Hello again, horror fiends! Today I welcome poet David Silverberg to Cedar Hollow. Both poems were originally published in As Close to the Edge Without Going Over (ChiZine).
One, two, Freddy’s coming for you.
Three, four, better lock your door.
Five, six, grab your crucifix.
Seven, eight, gonna stay up late.
Nine, ten, never sleep
AGAIN! I’m watching horror movies for self-help tips.
It started with Freddy Krueger. And these days,
I can’t really meet a Freddy without thinking of
a red-and-black checkered shirt
and cringe killphrases such as
“How sweet, fresh meat!”
The jokes stabbed me so quickly I barely noticed any blood.
I was smirking at Freddy’s hypercolour punchlines
just silly nightmares I could flick away, no harm.
Krueger didn’t keep me up at night
but instead taught me to grasp the humour in everything,
in the darkness that gift-wraps our dreams every night.
And that was only the beginning.
Because Jason taught me the stoic stealth of silent determination.
Carrie bled the blood of a daughter who
finally saw how wrong her mom could be.
The Shiningtold me, yeah, all work and no play makes everyone dull.
And with The RingI realized kids in wells are creepy as fuck.
I go to zombie movie marathons at bars,
Order a coke and Romero, RIP George.
I pour out my liquor for a Nostradamus
who saw how we’d get turned without ever getting bit.
These days, I’m going through the back catalogue
like a hipster hunkers down with Dan Savage.
Chucky tells me I’m never too small to make a difference.
Pinhead scrubs the vanilla out of me so I get a bit more Neapolitan.
The Lost Boysremind me we all need to let loose once in awhile.
Michael Myers gives me a good reason to never hold grudges.
It’s not just the slashers I’m watching for advice.
Every wide-eyed victim billboards the bravery of the foolish,
a new angle of admirable.
They got moxy, as my grandfather would say.
Thing is, they just suck at escaping.
Which we all do sometimes.
Then there’s the MacGyver-loving
plucky and oh so lucky hero.
They trip the monster with piano wire
way before Home Alonedid it.
They got DIY flamethrowers
chainsaws for hands
perfect aim in torrential rain.
It’s all so shiny-happy
But I gave up on horror’s believability like
Mulder gave up on making a move on Scully in Season 1:
it’s the anticipation of what could be that tickles the veins so deeply.
So give me the battle-cry screams,
and then the eyes dilated with courage.
This is what gives me hope that anyone can be a
boomstick among twigs.
You might think it’s oddball to find inspiration
in jump scares and monsters with bloody hockey masks.
Thing is, horror isn’t designed to create fear—
it’s meant to release it.
And I can do much more without fear.
We all can.
They Come for Our Words
The demons have come, but we didn’t think they’d come for
our tongues first.
Not the flappy crepe waggling between our lips.
They have come for our language.
Somehow, somewhy some of us can’t say the words
thundering in our throats.
They become a puddle, a scab wound, a teenager
fumbling for a bra clasp,
and so we can’t organize like we normally could have.
they know how to separate the strong from the meek,
and some of us become appetizers for their sword-sized fangs.
I’m hoping to spoil their dinner.
See, I’m writing all this down
before they can steal my written words.
I hear it’s been happening all over the world.
My tongue, they have, and they’ve forked it
like their own gruesome gods,
but I know how they do what they brew,
because I heard their mud voices on the way to get rations,
they can be real sloppy when they’re
feeding on our children.
They didn’t notice my ears pressed against those
and they don’t knizslock how we infilcrampled
that meeting where their hushed tones
built into a fevered pitch of mad wimpledander
Oh no. It’s happening isn’t it?
OK, let me spew this out like it’s a black licorice Slurpee.
They start with our langfandango
and jimble down to our ears, an infection that trimpsies into
every way we have to communi-skate.
We soon go deaf. It’s a slow burfle.
And it’s making us go mad.
Which is exactly what those cantapoles want.
Oh god, it’s getting worse isn’t it?
My hands aren’t quisping what I want to orqua
my eyes are feeling drevvy with yurgur
and every time I want to olbert to you
what I need to asperf, it all comes out
The demons are planning to stromponi the entire luminaria!
Fleeze hurkle me!
My name is Cruttlemask CasketSlape and I live at
Tangerdream Examper in St. Crusky and and—
Oh. It’s too late isn’t it?