here is an art to brevity. For once I shall strive to be brief, though my poems are generally anything but that. As are these perflaffly, pregumptuous, extracapitulated, conundrum-hummous intros. Bet I made you slow down there and ponder either the pronunciation, meaning, my sanity, or all of the above. But I think I’ve proved my point. And if anyone’s left reading this . . . it may shock you that in conversation I am not a big breeze-shooter. I’m kind of an introvert. I’ll talk if there’s something to talk about; otherwise I can be quiet by nature, busily engaged in creative pursuits, involved in thinking up plots, or dreaming of writing when life speeds up and I’m too busy to think. On the page as in life, a poet or proser, I tend to aim my words with precision and believe in getting to the point. Sooner or later.

Not that I haven’t been known to get distracted, ramble, go off on tangents, joke and chit-chat, even digress. There are such moments between the bursts of contemplation, the rapturous madness, the drive and focus and delighted chuckles when the pieces fit.

While some of my books or short stories may be long, I usually refrain from crafting extensive drawn-out sentences. I prefer balanced lines with a sense of rhythm and flow, whatever the length. Incomplete ones when they fit. I’ll use big words, uncommon words, reinforceful words, and inventive words. But I don’t like to be redundant. In other words, I have my own style. And that may vary a lot, from layered and exaggerative to compact and straightforward. Yes, I can be concise. I just don’t always want to be. And I especially don’t care to be told that I ought to be.

I am a staunch believer in poetic license even in prose. Of course, doing something “wrong” with intention doesn’t always make it right. But sometimes it works. As an artist and wordsmith, I like to tinker. Whether telling a story, speaking in riddles, alluding to the abstract, conveying a message, making a statement, making you think, or simply endeavoring to entertain and amuse. I have to do it my way.

Most struggling authors like myself desire to stand out from the crowd. That’s getting harder and harder to do since the crowd has overflowed and seems to be everywhere. With me, it’s not that I’m trying to stand out from the crowd. Nor do I write to please the crowd. Mostly I am off over here away from the crowd, doing my own thing. Which brings me to the topic at hand, which is trying my hand at a deceptively simple form of poetry. I am referring to the economic tersity of Haiku. Not just any Haiku: Horror Haiku. Naturally, I have to make it my own, hence the horror.

When homeschooling my sons, I would assign them to compose Zoo Haiku after trips to the local one in San Diego. I loved reading theirs yet did not really pen much Haiku myself, if any. So I’ve decided to give it a whirl. The goal is to capture an emotion, moment, or essence in as few words as possible. To someone like me with a desire to be vivid and descriptive, and for whom there are never enough words, this presents quite a challenge. Fortunately, I love a good challenge . . .

Horror Haiku

Screams do not subside

When terror takes root within

A shattered heart’s soul.


My doppelganger

Came to call, knock-knock-knockin’ —

I didn’t answer.


Brittle claws scrape glass.

The watcher seeks attention

Like an angry wind.


I forgot to check

The backseat when I got in!

I’ll do it later.


Awaiting in dread

The next uninvited tread:

Old house of the dead.


What is true evil:

That which lurks behind your back

Or the bane you see?


A haunted machine

Will neither be tamed nor fixed

But can be replaced.


Monstrous toenails tore

Grooves within the attic floor;

Rats in my belfry.


A growl of hunger.

Fear is the fodder of beasts

Whose bellies crave men.


Suspense holds my hand

Then lets go on the cliff’s edge!

I fall to sleep lost.


This is testament

That humanity is doomed:

The face-eating starts.


Are you crazy? Yes.

Why did they let you out? Oh . . .

They didn’t. I left.


Books hold many wonders

But in the wrong hands can harm.

Knowledge is power.


To the devil’s eye

Mankind is but a plaything —

Best pick up your toys.


Something’s in the pipes

I’m afraid to take a bath . . .

You can hold your nose.


Did you hear that too?

What was it? What should we do?

The worst fears don’t boo.


Bottom’s up, me mates!

Beware the munch of the worm

That waits in your grave.


Jaws jacked with sharp teeth

The fish smiles with abandon.

So much for my head.


A crow’s eye-view:

The silent specter stands poised

In menacing chase.


My toe-biter struck again!

What fiends may skulk in the dark

To make us their snack.


The wicked blade’s edge:

A chilling thought can wound



There were five knives, five!

Someone must be in the house . . .

Four handles I count.


A snake with two mouths

Cannot guard a secret well.

Some ripples have fangs.


Where is the flashlight?

Every black hour harbors fright

But I have no sight.


Moment of silence,

So deep there is no echo

Of the breath sucked in.


I wish I didn’t hear

That strange noise in the cellar.

Ignorance is bliss.


Look under the bed,

The thing from your closet moved.

Now you’re in trouble!


A waking nightmare —

I could flee this angst in sleep

Yet I don’t dare blink


Nothing to fear, child.

Soothe your heartbeat running wild

From my bedtime stories.


How I love to read

Scary stories late at night . . .

Until they come true.

tree verse

That wasn’t a wolf

Howling in the woods last night.

It was only me.


Crossing the forest —

Two different worlds they are

The light and the dark.


Silver moonlit drops

Form a trail of monster tears.

Step lightly on pain.


The leaf’s ghost ballet

Of phantom strings and strokes

On stage or palette.


Eyes in the darkness

With unblinking interest.

By campfire I sleep.


Wandering at will . . .

The sheltering boughs reveal

What big feet you have!


Nocturnal noises

Rise above the insect drone —

Too late to worry.


That which they savor,

Those creatures of the jungle,

Is a frightened meal.


Do the trees judge us

As we traipse among them blind

To their inner strength?


A quiver of brush —

A sign we are not alone

In the wilderness.


You can wander days

In a wooded paradise,

And then become lunch.


The most ferocious

Are the foes we have not met

Down a crooked trail.


I had ten fingers

And then none of them remained . . .

One by one I ate.

digging up my beloved

Graveyard at midnight —

A foolish man wakes the dead

With no good reason


Like ducks in a row

The markers plot each gravesite,

A crossword puzzle


So why am I here?

The answer evades me now

Yet I venture forth


With spade and lantern

To comb for kindred surnames

As if in a fog


And then I recall

The purpose of this errand:

A grim retrieval


My teeth fell inside

When I bent to kiss the cheek

Of my lady love


She looked so at peace

I couldn’t bear to reach in

And rummage around


I thought I could last

With no more need of a smile

Having lost Abigail


It takes teeth to chew

And I’ve become an addict

I’m ashamed to say


I can’t live without

That sweet confectious delight:

Saltwater Taffy


Locating the tomb

Of my beloved wife Gail

I commence to dig


Thudding the casket

Prying, prodding the lid up

I forage all nerves


A sewn mouth rips loose;

She grabs my arm to inquire:

“You looking for this?”

~ Published ~
June 30, 2012

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