance naked for you
shimmy into your gulleys and dips
enchantresses have come before me

Whisper moon-spells
sway left and right
under your illuminating smirk
beckon a howl
to set free the beasts
that sleep dormant
within us 

When Satan was my Lover

the day strolls on
while I smolder in a corner
there’s that song again
in my head
dead thoughts 
then the song
madly in anger with you
and then it’s gone

on the road again
drive by that innocuous lake
the sun strobes the water
glints and speckled rainbows float across
the oily bed
I want in 
as the words leak out of the void
I realize I am this road
rolled over
the path gutted and tracked within me

for one second I feel light and airy
almost free
then I feel Satan’s hand
hot as Dis
madly in anger with you
he fists my heart
just before it bursts
I remember all the things
awful and right
is it me is it fear
all my earthly actions
hard to see clear

those deeds locked
never chatted about
then it’s black
I go back to a smoldering corpse
with the want of a death
so great
my body shivers into a mound of ash

The Wind Blows

Separates me into pieces 
I fall into myself with wonder 
I fall apart with madness 
glue me 
I crack apart 
hang my front tooth on a string 
a Christmas ornament 
our conversation piece 

There’s a gold chunk in it for you 
for your troubles 
pay the pied piper for me 
I missed him at birth

Gone

By the grace of God I re-open my life and seal my death
in a flame of sins burning through me
light a candle and beg forgiveness
for the nothings I’ve carried through again and again
and the everythings I’ve committed over and over……
I watch the wax ooze down
(I watch my life slip through)
in a grain of sand stuck in my fingernail
that gets carried along air and dropped onto the sidewalk 
and that is a lifetime in one thought (in one breath)
It is me gone (again)

Snow Chant

Silent snow void of 
laughter 
fire 
ice-blood
meshed with dirt

melt into me
mix cold & skin
to prolong this
patch of snow-ice
left in some small pure white
aggressive plea
I’m here you fools
stubbornly stays until
someone smashes a boot into it
melt molecule into mother earth

come again
for the weary
come again
with ice

Donna Dallas studied Creative Writing and Philosophy at NYU’s Gallatin School and was lucky enough to study under William Packard, founder and editor of the New York Quarterly.  Lately, she is found in Horror Sleaze Trash, Beatnik Cowboy and The Opiate among many other publications. She recently published her first novel, Death Sisters, with Alien Buddha Press. Her first chapbook, Smoke & Mirrors, will launch this fall with New York Quarterly. She currently serves on the editorial team for Red Fez and New York Quarterly.


Five Horrific Poems by Emma Deimling

The Silence of a Wood

Burned forest unraveling, 
One branch sparks and snaps, 
Nighttime thunderclouds tucked underneath 
The wings of crows, 
Cackling and cawing, 
Their blurry shadows contort into 
Monsters over the cornstalks. 
One by one, 
They dropped out of the sky
Wings bent onto the frozen ground. 
Feathers snapped, bones decayed
Bodies rot in heaps around me 
In an unburied mass grave of soared dreams. 
Dirt crusted fingernails,
Bare feet slipping over wood, wet and heavy,
Stumbling and shivering, tumbling 
Down into the frozen mud.  
Ice cuts into pale exposed skin, the wind 
Whispers, speaks, but she doesn’t understand.
Coldness seeps under her skin and burrows into
Her bones, and all that is left is 
Ice and dirt and loss and silence. 

Tree Nymph Unraveling

A tree is just a tree until it isn’t,
Until it is a girl 
With grief slipping off her
Like a second skin decomposed,
shredded away the dimness
Of the daylight. 
Pine needles stick out 
From underneath her skin,
Moss choked down her throat,
Crawling towards sunlight
She can never touch no matter
How far she reaches.

A tree is just a tree until it isn’t, 
Until it is a girl with 
Moonlight oozing through her veins,
Clumping up around the stars 
Jutting out of her heart.
A weak breeze trickles like blood
Out of her nose, out of her ears 
As the branches scratch at her eyes.
The forest is eating her alive, one
Heartbeat at a time. 

A tree is just a tree waiting until it isn’t,
Until a girl came along and  
Reimagined it into something else 
When her brothers told her 
To go play hide and seek. 
Another season, another year, another time, 
But no one remembers to dream under her bows 
And free the girl curled up inside. 
 

Anxiety

guilt-gnawing 
crawl-creeping 
down into a Summarization of piped-up thoughts
Spider-Skulking into my throat
ink Scrawling 
groping
Smattering my Spit with
laced-up ankle weights ballooning around my neck
Sloshing 
assimilating into a comfort of 
Self-hate as they marvel me 
Spider-Silking into my bones 
Sticky-Skeleton turning inside out 
Soft-Skin flaking and raw 
mauling
Strip-Shriveling in the dark
around the Shadow of my 
Sacrilege-clotted heart
 

Pumpkin Faces

a time for laughter
and freshly burnt cider,
apple bobbing—
biting, 
rich caramel to eat.

a time for hay bales,
corn mazes 
and carved out faces 
behind skeletal masks
while the actual skeletons dance
in their graves
as they suffocate
screaming to be let out 
shout, shout
ten feet 
underneath.

dulled orange and smoldering red, 
a time for death
running out the blessed,
haunting something sweet
children, please, 
no trespassing,
leaves drifting to and fro,
adults poisoned candy sweets,
he-he,
trick or treat,
and all the kitties drop dead

boo,
too late to hide,
the children locked in the morgue still alive
in their crypts screaming
oh, it’s halloween

Faded

You watch the woman weep 
Behind peeling strips of yellow
Wallpaper,
Curling, tearing, screaming—
Plastered in, 
Tightening, suffocating, drowning in the 
Splattered pigments bleached by her putrefying skin. 
Creaking, scratching, she tries fruitlessly 
To get out, to breathe.
You tuck your head with your 
Pillow, try to stifle her screams,
Pleading, begging, raging, seething with 
Unquenched revenge.
Her outline braces out of the walls
But is quickly swept back in,
Again and again. 
When everything dies back into silence,
You hesitantly walk over to the paper,
Reach out to touch the faded print.
Too late, recognition is all she needs. She
Free of her prison and writhes on the 
Floor. She whimpers, curls into a ball,
Chest heaving, breathing, free.
When you gently lift her face up 
To look into her eyes,
Your own face 
Stares back at you. 


Emma Deimling currently works as a writing tutor at the Ohio State University’s writing center. She has been published in numerous magazines, the most recent being in With Confetti. She lives in Columbus, Ohio. You can find her on Twitter @EmmaDeimling. 


“Cleanse” Dark Poetry by Nancy Byrne Iannucci

I will summon Satan
to the center of my damaged self
that clings cold to me.
His horns will rise 
like a forklift and rake it 
away with you.

There are a multitude of mannequins
weathering in windows waiting 
to take my perdition.
He’ll devour their torsos and limbs,
make it snow fiberglass bones

down His belly like the slob
Giotto painted in Padua.
Think of the pleasure 
I’ll have to never see you drink again,
after this co-dependency slips down the shoot
towards hell right into His dirty mouth.

What will be left is me,
myself again, without you,
ready to begin again, 
sick, sick of me with you,
So sick I’ve become
that I’ve asked Satan to come
and cleanse me from you.


Nancy Byrne Iannucci is the author of Temptation of Wood (Nixes Mate Review 2018) and Goblin Fruit (Impspired 2021). Her poems have appeared in numerous publications including Autumn Sky Poetry, Gargoyle, Bending Genres, Clementine UnboundDodging the Rain8 PoemsGlass: A Journal of Poetry (Poets Resist)Hobo Camp Review, and Typehouse Literary Magazine. Nancy is a Long Island, NY native who now resides in Troy, NY where she teaches history at the Emma Willard School. Web: https://www.nancybyrneiannucci.com/


Three Dark Poems by Robert Beveridge

Door

In my nightmare, in the hallway,
there's a door. It is large,
wooden, locked.

There are keys. In the basement.
It is dark. The light's burnt out.
I cannot leave the hall.

Silence. Ghosts touch my shoulder.
Stillness. A hole
in the carpet.

The door. I watch it.
Wait for it to move.
It doesn't. 

In the Field After Dark

The heart
was in Bobby's jacket pocket
as he played ball
with his friends.

Now,
they've all gone home,
and Bobby, walking
from the field,
feels for the heart

it's gone
he turns, scampers
in sunset back
to the field, looking
for the heart

no luck,
and the sun's almost
down
he'll never find it now

he looks up
above a patch
of tall grass
barely five feet away

a pare of garnets
stare unblinking at him

he knows
somehow
just knows
the heart
is underneath them

he walks over,
looks up:
he thinks
he's seen those eyes before. 

	You're old miss Solebury, aren't you?


The eyes bob slowly.

	Do you want me
	to have your heart?

Bob.

He picks up the heart,
turns, walks
toward home.
All the way,
he feels a chill
on his shoulder,
as if a hand
were draped there.

That night, instead
of putting the heart
under his pillow as usual,
he clutches it tight
as he sleeps, smiling.

Is that a red gleam at the window?

Not Our Brother

“The demon,”
she said,
as she caressed my chest
with four-inch nails
as if she wanted
to even out the fertile furrows
she'd left before,
“we call him 'not our brother',
for he comes
in the form of woman
and steals the souls
of our men
leaves them hollow husks
who take no pride
in the fields they till.”

My plane, a week
from then, flashed
through my mind.
“Not our brother.”

She pulled me tighter to her
asked with an embrace
for the warmth
of a soul
however temporary.

“I must go back,” I said.

“I know,” she said.
“But for now
just hold me, brother,
love me
so your memory
can keep me warm.” 

I thought of her husband
dead these four months
victim of the demon
the death certificate read.

Not our brother.

Robert Beveridge (he/him) makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry in Akron, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in cattails, Ellipsis…, and Ample Remains, among others.


Three Dark Poems by Jack D. Harvey

In the Morgue

The body on the tiles 
seems cold
as a block of ice;
all signs of life
have flown the coop.
For the living
the wailing wall
waits outside,
dark as oil;
time goes rolling on, 
steady as a wheel.

God’s will be done;
His word and deed
breaking all bounds,
including His own.
Death itself,
confronting His
absolute logic,
goes limp as a noodle.
God’s will is doom;
his extraordinary quirks
shy chaos
into the wilderness,
among the other outcasts.

By the same finger
that blasted the king’s wall,
the body is resurrected,
a brand-new loaf of bread,
the bread of life, the true bread,
the word of God.
Wondering, wandering,
embodied again,
the spirit asks no questions,
hove to in a sea of blood;

home is here.

Give us this day,
weighed one way,
our daily beef,
our sacred host.
Give us, O Lord,
no miracles, please,
light as flies,
to tip the scales.

God’s will be done,
but for eternity
can a universe be,
whirl within curly whirl,
steady complex
planetarium of eternal law,
carrack always on
an even keel?
Or can it come unstuck?
Can it become cracked
like an old china pot,
or perfectly and forever intact?
These are ores unfound
and unmined. 

The body is cold
as a mackerel,
feet, legs, trunk, head,
sunk forever,
bound to the rules
of a dark kingdom
and do we care?

We’re uncaring as bees,
busy about 
the best things in life,
buzzing around nectar,
trying to make things sweet,
trying to stay alive
in a nice way.

The body is cold,
a conductor of 
the unknown, 
a train of cold
going nowhere.
Morticians meander
in and out, 
doing the necessary;
it matters not
to the corpse,
cold and dead,
a stricken ferry 
sinking in a 
surfeited sea,
to the unfathomable deep.

Cold and dead,
the body lies,
a market offering,
glass-cased
among the legumes,
the fish and the lamb;
no way no how
to cheat the fates or
the laws of nature.
The corpse 
by no fell stroke,
by no hocus-pocus,
ever recalled 
from the back of beyond.

It lies there forever.

The body ain’t a body anymore;
it’s gone, 
diminished to a naught,
to less than nothing.

Human fate you say,
this is the way it is,
well, well,
alas and ho-hum,
like leaves of the passing year
we come and go; 
more windy talk
from the pulpit, at the gravesite
bottomless, meaningless;

but say it anyway.

Goodbye life, hello
portico of wealthy King Dis.
Your coin good here, mortal,
and will buy your passage
to a kingdom built on time
and money.
Two pennies for 
the fare, for a stay
that lasts forever,
where a day 
outlasts the gold,
the silver, the copper;
your coins cheap metal
for your reckoning
with the dim realm,
where all the glitters
are the eyes of the dead.

Have no fears, penny-wise;
step forth pound-foolish 
and assured
from the heaving ferry;
hell has no furies,
no denying spirits;
only the dead,
mile after mile of them
decked out and penitent
and hell will last, thank God,
among monuments, a monument
more durable than the sin of Adam,
than all our sins.

The body is cold, now
remote as the moon.
For the noble mourning kindred
noble love and death
go forth
hand in hand
and the rest of us struggle along;
illusions become elusive 
among our daily crusts 
and bumpkins 
and our dearest
bump us out of the park,
this dump called Paradise.
We struggle along,
bound for a rude awakening
in that last call to arms.

Body cold, body 
politic, fetch
the means of meaning;
of being here for a while
in some peace.
Puissant bird of dawn, 
take me, too, when it’s 
time to go.
Longer is too much;
still, the body is cold,
still,
even here in the land
of blood. 

Vlad the Impaler

           John Crow,
           royal by-blow,
Voivode of Transylvania,
take this ham, 
and eat it;
a pig died for you,
strung screaming on a wire.
Hung on a standard,
black and hairy,
Valeria Victrix
bores into Britain.

Sladnik,
take this golden hand  
and shake it;
Mehmet's dark warriors
wait for Byzantium
to tumble
at the little gate.
Bang, bang, Urban's cannons
break the walls,
the lavish halls, the streets;
defeat is here,
the retreat of Constantine
from the west,
penniless, is here;
here he is, dead on his feet;
here he is, facing the foe;
he dies here. 

Emperor of the east and beggar;
bargaining with a bad pope
a good king
does what he can.
The rosy shoes,
beloved Pharonic ikon,
fall broken
beneath Peter's ravening cross;
after ripe autumn, the 
storms of booted winter.

King Constantine 
on his feats,
by default rests;
lost in the east,
he struck wonders
out of his head,
calling argosies to the 
last of Byzantium.
Dim, fine, old,
the skin of
his golden likeness
through the dead and
bygone winters 
burns our minds still,
like bitter frost.

Black Tuesday, the burning city,
exquisite reliquary,
evolved centaur horrors;
ghosts aghast at helosis
floating from the tombs,
the ruined churches,
saw black Vlad, coffin-clad,
metamorphosed
between dog and wolf;
Vlad, Count Dracula,
a likely bat,
likable as the plague.

After centuries,
now and then,
a church bell or
something like it,
rings in the dawn;
a mystic freshening
calls up the day.
Night abides while
the sun sees all,
widening and widening 
his eye.

For the sake of Christ
take my hand,
prince, sever your ties; 
this kind land's not forever.

The Greater Ferry

Afric and Ind,
my souls,
are fastnesses,
are fantasies
buried in the sands
of the cartographer's desert;
green burials
hoarded up and treasuries
remote and golden
as Midas' child

stone cold in the palace.

No gift
where the head remembers
and the heart forgets;

valueless
Tiberius' bepimpled countenance
on Augustus' aureate trunk.

Passions, crimes are
pursued to the end;
tumors grow powerfully
in the gloomy jungles
of beginnings.
Afric and Ind,
friends, tissues of fragrance,
plasmas, rivers
stretched from 
hearth to hearth.

Queen Bess and her men
trod new-minted shores
it seemed
moonlings or troglodytes
inhabited;
tinkling cymbals
whining crumhorns:
soft Indian
and naked savage hooted
in bush and brake.

Precious scions
we amuse ourselves
with quaint voyages
to Muscovy or Ind;

simple hardships.

Africa and India,
my serfs,
are there.
Giants at bay
they push the sunrise
more and more to the east:
let our cowboys, our Ulysses,
our connoisseurs of simple rewards
take heed and,
move by move,
plant stock
on a safer shore. 

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. https://www.amazon.com/Mark-Dwarf-Jack-D-Harvey-ebook/dp/B019KGW0F2


“Shadows Flowering” Dark Verse by Joseph A. Farina

continue to stare at shadows
curse the intrusive light
that grows them faint to die
leaving sharp shape and form

come to the dark kingdom
there your true self find
worlds immortal waiting
in silent shadows pulsing

peer into the abyss
unlike the skies
here there is cold fire
to warm your frozen soul

time has no dominion
in darkness no seasons turn
no bells toll mourning
here live without depth

silence within silence
where only you are sound
no longer voices baiting
like in the bitter light

Joseph A Farina is a retired lawyer and award winning poet, in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.His  poems have appeared in Philedelphia Poets,Tower Poetry, The Windsor Review, and Tamaracks: Canadian Poetry for the 21st Century. He has two books of poetry published ,The Cancer Chronicles and The Ghosts of Water Street.