Dark Poetry
To read other short stories,
click one of the titles below.
Death and the Maiden
                  By Justin Ehrlich

He ran his fingers through her hair, she woke;
The black depressions in his skull detailed
A shade a second as her eyes regained
Their focus, shivers flinched along her spine
And formless exhalations rattled fast
Until he spoke, 'forgive me'; carefully
Untangling his hand free he raised a palm
And backed away,
Death 'Be calm, Elizabeth.'
Elizabeth 'What do you want?'
Death 'You do not recognize me?
I waited at the hospital last year
When our eyes met on the periphery
Of flesh and spirit, I have often thought
About you, let me stay.'
Elizabeth 'Leave me alone!'
Death 'Don't play your games with me, you weren't afraid
Last time, you must remember.' She holds out
Her hand, he clutches it,
Elizabeth 'please not so tight.
I wish it weren't so, but I can't forget,
I fantasize about you on and off
But it is never paradise.'
Death 'It could
Be, let me stay one night.'
Elizabeth 'You're playing tricks
On me.'
Death 'Your paranoia is a glimpse
Of destiny through a fly's lens, I love
You, what is one night in a winding hale
Of moons?'
Elizabeth 'The difference between a hell
And heaven.'
Death 'If one look can dominate
The anarchy of time eternity
Is the province of fools.' She lifts the quilt,
Death, humbled by her pity left at dawn;
The shiny traumas on her wrists were gone.
                   
Monsters
                  By Justin Ehrlich

I saw a man sitting with his head in his hands,
And asked, 'what are you hiding from, old man?'
'It is the monsters that dwell
In the dark age of my soul
That I hide from.'
'Have you tried speaking with them?'
'I can't help but reason with them
But they are shrewd,
Their expertise lies not in winning
The argument, but in keeping it going.'
'And what of agreeing with them?'
'Their ideas are dangerous.'
'What do they say?'
'That the mind is not such a terrible
Thing to waste.'
While I thought about this,
A bestial accent snarled
From within, 'In a world without pity
There are no victims',
And I left him alone
To fend against his monsters.

                       
The Black Death
                        By Justin Ehrlich

I don't know when it started but I still
Remember noticing a whorling rash
Inflame the blooming darkness of her eye,
Delirium pursued my reasoning,
And while I conjured systems to outwit
Obsession, I wearied and felt her drain
The cauldron of my visions - how I longed
For drunkenness! To stagger shamelesslyAcross the streets of London,
but our friends
And neighbours painted crosses on their doors
And she was sensitive to their beliefs;
We owed a great debt to the quackery
Of friendship, but our pockets were full
Of honey flower chains and pansy rusks:
At times when gleaming fogs obscured the way
For artisans of public sanitation,
She led me through back alleys; in the black
Capillaries where only madmen speak,
I held her hand, and thumbed the pustules creeping
Along her skin, a yellow lustre flushed
Her cheeks; amid the artless open graves
I said, 'you don't love him, embrace this jinx
And loose the diamond canker from your finger.'
She answered, 'make a four-post carnal bed
And we'll make love tonight among the dead.'

                         
Poetry by Justin Ehrlich and Stephanie Smith
Symphony of Pain
          By Stephanie Smith

My galaxy collides with your pain
in an insufferable, intolerable
symphony of torture
Chained melodies cry
in congregations
and even stars shudder
when comets
shed shards of damnation
into the flesh of newborns
Clergymen burn robes
in effigy
Not worthy to receive such a song
Childless mothers run naked
through tree-lined streets,
hands covering barren wombs
Choirs cower and throats are slashed
beneath the moonless night
                      
The Bond between Husband and Wife
                                                  By Stephanie Smith

On a gray rainy morning
 a widow laid out her husband’s remains
She was delayed an hour on doing so
 because evisceration is easier said than done
And marriage was the tie
 that bound them to the grave
                    
Veneer
  By Stephanie Smith

Sucking flies
off bloodstained walls
My dear
you’re beautiful
with open veins
Can I see the scars
the world has drawn on you?
A sketch on your flesh

A smile to disguise the pain
For poetry by Justin
Ehrlich and Stephanie
Smith,
click here

For poetry by Theresa C.
Newbill, Brian Barnett and
Sharla Anderson,
click
here

For poetry by Holly Day
and Allen C. Yoakum,
click
here