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horror sisters

'Tis that time of year, my dear, when it must be mentioned unmentionable things.  You know what I'm talking about . . . all the things that get swept under the rug the rest of the time because we're too busy living and struggling to get along with ourselves and each other to acknowledge them.  And perhaps we don't like to think about them.  Maybe, too, some of us are in denial that they exist.  Oh, but they do.  There is an entire history of these things.  "And why is that?" you may wonder.  Go ahead, I'll wait.  As clueless as you might be, I am even more clueless.  It doesn't make any sense to me why, for example, the color of skin should make a difference in how people treat other people.  Or why men should think that women are weaker and therefore less able to write good Horror and Science Fiction.  There are all kinds of people, and who they are has nothing to do with their color except to define their origin up to a point (we are all from the same flesh if you go back far enough).  There are also all kinds of strengths, and all kinds of weaknesses.  Whether male or female, we have some of each.

It is my goal this month to help erase such misconceptions.  Believe it or not they persist, however modern and evolved we have become.  So this February I've been taking every opportunity to promote the ladies who love, support, create, and participate in Horror.  It's about pride, about letting the world know we exist.  Our numbers are growing, and we are here to stay.  I have been writing Horror for more than two decades myself; I simply wasn't getting published until a little less than six years ago.  And even then, the first three print books (including my initial poetry collection) were not being read until releasing an E-book in October of Twenty Eleven.

For those who are unaware (which is practically everybody in the world right now), in addition to writing dark verse, I am the author of horror stories and novels.  This genre has long been one of my favorites — though I may blend it with humor, suspense, Fantasy, elements of Science Fiction.  Okay, I confess it is the favorite, and has been since I can remember.  Not really the gore-heavy explicit Horror that many associate with the genre these days.  Sure, those pecked-out eyes in Alfred Hitchcock's classic film The Birds definitely left an impression.  Hitchcock, however, was a master at tingling your spine with anticipation and dread.  He didn't rely on extreme images or language to convey terror.  That is the kind of Horror I aspire to craft.  Not because I'm a woman and can't handle the harsher, grosser stuff.  I do spin some gruesome, even grotesque tales.  There are plenty of us ladies who do; that is not the point.  The point is, there are too few of the women in Horror who are at this point known well.  This needs to change.  We are hoping people will see there are more of us than they might think . . . and start knowing us better!

How writers tell a story, how we portray characters and describe events, is a personal preference.  We all have them.  It isn't strictly a feminine trait to tone down the details or language; to elevate suspense over cheap thrills; to convey females as three-dimensional and not merely "objects" to dispose of or rescue.  However we individually approach the genre, our work should not be dismissed for being different or old-fashioned.  It shouldn't be labeled as weak.  Variety is a spice.  There is room in Horror for diversity of style and content as much as plot.  Don't judge me.  I have written pieces that combine the visceral with the cerebral.  My works emphasize meaning, emotion, character.  Does that make me, gasp, a woman writer?  I am proud to be one.  Yet it would be best if you regarded me as a writer.

We have largely been overlooked for too long, and this is the fifth year that my sisters in Horror and some of my brothers have attempted to spread the word, to shine a light on the achievements of ladies, so often overshadowed by guys, who tend to dominate the genre.  I have never gone blog-hopping or done a blog tour of a new release.  I thought I would visit some blogs to help make our presence known.  This isn't a blog.  It's a poetry column.  But since I'm here, I figured I might as well tack up another appeal to take us seriously.  Some think it will not be necessary to continue Women In Horror Month once our goal is achieved.  I believe it will always be important to remember how far we have come, both males and females, in breaking down the barriers that still exist.

I hope you won't find my enthusiasm for the creepy and macabre this month (and every month) too dull.  I do not consider my writing solely for fans of Horror.  As an author, a poet, I portray journeys of the heart and soul.  I hope you will take them with me.

There are other things to celebrate in February:  Black History, American History, International Friendship, Love, Cardio Health, and Cancer Prevention.  Let us each choose something close to our hearts . . . and do our best to raise awareness that it matters.

 

 

    horror sisters

 

They were the devil's own daughters

Their mother was told

Born out of wedlock

Their morality sold

 

"You have brought this town shame

And must now pay the price!"

She was led to the altar

Of human sacrifice

 

Her belly carved open

The babies ripped out

Holding hands they were born

Spreading fear and much doubt

 

The mother lay buried

In the unhallowedest ground

A grave left unmarked

Meant to never be found

 

Satan's daughters were shunned

And cast far far away

Mere infants abandoned

On an accursed day

 

Granted refuge by a preacher

Starkly raised by the cloth

Until girls became women

Transformed like a moth

 

In their breasts throbbed a pulse

To avenge a cruel birth

And so destiny beckoned

That they comb endless earth

 

Yet The Fates can be unkind

Ever leading to our doom

For these siblings no future

Would emerge out of gloom

 

The town's guiltiness reeked

Of a blood-dripping past

There the ladies would know

They had come home at last

 

Desiree was pale and lovely

With eyes gleaming gold

Her sister as fair

But with orbs dark and cold

 

Grim Chastity's smile

Was etched prim and unpainted

Her twin wore the smirk

Of a scarlet most tainted

 

Sleek manes flowed like nightfall

As they strutted and skipped

Lugging axes and knives

Keen and mordantly equipped

 

Having practiced in secret

Bearing malice-filled hearts

Hacking vegetables and fruit

Chopping dolls into parts

 

They slashed through the city

Bereft of sensation

Both sides unforgiving

In their rabid condemnation

 

Blind hatred melting to horror

Stained wide gaping eyes

Coarse screams would be silenced

By the shock and surprise

 

A single-minded madness

Led to the dark Judgement Day

Of soulless desecration

And spirits gone astray

 

Upon streets lined with red

The twins posing uncertain

With no thought beyond that

Which had closed like a curtain

 

Should they run or remain

To face the consequences?

Were they angels or demons?

Would they come to their senses?

 

These were questions unanswered

As some matters are gray

While the actions were evil

And no truth lies this way

 

For Lady Justice can be vain

Her grip unevenly scaled

Leaving lives with no balance

In a universe failed

 

To pen a tale of denial

Amidst the self-centered rages

Of frenzied pitchfork mobs

Who spill blood on the pages.

 

 

    The Twisted Sister

 

Celia craved a sibling so much

That she borrowed one from neighbors

Snatched out of sleep

The family had eight girls

And wouldn't miss the runt

A thin sallow-faced lass

Who was rather sickly

"I'm going to call you Dandelion,

For my favorite weed!"

With a smirk Celia hugged the girl

She kept locked in the basement

And dragged her old broken dollies

To play with the child

Like her they wouldn't be missed

From a fancy pink room

Adorned by china-head ladies

And blinking babies

Several Barbies and Kens

A dollhouse with the most lavish details

But Dandy was ungrateful

Grown jealous and sarcastic

She wouldn't be nice

So she had to go

Celia hauled her bound and gagged

Up the steps, out the door

Onto a squeaking red wagon

Which she pulled down the street

To the nearest orphanage

Where Sisters Of The Bleeding Heart

Would gladly take her

By then she had forgotten

Her real name

After seven years in a dank cellar

Imprisoned by a spoiled girl

Who told her she was abandoned

And she believed it

In a state of confusion

The convent was strict

But welcomed her to the fold

They dressed her in black

A shade drabber than her dungeon

The girl's heart was as broken

As the ragged dolls

Her dark side had won

And out of habit would she

Do the devil's work

Disguised as a nun

Taking sinister advantage

Of the suffering and poor

Dandy hunted the streets

Behind shrouds of shadow

Blending into the night

Collecting alms by force

Bending wills to her whim

Without pity or repentance

She carried a dagger

In a hidden pocket

For the slitting of throats

When she met a sinner

Who preyed on children

For that was her weakness

The only soft spot

Of a petrified soul

An angel of death

She was almost pure evil.

 

 

    the swarm

 

Sisters they were, hatched from a bad egg

Antennas and wings, plus a bounty of leg

Wretched instruments of demise to the very last dreg

With a tremendous howl their multitude rose

Like a velvet blanket of miniature crows

Bent upon mayhem, wreaking panic and woes

As they wafted to the air on a billow of breeze

In undulating waves with majestic ease

The raunchy pestules of ravenous disease

Blood-sisters in a featherless flying horde

Droning like bombers through the sky they roared

Unleashed by Nature the darklings soared

Evolved from pollutants, from the carbonous smog

That was clogging the atmosphere with smoky fog

Reducing lakes to a brackish bog

Dispatched to ransack and wipe the slate bare

To start anew from the bottom of despair

Daughters of a mother's ice-edged stare

Whose heart has grown cold at the indignities accrued

By indifference and hate, an avaricious brood

Her spirit is heavy, her disposition rude

There is no space for mercy, no place for regret

Only a relentless fury, an immeasurable debt

Unleashed in despondence to remove the threat

Of ungrateful children, a terrible spawn

She was unable to distinguish player from pawn

So all would pay in a funereal dawn

Fanning to far corners, a collective purge

Of lamentous humming in a wordless dirge

That would surround the globe and then converge

Females had long been muckraking the mess

Of Man's ego and careless dreams of excess

A trail of progress yielding thoughtlessness

Until Mother Nature's womb had been sealed

By bulldozers and concrete, riveted and steeled

The damage was done, it could not be healed

Except by a clean unflinching sweep

A munching, grunching, crunching reap

And there would be nobody left to weep

She had warned them of their injury in a loud refrain

With tremors and thunderclouds of lashing disdain

Her misery would lie on an inconsolable plain.

 

 

    Big Sister

 

I

 

He was an absolute brat, no question of that,

And she wished him away, but he wanted to play.

With petulance he roared about being too bored;

She just gritted her teeth, how she gritted her teeth.

 

"You're supposed to amuse me!" the whiner would plea

To a pair of deaf ears that ignored his best jeers,

For she hated the grind, babysitting his kind.

He was such an annoyance, an unholy annoyance!

 

"Shut up or I'll clobber you!" Big Sister would shrew

With the tone of a fly zizzing effortless by,

And her fingers did curl to the fist of a girl

That could punch out his lights, his ornery lights.

 

The little rascal threw a fit when she wouldn't submit,

As in fit to be tied, and believe me she tried . . .

He was worse than a tick though her skin was quite thick;

She wanted to smack him, to paddywack-smack him.

 

The most misunderstood can be less bad than good

And more like us than not, in our blood like a clot,

Very tough to avoid like a huge asteroid

That could crash on our head, flame and smash on our head.

 

"I am trying to read!" his big sister would plead.

A compelling page-turner so hot it might burn her

And could not be put down come a flood or hell-clown,

Just an insolent brother, a very insolent brother.

 

The teen imagined great trauma, made a wish for some drama

To unfold on her sibling, sick and tired of their quibbling.

In her mind he had crossed into the land of "Get lost!"

And she hoped for reprieve, how she prayed for reprieve.

 

Crassly pining to stuff him in a box or handcuff him,

She yearned to hogtie him, duct-tape or mummify him,

Bury his body in the sand, gag his mouth with a rubberband,

Or really get his nose, indeed pluck off his nose!

 

A victim of Fate, her folks were coming home late —

It was so unfair having the brat in her hair.

She would rather eat mud or drink her own blood

Than be saddled with him, she was addled with him.

 

There was no other choice, for she had lost her voice

And be conquered he must.  Upside-down he was trussed

In a pair of suspenders.  A reader never surrenders!

Now she's lost in her book . . . she was absorbed by her book.

 

II

 

The truth is that brothers can truly be evil

Gretel knew hers was a pain after a walk in the trees

When he ate the bread crumbs and led her to a house

Made of candies but wouldn't share (she even said please)

It was a sham, a foul plot; he meant to feed her to a witch

Then torture her dolls, steal her fairytale collection

Give her dresses to charity and receive a medal

So he shoved her inside without any protection

A lad embarrassed his younger sibling, a girl no less

Stood taller than him because girls grow faster

He couldn't bear it and wanted to be rid of the bane

The "big sister" he was stuck with like a piece of plaster

The poor moppet was in tears until the witch arrived

History had it all wrong, they became excellent friends

And the witch taught Gretel her bag of tricks

How to spellcast and conjure, to control story ends

And decide who should live happily ever after

Being the ultimate judge of who wins or loses

Made Gretel a bit mad with the power of gods

Growing bossy as someone who can do as she chooses

Which was committing Hansel to an insane asylum

Confined to a strait-jacket in a rubber room

Eventually the guy would learn how to drool

And dream of weaving baskets on a golden loom

While Gretel became the world's wealthiest girl

Writing horror stories that sold the best

And the moral of this tale is to find the silver lining

On a cloudy day when your brother's a pest.

 

III

 

"Don't bother me!"

Was her snarled refrain

As she self-importantly ignored him

Turning pages with a frown

Finally slamming the door in his face

She just wanted to read her comics in peace

Unperturbed, not driven to distraction by

The incessant whimpering whirling dervish

Of a hyper kid

Who could be a tempest tantrum

Sucking in and hurling objects

With wild-beast random fury

A cyclone of animosity

Directed at the closest recipient

Chiefly her

For he could be such a snowballing menace

An avalanche of frenetic intensity

That he was sending her over the edge

And finally he went too far

Motivated by frustration

A cry of anguish

An attention-seeking missile

He pushed her beyond

That tiny point of return

There was no coming back this time

When he snuck in again

And tore up her favorite issue

Of a series with the usual hero

Some guy in tights and a mask

She read it for the supervillain

A female

Curvy yet man could she fight!

She had the moves

Even her bad ones were good

She carried The Ace Of Spades

As a calling card

And now she lay ruined

In tatters

Undefeated by men

Shredded by a mere boy

The girl's wrath boiled to steam

Pouring from her ears

"Didn't I tell you to stay out of my room?"

A horrified shriek

"I warned you, don't touch my stuff!"

Her battlecry

Before losing the last of her temper

Along with her mind

Going Big Sister on Lil Brother

Blowing proportion sky-high

To the moon like a rocket

With a nuclear warhead

He would pay for this

They all would

Those musclebound he-men of brawn

Let them try to stop her

She dared

With a heart turned to stone

And thus heroes or villains were born

It wasn't always an accident

Sometimes they were created

Like monsters

By scientists or rotten kids

Diseased to the core

Because she wouldn't cooperate

Refused to join his silly romps

The idle senseless roughhousing

Of a child without friends

She would stuff him in the toaster

Then eat him with jam

Revenge had never tasted

So sweet.

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Lori R. Lopez

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