lthough I tend to be old-fashioned and behind the times in many ways, whether by choice or budget or for some other reason probably a bit more peculiar, I do on occasion manage to be on time. It is purely by accident most of the time. It’s not as if I have some big or little clock I consult like a crystal ball to guide me. It just sort of happens, as it would happen, and of course I have to make the best of the situation. What choice do I have? So here I am on the four hundred and fiftieth birthday of William Shakespeare (wow, this guy’s old) writing an introduction to a “Poetic Reflections” column that has nothing to do with William Shakespeare — according to the title — and it struck me like the gongs of a pendulating clock that hey, I should add a mention of the bard in case he reads my column. Or even if he doesn’t. Because he probably doesn’t. It isn’t as if I’m famous or anything. I’m not that deluded.

In honor of Shakespeare, I shall throw in some even older English than I usually use in my writing. Since he’s old. It seems appropriate. Who’s still with me?

Let us hitherward be on with it, if you are still here, and gallivant off to the frippery for some well-worn vintage threads to make those captious nattlesome shrews whinge and peenge and fleer at the flounder of lachrymose slathertrashed beggarly whiffingers.

(I am not making this up! Stick around and I might be.)

Lest the noisome flamfoo yelpers chimble and clapperclaw us to shreddles with their eel-skinned tongues, away to the belltowers where we shall obspliterate the ear-flaps (okay, some of this is mine) of the fremescent nowl-noggined bablatricious quidnunckers with a deafening sound and fury of foofish belfry peals.

(Well, that may have cost me some readers! But it really isn’t worse than some of my made-up terms. And I certainly never shy away from inane babble. Besides, Shakespeare is pretty popular.)

Okay, enough bardolatry. In the intro, at least. Suffice it to say, I am a fan of The Man — being the wordsmith and smelter that I am. I bow and tip my hat to the madcap Father Of Wordfoolery!

Getting back to the theme at hand, in case you survived all of that Cat-Latin illoquence, I would love to speak on the subject of “paranormities” . . . however, I am afraid we’re out of time. I think it’s a conspiracy of clocks. They are constantly going faster and faster, the sneaky devils, but I’m on to them! Oh yes, I am aware of each and every sinister second or minute they trim from the Time Tree (or whatever it grows on). I’m keeping track. I know there should be more time for things. There used to be, and it is maddening how short the days have become. I simply cannot catch up and on the contrary seem to become increasingly behind schedule with everything. I am always jogging in place just to stay in the moment, and forget about seizing the day or grabbing the brass ring! It’s like trying to hop a ride on one of those supersonic bullet-trains. Good luck with that, hobos and tramps! Good luck!

(Calm down, calm down. Everything must change. It is one of the first things you learn in life, even before you take a step. It is as unavoidable as baths. Correction: You can avoid taking baths for a long time, but then you will be avoided by everyone else.)

Oh very well, if there is time for this incessant drivel, I suppose there is time to squeeze in a word or two on the theme. It is an interesting topic, which is quite uncommon. (I tend to pull them out of a hat after cutting up cereal boxes and those pages of small print that come when you buy an electronic device.) But that’s all I can really say about it. I mean, it isn’t as if I’m some expert on the matter and go around giving presentations. So if you want a lecture, you will have to go to a Paranormities Convention. Of course, you won’t find any because it isn’t even a word. It is just one of the many that I have twisted and pretzellated for my own purposes with complete disregard for whether it is in the dictionary or not. Yes, I infuriate the wordagogs left and right. Okay, I don’t really since I made that one up too, but I would if wordagogs existed!

Let’s just call them wordmongers and be done with it. And I don’t care whether it’s a word or not! We aren’t playing Scrabble! Anything can be a monger, even an acorn, so get over it. (They drive me crazy with their rules! Sure, you can use whatever words you please if you’re William Shakespeare or Lewis Carroll or Doctor Seuss, but anyone else forget it! Even my computer is a critic, underlining countless terms in red as if I am the worst speller or best misspeller in history! Oh my gosh, it’s even underlining “misspeller”! There, it just did it again!)

Not that I think everyone should go around spelling however they please. There have to be standards, I agree. I’m not trying to set a bad example for anyone, honestly. I simply can’t help myself. I have never been normal, ever. It dates back to when I fell out of the coconut tree and landed on my head. Most people are born differently, but we can’t choose how we enter the world. The monkeys are my friends. Remember that.

This is getting a little too personal. As you probably know, I’m a private person who puts on her strait-jacket one sleeve at a time . . . Oh swell, now I’m having an attack of Déjà Vu. They hit me for no apparent reason, like an ice-cream headache. Or an ice-cream truck. I never see them coming. Weird.

Be that as it may, the choo-choo train has left the station and the cuckoo bird has flown the clock. There has been much ado about nothing and almost nothing about paranormities. That’s just the way it goes sometimes. Most of the time. And now it is time to bring on the poems, so without further ado (about anything), here they are . . .

Ahem. Here they are . . .

Um. Let’s try that one more time. Here they are!

Or maybe not.

Here . . .


Here. They. Are.

Well, this is embarrassing.

Oh, there they are! I see them. I must have been seeing things. Or not seeing things. Or looking in the wrong direction. Whatever. They’re here. Here they are . . .

(Down there.)

(Quit looking up, you’ll never find them! I know people say to look up as a good thing, but in this case you shouldn’t. You must look down. Yes, I know that is not considered a good thing, but in this case it is! You will find that I break a lot of rules. I even break the occasional ruler. It’s just how I am. I may even use “very” and “sudden”, because I don’t like being told that I can’t. But we’re getting off the subject here, so let us get on with the paranormities. And the poems. Down there!)


It can be the tryingest of circumstances

To relieve oneself of inhibitions

Superstitions, premonitions

Not to mention exhibitions

But if we exorcise our right to devote

Ourselves to that which haunts

And reduces us to quivering lumps

Of clay flesh molded

And misshapen by experience

We can be better for the expungination

Of those demons

Unless, of course, the little devils are real

In which case it is best to ignore them

And hope they go away

Because to full-out attempt removing

Such atrocious houseguests

May do more than scare the dickens

Out of you or me

It could leave permanent scars

Cause indelible damage upon your psyche

And your soul

It is quite one thing to tinker with our fears

And something else entirely to mess with

The supernal fabric that separates

Living and dead

The preternaturally inclined

Paranormities of the thirteenth kind


Over there

In the beyond

So let us banish the very thought of it

Perish it too

Just get rid of it

And we will never speak of this again

Pull the covers up over your head at night

Barricade that closet door

Refrain from looking under the bed

No matter what!

And remember, if you hear something tap

At a window

A closet

Your bedroom door

The front entrance

The rear exit

The cellar door

A portal to the attic

A trapdoor

The garage

A shed

A kitty or doggy door

A gate, possibly to Hell . . .


Live in a state of cautious optimism

And carefully arranged delusion

That everything will be all right

I’m sure you’ll be fine

It’s only your imagination



I was strolling in an old cemetery

An undertaking I oft enjoy

When I heard a disquieting noise

That seemed a foreboding ploy

By something or someone rotten

To make me blink, emit a shout

“Sinister!” I merely mumbled

Of that there was no doubt

For I next distinctly heard a moan

Emerge from the sunken ground

Precisely underneath my feet

And then a quite creepy sound

Much like a wheeze, perhaps an oath

As if fetid air were squeezed

From a skeleton’s chest or bellows

How the chilling disturbance teased

Already taut nerves to be plucked

With invisible fingers of dread

I wanted to flee, to skedaddle outright

Yet remained where I quivered instead

A twitter-light layer of fog was present

Its vapors up to my knees or higher

Causing my toes to tingle with fright

And roast as if toasted in a funeral pyre

The brume roiled in a crimson heat

I was forced to bolt, bumping a slab

That marked the grave I had tread upon

There I froze in a pose with naught to grab

When the headstone tumbled over

Creating a shudder that rippled the dirt

And rocked a nearby resting place

My fears would whimper, whisper and flirt

As a second hunk of marble tremored

And a fleshquake wriggled through me

While the marker tipped and crashed

The crepuscular occurrence proved to be

My last filament’s unraveling

For the trembles of the fallen stones

Would concuss the entire graveyard

Rattling courage and the weary bones

Ere a series of measured thumps ensued

I was taken hostage by the gloaming

In a muffled cadence like a beating heart

More tombstones thudded the loaming

My five wits fled, and from my clumsiness

A cache of scrawnies came out of their sloom

To claw through the lids of pine-hewn boxes

In pauper graves at the crack of doom

A feffulent stench reached flaring nostrils

As I sullen-sickly peered into the dark

With a nightfoundering sense of deprivation

And beheld the nebulous ranks of stark

Ethereal vestiges that lingered

Revenants sighed by the jaws of Death

Still clinging to their ivory frames

Diaphanous spirits shorn of breath

Ringing the fringes of unearthed plots

Where a penumbral aura filtered moonbeams

And the skeletons staggered out of their lots

I had disturbed the sleep of the wasted corpses

Whose broad grins were cranky, unamused

Their teeth on edge and bared in grimaces

The gaunt scowls made my body confused

For my knees became dauntedly enfeebled

My pulse turned rapid in a flight response

Though I could not depart on wobbly limbs

And was forced to pretend nonchalance

Disgruntled, withered, the surl-tooth gnarls

Fixed hollow sights on a horror bookwright

Who had clumsily upset their epitaphs

And roused them from the dearth of light

By daring to walk across their graves!

Such colossal cheek could not go unheeded

An intruder, I felt ineptly conspicuous

Until the skelters at once receded

To gape at me from beyond the tombs

Beside their spectral mortifying shades

I was torn by an impulse to jot it down

And the necessity to survive my escapades

At last I surrendered and scrawled a poem

A helpless pawn to inspiration’s thrall . . .

I am scribbling it still, a writer to the end

My only hope that I can capture it all

If I last till the morn, the ghouls may retire

Fading, withdrawing by the gleam of day

Elsewise you will find me clutching my pen

A notepad beneath and my skin a bit gray

Fingers ink-stained, a tophat toppled aside

Thus I will perish, to be buried among them

A mask of terror plastered on my face —

The elegy: Here lies the author of Mayhem.

Getting To The Bottom Of Tops

I sit and play with tops all day

Which is really such a distraction

As some may be tough to spiral enough

Others don’t turn with an equal reaction

Neither do they whirl in an opposite twirl

It can be unpredictable at best

They break the rules as if we’re fools

I can’t get them to stay at rest

I don’t get much done except having fun

And it seems a lot to do

To keep them rotating, happily gyrating

I can never visit the zoo!

Many things are missed on my To-Do List

Since these tops took over my life

The pirouetting is truly upsetting

I don’t need the added strife

My eyes are rolling, my brain is bowling

I’m dizzy from the Virginia Reeling

I wish they would spin out of the nuthouse I’m in

I don’t like this merry-go-round feeling

If I wanted to unfurl, I could become a squirrel

Instead of riding this mad carousel

These tops must be evil, the work of a weevil!

My guts are churning, I don’t feel so well

Is there an exorcist for dancing The Twist?

Please stop the train, I want to get off . . .

It’s going in circles, I have other pet irkles

I think I’ve developed an allergic cough

It is kind of numbing, I hear them humming

In my ears, an eerie whining

Like I’m the next to die in a horror film’s eye

And I’m unraveling as if it’s The Shining

Get out of my head! The ringleader is red

And he’s getting on my nerves

Go away, little rats! I’ve a case of the drats

I can’t take any more of these curves

I’m the victim of tops, and it just never stops

You’d be wise to heed my cries

Sure, they look very cute but there’s a bitter root

For they’re the devil in disguise!

foul play

The darkness in a foul mood

Can spread, infecting souls

With a blight that transcends the lowest

Rock-bottom disease known to Man

It is a plague of conscience and mind

Dwelling in the fathomless abyss

Of the human heart

Where not even angels can set foot

Or risk the feathers of their wings

Being singed and scorched by the heat

From the absence of light

For here is where the truest evil frolics

And festers in an ugly boiling broth

Like a cancerous tumor’s countenance

Leaving a wicked taste in the mouth

A fetid odor on the breath of Life

This mood will linger on the lips

In a devilish vampirical smirk so cold

It burns the eyes to behold

Rendering the sockets hollow, stark

And your poor blind soul must grope

Through unrelenting shadows

Attempting to outrun the terrors

In the stagnant frustration of

Dreamflight, the kind where you are

Fleeing a nightmare yet your steps

Take you nowhere, only to a higher state

Of anxiety as your heartbeats echo

For you cannot outrun the foul play

Of childhood memories, whether vivid

Or wisps and fragments in which

Evil came to visit, or moved into

Your bedroom but didn’t stay

In the closet, hide under the bed

And it wasn’t a game

It wasn’t fun at all, and you wished

How you wished with all your heart

That you didn’t have to play.


You know those ephemeral glimmers

The odd flitters and flashes

We see out of the corner of our eye?

They happen a lot, glimpses into darkness

A dash of menace, a glance of alarm

But lately they are tougher to descry

As if they are even more elusive

Racing faster than the speed of light

Ducking my gaze with the slightest hint

A spark, a strobe of something wicked

Evasively darting past or dodging

And all I can catch is a glint

My head cannot turn quick enough

Like a trick of the eye, too brief

A twinkle, gone in less than a blink

I suspect acts of jeopardy are implied —

By monstrous finger-shadow-puppets

The shimmer of a face with a sinister wink

I almost hear whispers under the breath

Murmurs of plottings, yaffles and mutters

Of sly innuendos, rumors kept hushed

While fairy wasps and wisps discreetly pass

Like paranormal orbs or particles of dust

As if the evil afoot is being rushed

I’m afraid to close my eyes even a second

If I look away the visions tantalize

Paranoid impulses rise with each whisk

Eyes flick to the peripherals at any motion

The least movement incites grim palpitations

From the subtle shiftings swept so brisk

Intangible, oblique — I cannot escape

The devious portents and indirect threats

Of their craftiness and cunning stealth

I fret over each furtive insinuation

The artful uncandid fleetings of doom

That imperil my safety and mental health

How I disdain the perfidious poltergusts

That spell trouble and impending disaster

You know the feeling, that sense of dread

For me it is rare not to be stitched with fear

Existing in havoc with flights of despair

Molars corrading, dismal notions in head

They are out to get me I am convinced

Circling like wolves to tear me apart

I live in a panic, a malagrugorous state

My demise is already a foregone conclusion

Yes, woe is me! It’s my middle name . . .

Oh the horrors that I must contemplate.

The Dark Hearse

I had a dream that wasn’t as positive as King’s

Though it held grave profundity, bold promisings

Mine was nightmarish, a bitter-deep refrain

Engulfed in the diabolic mists of the strictest plain

An image accompanying the greatest evils known

Like the inaudible clangor of dying alone

Without knells rung, any praises sung


Lonely and forlorn, unnoticed or celebrated

Of such I dreamt, a sorry end anticipated

Then woke in a lather, my heart a bass-drum

Broken free of sleep’s vapors, the dire outcome

I escaped the hand of Destiny, survived a nethertrip

Perhaps it was a mix-up, an administrative slip

Through the fabric of my fate, or I got there too late


A fortunate coincidence that liberated this soul

From the shackles of punishment due for the role

In a lifetime of playing the villain or bad guy

It is easy to be typecast once living a lie

To be stuck in a groove on the record of Time

Dizzy with the whirligiggles of a paradoxic paradigm

It wasn’t the right path, and I now face the wrath


It is coming for me, fueled by fire and brimstone

A fury unleashed out of the hottest Red Zone

That dark hearse from Hell is calling my name

Running on the fumes of infinite blame

I may not be innocent, without a few flaws

My confession is valid, I have broken some laws

Yet my crimes are small, almost nothing at all


I predicted the future, mishaps and diseases

A Tyromancer, divining truth from curdled cheeses

I wanted to stand out from the usual palmreaders

The crystal-ball seers and religious heartbleeders

Out to save the world from trials and tribulations

I was trying to save myself in the coagulations

My targets were buffoons, the easy gossoons


Believers that answers might thus be discerned

By a clump of milk clots could lessons be learned

The craziest of methods I studied in vain

And presented as signs the conjurings of my brain

Every solemn tiding or omen was pure baloney

Utter fable, the fabrication of a ridiculous phony

And this my purport, the malfeasant extort


For you have to admit that it sounds too absurd

Deriving prognostication out of a curd

Now the hearse with flames is on the prowl

Windows tinted, motor revving with a beastly growl

Tail fins sleek, black coat gleaming, it surges higher

Hood and flanks burning with yellow and orange fire

I hear the deathmobile’s roar as it thunders to my door


A false prophet, I am sure I should have kept mum

I failed to foresee my folly and glean what would come

It is cold comfort to feel snatched by a blazing dragon

The advent of a hellish souped-up meatwagon

With a demonic driver grinning behind its wheel

Charging to collect me in a fell swoop of steel —

A joyride on the dark hearse; what could be worse?

~ Published ~
April 30, 2014

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